About Emerald
About Emerald

About Emerald

Fast facts
  • Did you know? Maraboon is Aboriginal for “where the black ducks fly”.
  • The largest town in the Central Highlands region, Emerald is located approximately 265 kilometres west of Rockhampton.
  • Emerald was established in 1879 as a base for the railway line from Rockhampton to the Central West. 
  • The town lies on the Nogoa River at the junction of the Tropic of Capricorn and the Gregory Highway.

What’s in a name…
You might assume Emerald was named after the precious gem… however the town was actually named after the lush green pastures on ‘Emerald Downs’, a property settled by early pioneers just north of town.

Catch gem fever
Emerald is the gateway to one of the largest sapphire fields in the southern hemisphere. Feeling lucky? Why not try your luck fossicking in the Sapphire Gemfields?

Historical sites
  • Emerald's first railway station was built in 1899 but burned down within a year. A new railway station was built one year later and the heritage-listed property boasts an elaborate entry with wrought iron lacework and pillared portico - great for photos!
  • Emerald is home to an ancient fossilised tree, estimated to be 250 million years old, the tree is located outside the Emerald Town Hall in Egerton Street. 

The big sunflower
You may be familiar with the big Banana, the big Merino, the big Prawn and the big Pineapple, but did you know Emerald is home to the big Sunflower? The world's biggest Van Gogh sunflower painting is located in Morton Park, Emerald. Standing at 25 metres tall, approximately 13.6 tonnes of steel were used in its construction and the painting celebrates the Central Highland’s reputation as a major sunflower producer.

A tropical oasis
Established in 1987, Emerald's Botanic Gardens are the only botanic gardens in the Central Western district of Queensland. Covering 42 hectares, the gardens are home to 12 different plant species, native to the region.

The great outdoors
  • 25 kilometres southwest of Emerald and almost on top of the Tropic of Capricorn, the Fairbairn Dam was constructed in 1972 across the Nagoa River "Gap" creating Lake Maraboon. The dam has capacity to hold up to 5 times the water in Sydney Harbour! 
  • Lake Maraboon is Queensland's second largest lake, covering an area of up to 150 km². It's home to eight different kinds of fish including barramundi, however it’s best known for the Red Claw Crayfish. If fishing isn’t your thing, Lake Maraboon is also a popular spot for water-skiing, boating, swimming or picnics by the lake. 

Things to Do

Emerald is a quirky historical town which offers plenty to see and do.
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Getting here

A short stroll from the town centre and not far from the airport, getting here is easy.
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Contact us

  • Open hours
  • Location map
  • Submit an enquiry
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