Queenslanders are certainly lucky when it comes to covid restrictions. We can travel freely around our state, which explains why there’s quite a lot of us on the road. There’s also a number of Victorians on QLD roads. They escaped before QLD closed its border and they tell us they’re not returning any time soon. If you have to sit out covid, then travelling around this region of Queensland is not a bad option as we discovered when we left Wowan and headed for Emerald.
Emerald, like the nearby small townships of Rubyvale and Sapphire is so named for the gems found here. Today though, it’s coal that rules the roost.
With a population of 14,000, Emerald has all the infrastructure you would expect in a town this size that supports very profitable coal, cotton, cattle, citrus and grain industries.
We based ourselves for a few days at Lake Maraboon just outside Emerald. It was a good choice. The facilities are many – shady sites, water sports like kayaking and fishing for red claw (the dam is well stocked with a variety of fish), pool, even a bar and cafe.
The Fairburn Dam built across the Nogoa River in 1968 created the whopping 150 sq km Maraboon Lake. Explains why water hungry cotton can be grown here.
We did day trips exploring Emerald and the smaller gem towns.
In Emerald, we liked the very attractive train station (in feature photo), noting that The Spirit of Australia passenger train makes a stopover here enroute from Brisbane to Winton.
A drive around the gemfields revealed these top notch places.
A side-trip to Mount Morgan, a thriving gold mining town from 1882 for a hundred years yielded these pics.
Tomorrow, we are hitting the road and heading to Clermont.