Dienstag, 31. Juli 2012

Alpha - Longreach

This is our starting point, the campground in Alpha:

And our route to Longreach where we will stay for two nights.

(c) Dirk Frantzen 2012 — published via iPad

Position:Hooper St,Alpha,Australien

Emerald - Sapphire - Alpha

Our start this morning was slowed down by the lorikeets that we fed last night. They now asked for their breakfast ;)

The Rainbow Lorikeet, (Trichoglossus haematodus) is a species of Australasian parrot found in Australia, eastern Indonesia (Maluku and Western New Guinea), Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. In Australia, it is common along the eastern seaboard, from Queensland to South Australia and northwest Tasmania. Its habitat is rainforest, coastal bush and woodland areas. Several taxa traditionally listed as subspecies of the Rainbow Lorikeet are increasingly treated as separate species.

Rainbow Lorikeets are true parrots, within the Psittacoidea superfamily in the order Psittaciformes.

The Rainbow Lorikeet is a medium sized parrot, with the length ranging from 25–30 cm (9.8-11.8 in) in size, and has a wingspan of about 17 cm (6.7 in). The weight varies from 75–157 g (2.6–5.5 oz).
Rainbow Lorikeets often travel together in pairs and occasionally respond to calls to fly as a flock, then disperse again into pairs. Rainbow Lorikeet pairs defend their feeding and nesting areas aggressively against other Rainbow Lorikeets and other bird species. They chase off not only smaller birds such as the Noisy Miner, but also larger and more powerful birds such as the Australian Magpie.

Rainbow Lorikeets feed mainly on fruit, pollen and nectar, and possess a tongue adapted especially for their particular diet. In many places, including campsites and suburban gardens, wild lorikeets are so used to humans that they can be hand-fed. The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland, Australia, is noted for its thousands of lorikeets. Around 8am and 4pm each day the birds gather in a huge, noisy flock in the park's main area. Visitors are encouraged to feed them a specially prepared nectar, and the birds will happily settle on people's arms and heads to consume it. Wild Rainbow Lorikeets can also be hand-fed by visitors at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

There was also a Kingfisher at the campground.

We then took the Capricorn Highway in the direction of Longreach. After about 40km we take the junction to Sapphire, a village named after the gems found here.

There are many claims around Sapphire and Rubyvale.

Sapphire is situated in a region called the Gemfields, sapphires are mined extensively in the area. At the 2006 census, Sapphire had a population of 550.

However, there are a lot people coming here only in winter to dig for sapphires.

In Rubyvale we visit the Miners Heritage Center.

Here one can visit an underground mine.

More than 400m of underground can be explored.

With some displays

After the underground walk, we were up for a bucket of dirt to be washed.
Jonah fills it into the sieve.

Jeremia starts filtering the sand.

After washing we all look out for sapphires.

These are some example sapphires we found, we also found some zircon.

Jonah posing as a real Aussi sapphire miner.

Another gemfield are the Willows.

The Central Queensland Gemfields, formerly known as the Anakie Gemfields, have become legendary amongst tourists, miners, and gem buyers alike, having gained worldwide recognition for their top quality golden yellow Sapphires. Some of the largest gem quality Sapphires have been found in the Gemfields and many a fortunes where made and lost. To this day, miners and fossickers alike come up with the most outstanding finds and many Australians have a story or two to tell about the "Fields".
Because the Gemfields attract so many tourists, visitors will find general information easy to come by out here, and plenty of people willing and able to advise how and where to find gems. The best time to visit the Gemfields is in winter, or at least between March and October. During summer the area is very hot and also can be very wet. Armed with a Department of Minerals & Energy fossicking license and a camping permit, you are allowed to camp in a number of areas on the fields. These permits are readily available on the fields when you arrive, or beforehand from the Department's offices in Brisbane or Emerald. Camping is allowed at Big Bessie and Graves Hill, near Sapphire; at Reward and Middle Ridge, near Rubyvale; at Glenalva, just south of the highway 22 km west of Anakie; and at Tomahawk Creek, 70 km north west of Anakie. None of these areas has any man-made facilities, so you must be self-contained. fields when you arrive, or beforehand from the Department's offices in Brisbane or Emerald. Camping is allowed at Big Bessie and Graves Hill, near Sapphire; at Reward and Middle Ridge, near Rubyvale; at Glenalva, just south of the highway 22 km west of Anakie; and at Tomahawk Creek, 70 km north west of Anakie. None of these areas has any man-made facilities, so you must be self-contained.
Sapphire, is one of the six areas of Designated Fossicking Land on the central Queensland sapphire fields where recreational and tourist fossicking is possible under simple Fossickers Licences without the need to contact the relevant landowners.
Sapphire occurences - A diagonal strip of wash extends across the area from southwest to northeast. Shallow surface wash is best developed from the town towards the northern boundary. It is a red clayey gravel, with fragments of metamorphics and rare billy in a red-orange-brown sandy clay. It has produced large quantities of fine blue stones, although greens and yellows are not uncommon. Much of the area has been extensively mined by both old machine operations and small-scale workings. Although many have been abandoned, the area is still extensively held under mining claims and there are numerous residential tenures, limiting opportunities for fossickers.
Camping is allowed for a maximum period of 3 months on any one area, except within 1.5km of the Sapphire and Rubyvale Post Offices. A camping permit is required, which can be obtained for the payment of a small fee from the Emerald, Rockhampton, Mackay and Brisbane offices of the Department or the local businesses that issue the Fossickers Licences.

