About Emerald

Attractions in Emerald, QLD

Emerald is a large, modern country town that was originally established in 1879 as a base for the building of the western railway. The township itself is not actually named after a gemstone but after ‘Emerald Downs’ Hill, a lush emerald green hill located on Emerald Downs, a property just north of town.

Initially a small service town supporting the local agricultural industry, Emerald is now considered the ‘hub’ of the Central Highlands. In 1972, the Emerald community welcomed the construction of Fairbairn Dam and the Emerald Irrigation Scheme which allowed for the significant development and expansion of agricultural practices within the region.

Emerald is very well known for its diverse industries; mining, fishing and agriculture. Farmers grow a variety of fruit and vegetables, cotton & grains throughout the year.

Tourist Attractions in Emerald - Emerald Central Palms Motel
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Restaurants

There are 2 very popular restaurants in close proximity, The Capricorian Restaurant adjoining our motel and The Maraboon Tavern which is a short 200 m stroll away. They both charge meals back to your room account if requested.  

The Capricornian Restaurant offers room service or dine in, breakfast Monday to Friday & evening meals Monday to Saturday. Packed lunches also available.

We are only a short stroll from other venues, the Cinema, Cafes & Restaurants, Shopping Center, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Eagle Boys Pizza, McDonalds, Rotary Park & Bowls Club.

Agricultural Industry – Emerald

Initially a small service town supporting the local agricultural industry, Emerald is now considered the ‘hub’ of the Central Highlands. In 1972, the Emerald community welcomed the construction of Fairbairn Dam and the Emerald Irrigation Scheme which allowed for the significant development and expansion of agricultural practices within the region.

Emerald is very well known for its diverse industries; mining, fishing and agriculture. Farmers grow a variety of fruit and vegetables, cotton & grains throughout the year.

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Emerald Train Station

In 1899 Emerald’s first Railway Station was built, but unfortunately burned down within a year. In 1900 a new Railway Station was built of timber, with iron roof and wrought iron trimmings. The heritage-listed railway station boasts an elaborate entry with wrought iron lacework and pillared portico, offering great photo opportunities. Built in 1900 and restored in 1986, this National Trust listed Railway Station is well worth a visit.

Blackdown Tablelands

Blackdown Tableland is a national park in Central Queensland (Australia), 576 km (358 mi) northwest of Brisbane. The mountainous terrain of the tablelands provides a unique landscape featuring gorges, waterfalls and diverse vegetation. It is the traditional home of the Ghungalu people, whose rock art can be found in the park.

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Blackwater Coal Mining

The Blackwater and South Blackwater open-cut mines are owned by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) whose beneficial owners are BHP Billiton Ltd and Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd. The mines are located 24 km south of Blackwater and are operated by BMA. Medium volatile hard coking coal, medium volatile weak coking coal and medium volatile thermal coal is exported to Japan, Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East.

Thermal coal is also sold to the domestic market. Saleable coal production for the combined operation is approximately 14 Mtpa. Measured and Indicated coal resources are 877 million tonnes for Blackwater and Blackwater South (2003). Reported workforce for Blackwater and South Blackwater combined in 2003 is 625.

Gemfields

The Central Queensland Sapphire Gemfields are only a 45 minute drive west of Emerald  on the Capricorn Highway and cover almost 900 square kilometers. People from all over the world visit the Sapphire Gemfields each year to experience fossicking firsthand and try their luck to find that ultimate gem stone. If it’s treasure that you’re seeking or the opportunity to experience a real-life mining town, the Sapphire Gemfields has it all with its array of gemshops, galleries, jewellers, underground mines and digging areas. There’s no better place to purchase an Australian-mined and cut sapphire or quality sapphire jewelry. Gem-cutters are available to facet your very own find, and jewellers will set them into valuable family heirlooms to be treasured forever.

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Fairbairn Dam

Fairbairn Dam is located 25 kilometers southwest of Emerald, in Central Queensland, almost on top of the Tropic of Capricorn line. Fairbairn Dam was constructed in 1972 across the Nogoa River “Gap” creating Lake Maraboon and is Queensland’s second largest lake. Maraboon is the Aboriginal for “where the black ducks fly”.

The primary purpose of Fairbairn Dam is for irrigation. About 300 irrigators are supplied with water for cotton, citrus and other horticulture operations. The dam is relatively shallow with large areas of standing timber. There are no boating restrictions and one concrete boat ramp.

