The Sapphire Goldfields, almost 900 square kilometres and one of the world’s largest sapphire fields, takes in the townships of Anakie, Rubyvale, Sapphire and Willows Gemfields.
When the first gem was found in 1875 by a Railway Surveyor - pioneers and hunters came from all over the world, and still do, to find the dazzling blue, green, yellow, parti-coloured and star sapphires for which the region was named.
Go fossicking a any of the great towns in the Gemfields and chase that big shimmering sapphire. But it’s not just the lure of fossicking which is a good reason to visit the Sapphire Gemfields.
The laid back lifestyle and casual charm of the area are a big draw.
Many fortunes have been made and lost and many treasures have been found in the gem fields.
It’s worth checking out what fossicking fever is all about by grabbing a permit and visiting one of the public sites. Visit for details on permits. https://www.qld.gov.au/recreation/activities/fossicking/licences-permits/purchase/
The digging has been done so visitors can buy a bucket of wash and start searching straight away. Friendly staff are on hand to show you how to sieve and sort for sapphires. If you’re unsuccessful you can always just purchase one - they come in all shapes, sizes to suit any budget.
You may also want to visit one of the many gem stores or local markets where you’ll find many examples of the beautiful and varied stones discovered in the region.
Take a walk-in mine tour and experience the process of underground sapphire mining. Your guide will point out the tiny tunnels dug with pick and shovel by pioneer miners and compare them to the machine dug tunnels used today.
Rubyvale is just 8 kilometres drive from the town of Sapphire and it’s a great place to drop in and browse the jewellery shops and refresh at one of the cafes. The unique ‘billy boulders’ and ironbark log architecture is worth checking out.
Willows Gemfields is a popular fossicking spot as machinery and corporate mining was limited in the past, ergo it’s considered one of the ‘freshest’ areas. Some of the world’s most famous sapphire has been found there, including a 332 carat rough yellow - they named it the ‘Golden Willow’. Definitely worth visiting the Glenalva and Willows shallow digging areas or the fossicking parks in this area.