Things to do in Sapphire & Rubyvale, The Gemfields QLD

💍 22 Things to do in Sapphire & Rubyvale, The Gemfields QLD

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Nestled in the Central West of Queensland is one of the most unique communities you’re likely to find in Australia. The Gemfields QLD is made up of Sapphire, Rubyvale, Anakie and The Willows.

This little pocket of Australia is all about mining for sapphires and you’ll really feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you explore the area.

Things to do in Sapphire include viewing the spectacular outback sunset from atop a volcanic basalt plug, entering Australia’s largest underground Sapphire Mine, joining a tag-along tour and fossicking for your own sapphires. Plus, be sure to add your old blown out flip-flop to the Thong Tree and keep an eye out for wild camels.

As we spent six weeks trying out life as “Gemmies” in The Gemfields of Central Queensland, we definitely got the experience of living like locals. Here are our top things to do in Sapphire and Rubyvale in The Gemfields, QLD.

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Things to do in Sapphire & Rubyvale

All things to do in Sapphire, Rubyvale and The Gemfields can be found on the interactive map below.

🔴 RED Pin Drops = The four townships
🟡 YELLOW Pin Drops = Points of interest

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Sunset at Policeman’s Knob

Policeman’s Knob in Rubyvale is the oldest known volcanic basalt plug in the world (aged approximately 56 million years). There are over 70 volcanic plugs in the area, forming a circular area of about 50km across.

Sunset, Policeman's Knob, The Gemfields QLD
Sunset from atop Policeman’s Knob, Rubyvale QLD

Where did the name “Policeman’s Knob” come from?

A local guy told us the story of how the name ‘Policeman’s Knob’ came about. Apparently, the criminals used to go out to nearby Tomahawk Creek and fossick for sapphires. Then they would do the 4 ½ hour trek back into Rubyvale (on foot) to sell their stash. 

Well, the Cops were onto them. They would sit on the top of Policeman’s Knob, which gave them a clear 360° view of the area. Once the police saw the criminals coming in, they could easily head on down to intercept them.

Getting to Policeman’s Knob

We headed down Goanna Flats Road from the Rubyvale township, over the bridge, past the Thong Tree and into the Fossicking Lands. 

We’d seen a sign indicating ‘Policeman’s Knob’ on a previous trip into the Designated Fossicking Lands, but do you think we could find it now?

Policeman's Knob, Rubyvale QLD
Standing on top of Policeman’s Knob, Rubyvale QLD

Driving on, we past two locals who were having a yarn over the bonnet of a ute, so we pulled over to ask for directions. “Yeah, you’ve gotta go back down that way, where you came from.”

We found the sign and took the 4WD track up the hill. We got to a fork in the road and there was no sign directing us up to the Knob. 

We initially headed right, but that didn’t seem correct. So, we doubled back and went up the left-hand fork instead. Bingo, that was the correct path to take. 

You definitely need a high-clearance vehicle to get up the dirt track. We drove as far as we could to the dead-end at the top and walked the rest of the way.

Climbing Policeman’s Knob

The way up to the peak of the mountain was taken on foot. The kids had a blast climbing the rocky terrain and even glimpsing the wallabies blending into their surroundings.

Wallaby, Policeman's Knob, Rubyvale QLD
Wallaby at Policeman’s Knob, Rubyvale QLD

Once you get to the top it will then become apparent that you’re clearly standing on a volcanic basalt plug – the oldest in the world, in fact! 

It only took about 5 minutes to scale the mountain and the view from the top was absolutely spectacular! We could see for miles and miles in every direction.

Policeman’s Knob Details

AddressGoanna Flats Road, Rubyvale, The Gemfields QLD 4702
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Enter Australia’s Largest Underground Sapphire Mine

Miners Heritage, Rubyvale QLD
Miners Heritage, Rubyvale QLD

We experienced our first ever underground Mine Tour at the Miners Heritage in Rubyvale. This isn’t just any old mine tour, in fact it’s Australia’s largest underground Sapphire mine tour! 

The Mine Tour Experience

Imagine you’re wandering around back in the prehistoric era and you spot a nearby volcano shooting out Sapphires in every colour of the rainbow. They’re landing all over the ground, ready to be sealed away in history until the people of the future find them and regard them as a precious gem.

