Dig the Tropic Four Day Drive

Multiple Locations

Resting 23.5 degrees south of the Equator, the aptly-named Capricorn region lays along the Tropic of Capricorn, considered one of Earth's major circles of latitude. Home to extreme conditions and dramatic landscapes, experience the living museum which is a countryside embedded with mineral wealth, tell-tale fossils, and inspiring landscapes. Explore the Tropic of Capricorn and discover the secrets of the ages. While this Queensland journey could be easily driven in less than four days, you're encouraged to pause, dig for treasures and enjoy life under the big sky country.

Journey Details

Duration
96 Hours
Distance
413 Kilometres

Internet Access

  • Free Wifi

Activities

  • Camping
  • Hiking/Trekking

Other Information

Family Friendly:

Family friendly – please refer to operator's website for services and facilities.

Full itinerary

Blackwater International Coal Centre to the Sapphire Gemfields

The Blackwater International Coal Centre provides amazing perspectives of the coal mining industry as it showcases the Australian coal industry to the world. See how early settlers lived and worked. Marvel at the size and scale of the massive equipment used today, and learn about Australia's leading role in the development of technologies of global importance. Experience the warm welcome of a country mining town, see Outback scenery and be amazed at the sheer size of this vital, world-class industry. It's a totally interactive learning experience for the whole family.

Heading west towards the Gemfields, you'll pass through Emerald, the hub of the Central Highlands. Outside the Town Hall you will find a fossilised tree trunk estimated to be 250 million years old.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Bus, Car, Caravan, Four Wheel Drive
Route Type One Way
Sapphire Gemfields to Drummond Range Lookout

Queensland's Central Highland towns of Anake, Rubyvale, Sapphire and The Willows are home to the largest sapphire fields in the Southern Hemisphere. Like many of the wonders along the Tropic of Capricorn the "Dig the Tropic" drive route, the Sapphire Gemfields are a product of incredible time and drastic changes in climate and environment. Between 40 to 70 million years ago as the earth's crust shifted moving Australia closer to its current position, hot spots developed below. Plugs of the Mount Hoy Basalt erupted spewing out basaltic ash and lavas. Abundant sapphires and zircons that had formed deep in the earth's crust, blasted out as crystals in the volcanic ash.

The Sapphire Gemfields are famous for rich, golden yellow and parti-coloured stones and are also home to the famous black star sapphires. Heading west, finish your journey at Alpha where dramatic shifts in Tectonic plates formed the Drummond Range - home to petrified wood.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Bus, Car, Caravan, Four Wheel Drive
Route Type One Way
Capricorn Caves to Mt Hay

Only 30 minutes north of Rockhampton are the Capricorn Caves, with stunning rock formations, cave networks and their inhabitants, and fossils of creatures from lifetimes ago. These spectacular caves date back 390 million years ago when the sedimentary limestone rock originated under the sea as coral growing in shallow waters. These days the caves are open to adventure caving, abseiling, climbing and a high ropes course, with accommodation options. The majority of the caves are accessible, with easy walking tours and wheelchair accessible caves, as well as the wild caving adventure tours.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel Bus, Car, Caravan, Four Wheel Drive
Route Type One Way
Mt Hay to Blackdown Tableland National Park

At the base of Mt Hay, on what was once a rumbling volcano, are the fruits of its violent eruptions known as "Volcanic Birthstones" or "Thunder Eggs". Ordinary on the outside, these 120 million-year-old geo treasures are stunning underneath and their layers tell the story of an incredible geo journey. Heading west, see the breathtaking sandstone plateau rising above the plains at Blackdown Tableland National Park. The walks there and the views are stunning.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Bus, Car, Caravan, Four Wheel Drive
Route Type One Way
Blackdown Tableland National Park to Blackwater International Coal Centre

At the north-eastern edge of the sandstone belt and part of the Sandstone Wilderness, the spectacular gorges of Blackdown Tableland National Park rise boldly above the plains. The steep escarpments offer a dramatic sight and protect a beautiful National Park adorned with waterfalls and Aboriginal rock art. The Park protects a sandstone plateau rising abruptly above the flat plains. Bordered by high rugged cliffs, this is the traditional home of the Ghungalu people. Dissected by deep gorges, the park offers spectacular lookouts and scenic waterfalls. Several short tracks take in creeks, lookouts and interesting relics from the past. Go spotlighting at night or relax in the peaceful Munall campground. Enjoy the views from Horseshoe lookout. In a four wheel drive, explore the 19 kilometre loop road.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Bus, Car, Caravan, Four Wheel Drive
Route Type One Way

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RMS Quetta

Punsand, Torres Area
One of Queensland’s most spectacular and least dived shipwrecks is the RMS Quetta. In 1890 the RMS Quetta, 120 metre passenger and cargo ship, was on a voyage from Brisbane to London when the vessel hit an uncharted rock north of Cape York.

Lockhart River

Northern Peninsula Area
Lockhart River was originally an Anglican Mission, relocated from 'Old Site' south of Cape Direction, to its present location on Quintell Beach. This community is most famous for the Lockhart River Art Gang, a group of artists working from a small studio here.

Pormpuraaw

Pormpuraaw,
Visitors come from all over Australia to enjoy the excellent fishing at Pormpuraaw, on the west coast of Queensland. Situated between two rivers, Pormpuraaw features terrific estuary fishing for barramundi, threadfin salmon, grunter, bream, and others.

Aurukun

Aurukun, Aurukun Area
The Shire of Aurukun includes much of the traditional country of the Wik, Wik Way and Kugu people. It has rare and beautiful environmental values. They, as the traditional owners, are very proud of their country.

Weipa

Weipa, Cook Area
Weipa is a mining town built by Comalco to house its employees and their families, government workers and support people for its Bauxite and Kaolin operations. Weipa has the largest Bauxite deposit in the world.

Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL)

Laura, Cook Area
Free Entry
Journey through golden sandstone hills and sweeping grasslands, boat along scenic coastal estuaries and vast river systems, and delight in flower-sprinkled lagoons and shady waterholes. Relish superb fishing, secluded camping, brilliant birdwatching and stunning photography.

Thursday Island

Thursday Island, Torres Area
Leave your watch behind when you go to Thursday Island as this colourful island paradise is where time really does seem to stand still. It is one of 274 islands which lie between the northern tip of Queensland and Papua New Guinea in the Torres Strait.

Tijou Reef

Port Douglas, Douglas Area
Free Entry
Located off Port Douglas on the Great Barrier Reef is Tijou Reef, home to many different dive sites, particularly the coral gardens on the inner side and wonderful wall dives on its outer eastern side.

Coen

Coen, Cook Area
There's plenty of life in the old mining community of Coen. Originally the town was created around a repeater station in the Overland Telegraph Line to the Tip of Cape York Peninsula. Camp on the town's outskirts in a bush camping ground at The Bend on Coen river - you'll appreciate the beauty of access to a toilet facility if you have been going rough.

Seisia

Seisia, Northern Peninsula Area
Seisia is Australia's most northerly community and departure point for a range of marine based activities - day trips with fishing guides, tours to explore the Torres Strait Islands or a walk to the end of the jetty, the social epicentre of the community.
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Note: Information on listed products and services are provided by the operator and were correct at the time of publishing. Rates are indicative based on the minimum and maximum available prices of products and services. Please visit the operator’s website for further information. All prices quoted are in Australian dollars (AUD).