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Explore the Gemfields


A Gem of a Place

Home to Gemfest, the Sapphire Gemfields covers almost 900 square kilometres of one of the world’s most significant sapphire-bearing grounds and takes in the delightful townships of Anakie, Sapphire, Rubyvale and The Willows.

Located in Central Queensland, the Gemfields are only four hours west of Rockhampton on the Capricorn Highway. People from all over the world descend on the Gemfields each year to experience fossicking firsthand and try their luck in finding the ultimate gem discovery.

If it’s treasure that you’re seeking or the opportunity to experience a real-life fossicking town, the Sapphire Gemfields has it all with its array of gemshops, galleries, jewellers, underground mines and digging areas.

There are many ways to explore the Sapphire Gemfields. Why not take a guided tour of a walk-in underground mine or take a four-wheel-drive scenic or digging tour. There are also self-drive fossicking tours with all the necessary equipment. Fossicking parks are also great fun, where miners supply sapphire ‘wash’ for a fee and teach you to recognise and find sapphires. It’s enjoyable and educational, and you can even take bags of sapphire wash home to extend your holiday.

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 jewellery.  Gem-cutters are also available to facet your very own find and jewellers to set them into a valuable family heirloom to be treasured forever.

The area is also rich in history, character and charm, and driving around it’s easy to imagine how commercial mining drove the town from the late 1890s. Once a burgeoning market right up until the early 1980s, a downturn in Australian sapphires brought about an active tourist industry in the area. Indeed, some of the world’s most famous sapphires have been found in The Willows Gemfields.

Today, along with the underground sapphire mines, hand-mining and fossicking tourist parks, the area also has a number of interesting buildings and attractions which have readily become popular with tourists. Rubyvale and Sapphire feature many billy boulder and bush timber dwellings (just like the original pioneers), as well as a roman castle, a bottle house, bush humpies and shacks.

Today, the lifestyle of the Sapphire Gemfields is very laid back and peaceful, where visitors are always made to feel welcome.

A visit to the Sapphire Gemfields is sure to be an experience you will never forget.

Reward is west of Sapphire township on the Central Queensland gemfields. Sapphires are found in both deep and shallow wash strata, with the most popular area on the western boundary where the wash is shallow.
Divide lies west of Rubyvale on the Central Queensland gemfields. It is a sapphire-bearing area, with both shallow and at-depth wash strata.
Sapphire is one of the local townships in the Gemfields region and as the name suggests, sapphires are found in this area. Gems in and around Sapphire are best developed in the shallow wash from the town towards the northern boundary. Accommodation or camping facilities are available in Sapphire.
Although located on the Central Queensland Gemfields, Tomahawk Creek is more remotely located some 45km north-west of Rubyvale. Blue and fancy coloured sapphires have been found in the generally shallow wash which may be of many different types.
Middle Ridge is a small fossicking area (32ha) located between the Designated Fossicking Lands of Divide and Rubyvale. Sapphire and zircon gems can be found in the mostly shallow wash of this area.
Graves Hill extends from the southwest corner of the Sapphire Designated Fossicking Land. Green, yellow and blue sapphires have been found in the shallow wash which covers more than half of this 116 ha area.
Glenalva is about 20 km southwest of Anakie. A wide variety of coloured sapphires can be found in the shallow wash which covers most of this area.
Big Bessie is a small area which lies within the Sapphire Designated Fossicking Land. Sapphire bearing shallow wash covers most of the area and it has been extensively worked but there are still patches of undisturbed ground which is likely to contain sapphires.
Willows is located about 38 km west of Anakie. Sapphires found here are mostly yellows and greens. The occurrence of gems is in shallow wash with the favourite spots reasonably close to town.

Use one of our friendly travel itineraries to explore the gemfields.

Name Date Modified Size
Central Highlands Visitor Guide.pdf 11/11/2010 7:15:50 PM 9,969 KB
Emerald Walking Tour.pdf 11/11/2010 5:30:29 PM 367 KB
Peak Downs Self Drive Itinerary.pdf 11/11/2010 5:30:29 PM 417 KB
Springsure self drive itinerary.pdf 11/11/2010 5:30:29 PM 359 KB

For more regional information feel free to contact the Central Highlands Visitor Information Centre:

3 Clermont Street
Emerald Q 4720

Postal Address:
PO Box 841, 4720
Call: 4982 4142

Use our driving directions tool to find your way to the Gemfields, it will provide you step by step up to date directions of the best way there. You could even use it to map out short trips while you are in the region.