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Australia-Travelogue  |  Travel time: September 2005 - July 2006  |  by marc and nora L.

Australia - Down under: The Gem Fields

On the way back South from Cairns decided to take a little detour inland in order to go visit the Gem fileds of Emerald, Sapphire and Rubyvale. Just South of Townsville you turn West and heads towards Charters Towers which is a town left remaining from the days of the great Australian gold rush. For a place in the middle of knowhere it was actually quite pretty with some really nice buildings...

The High Street Bank at Charters Towers

The High Street Bank at Charters Towers

City Hall at Charters Towers

City Hall at Charters Towers

From Charters Towers you head directly South for what seems like forever through the most boring landscape and across the worst roads (which were in fact really badly flooded) before you come to the town of Emerald. Just a quick drive West of here and we arrived at Sapphire which, as the name suggests, is the home of some pretty serious Sapphire mining. So after a nights rest we headed over to a tourist gem fossicking park which for about $8 (3quid, 5EURO) lets you dig a bucket load of Sapphire 'wash' (apparently this stuff hasn't been picked through by the park owners prior to letting toutists have a go....yeah right!). The owner then shows you how to get rid of the smaller particles before washing the stones and with a few flicks of the wrist reveal the 'Shiny Gems'. You then tip the stones onto a cloth covered table before picking through your findings with a pair of tweezers. Its actually quite good fun and surprising just how quickly you get into it and within ten minutes you are so determined to find something that you just start convincing yourself that what clearly is a worthless snadstone pebble is possibly a hidden gem and could be worth something! When you're finished with your bucket load of wash you take your findings into the shop where the owner examines your scraps under a magnifying glass and discards what she 'says' are rubbish before packaging your minute 'genuine' sapphires. Of course she was probably stealing all of our prize findings and keeping them for herself

Once we were done there we took a guided tour of a real working Sapphire mine after which we were convinced that we were'nt about to start new lives here in the gem fileds of Queensland.....

STEP 1: Digging for Riches

STEP 1: Digging for Riches

STEP 2: Shake your 'Rocks'

STEP 2: Shake your 'Rocks'

STEP 3: Wash your Rocks

STEP 3: Wash your Rocks

STEP 4: Find the smallest piece of worthless sapphire amongst a table full of pebbles....

STEP 4: Find the smallest piece of worthless sapphire amongst a table full of pebbles....

STEP 5: Pretend that your happy with your find

STEP 5: Pretend that your happy with your find

© marc and nora L., 2005
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The trip
 
Description:
Hello - 5 more days!!! On the 12th of September we are setting off! Our plan is to travel round the world for a period of 10 months. 1st stop: Thailand (1 month) and cambodia 2nd stop: Via Singapore (overland) to Australia where we plan to stay for approximately 4-5 months. 3rd stop: New Zealand (2 months) (north and south island) 4th stop: South America (approx. 3 months) (Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and if time and money allows we might visit costa rica)
Details:
Start of journey: Sep 12, 2005
Duration: 11 months
End of journey: Jul 31, 2006
Travelled countries: world-wide
United Kingdom
Thailand
Malaysia
Cambodia
Singapore
Australia
Australia & Pacific
New Zealand
South America
Chile
Argentina
Bolivia
Peru
Ecuador
Canada
The Author
 
marc and nora L. is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 15 years.
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