TRAVEL POST: The Gem fields, Queensland, Australia
The gemfields: Rubyvale, Sapphire and Anakie
I had a day off work (in January 2013) so my boyfriend drove me to Anakie, Sapphire and Rubyvale - aka, The Gemfields.
They aren't too far from Emerald and I would recommend them as worth a visit. What part of human nature could resist the opportunity to strike it rich by finding a shiny stone in the dirt?
We stopped off first at Anakie, Trent knows the owner of the pub here, we had a quick look at the interior decoration, pictures below-
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We drove around Sapphire + Rubyvale and looked at a few of the makeshift mines that people use to try and find their riches.
The mines people have made on their small plots are scarily fragile looking - I couldn't go down those tight tunnels, even if there is a chance of finding gems.
People get really defensive about their property apparently, I took a few photos from inside the car but Trent forbid me to get out of the car in case I got shot....
The highlight for me was going to a roadside cafe/gem shop where you could fossick for gems using a bucket of dirt - it was only $5 - bit of a bargain considering you could find a million-dollar gem in there (...though it is unlikely).
Its pretty simple stuff - you grab a bucket for $5, decant a small amount into your sieve, dip your sieve into the water trough and gently shake it from side to side. This gets rid of the dirt so all you are left with are gems and rocks. When you finish the whole bucket, you take these mystery rocks/gems to be inspected by the gem shop owner. We did get a few gems, sadly they aren't valuable but I still have them as a keepsake.
Fossicking was a really fun experience, photos below-
Below: The gem shop/cafe owner showing us how to fossick