(c) Dirk Frantzen 2012 — published via iPad

Position:Hooper St,Alpha,Australien

Montag, 30. Juli 2012

Agnes Water to Emerald (500km)

Today we had a rather long drive from the coast to Queenslands outback.

The morning started with a visit from some kangaroos on our campground near Agnes Water.

After a more than 5 hours drive with only one break we reach our campground on the shores of lake Maraboon.

Fairbairn Dam is located 25 kilometres southwest of Emerald, in Central Queensland, almost on top of the Tropic of Capricorn line. Fairbairn Dam was constructed in 1972 across the Nogoa River "Gap" creating Lake Maraboon and is Queensland's second largest lake. Maraboon is the Aboriginal for "where the black ducks fly".

The primary purpose of Fairbairn Dam is for irrigation. About 300 irrigators are supplied with water for cotton, citrus and other horticulture operations. The dam is relatively shallow with large areas of standing timber. There are no boating restrictions and one concrete boat ramp.

Emerald is a town located in the Central Highlands district of Central Queensland, Australia. At the 2006 census, Emerald had a population of 10,999. The town is the business centre for the Central Highlands Regional Council.

Emerald lies on the Nogoa River, a tributary of the Fitzroy River. The town lies almost 300 kilometres from the coast and approximately 270 kilometres west of the city of Rockhampton on the junction of the Capricorn and Gregory highways. The Tropic of Capricorn intersects the Gregory Highway just north of Emerald.

The area was first explored by the European Ludwig Leichhardt. Emerald was established in 1879 as a base for the Central Line from Rockhampton.
Fairbairn Dam overflowed for the first time in 17 years on the 19 January 2008. Major flooding in Emerald occurred a few days after as the Nogoa River broke its banks. The floods, resulted in 1,000 houses being affected and more than 2,500 people being evacuated. The 2008 floods did not reach the heights of flooding in previous years.

Emerald is a service town for a large number of industries in the area. Extensive coal mining operations are carried out in the district. Cotton is grown in the area, and is processed at the Yamala Cotton Gin, while other agricultural activities include grape, citrus and grain growing.

The citrus industry was severely affected by a citrus canker outbreak that started in 2004 and was declared over in early 2009. More than half a million citrus trees located around Emerald had to be destroyed.

To the west of the town is an area known as The Gemfields, with small towns such as Sapphire and Rubyvale indicating the type of gems found there. The sapphire fields located here are the largest in the southern hemisphere.
Tomorrow we will visit the gemfields.
Location of the campground on the shores of Lake Maraboon:

(c) Dirk Frantzen 2012 — published via iPad

Position:Fairbairn Dam Rd,Gindie,Australien

Hervey Bay to Town of 1770

This morning we say good bye to our friends. They will return to Brisbane as their short break is over and we head further north. We will be back in Brisbane with them in two weeks time.
Aus Australia 2012

Aus Australia 2012

On our way we have a short break at a picknik area on the shores of a river.
Aus Australia 2012

Aus Australia 2012

Later on we ckeck in at our campsite in Agnes Water and proceed to Town of 1770. Here we have been two years ago and liked it so much. We have a wonderful BBQ right next to the beach.
Aus Australia 2012

Aus Australia 2012

Aus Australia 2012

Aus Australia 2012

Aus Australia 2012

1770 is a village in Queensland, Australia, built on the site of the second landing by James Cook and the crew of HM Bark Endeavour in May 1770 (Cook's first landing in what is now the state of Queensland). Originally known as Round Hill – after the creek it sits on – the name was changed in 1970 to commemorate the bicentennial of Cook's visit. The community of 1770 hold the re-enactment of this historic landing each year as part of the 1770 Festival held in May.
Aus Australia 2012

Aus Australia 2012

Aus Australia 2012

Aus Australia 2012

Aus Australia 2012

Aus Australia 2012

Aus Australia 2012

(c) Dirk Frantzen 2012 — published via iPad