Fraser Coast Opportunities Menu

Sapphire Gemfields

It is all about the bling baby!

You are sure to catch some serious gemstone fever when you visit the towns of Rubyvale, Sapphire, Anakie and Willows Gemfields in the Central Queensland Sapphire Gemfields. Only a 45 minute drive west of Emerald (three hours west of Rockhampton) on the Capricorn Highway, the Central Queensland Sapphire Gemfields represents over 900 square kilometres of prime gem fossicking opportunity!

There are many ways to explore the Sapphire Gemfields. Why not take a guided tour of a walk-in underground mine or go on a tag-along digging tour? Book a self-drive fossicking tour with maps and all the necessary equipment and explore the back tracks. Visit a fossicking park and buy a bucket of sapphire “wash”, learn to sieve it, and recognise sapphires in the rough.

Gemshops, galleries, jewellers and locally created cottage industries are abundant in the area. There’s no better place to purchase an Australian-mined and cut sapphire or quality sapphire jewellery. Gem-cutters are available to facet your very own find, and jewellers will set them to create valuable family heirlooms to be treasured forever.

See for yourself!

Sapphire Gemfield Communities

Sapphire

With a name like Sapphire, it's not hard to guess what can be found here. There is a sense of fun and adventure fossicking for your own sapphires. Mined since the late 1800s, the moon-like landscape is as much a part of the lifeblood of Sapphire as the rich treasures in the earth. Be sure to visit the historic Piano Tuners Grave at Retreat Creek. Fossicking areas in Sapphire (where you are allowed to camp and dig) include 'Graves Hill' and 'Big Bessie'.If you love a photo opportunity, then 'The Big Ring', 'Big Spanner' and 'Big Pick and Shovel' can all be found in and around Sapphire, so keep an eye out for these fun icons. Sapphire, which was originally called Sapphiretown, has developed into the services hub of the Sapphire Gemfields.


Rubyvale

The quaint town of Rubyvale offers comfortable accommodation within a hotel or cabin as well as holiday units and caravan parks. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the gem and jewellery shops, and refresh at the cafe or pub. The Australian Miners Historic Museum houses relics from the Sapphire Gemfields' colourful history. The Gem Gallery, the Cafe, and the Hotel are all pure Gemfields architecture, made of “billy boulders”, ironbark logs, and locally crafted wrought-iron.

Step into another world on a walk-in mine tour where the underground temperature sits at a cool 24 to 27 degrees Celsius. Tours take visitors through the network of tunnels, providing insight into the process of underground sapphire mining. Marvel at the tiny tunnels, called “tummy tunnels” used by the pioneer miners. Middle Ridge is the closest fossicking area to the township, plus there are numerous fossicking parks.

Fossicking parks allow people of all ages and fitness to join the fun of finding a sapphire. With the digging work already done, visitors can buy a bucket of wash and start searching straight away. Friendly staff are on hand to provide advice and guidance on how to sieve and sort for sapphires. If you don't find your own gem, the local gem galleries and shops offer stunning sapphire jewellery for sale. A new observatory offers visitors the chance to view the beautiful galaxy of stars in the outback night sky. Rubyvale also has a post office, laundromat, and a general store with fuel.


Anakie

Anakie is positioned at the Sapphire Gemfields 'crossroads' along the Capricorn Highway, 44 kilometres west of Emerald. Visit the historic Anakie Hotel which had to be partially rebuilt in 1971 after a disgruntled patron blew out the front section with gelignite. The local primary school and police station are in Anakie as well as a bed and breakfast, caravan park, and hotel/motel. Anakie also hosts the annual 'Gemfest – Festival of Gems' every year in August.



The Willow Gemfields

The Willows Gemfields is 11 kilometres off the Capricorn Highway. The turnoff is 24 kilometres west of the Anakie/Sapphire crossroads and about a 45 minute drive west of Emerald. The Willows Gemfields is a popular fossicking spot as very little machinery was ever used there, and it is known for its green sapphires and particularly large yellow sapphires. Some of the world's most famous sapphires have been found on The Willows Gemfields, including a 332 carat rough yellow, aptly named the “Golden Willow”. The Willows Gemfields has two caravan parks which offer limited supplies in the tourist season. Glen Alva is a fossicking area of shallow digging near The Willows Gemfields.