The total population for the Rockhampton region (including Rockhampton, Capricorn Coast, Mt Morgan and Gracemere) totals approximately 120,000 people. The surrounding Central Highlands region (including Emerald, the Sapphire Gemfields, Carnarvon National Park, and surrounding townships) has a population of around 30 000.
Rockhampton is located on the Tropic of Capricorn and is therefore classified as having a subtropical climate. Typical daytime temperature ranges are between 22 and 32 degrees Celsius in the summer, and 9 to 23 degrees Celsius in the winter.
The Capricorn Coast boasts some of the safest swimming waters in Queensland. Whilst there are many beaches to enjoy, visitors are encouraged to avoid unpatrolled beaches where possible, swim between the flags at all times, and heed all safety warnings.
Do I need a permit to fossick for sapphires?
You need a permit/licence to fossick on any public fossicking sites. Note that private claims are always marked by four white posts with the owners name and registered number printed on them - you must not dig on these claims. Permits can be purchased for a small monthly fee, and are available from the Departments of Mines and Energy (located in Rockhampton and Emerald) or numerous local businesses throughout the region. Alternatively day trippers can fossick through tourist operators who offer bucket and bag sales – no permit required. For more information contact Central Highlands Information Centre on 07 4982 4142.
How much time should I allow to visit the Capricorn Region?
The Capricorn Region is one of diverse landscapes and hidden treasures. There are so many sites to visit that you will need more than just a few days to experience the whole region. We recommend spending 4-5 nights exploring the beauty of Rockhampton, the Capricorn Coast, and the Keppel Islands, 3-4 nights visiting the rural hinterland of Blackdown Tableland and Carnarvon Gorge National Park, then spending 2-3 nights exploring the Sapphire Gemfields.