Sapphire Gemfields, Copperfield, Theresa Creek Dam and Agricultural Area Tour Sapphire Gemfields, Copperfield, Theresa Creek Dam and Agricultural Area Tour

Capella › Rubyvale › Copperfield › Theresa Creek Dam › Clermont › Beacon Hill › Capella.

This is a fairly long route and incorporates both Central Highlands Tourist Routes 7 and 8, so be sure you pack some supplies before you set out. Especially if you intend fossicking at Tomahawk Creek. Carry plenty of water with you at all times in this country.

Head south from the railway station and turn right over the railway line onto Hibernia Road and into the light Industrial Area. This is Central Highlands Tourist Route 7 and is sealed all the way to Rubyvale.

You pass the Bridgeman Park sporting complex as you leave town, with its showground, football, pony club and polocrosse fields, plus the Capella Covered Arena, before the turn off to the Golf Club and airstrip, just before the Scout Den.

Continue along past Bonnie Doon Road and you are in broadacre farming country. You cross Capella Creek 11.3km from town and Retro Creek 4.3km further on.

15.9km from town is the Malthoid Road T Junction that would take you through to the Gregory Highway. Cross Theresa Creek 20km from Capella.

28km from town, and you can see Mt Ball in the distance to the right. Notice the thick tufty imported Buffel Grass in the large grazing paddocks you are driving through.

Please be careful with matches and cigarettes at all times and watch out for the grids that are along the road.

7.3km further along you come to a timber reserve and you can see how this country looks in its original state. Be careful of wildlife - they just do not have good road manners.

The Tomahawk Creek Fossicking Area/Clermont Road turn is 50.1km from Capella on the right. To go fossicking you must have a Fossicking Licence. These can be obtained from the Natural Resources and Mines Department Office in Emerald, phone 07 4987 9350. This is also the start of Central Highlands Tourist Route 8 which takes you to Clermont.

Continuing on the Rubyvale Road you came to the Rubyvale/Sapphire Mining Area 6.2km from the Clermont Road turn. Another 2.1km is the right turn to the Miner's Heritage Walk In Mine and a further 0.8km brings you to Rubyvale's main business area. The Rubyvale Hotel's exterior walls are made out rough sawn local timbers and billy boulders. Opposite the New Royal Hotel you will find the National Tourism Award winning Rubyvale Gem Gallery, where you can also learn about obtaining a fossicking licence on the Gemfields.

A unique Gemfields event is Gemfest - Festival of Gems which is held over the latter half of second week in August at Anakie. At Gemfest you will find the largest collection of sapphires in Australia on display and for sale.

Once you have your fossickers licence and supplies, retrace your path back to the Tomahawk Creek/Clermont Road turn again. Turn left and you will still travel over sealed road. As you go past Mt Ball in the light timbered country, you can see Mt Leura in the distance. 16km along you pass Mt Dumb Bell on the left. A further 2km brings you to the Mt Mica/Tomahawk Creek Road and Clermont road T-junction.

Turn left onto the unsealed road to go to the Tomahawk Creek Fossicking Area. 6.5km along, take the right fork, as the left goes to "Reklaw Park" and is private property. Follow the road past Mt Newsome to the Tomahawk Creek Fossicking Area another 10.3km along. From here you must follow the rules and regulations, as set out by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, as to where you can go and camp. There are no shops or amenities so be prepared. Please take all rubbish with you when you leave.

To continue to Clermont, backtrack to the T-junction and go left. 9km on you come to Black Mountain on your left and on the right is a panoramic view of the countryside that you are travelling through. It is mainly sandy soil country with gravel ridges.

13.8km along and you can see the Drummond Range, in the distance to your left.

You cross Tomahawk Creek 24km along and Theresa Creek a further 13km past that.

47.1km from the T-junction, you cross Douglas Creek and the old Copperfield Cemetery is ½km down the road on the left. A left turn at the T-junction, 1.2km from the cemetery, will take you along the sealed Peak Vale Road to the Theresa Creek Dam, which was built over the boundary of the Peak Downs and Clermont districts to supply water to the Blair Athol Coal Mine and the town of Clermont. There are picnic areas there if you feel like a break and the dam is stocked with fish and redclaw.

Continuing along the Clermont Road, 0.3km from the T-junction, is the left turn to the Copperfield Chimney which is all that is left of an old copper smelter. A further 0.4km beings you to the old Copperfield Store that is in the care of the Clermont Historical Society.

You come to the top of a hill 1.3km along the road, where the Clermont electricity sub-station is situated and in the distance you can see the Gemini Peaks and Wolfang Peak. A further 4km brings you to Clermont.

If you follow the signs to the Business Centre until you turn onto Capricorn Street, you can then follow this street right through until you reach Hoods Lagoon. The 1916 Clermont Flood Memorial and many other memorials stand near the Lagoon which is a great place to get out and stretch your legs while you feed the waterfowl.

After a walk around Hoods Lagoon, go into the Clermont township to see its murals and wombat sculpture before heading east out to the roundabout and take the Capella exit onto the Gregory Highway.

8.1km along on your left you come to the Huntley Road that runs through to Dysart, passed Lord’s Table Mountain National Park.

This road also marks the start of the black soil farming country again with the Peak Range out to the left. All the Peaks, except Lord’s Table and Eastern Peak are on private property.

The Magenta-Langton Road turn is 14.7km from the roundabout. Go left here and 3km along you pass under the large power lines feeding the Blair Athol Coal Mine.

12.7km down this road you come to Beacon Hill, on the right. From here you have a beautiful view of almost all of the Peak Range. You pass the property Retro another 3km on and cross Retro Creek a further 1.6km after that.

The junction on the Magenta-Langton Road with the Retro-Corry Road is another 2.1km on. This is known locally as the Four Ways. Continue straight through. You have more good views of the Peaks as you come over the next rise and then 16.1km from the Four Ways you come to the Cotherstone Road T-junction. Turn right and it is only 12km back into Capella.