As you head down into an actual sapphire mine that was once in operation, the tour guide will take you through where to find the sapphires and how to extract them. There are plenty of tools and equipment to see along the way including an escape ladder straight back up to the surface. We even got to watch a documentary while down there.

Miners Heritage Walk-in Tour, Rubyvale

We all learnt loads about how sapphires were created and where exactly to find them within the Earth’s layers. The tour was terrific and we appreciated all of the information that our guide shared with us. It’s definitely something that will be cemented in the kids minds when they think of underground mining – or Minecrafting… as the case may be!

What if you’re claustrophobic?

As it so happens I am very claustrophobic and anxious in confined spaces. In fact I was hesitant to even embark on the tour purely because I was worried that I’d get underground and totally freak out.

I was pretty determined to give it a red hot go as I was genuinely interested in learning about sapphire mining, so I breathed my way through it and headed down with our tour guide.

Miners Heritage Walk-in Tour, Rubyvale

The tour itself goes for about 45 minutes and I lasted a full 20 minutes before hastily making my way back to the surface!

There are markers that will guide you out of the mine if you do decide to exit early. The tour guide was very encouraging for me to stay, but was happy enough for me to bail when I needed to. She also assured me that it does happen frequently enough, so I didn’t feel so bad.

As I didn’t complete the tour, the staff up the top were more than happy to refund my entry ticket. I didn’t expect them to as I left early of my own accord, but I very much appreciated the cash back nonetheless.

Miners Heritage Walk-in Tour, Rubyvale

Miners Heritage Details

Mine ToursDepart every hour from 9.15am
40 minutes long
Suitable for all ages
Cost• Adult – $20.00
• Senior – $17.50
• 13 – 17 years – $10.00
• 5 – 12 years – $5.00
• Under 5’s – FREE
AddressHeritage Road, Rubyvale, The Gemfields QLD 4702
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Have Drink at the New Royal Hotel

As they say, if you want to find out the real news of what’s going on around town, head straight to the local pub. The New Royal Hotel in Rubyvale is an authentic Central Queensland pub with character.

Sample some Fossicker’s Ale and check out the current lunch or dinner menu. Have a chinwag with a local, play a game of pool or sit out in the beer garden and enjoy the country air.

New Royal Hotel Details

Address7 Main Street, Rubyvale, The Gemfields QLD 4702
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Thrifting in Sapphire

Op Shop, Sapphire QLD
Salvation Army, Sapphire QLD

If you’re looking for more things to do in Sapphire, go for a rummage at the Salvation Army thrift store.

The building looks like a unique-style house that’s been converted into an overflowing op shop. Don’t just keep to the main room, take a wander through all the rooms and even the shed out the back for cool clothing, household and bric-a-brac finds.

Salvation Army Details

HoursMonday, Friday & Saturday
7.30 am – 11 am
Address989 Rubyvale Road, The Gemfields QLD 4702
(across from the Post Office)
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Take a Tag-Along Tour

The Gemfields, QLD
Driving through the Designated Fossicking Lands, Sapphire QLD

If you’re looking for a super authentic item to add to your list of things to do in Sapphire & Rubyvale in The Gemfields, take a Tag-Along Tour!

There are a few local miners who do organised tours where you go with them out into the field and learn how to fossicking the way they do. They will provide all of the equipment, you just need to show up with plenty of water and a willingness to get dirty!

Be aware that you have no guarantee of finding any sapphires on a Tag-Along Tour, whereas going to a Fossicking Park (below) will see you walking away with at least a few little guys.

How to Find Tag-Along Tours
Word of mouth & asking at the local Gemfields businesses are the best ways to find reputable Tag-Along Tours.
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Find Sapphires at a Fossicking Park

Sapphire fossicking in Rubyvale, Gemfields QLD
Fossicking for sapphires, Miners Cottage, Rubyvale QLD

You definitely cannot hit up The Gemfields without trying your luck at fossicking for some sapphires of your very own. In fact, it’s almost impossible to leave Rubyvale without at least a small handful of sapphires in your pocket.

