Fossicking trip to Far North Queensland (2007)
After months of preparation, researching and sharpening the necessary tools, all the equipment stock piled in the garage, so that I would not forget anything when it came to packing.
Finally "D" day arrived and after saying our good byes to the family, we left very early on the morning of the last day of May, for our journey.
The weather was cold but dry till we reached Cunnamalla. The previous night they had in excess of 40mm of rain, well after that the rain just followed us all the way. We arrived in Winton in drizzling rain, set up camp and settled in, it rained all night and all morning, so our trip into Opalton was put on hold as the gravel road was closed. After a couple of dry days the road dried enough for us to travel the 120klm. into Opalton.
In Opalton it was bush camping, but quite a lot of people around. We introduced ourselves and to our surprise all of these people were from the Bribie Island Gem Club
They made us very welcome and offered us to tag along with them, which was very helpful to us as they showed us what to look for and where.
After a few days in Opalton we all left together with us tagging along behind 9 cars and caravans, it was good fun every day communicating with each other on the UHF while on the road. The next stop was at Richmond, this town has one of the world's most exciting fossil displays preserved dinosaur skeleton, best vertebrate fossils, and many more.
Once we were infected with fossil fever we were given mud maps to guide us to the Fossicking sites, plenty of shell fossils all over the place.
Next stop was Chudleigh Park. There we met the Cairns Gem Club, and again they were very helpful and invited us to dig near them, we found some very nice Peridote.
The evenings were delightful while we were bush camping, the Cairns group even had a guitar with them, so we had a few sing-a-longs around the camp fire.
The weather was not looking very promising, dark clouds were closing in the sky was pitch black so we decided to pack up and get out of there real quick, before we get bogged in.
We got out just in time, the rain pelted down, as we were on the main road (another gravel road), so we decided to stop on another property called Moonstone Hill just 16 klms. Up the road.
It rained all night but we managed to fossick for moonstone in the morning. In the afternoon we made our way up to the Lynd Junction another 100klms. on a very slippery road, this road was closed soon after.
The next place we stopped at was the Lava Plains Fossicking area, the terrain here was rocky, but our attempts to find some sapphires were unsuccessful, due to the soil being very wet.
At our next Fossicking place at O'Briens Creek we spent 10 days looking for topaz, we found a few but no blues unfortunately. The Bribie Island Gem club made camping here a fun affair with their "Happy Hour" at 4.30 everyday where we all get together to plan activities for the next day. The day we had to say our good-byes to our new found friend was a sad one as we all had to go our separate ways.
Jane and I found it very quite being on our own again. We headed to Georgetown aiming for Agate Creek, but to our surprise the road was closed due to heavy rain.
We stayed in Georgetown for a few days till the road reopened in the mean time we were lucky enough to attend the Rodeo there for the weekend.
It was a long harsh road to Agate Creek but beautiful scenery along the way, the outback landscape is spectacular. After crossing the flowing Robertson River we arrived at Agate Creek Safari Camp, nice little oasis in the bush.
Again people there were so friendly that sitting around the camp fire at night you would pick up a lot of helpful information about the area.
We decided to have a break from Fossicking and head for Cooktown; we enjoyed it very much as it is such an unspoilt and pristine part of the world, also very interesting and unique for its history. On our way home we stopped over in Cairns as Jane wanted to revisit the Barrier Reef, which is another very special place.
We also stopped over and visited some old friends in the Whitsundays, relaxed and did a spot of fishing.
By now the body has rested and ready for some more Fossicking, so we headed off to Rubyvale and Tomahawk creek in search for some sapphires and in time for the Gemfest.
Unfortunately time is running out and we start heading back for home, but one more last Fossicking stop along the way is at Grawin Opal fields (near Lightning Ridge) here the Fossicking is on the dumps, going through other miners rubbish, easy going with little success.
A few days later we arrived back home, the family happy to see us back, the only downside was the dreadful cold weather, we came back to.