A lover of Brisbane, particularly the Moreton Bay region at Wynnum Manly and the beautiful Scenic Rim. A freelance writer always looking for the new and quirky in my own backyard.
Published January 24th 2017
A gem of a town to visit
Gems may be not the town's main claim to fame despite its name, but close is the Sapphire Gemfields. Emerald is a good stop on a journey into Central West Queensland. Situated about 3 hrs drive west from Rockhampton along the Capricorn Way, Emerald is almost in line with the Tropic of Capricorn that links the Queensland outback to the reef.
Emerald's Historic Railway station - Image – CHDC (Central Highlands Development Corporation)
A must for any visit to Emerald is the massive Van Gogh replica painting situated in the Moreton Park as you enter the town from the west. It's the world's biggest Van Gogh 'Sunflower' painting and is homage to the heritage of Emerald as a major sunflower producer.
Close by is the Central Highlands Visitor Information Centre with a well-stocked array of local information and product for visitors and locals alike.
A 15 minute drive takes you to Fairbairn Dam and Lake Maraboon with its massive surface area that is larger than Sydney Harbour. A drive along the dam wall gives you extensive views over the lake with spectacular sunsets. The drive can be made into a loop round trip of around 45 minutes back to Emerald.
Emerald Botanic Gardens is an extensive array of gardens adjacent to the main bridge into town. It has its own style as distinct from some big city botanical gardens with a gorgeous mix of foliage that makes for a pleasant walk, jog or bike ride any time of day.
As a regional centre the town has all the main services and shops you would want including two shopping centres. For a coffee stop visit the colourful Happy House Café on Egerton St with its eclectic collection of housewares and children's items.
A short stroll takes you to the town's art gallery within the council administrative building. It has a small changing collection of artworks often featuring local artists such as the annual art completion.