Capricorn Coast Hinterland
Capricorn Coast Hinterland is west of Rockhampton, and can be reached along the Capricorn Highway leading all the way to Barcaldine in Central Queensland. Mining was what originally brought people to this area, who were looking around Anakie for sapphires and around Emerald for copper and gold.
Heading west from Rockhampton, you will pass the Blackdown Tableland National Park, which offers wonderful waterfalls, rocky plateaus, and some great Aboriginal rock art sites. The gravel path leading to the National Park isn't an easy road to drive along, so care should be taken. If you would like to stay in the wilderness, then there is a camping area at South Mimosa Creek. You should book your stay with the Ranger Ph: (07) 4986 1964, and make sure you take all supplies with you, including a stove and fresh water.
West again is Emerald, from where you can get a 'Fossicking License' to fossick for gold and jewels in the Gemfields west from here. There are also a number of mines which you can tour around in the area, including the Blair Athol Mine north of Emerald in Clermont, and the Peak Downs Mine near Moranbah. South of Emerald is the pretty town of Springsure set amongst beautiful rocky landscape and colourful sunflower fields. You will also find the Virgin Rock, which people claim to have seen the image of Virgin Mary in. Unfortunately Springsure has a rather tragic history, as it is the place where Australia's worst massacre of white people by Aborigines occurred, the Wills Massacre of 1861.
Heading west into the Gemfields, you will reach Anakie, which leads off to two other towns of Rubyvale and Sapphire. There is a small selection of accommodation in the area, and a great place to fossick for Amethysts, Diamonds, Gold, Jasper, Rubbies, Sapphires, Topaz and Zircons.
West again is the magnificent Carnarvon National Park, set amongst the Great Dividing Range. Carnarvon Gorge is the most accessible and impressive of all the gorges within the park, featuring wonderful cliffs and pools surrounded by unique plantlife and plenty of wildlife. The area is also prominent for Aboriginal rock art which can be found at various sites around the park. A great way to look around is to follow the walking trails which start from the Information Centre and camping ground. The various trails lead you through the Art Gallery and Cathedral Cave (both significant in Aboriginal rock art), the Moss Garden, and Wards Canyon.
Although both Ka Ka Mundi and Salvator Rosa are inaccessible by car you can get to the remote Mt Moffatt, which again features spectacular scenery. Camping is possible within this area, although you should take all supplies and check with the rangers for the camping areas Ph: (07) 4626 3581. You can get to Mt Moffatt from Injune, via either Westgrove Station or Womblebank Station. If you want to get to Carnarvon Gorge from here you will have to head back to Inune or Rolleston.