While it may sound like finding sparkling sapphires might be easy, that actually couldn’t be further from the truth. Sapphires in the rough often look nothing more than pieces of gravel to the untrained eye.

Fossicking Park, Miners Heritage, Rubyvale QLD
Sapphire Fossicking Park, Miners Heritage, Rubyvale QLD

The best place to find Sapphires and to learn the skill of fossicking as a tourist, is to head to one of the Fossicking Parks. In there the professionals will provide you with the dirt, the licence, the tools and the knowledge.

Generally, a bucket of wash at a Fossicking Park will cost any where from $15 – $35. All of the equipment will be onsite for you to use and the staff are more than happy to help you sort through the dirt and learn about what to look for.

For a full guide on how to fossick for Sapphires in The Gemfields, check out our article below.

Sapphire Fossicking in The Gemfields (Full Guide) →

Fossicking for Sapphires is the number one thing that should be on your list of things to do in Sapphire and Rubyvale while visiting The Gemfields! You don’t have to be an expert to go fossicking, as there are plenty of parks who will walk you through the process, every step of the way.

Sapphire Fossicking Parks

Armfest Gemstone FossickingLot 128 Rifle Range Road, The Gemfields QLD 4702
Pats Gems Fossicking Park1054 – 1058 Rubyvale Road, The Gemfields QLD 4702
Monique Mine111 Homestead Avenue, Rubyvale QLD 4702
Miners Cottage65 Goanna Flats Road, Rubyvale QLD 4702
Miners HeritageHeritage Road, The Gemfields QLD 4702
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Go Specking

The art of ‘specking’ is all about finding Sapphires out in the wild. By this I mean, as you’re walking along the roadside, up a dry creek bed or along a bush track. Believe me, there are still plenty of sapphires to be found just sitting there, ready for the taking!

Actually knowing what you’re looking for is essential though. I’d recommend spending some time in a Fossicking Park and learning the art before trying your luck with specking.

Specking, Rubyvale QLD
Specking for sapphires in a dry river bed, Sapphire QLD

The most optimal time to go specking is right after it’s been raining. This washes the top layer of dust and dirt away, allowing those shiny little ‘heads’ to poke through.

It’s not unusual to see people in The Gemfields walking along with heads down – you never know what you’ll find on your morning walk. We found a few little sapphires ourselves, but unfortunately nothing big enough to cut or get set in jewellery.

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Camp on Designated Fossicking Lands

There are many Designated Fossicking lands spotted around The Gemfields, where you can camp for a low cost and fossick wherever you like.

If you want to give this a go, make sure you have some fossicking gear with you, such as a sieve, tweezers and a bucket of water. It’s also helpful, if you’ve never fossicked before, to join a Tag-Along tour or visit a Fossicking Park first, to learn the ropes.

Designated Fossicking Lands
Graves Hill Fossicking Area, The Gemfields QLD

Entering someone else’s Mining Claim is a huge no-no. Mining Claims are recognisable by four white pegs, setting the outside boundary of that claim.

The maximum stay in any one area is 3 months, when camping on designated fossicking lands within The Gemfields region.

You can purchase your Fossicking Licence and Camping Permit online before you arrive.

Fossicking Licence Fees

1 month$9.02$12.92
6 months$34.24$43.92
12 months$57.66$77.03

Fossicking Camping Permits

Per nightIndividual or Family – $4.31
Per weekIndividual or Family – $27.16
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Add to the Thong Tree

We had to visit the iconic Thong Tree of Rubyvale, while we were in The Gemfields. This quirky roadside attraction is a one-of-a-kind and worth stopping by to take a look.

Ironically, it just so happened that Dom had recently had a thong blow out! He was excited to be able to add to this ceremonious sculpture.

The Thong Tree, Rubyvale QLD

We came across the Thong Tree as a ‘Point of Interest’ on WikiCamps. It’s not something that you’ll find in the middle of town. In fact, unless you find yourself wandering through the Mining Claims just outside of Rubyvale, you will miss it!

We’re not sure what the story is behind the tree or how the hanging of thongs came about, but we did notice a rather direct sign hanging up…

People who steal from these camps (or this sign) will be prosecuted or “Bang!”

