The Central Queensland Sapphire Gemfields are located on the Tropic of Capricorn approximately 350 kms (217 miles) west of Rockhampton, Queensland Australia ( 50 kms west of Emerald). Access is by sealed roads to the townships of Anakie, Sapphire, Rubyvale and The Willows. The area has a permanent population of around 3000 people.
During the peak tourism period from May to September, this number will at least double and up to 60,000 visitors come here over the course of a year. Winter is the peak season for Australian travelers and in Summer we often can see an influx of international tourists escaping the northern hemisphere winter.
The Gemfields has a unique easily going lifestyle, many of the residents have a strong independent streak and an unconventional outlook on life. This has resulted in the Gemfields evolving its own special style of building and living.
This area has always been a prime destination for gem enthusiasts. However, with the fluctuations in the international gem markets resulting in major changes to the level of large machinery mining activity the community has of necessary worked to broaden the tourism appeal to a wider range of people.
There are now many small business scattered across the Gemfields providing a easy way for a novice to experience the thrill of finding their own precious gem. Sapphire and Zircon are the main gems found in this here. The Central Queensland Sapphire Gemfields are one of the largest Sapphire bearing area in the would and one of the few area left that are accessible to the general public.
Visitors can fossick for Sapphire at one of the many fossicking parks that operate across the fields or with the purchase of a Mines Department Fossicking permit gems can be sort in one of the designated fossicking area. The serious gemhunter may peg or purchase a mining claim that they can work to uncover the treasures held within the ground.
Sapphire – The Gemstone
Australian Sapphire occurs in the following colors:
Blue- light to dark blue, sky blue to a deep blue to almost black
Greens -pale to deep Green aqua, lime, bright green, dark green
Yellows – Canary Yellow , Golden Yellow Sunflower Yellow
Rare Colors Apricot, Purple, Orange, Peach
Color Change – These stones display a change in color when viewed under different lights. Daylight to fluorescent or incandescent Parti Color – these stones have a mix of two or more colors most common are green/blue and blue /yellow parti colors though any colors can be mixed some truly spectacular stones are parti colors
Almost any shade or color is possible the value of any particular color depends on its scarcity.
Four towns make up the Central Queensland Sapphire Gemfields
known locally as ‘The Fields”
Smallest of the Gemfields Towns, 42kms (26 miles) West of Emerald, Anakie is the smallest of the Gemfields towns. It is located about 1 km from the Capricorn Highway.
Features: The Big Sapphire & Gemfields Information Center, fuel, city water, power, limited cell phone coverage (Telstra, and only poor), TV reception 2 uhf 2 vhf, railway station,
caravan RV park, hotel/motel, police station, ambulance center, Anakie elementary school
Central Town of the Gemfields. Sapphire is approximately 10 kms (6 miles) north of the Anakie Crossroads about 50 kms (32 miles) from Emerald.
Features: caravan RV park, general stores, fuel & LPG gas, city water, power, cell phone coverage (Telstra only), takaway food, fossicking park, post office, child care center, medical center, hardware store, tyre service, gem shop
Northern most town on the Gemfields. Rubyvale is approximately 18 kms (11 miles) north of the Anakie Crossroads, about 60 kms (38 miles) from Emerald. It is about 8kms north of Sapphire
Features: caravan RV parks, city water, power, cell phone coverage (Telstra only), TV reception, hotel/motel, newsagency, general store, fuel, gem shop, post office
A satellite town about 40 kms (25 miles) south west of Anakie, The Willows Gemfields is approximately 80 kms (50 miles) west of Emerald, south of the Capricorn Highway
Features: caravan RV parks, gem shops, dam & tank water, power, land phone, no mobile or TV coverage.