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Sapphire Gemfields

Head out west on the Capricorn Highway from Rockhampton and do as the lucky locals do: go fossicking for gems at the largest sapphire fields in the Southern Hemisphere.

The towns of Rubyvale, Sapphire, Anakie and Willows Gemfields form the hubs of the Capricorn region's Sapphire Gemfields. Rubyvale is home to two underground sapphire mines, where you can venture beneath the earth and experience for yourself how sapphire mining is done in the ancient riverbeds. If you're curious about fossicking but don't fancy getting your hands dirty, Rubyvale is also where you can buy a bucket of 'wash'. All the digging has been done for you and all there is left to do is sieve and sort for hidden treasure.

Anakie is also worth a visit. The town hosts the annual Gemfest Festival of Gems in August, and is also home to the Anakie Hotel which had to be partially rebuilt in 1971 after a disgruntled patron blew out the front section with explosives. Today all is well, of course, with the only bangs you'll hear being the occasional backfiring motor car on the main street.

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