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Key Attractions

Looking to explore Emerald and beyond? Check out these must visit attractions during your time in our region

Emerald is surrounded by the best of Queensland's countryside and is home to the Maraboon Tavern. Iconic attractions include Lake Maraboon, Queensland's second largest lake, a number of neighbouring national parks, and of course the nearby gemfields which are situated just 45 minutes from the township. So while in the region, uncover a gem at the sapphire gemfields, throw in a line at Lake Maraboon or explore the great outdoors. 

1. Lake Maraboon and Fairbairn Dam

Translating to 'where the black duck flies', Lake Maraboon is located just 25 kilometres outside of Emerald. The lake is a great location for outdoor activities such as swimming, boating, kayaking and fishing. In fact the lake is stocked with several species of fish including barramundi, red claw crayfish, golden perch and silver perch. Do note that a fishing permit is required if you are keen to throw in a line. These permits can easily be bought from the Emerald Post Office or through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' website. Don't forget to pack your barbecue utensils for a picnic because the area is fitted with electric barbecues and picnic tables.

Image credit: Queensland.com

2. Sapphire Gemfields 

A short 45 minute drive west of Emerald will land you in the Sapphire Gemfields region which is made up of Rubyvale, Sapphire, Anakie and Willows. This is one of the World's largest sapphire fields and while in the area, you can visit galleries and gemshops or get your hands dirty and go fossicking for precious gemstones of your very own. For those who are keen to explore and fossick in their own time, there are nine seperate sapphire gemfields to choose from. Permits are required if fossicking and a certain set of rules do apply so more for information before you head out, visit this page. If you prefer to leave it to the experts, there are plenty of guided tours available that are suited to the entire family, for example Miner's Heritage. As one of Australia's largest walk-in underground sapphire mines, they offer expert guided tours which last around 40 minutes. Best of all, prices start at $5 for children aged between 5-12 years, any younger and they're free!

Image credit: Central Highlands Queensland

3. Emerald Botanic Gardens and Nagoa River 

For those that have an appreciation for the great outdoors, there's no better spot to get back to nature than Emerald's Botanic Gardens which is located along the Nagoa River. Spanning 42 hectares, visitors can enjoy activities such as kayaking, cycling, fishing or simply enjoy a short stroll or even a picnic in the dedicated picnic area. Facilities such as barbecues and toilets are also available, making the gardens an ideal location to sit back, relax and enjoy the best of Mother Nature. 

Image credit: Queensland.com

4. Take a Day Trip to Springsure

For those looking to immerse themselves in the true beauty of Outback Queensland, plan a day trip to the charming rural town of Springsure. Located just 50 minutes south of Emerald, there is plenty to see and do while visiting, like exploring the national parks that surround it.

One of those national parks is Minerva Hills National Park. Here jagged peaks dominate the horizon, dry rainforests are in abundance and rock art from the Kariai people can be spotted. While you're here soak up picturesque panoramic views or hike several walking trails. Eclipse Gap Lookout and the Virgin Rock, a rock formation that is situated on Mount Zamia, are also a musty while in the area. A number of facilties are available throughout the park including public toilets and picnic tables, some of which are sheltered. It's a great spot for all groups, from families with young children through to couples looking for an outdoor adventure.

Image credit: Robert Ashdown © Queensland Government

5. Blackdown Tableland National Park

The Blackdown Tableland National Park is an absolute gem. Take your time exploing the sandstone plateau which boasts colourful wildlife, spectacular views and a range of nature-based activities. The walking tracks will take you to the park’s heritage sites, creeks and waterfalls. Alternatively, complete a scenic drive around the park in a four-wheel-drive and find a spot to camp.

Image credit: Courier Mail

6. Theresa Creek Dam

If you cannot get enough of fishing and want to try another local hotspot, check out Theresa Creek Dam which is situated 90 minutes drive north-west of Emerald. It is described as an oasis in the outback, and is ideal for those that like swimming, canoeing, water skiing, fishing or just relaxing and watching time pass you by.

Image credit: Queensland.com

7. The Big Easel Van Gogh Sunflower Painting 

Titled the Big Easel by it's Canadian creator Cameron Cross, this large scale replica of Van Gogh's celebrated Sunflower painting is part of a series known as the Van Gogh project and is one of seven of its kind. The concept behind Cross' series was to help promote regional, agricultural and tourist development in the seven chosen locations. Lucky for you, one of those locations is Morton Park, Emerald. Standing 25 metres high and made of 13.6 tonnes of steel it was constructed in Emerald to represent Central Highland’s contribution as a major sunflower producer. Even if you don't consider yourself a true art connoisseur, you are guaranteed to be impressed by the The Big Easel. 

Image credit: Queensland.com

Banner image credit: Central Highlands 

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