Well, who are we to argue with that!? Especially since there are plenty of scattered bones around the base of the tree! Maybe it’s just the Central Queensland sense of humour – let’s just go with that.

The Thong Tree is one of the more wacky things to do in Sapphire and Rubyvale.

P.S: Drilling into a tree isn’t very respectful.
A better option is to tie your thong offering to one of the thongs that are already attached to the tree.

The Thong Tree Details

AddressGoanna Flats Road, Rubyvale, The Gemfields QLD 4702
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Sample the Strudel

Strudel, Rubyvale QLD

For a morning tea to die for, head to Muggachinos Strudel Hut in Rubyvale. You’ll get to experience classic Austrian music in a tranquil garden where the coffee is hot and the homemade strudel is delicious!

The available strudel flavours are apple and cherry. Apparently you can top it off with a nip of port – so ask for that if it’s something you’re keen on.

Address24 Keilambete Road, Rubyvale, The Gemfields QLD 4702
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Stand Under the ‘Sapphire Reflections’ Sculpture

The Gemfields, Anakie QLD

As a real fossicker looks up to the sky to see the glint of the sapphire in the sunlight, visitors can experience the same effect when standing under the ‘Sapphire Reflections’ sculpture.

The “crown jewel” of The Gemfields is 12 metres tall and stands on the Capricorn Highway at the Anakie Sapphire Road intersection.

This is also the starting point for the interpretive trail.

AddressCnr Capricorn Hwy & Anakie Sapphire Road, The Gemfields QLD
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Sapphire Gemfields Interpretive Trail

Sapphire Gemfields Interpretive Trail Map, QLD
Source: New Life on the Road

Take yourself on a self-guided tour around the four townships that make up The Gemfields – Anakie, The Willows, Sapphire and Rubyvale.

Along the Sapphire Gemfields Treasure Trail you’ll find interpretive signage and solar-powered audio posts to help illustrate the journey.

The start of the trail begins at the large billboard sign, alongside the Sapphire Reflections sculpture on the corner of the Capricorn Highway and Anakie Sapphire Road.

Points Along the Sapphire Gemfields Interpretive Trail:

  • Sapphire township
  • Rubyvale township & architecture
  • Bottle Tree (Anakie Railway Station)
  • Sapphire Wetlands
  • The Willows
  • ‘Sapphire Reflections’ sculpture

Take a look at the Sapphire Gemfields Interpretive Trail map and brochure for further informtaion.

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Gemfest Annual Festival

By far, the biggest event on The Gemfields calendar is the annual Gemfest Festival of Gems. It pays tribute to precious and semi-precious stones, right in the home of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Sapphire Fields.

If you find yourself travelling through the region around the second week of August, it would be worth your while to stick around and experience the Gemfest first hand. With crowds of over 7,000 people and four days of full-on celebrations, you won’t regret it.

What to Expect at Gemfest

  • Gemstone Traders & Merchants
  • Jewellery & Stones for Sale
  • Exhibitions
  • Auction
  • Entertainment, Music, Live Performances
  • Workshops
  • Games & Prizes
  • Demonstrations
  • Children’s Entertainment Area
  • Fireworks
  • Food & Drink
  • FREE Courtesy Bus

Attending the Gemfest is one of the most iconic thing to do in The Gemfields, if you can time your visit well.

Gemfest Dates & Pricing

Dates• Second weekend in August (annually)
• Thursday to Sunday
• Tickets at the gate
• ATM inside event
Cost• Adult – $12.00
• Child (12 – 16 years) – $2.00
• Child (under 12 years) – FREE
• 4-day Pass – $30
AddressAlan King Memorial Park, Anakie QLD 4702
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Observe Brolgas in the Wild

Brolgas are one of Australia’s most iconic birds, standing at a full metre tall with a wing span of 2.4 metres. They’ve even been dubbed the ‘Australian Crane.’

What makes Brolgas so fascinating to witness in the wild is not only their sheer size, but also their ritualistic mating dance. If you’re lucky enough to witness them yourself, you’ll notice they jump up to a metre in the air with lots of head-bobbing, wing-beating, bowing and trumpeting.

Brolgas, QLD

Brolgas can be found throughout northern Australia, across Queensland (including The Gemfields), as well as western Victoria, central New South Wales and southeast South Australia. They favour open wetlands, coastal mudflats and irrigated croplands.

