Emerald will mesmerise even the most cynical. Located strategically on the Nogoa River, this small, tranquil town is filled with sapphire gemfields, lakes, and national parks that are set to amaze.
You’ll be glad to know that not every amazing adventure comes with a hefty price tag and you are still able to get the most of your time in Emerald with or without a big pocket.
Here are some of the best things to do in Emerald, from walking adventures to scenic landscapes and natural gem fields.
Emerald Water Gardens
Not many would guess this but some of the most astonishing water gardens in the world are found here in Emerald, Australia.
Filled with exotic ponds and water bodies, the water gardens are open to all those who wish to explore and wander. Whether you wish to take a walk among nature or daze away after a scenic picnic, your time here at the Emerald Water Gardens is guaranteed to be a calming and relaxing one.
If you have a bicycle at hand, you’ll be glad to know that there is a designated cycling path that you can ride without worrying about crossing any pedestrians.
Cathedral Cave Tour
This is an inexpensive way to explore the Cathedral Caves. The hour long tour is led by an experienced tour guide with a wealth of knowledge.
Promising breathtaking views of the Cathedral and Capricorn caves, be taken away by the limestone caves and enormous formations that are surrounded by a lush, vibrant forest of greenery.
Prepare yourself for crooked passages and amazing bridges, through cave paths and rainforests, an adventure awaits you.
A tour at the Cathedral Cave is your chance to embrace the local wildlife of Emerald and to have an insight into the life of early exploration and geological history. You will be amused to learn that the acoustics in the cave are the envy of studios and many events, including weddings, take place here.
From December through to early January, you can even witness the Summer Solstice Light Spectacle, where light fills the the Belfry Cave through a 14m vertical shaft to create a magical beam of light. This experience is available on the 11am Cathedral Cave Tour.
For more information or to book, visit http://capricorncaves.com.au/our-events/.
Sapphires in the Rough
Right at the heart of Emerald, you can finally explore and learn about the wonders behind sapphires. Discovered as early as 1875, the first sapphire gemstones were found by a railroad surveyor. Shortly thereafter, the Sapphire and Rubyvale gemfields flourished and later became great attractions bringing international attention every year.
The beauty of these gemfields is in the wide array of colours sapphires come in. From astonishing blues that will make the oceans envious to pinks and purples that remind you of a floral fantasy, a trip around the sapphire gemfields will surely entice you.
The Willow Gemfields
Also known as the home of the Golden Willow, the Willow gemfields was where the largest sapphire in the world was found.
If you are one to admire the beautiful golden colours of yellow and the emerald hues of green, the Willow gemfields is where you want to be.
Learn the history of the area and mining history of sapphires here. It’s only a 45 minute drive from Emerald town centre, making it easy to access and accomplish within a day.
Fairbairn Dam and Lake Maraboon
A dam and lake that promises a great time, Fairbairn dam and Lake Maraboon are the top spots for family get together, wildlife watchers, and fishing enthusiasts.
Whether it’s a fishing pole or a picnic basket you plan to bring, a visit here will result in absolute serenity and relaxation.
For the adventure seekers, you’ll be glad to know that you can rent a kayak or a waterski to explore around Lake Maraboon.
It’s free and it’s fun. The only cost you may have to incur is a car ride there.
Minerva Hills National Park
A massively stunning park located in the central highlands of Queensland, the Minerva Hills National Park can easily be explored via a day trip from Emerald.
What makes this national park stand out from the rest is its gigantic jagged peaks resulting from an aggressive volcanic activity period many years ago.
The many hiking trails offer spectacular views of the park, allowing wildlife enthusiasts the best opportunities to catch a glimpse of the action. Keep an eye out for a unique piece of art work on a rock created by the historic Karai tribe.
Do note that there aren’t places to camp in the park so staying in Emerald would be a good option.
Emerald Botanic Gardens
If you love flora and fauna, a visit to the Emerald Botanic Gardens is a must. The beautiful weather known to Queensland allows for a tropical oasis for many plant species to grow and thrive.
With a free entry and excellent barbecue facilities, a trip to the Emerald Botanic Gardens should be on your list of things to do in Emerald while on a budget.
Food in Emerald
It goes without saying that the secret to having a great time no matter how much you spend lies in having a satisfied and contented stomach.
And there’s no better place to experience the best local delicacies than Maraboon Tavern. A widely acclaimed local favourite, Maraboon Tavern the local ambience that welcomes you is heartwarming.
The decor is a pleasant classic influence that makes anyone feel at home. Beyond reasonably priced food and drinks, amazing tap options by the bar, the food is absolutely decadent.
Headed by a trained chef, you will have the pleasure to experience the best of Emerald’s local food. From mouth-watering steaks to Asian delights such as crispy pork belly, there’s something for everyone’s pallet.
Portions are also very generous which means you’ll be in for a treat when placing your order! Dessert is delicious, so try your best to save some space for a sweet finish.
For parents who have kids, you’ll be thrilled to know that the Maraboon Tavern has its very own kids play area. Sit back, relax, and sip a glass of wine as the kids run around the playground, enjoying themselves.
With exceptional staff who are ready to make this the best meal of your day, dining in at Maraboon Tavern is a must for all those stepping foot in Emerald.