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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Greater Whitsunday Farmers Markets

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Weekly from 21 February 2018
The Greater Whitsunday Farmers’ Market is the showcase of local, fresh produce and value added products from within Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday Region. Every Wednesday morning from 7am to 11am in Mackay's vibrant city heart on the beautiful Bluewater Quay.

Bigger Better Stronger - Seizing Opportunity

Mackay, Mackay Area
From AU$220 - 240
2 March 2018
What if you had the tools and knowledge to make decisions and seize opportunity? The annual Bigger Better Stronger conference for 2018 is focusing on how Mackay region business owners can harness confidence and grow their business.

Flickerfest 2018 Mackay Tour

Ooralea, Mackay Area
From AU$10 - 15
2 – 3 March 2018
Film and Arts Mackay is hosting the 2018 Flickerfest Tour. Flickerfest, celebrating 27 years bringing you the best shorts from Australia and around the world, ‘Now That’s A Short Film!’ This is a one-off chance to see these amazing short films before they continue their journey around the world;

Bangarra - Our Land People Stories - Mackay

Mackay, Mackay Area
From AU$22 - 42
3 March 2018
After a triumphant national tour in 2016, Bangarra take their triple bill Our Land People Stories to regional Australia in 2018. This season features three personal and profound works. Nyapanyapa, by Bangarra’s Artistic Director Stephen Page, is inspired by the beautifully textured paintings of Yirrkala artist Nyapanyapa Yunupingu.

River Street Twilight Market

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Monthly from 9 March 2018
A community market right by the river and under the stars for all to enjoy and meet local producers, value adders, creators and bakers along with many support business operators from the region. Each month on the second Friday, visitors to River Street Twilight Market can experience the soul of the region through fresh local food whilst taking in the surrounds of the beautiful Bluewater Quay and the Mackay City Centre that provides a perfect space for families, couples and singles to relax and explore.

Menopause The Musical - Woman on Fire

Mackay, Mackay Area
From AU$6 - 6
24 March 2018
Set in a department store, four women with seemingly nothing in common but a black lace bra on sale, come to find they have more to share than ever imagined. The cast makes fun of their woeful hot flashes, forgetfulness, mood swings, wrinkles, night sweats and chocolate binges.

Velos in the Valley

Mackay Harbour, Mackay Area
7 – 8 April 2018
Come and join them on an cycling adventure through the Pioneer Valley, Mackay Queensland. Their route will take you from the Mackay Marina to Finch Hatton cruising their country roads, cane fields and bush.

Mackay Italian Street Party

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
14 April 2018
The Mackay and District Italian Association is excited to be bringing you the second Mackay Italian Street Party. They have booked a very exciting headline act Tom Burlinson and his seven-piece band performing their “Now We’re Swinging” Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin style show and will have a few of the favourites from last year including Dominico Taborelli and his band, authentic Italian folk dances and much more.

James Blundell in Campfire – The Morning Session

Mackay, Mackay Area
From AU$13.50 - 15
20 April 2018
NARPACA and James Blundell join forces to present “Campfire – The Morning Session”, a celebration of the 25 years James has been entertaining Australia. From humble beginnings, the James Blundell story achieved today’s highs with a constant touring program – taking the songs to the people in clubs, hotels, casinos and festivals in every corner of our great country.

Marina Prior and David Hobson - The 2 of Us

Mackay, Mackay Area
From AU$34.95 - 64.95
5 May 2018
Tenor and Soprano powerhouse legends of Opera and Musical Theatre performing together on stage. David Hobson and Marina Prior join together in their own show ‘The 2 Of Us’ in an ‘up close and personal’ mode.
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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).