We were lucky enough to be walking along a backroad in The Gemfields, near the wetland area and spotted a pair of Brolgas dancing alongside the road. They really are a stunning creature and well worth adding to your list of things to do in Sapphire and Rubyvale in The Gemfields.

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The Gemfields Folk Festival

During our stay in Sapphire, we stopped at the Miners Common Museum to have a look around. While there we met a lovely lady who shared with us that the Gemfields Folk Festival was coming up in just a few weeks. We knew we’d still be around in the area at that time, so coming to the festival was a ‘must’ for our things to do in The Gemfields list.

The Gemfields Folk Festival is an annual event where local creatives and craftspeople can showcase their wares for display and purchase. It’s a wonderful day, which extends into the evening with entertainment, food, drinks and a good old bonfire.

The Gemfields Folk Festival, Rubyvale QLD
The Gemfields Folk Festival 2018

I decided to have my own stall at the festival, selling preloved clothing and knitwear with magical patches. Throughout the next three weeks, I worked hard putting together some fresh items for the stall. Although I didn’t do too well with sales, I had a blast chatting to different people and trying out some of the activities on offer.

As we’d been staying at a local Caravan Park, we were getting to know some of the locals. Some fellow travelling friends of ours were also in town and had a stall at the Gemfields Folk Festival. Dominic and Indii had a ball running around all day with their friends along with the local kids.

The Gemfields Folk Festival, Rubyvale QLD
The Gemfields Folk Festival 2018

Activities & Entertainment

  • African Drumming Workshop
  • Market Stalls
  • Fire Twirling Lessons
  • Wheel Barrow Races
  • Live Music
  • Face Painting
  • Food Stalls
  • Roaming Entertainment
  • Night time bonfire

One of the great things about country festivals is that the kids can basically run amok and you know they’re safe – ours had an absolute blast!

“Purple Cat” (Indii, my youngest) and “Pikachu” (our friend’s youngest) even organised their own Fire Twirling performance for the festival patrons. They rounded up the audience, chairs and even got the drummers to get a beat going for them to accompany their first ever live performance. 

Gemfields Festival, Rubyvale QLD
The Gemfields Folk Festival 2018

Our experience of the Gemfields Folk Festival was one of those awesome, spontaneous moments that was the making of a great day. If you ever find yourself travelling through Sapphire and Rubyvale in the middle of the year, it’s well worth visiting the little, country festival for a great day/ night out.

Folk Festival Dates & Pricing

The Gemfields Folk Festival is typically held in June each year. The gates open at 10am, with stalls, entertainment and activities filling the day until dusk. From nightfall onwards you can find continued entertainment, dinner food and a bonfire till late.

Dates & TimesTypically held in June (annually)
10 am – Gates open
CostAdult – $10
Child – $5
Stallholders – FREE
AddressMiners Common Museum, Rubyvale Road, The Gemfields QLD 4702
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Wild Camel Spotting

Camels, The Gemfields QLD

One pretty cool thing to add to your list of things to do in The Gemfields is to go camel spotting. You can often see them along Rubyvale Road during the day as you’re driving between Sapphire and Rubyvale.

We were lucky enough to have them come wandering up behind the caravan park where we were staying, Gemini Retreat, late one afternoon.

Camels, The Gemfields QLD

The locals did say it was safe to approach them, but to be careful of the bull. We found them to be super friendly actually.

Keep your eyes peeled!

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Anakie Bottle Tree

For a piece of Gemfields war history head to the Anakie Train Station.

Alongside the platform stands a tree where a number of local mining and farming boys carved their initials as they stood waiting for the train to take them off to war. Many of those young men never made it home.

Again, as World War II came around, a fresh set of young men added their initials to the tree as they awaited their turn to head to war.

See if you can spot some of the initials on the tree today. You’ll have to look up as that tree has grown a fair bit since the mid 1900’s.

AddressCnr Richardson St & Bon Accord Rd, Anakie QLD 4702
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Explore the Mining Claims

For a truly authentic look at how the miners of The Gemfields really live, be sure to take a drive through the Mining Claims in Rubyvale. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world.

