|Mt Surprise - O'Brien's Creek & Elizabeth Creek
The Township of Mt Surprise is the launching place for Elizabeth Creek and O'Brien's Creek Topaz Fields. Mt Surprise is a very small outback Queensland Town located 257Klm south west of Innisfail. Travel west along the Kennedy Highway, turn right at the junction of the Kennedy Highway and Gulf Developmental Road, travel a further 56Klm and you will discover Mt Surprise.
Mt Surprise has a Hotel, General Store/Post Office, two Caravan Parks, a Police Station and a Major BP Service Station. There is also a small Caf, Gem Shop and a small Museum.
Where to Fossick
The Designated Fossicking land is centred round Elizabeth and O'Briens Creeks. This is part of an Outback Station and Private property. Access must be respected for there are many cattle and wild animals that roam the property, care must be taken when driving on the property.
To find Elizabeth Creek, turn right at the Mt Surprise Police Station and continue north approximately 23Klm, where you will meet Elizabeth Creek. Looking to the right is the Camp Ground; this is a good place to stay and is the only place sanctioned by the property owner. The Camp has good water, male and female showers and toilet. There is a small camping charge.To find O'Briens Creek, continue on through Elizabeth Creek for approximately 7Klm,
you will come to O'Briens Creek along this track. Many tracks emanate from this area. We have enjoyed success in various locations along the Creeks as there is plenty of Topaz throughout the area. The area was mined extensively for tin in the early days when there was little or no interest in Topaz; this was thrown away by the miners along with Aquamarines and Quartz
. Fossicking is best after heavy wet season rains.
Limited access by conventional vehicles, depending upon time of the year and how much water is in Elizabeth Creek. A 4WD is best or at least high ground clearance vehicles. A 4WD is required in the more adventurous locations but in general it is the ground clearance and general robustness of the 4WD that is required. The main gravel road can be quite rough.
Large quantities of Topaz are associated with Alluvial Gravels in and around the creeks and tributaries and also where it has been released from the decomposing granites. Generally the wet season rains and subsequent floods tend to wash the Topaz toward the creeks and gravel deposits. Dry Sieving
is the method used most frequently; we use a Shaker Box and shovel/bucket the Alluvial Gravels directly into the Shaker Box. Rocking the Box backwards and forwards rapidly soon separates out the gravels and dust. You are left with the lager pebbles and stones. The Topaz is easily identified as clear or frosty crystals or waterworn rounded pebbles ranging in size up to 2 or 3cm in diameter (see photo above). The most common colours are clear (Silver) or very light blue and occasionally a very light honey coloured crystal is found but in this area mostly clear or light blue Topaz is found.