Sapphires and Sunshine, Queensland

Updated: Nov 8, 2019

Sapphires and Sunshine, Queensland

Link to a few pictures:

We are settled nicely in Cairns, a huge caravan park but friendly and full of wonderful activities for Zoe & Sophie. There are three swimming pools, a water park, hot spa, nightly movies under the stars and running hot and cold water everywhere. The sky is blue, the sun is warm and the evenings cool enough to sleep well up here in far north Queensland. At this time of the year is almost perfect, just too many caravans and Victorians escaping the winter weather 😊

We started off this leg of the trip in Sapphire, a gem seekers paradise under the warm winter sun. our campsite was terrific, green grass for our tent, shade from the midday sun and a warm communal fire by evening to sit and chat or just read a book. Sapphire had been on our list of places to visit last year but we run out of time and into some difficult weather, I am so glad we got here this time round and had a couple of small fossicking adventures.

We opted for the soft option of just searching through some pre-dug wash (rocks, gravel, dirt and hopefully Sapphires) and then working through a cleaning and sorting process to see what we could find in our bucket of promise.

There are plenty of places to go dig your own wash and clean but it is far easier and with more consistent results at a number of Sapphire fossicking places locally. After a couple of hours of cleaning, sorting and assessing, the girls all found some gemstones. These were classified into a number of different types, as below

  • Show & Tell Small Sapphires not worth cutting or polishing but good for school days

  • Skim Polish Sapphires not possible to cut (too thin or too flawed) but would make a nice gemstone when cleaned and polished.

  • Cut Sapphires big enough and clear enough to send off to a qualified gem cutting person or company, gem quality stones can be made into real jewellery.

Sophie was our best performer, finding a 10 carat Sapphire that we will send off to get cut in Thailand (Cheaper than Australia) along with a number of other smaller stones to be cut and assessed. We have a number of stones for polishing too, interestingly the best way to fully clean the stones is to use “denture cleaner”.

We spent 4 days in Sapphire but could easily have stayed longer except for a desire to get north towards Cooktown reasonably quickly and then meander our way southwards down the coast as the warmer weather arrives. So after a quick re-fuel and shopping expedition in Emerald we turned north east again, towards Bowen and Townsville.

We had a couple of quick overnight stays along the way to Bowen, one wild bush camp out towards Collinsville reminded us how fortunate we are, glorious sunset and sunrise, a lovely camp fire and fresh cooked scones in the camp oven in the morning. Awesome.

And arriving in Bowen we found ourselves back among the great travelling population of caravan people escaping the cold weather in Victoria, Tasmania and NSW. The caravan parks were just about full of people holed up for the winter enjoying great weather, cheap golf and good company. There is something to be said for this lifestyle that had Helen and I contemplating our next step and possibly buying a caravan.

We had a good grassy camp site in a small friendly park, met people who lived nearby us in Melbourne, people travelling from overseas and locals alike. We stayed five days, enjoying the sunshine, walks along the beach with a fishing rod (not catching anything really) and the girls swimming in the unheated pool.

Off again on our northward quest, we stopped just north of Townsville in a free camp at Toomulla Beach, a lovely little spot where I finally managed to catch a few fish of the rocks and beach but not really big enough for a feed.

The sunsets and sunrises up here in far north Queensland are amazing, they keep getting better and better, and every time you watch the unfolding colours of the day it reminds me how lucky we are. I have started to wish I had brought the real camera to capture more of these moments but even the iPhone pictures are pretty good.

And then here we are in Cairns, girls doing schoolwork in the morning, swimming in the afternoon and watching movies under the stars in the evening. Nice life.

We will head north in a few days, the Daintree, Cape Tribulation and Cooktown in our sights, for anyone with a few weeks to spare, I would urge you to come see this part of the world, it is simply gorgeous.

Regards Roy, Helen, Zoe and Sophie

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