The construction of the Fairbairn Dam and its associated Lake Maraboon also initiated the commencement of large-scale coal mining within the Bowen Basin in 1977; which produced a significant proportion of Queensland’s total coal exports, shaping the township of Emerald into what you see today.

Carnarvon Gorge

Carved into the elevated sandstone of Central Queensland,  is a natural monument to the power of water, wind and time. Its dramatic landscapes, its ecological diversity, the significant cultural locations, and the permanent water supply, combine to give Carnarvon Gorge a singular character. Around 65,000 visitors a year make the trek to this outback oasis, which is well known to the caravanning and camping crowd.

Read more about Canarvon Gorge: http://www.carnarvongorge.com/

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Van Gogh Sunflower Painting

This is the largest painting in the southern Hemisphere and a symbol of fine art, celebrates the Central highland’s reputation as a major Australian sunflower producer. Australia’s giant sunflower easel is situated in Emerald’s Morton Park, on the corner of the Capricorn Highway and Dundas Street. It was Unveiled in October 1999. The canvas was constructed of 24 sheets of plywood, laminated together to form 7×10 m panels. Each panel was coated with fibreglass and then sealed with a gel coat. A total of 50 L of high performance paint was required to complete the giant work of art which has a weight of approximately 4.5 tonnes. Emerald Centenary of Federation Mosaic Pathway, can also be found under the Van Gogh painting. A step by step snapshot of Emerald’s history is situated in Morton Park, Emerald. This project was made possible by Centenary of Federation funding. Walk the mosaic pathway which depicts 100 years of Emerald’s history with 21 intricately tiled designs. The detailed mosaics were created by 10 of Emerald’s local artists.

Botanical Gardens

For those that enjoy walking, relax as you stroll along pathways that wind through the well-established gardens and along the river’s edge. Or take the family for a picnic on the lawn under the shade of age old trees.

At the southwest end of the park next to Rifle Range Road there is a large Southern Cross Windmill. It was built in 1931 and used for irrigation on one of the  farms near Emerald. It was moved to the Botanic Gardens and after restoration, is now used for pumping water from the river into the lagoon within the gardens.

Just past the windmill you will find the Federation Pillars. Each of them has a painting and description of a different decade in Australian history. They surround the ‘yarn pit’ where you can sit and have a yarn.

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Emerald Aquatic Centre

You can enjoy a day at the newly upgraded Emerald Aquatic Pool.  The new 50 m Pool, the new splashpool and the Indoor Learn to Swim Pool open for all to enjoy. http://emeraldaquaticcentre.com.au/2012/

Gemfields

The Central Queensland Sapphire Gemfields are only a 45 minute drive west of Emerald  on the Capricorn Highway and cover almost 900 square kilometres. People from all over the world visit the Sapphire Gemfields each year to experience fossicking firsthand and try their luck to find that ultimate gem stone. If it’s treasure that you’re seeking or the opportunity to experience a real-life mining town, the Sapphire Gemfields has it all with its array of gemshops, galleries, jewellers, underground mines and digging areas. There’s no better place to purchase an Australian-mined and cut sapphire or quality sapphire jewellery. Gem-cutters are available to facet your very own find, and jewellers will set them into valuable family heirlooms to be treasured forever.

There are many ways to explore the Sapphire Gemfields. Why not take a guided tour of a walk-in underground mine or go on a tag-along digging tour? Book a self-drive fossicking tour with maps and all the necessary equipment, so that you can explore the back tracks of the mining areas in your own vehicle. Visit a fossicking park, where you can learn all about fossicking. There you can buy a bucket of sapphire ‘wash’, learn to seive it, and recognise sapphires in the rough. It’s enjoyable, educational, and you can even take home bags of sapphire wash to extend your holiday experience.

The area is rich in history, character and charm, and just like digging for buried treasure, if you look beyond the surface, you’ll be surprised what you can find. Many of the residents today were once tourists that came here and never left. The lifestyle of the Sapphire Gemfields today is very laid back and peaceful, and visitors are always made to feel welcome. A visit to the Sapphire Gemfields is sure to be an experience you will never forget.

Read more about Saphire Gemfields: http://www.capricornholidays.com.au/destinations/sapphire-gemfields