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Emerald

How did Emerald get its name? It's thanks to a lush green hill - emerald in colour - located just north of the town called 'Emerald Downs Hill'. Established in 1879, this large country town has become the hub of the Central Highlands and gateway to one of the largest sapphire fields in the southern hemisphere.

Emerald used to be a major sunflower producer, which might explain why the town is now home to the world's biggest Van Gogh sunflower painting - measuring 25 metres high. The masterpiece can be found on an easel in Morton Park at the western end of Clermont Street. Pop into the 'straw bale' Visitor Information Centre next door to pick up brochures about the Central Highlands and let the friendly staff help you plan your holiday.

Another 'must see' in the town is the National Trust listed Railway Station built in 1900 and restored in the mid-eighties. Featuring wrought iron lacework and pillared portico, it's a spectacular sight - as is the ancient fossilised tree that's found at the Emerald Town Hall, estimated to be over 250 million years old.

3 Clermont Street
Emerald, Central Highlands Area
Queensland
Australia

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Minerva Hills National Park

Springsure, Central Highlands Area
Free Entry
A relatively small National Park near Springsure in Central Queensland, Minerva Hills is dominated by Mount Boorambool, rising 600 metres above sea level, and the larger cliff fringed Mount Zamia (560 metres), which offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Named after the Minerva Hills Volcanics, these mountains are some of the oldest in a line of volcanoes across the eastern Australian continent - dating back some 20 million years. The rich variety of plants provide habitat for much wildlife. Look for eastern grey kangaroos, wallaroos and several different wallabies throughout the park. Spotlighting at night may reward with a sighting of the elusive sugar-glider or the larger greater-glider. The park is also home to the locally rare fawn-footed melomies and the little known pebble-mound mouse. Fred Gorge picnic area has wood barbecues, toilets, limited drinking water and shelter sheds. Picnic tables are provided at the Springsure and Eclipse lookouts. Camping is not permitted.

Virgin Rock

Springsure, Central Highlands Area
Free Entry
Virgin Rock, which is situated four kilometres from Springsure is on the eastern side of Mount Zamia and has a naturally formed likeness to the Virgin Mary and Child. The spectacular cliffs are floodlit at night and can be viewed from the Lions Park. The formation is amazing and a must see when travelling to Carnarvon Gorge.

Art Gallery, The

Injune, Maranoa Area
Free Entry
Be ready to be awed by what awaits you on this walk in Carnarvon Gorge National Park, as The Art Gallery contains some of the finest Aboriginal rock art in Australia. Just 5.6 kilometres from the trailhead, at the junction of Kamoloo Creek, a signposted access track leaves the main walking trail upstream of crossing number 10, providing a gentle climb to the escarpment base where the site is located. Boardwalks, interpretive signs and seating facilities provide optimum conditions for visitors to appreciate this diverse range of Aboriginal artwork without endangering it. This extensive gallery contains more than 600 stencils and 1300 engravings. Aboriginal rock art on the sandstone overhangs is a fragile reminder of the Aboriginal people who used the gorge for thousands of years for ceremonies and rituals.

Spyglass Peak

Springsure, Central Highlands Area
Free Entry
Spring-fed Nogoa River and Louisa Creek wind through a picturesque broad valley beneath craggy sandstone outcrops in the Salvator Rosa section of Carnarvon National Park. At the western edge of Central Queensland's sandstone belt, Salvator Rosa contains deeply eroded and spectacular rock formations, such as Spyglass Peak and the Sentinel, which dominate the skyline. See the vivid orange-barked yellow-jacket trees as you walk 500 metres to the base of Spyglass Peak. Along the path you pass through a remarkable sandstone wall that looks like the ramparts of an ancient fort. On a fine day as you stand and admire this impressive landmark, you can see blue sky through the spyglass-shaped rock formation, which is well worth a photograph.

Looking Glass, The

Injune, Maranoa Area
Free Entry
The Looking Glass walking track leads walkers through the colourful woodlands of the Maranoa River in the Mount Moffatt section of Carnarvon National Park, where pink trunks of smooth-barked apple trees rise above a carpet of wildflowers. Wind has eroded a cave right through an isolated pillar of Precipice Sandstone standing by the Maranoa River. This spectacular ancient sandstone formation has been appropriately labelled “The Looking Glass”.

Nuga Nuga National Park and Lake Nuga Nuga

Rolleston, Central Highlands Area
Free Entry
Lake Nuga Nuga (adjacent to Nuga Nuga National Park) is the largest natural water body within the Central Queensland Sandstone Belt. It provides a valuable habitat for waterbirds, and in the right season flowering waterlilies are a sight to behold. The lake can dry up in times of drought. Bird watchers will find the lake a haven for pelicans, swans and numerous water birds. Lake Nuga Nuga National Park contains Mount Warinilla (offering views over the lake and park) and protects remnants of dry rainforest scrub in a area that has been extensively cleared. A bush camping site, with no facilities, is located in the park on the banks of Lake Nuga Nuga. As this park is remote, be sure to bring adequate supplies of food, water and fuel.

Tambos Wilderness Way

Tambo, Blackall-Tambo Area
Free Entry
Tambo's Wilderness Way is a self-drive tour through an area of rugged beauty, known as the ‘Roof of Queensland’. The tour traverses a landscape of deep gorges and vast cliff lines. Enjoy vistas of tangled ranges where the wind and rain have created massive sandstone formations which contrast starkly with the grey-green bush. The area provides habitat for some unique flora. Camp or go bushwalking in Salvator Rosa National Park. Tambo's Wilderness Way is 320 kilometres and would take one to two days to complete. The road is accessible by conventional vehicles, however, a four wheel drive is recommended. The road may become impassable in the wet.

Fairbairn Dam, Lake Maraboon

Emerald, Central Highlands Area
Free Entry
If you love fishing, you're going to love this holiday destination. Lake Maraboon is stocked with eight different kinds of fish including barramundi, making it a popular spot for anglers. You'll also find a healthy population of red claw crayfish in the area. Apart from fishing, there are other things to keep you and the kids occupied like swimming, walking and waterskiing. There are several picnic tables and electric/wood barbecues in the area.

Ka Ka Mundi, Carnarvon National Park

Springsure, Central Highlands Area
Free Entry
Ka Ka Mundi, Carnarvon National Park, has more than 30 kilometres of sandstone escarpments and plateaus, dry rainforest surrounding clear springs and brigalow scrubs on clay soil. Aboriginal people have close ties to the area. Ka Ka Mundi suits wilderness seekers. Self-sufficient visitors can bush-camp near Bunbuncundoo Springs, however there are no visitor facilities. Experienced walkers with compass and map will enjoy exploring. The park is best to visit in cooler months, though mornings can be frosty.
Free Entry
Mt Moffatt section of Carnarvon National Park is remote and situated Queensland's highest plateau. Rugged ranges sweep down to sandstone cliffs, with open woodlands and sandy valleys below. From any of the four basic campsites, take a long, scenic four wheel drive to the park's features. Short walks to nature's amazing sculptures at Lot's Wife, Marlong Arch and The Chimneys; and to cultural heritage sites. View Aboriginal rock art from the boardwalks at The Tombs and Kookaburra Cave. Picnic at the Top Shelter Shed. From the Consuelo Tableland, enjoy sweeping views over the park. Go birdwatching for honeyeaters, parrots and raptors by day, and spotlighting for feathertail gliders and sugar gliders at night.
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