Much of the accommodation on the Mining Claims are very simple and easy-to-remove structures. Anyone can lease a Mining Claim for an amount of time (e.g. 10 years), which gives them the freedom to mine that claim as much as they like within the current mining laws.

Mining Claims, The Gemfields QLD
Mining Claim, Rubyvale QLD

If the claim lease doesn’t get renewed at the end of the term, the occupant has just 48 hours to clear the site and put much of the dirt back into the mine in order to get their money back.

Hence why people choose to live in old caravans and makeshift lean-to ‘homes.’ Most of their time is spent mining and washing rocks, plus the structure needs to be easily removed in a short space of time.

Along with the interesting housing, you’ll notice lots of mining equipment and descriptive signs, such such ‘Do Not Enter,’ ‘Mining Claim’ and ‘Danger!’

To get to the Rubyvale Mining Claims, follow Goanna Flats Road. Exploring the Mining Claims is a ‘must do’ for your list of thing to do in The Gemfields.

AddressEnd of Goanna Flats Road, Rubyvale QLD 4702
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Collect all 6 BIG Things around The Gemfields

BIG Gem, Anakie QLD
BIG Gem, Anakie, The Gemfields QLD

Something super fun to do with the family as you’re road tripping is to collect the iconic Aussie Big Things. You know, like the Big Banana and the Big Prawn?

There are 5 Big Things to collect in The Gemfields, plus 1 in the nearby town of Emerald.

  1. BIG Miner – Rubyvale
  2. BIG Easel – Emerald
  3. BIG Pickaxe, Sieve & Shovel – Sapphire
  4. BIG Sapphire Gem – Anakie
  5. BIG Sapphire Ring – Sapphire
  6. BIG Spanner – Sapphire

See how many BIG Things you can find around Queensland with the checklist below! Or, if you’re travelling throughout Australia, grab the complete Australia-wide BIG Things checklist.

QLD Big Things Checklist

QLD Big Things Checklist

Find over 150 Big Things in Queensland from the coast to the outback.

  • 17-page checklist
  • Pre-filled with 150+ items
  • Categorised into 6 regions
  • QLD Regional Map
  • Full street addresses
  • Record finds & dates
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Wander the Wetlands

Miners Hut, Sapphire Gemfields Wetland Reserve QLD
Old fossicker’s home in The Wetlands, Sapphire QLD

The Sapphire Gemfields Wetland Reserve is a 14 hectare area, which is protected. You’ll find 3.6km of gravel walking and cycling tracks with intermittent seating along the way. There is also a boardwalk with a Bird Watching Hide for the bird-watching enthusiasts.

You’ll notice, not too far from the wetland entrance, a restored Fossicker’s Home. It was built by one of the original residents in the Sapphire area, the Dove family and will give you a look at how the miner’s once lived.

Keep your eyes peeled for Wallaroos as you’re wandering the Wetlands. They are much like a Kangaroo, but their fur is a darker brown/ black colour. Do not approach them, as the males in particular can be aggressive. We definitely saw quite a few macropods hopping through the area as we rode through on our bikes.

Sapphire Gemfields Wetland Reserve Details

AddressRockhound Road, Sapphire QLD 4702
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Browse Gem & Jewellery Emporiums

BIG Sapphire Ring, Sapphire QLD

No matter what your budget is, it’s always free to admire the beautiful sapphires and jewellery found in the local gem emporiums. Window shopping is right up there on the list of thing to do in The Gemfields, QLD. You’ll bear witness to some absolutely stunning pieces, some fossicked locally and others imported.

If you do strike it lucky and find a sapphire big enough to get cut while you’re visiting The Gemfields, the local jewellers are more than happy to help. They can even set it into a nice ring or pendant for you if you wish.

For all of the little beautiful sapphires you find that aren’t big enough to cut, you can put them into glass lockets or bottles, like the ones below.

McArthurs Jewellers13 Rockhound Road, The Gemfields QLD 4702
Pat’s Gems1054 – 1058 Rubyvale Road, The Gemfields QLD 4702
M & M Sapphires1077 Rubyvale Road, Sapphire QLD 4702
Bobby DazzlersLot 1 Rubyvale Road, The Gemfields QLD 4702
Rubyvale Gem GalleryLot 3 Main Street, The Gemfields QLD 4702
Old Mick’s Gem Shop20 Keilambete Road, The Gemfields QLD 4702
Miners HeritageHeritage Road, The Gemfields QLD 4702
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Visit the Local Markets

Sapphire Markets, The Gemfields QLD

If you find yourself looking for things to do in Rubyvale and Sapphire over the weekend, why not hit up the markets?

The Rubyvale markets are on every Saturday morning, while the Sapphire markets take place on a Sunday morning. You’ll find much of the same stall holders at both markets, but the Sunday markets in Sapphire are known to be the bigger ones.

What you’ll find at The Gemfield Markets

  • Sapphires & gemstones
  • Jewellery
  • Bric-a-brac
  • Food & drinks
  • Community stalls
  • Pre-loved items
  • The usual random market junk
Rubyvale MarketsSaturday morningsRubyvale Flats, Rubyvale Rd, The Gemfields QLD 4702
Sapphire MarketsSunday morningsRoy Day Park, Anakie Sapphire Rd, The Gemfields QLD 4702
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Accommodation in The Gemfields

I can recommend the Sapphire Reserve Free Camp, which is located in Sapphire, The Gemfields. We spent two nights there and found it to be a quiet, safe place to drop the van and explore the area.

After that we moved to Gemini Retreat for six weeks as my partner at the time had picked up work in nearby Emerald. Gemini Retreat is now an over 50’s caravan park, although it wasn’t at the time.

There are a range of caravan parks and motels throughout The Gemfields, which you can find on the WikiCamps App.

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14 thoughts on “💍 22 Things to do in Sapphire & Rubyvale, The Gemfields QLD”

  1. Had a fantastic time at Rubyvale a few years back. Went on a tag-along tour with a chap who was in partnership with his brother who had a gem shop (cutting of stones and retail) in Rubvale. Unfortunately, I cannot remember their names. With the tagalong chap’s help we unearthed about 10 cuttable stones, which his brother cut for us. Excellent value. If anyone can help with their names and/or the name of the shop, please email me a message at

  2. Interesting story about the Policeman’s Knob   The mine tour experience reminded me of the salt mines near Salzburg. Kids enjoy exploring such mines. Fossicking is new to me, I am keen to indulge in this some day. Very good list of things to do, I wonder if one week would suffice for this.

    1. Kids really do love exploring things first hand in this way. Fossicking is very addictive, I hope you get to try it one day. One week would definitely be enough to check out the whole Gemfields area.

  3. Gemfields sounds like an interesting spot to visit. Hiking up Policeman’s Knob would be worth it for the view. And to catch sight of the wallabies. I am not sure about checking out the Sapphire Mine and sifting through the dirt. But I would definitely be looking for sapphires to take home. And I will definitely bring a sandal to add to the Thong Tree.

  4. I had no idea that sapphires were made from volcanoes. I love the blue colored-ones and do now even more as that makes them more romantic. I would be so excited to see a wallaby just jumping along!

  5. We love visiting caves and grottoes, so if we ever make it to Australia, we would love to visit the Underground Sapphire Mine! And… we have never heard of Wallaroos! Would definitely want to see them (and also kangaroos of course)!

  6. Absolutely loved reading this and now really want to visit the Gemfields. So interesting and so much to do. I had never heard of “fossicking” before, but have now added it to my vocabulary. I am guessing it is an Australian word? We go “fossil hunting” in the UK. Not nearly so catchy! Well done you for braving the mine tour. I am a little claustrophobic having got stuck in a lift a few years ago, but think I would be okay. I love the idea of hunting for sapphires and those lockets for the collection of tiny finds are so pretty. A thong tree? Thong means something different in the UK (think skimpy knickers!). In Vail in Colorado there is a bra tree. Similar idea, I suppose. A great read. Definitely on my list.

    1. I think fossicking must be an Australian term, no one else around the world seems to know what I’m talking about with it. We also have ‘fossil hunting,’ but that’s looking for bones. Oh my god, being stuck in a lift is my worst nightmare! I don’t think I’d cope well with that. Yes, thongs here are footwear 😉

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