collapse

Author Topic: Planning Queensland Gemfields trip with kids - thoughts and insights wanted!  (Read 3015 times)

MrSydney

  • ALF'er Platinum
  • *
  • Posts: 405
Hi All,

This October my family and another are doing a trip to Carnarvon Gorge, then say 4 days at the gemfields, before back to Fraser Island then home - leaving from Sydney.

My mate and I are reasonably experienced fossickers now BUT we'll have our spouses and kids aged 13,11, 9 & 7.  The kids have been sapphire and crystal fossicking a number of times - while not good in their own right they are eagle eyed in spotting things.

My thought is that it is too hard to take up serious digging equipment.  But I know that specking can be pretty good up there - so my thought is to arm the kids with squirter bottles of water, a little hand rake or similar, and mainly just spec some of the creek beds etc  in some of the various locations.

My question to you all is:

  1)  Do you think the above is an alright strategy given we only have a few days on the Gemfields or what other suggestions do you have?

  2)  Where do people think are the better places to go with the above in mind?  Obviously we have Willows, Glenalva, Tomahawk Creek, and the immediate area's around Sapphire / Rubyvale?

  3)  Does anyone have any mudmaps of any of the fossicking area's they are willing to share for this trip or a late more serious trip?

Looking forward to some discussion / input!  If you would prefer to PM me certain information that is great as well!

I am going to post this on a couple of Facebook groups so don't be surprised if you see this elsewhere.

Rusted

  • Global Moderator
  • ALF'er VIP
  • *****
  • Posts: 594
Make sure you have a booking at Carnarvon gorge.
Specking should be fine with the kids, Glen Alva is fairly accessible, you wont need rakes except to move leaves and you probably won't need squirty bottles, rather than speck the creeks just go over the old diggings, last time I was there it had rained and the clay was too puggy to move so specked, crawled around on my knees on the old diggings and found a few nice little stones.

geowork

  • ALF'er Silver Member
  • *
  • Posts: 26
With a limited period of time on the gemfields, maybe spend the first day everyone getting their eye in at a fossicking park (buckets of wash). Equipment can be rented if you did want to dig (eg Glenalva, Tomahawk Ck). If you are set up for camping, both those places are great, and there are others. October can have mixed weather. Some days may be hot, at that time of year the sun is very hot even on "mild" days, so long sleeves and a hat! Carnarvon Gorge is fantastic.

MrSydney

  • ALF'er Platinum
  • *
  • Posts: 405
Thanks All,

The hand rakes / weren't for moving leaves but just moving soil around a little in addition to naked eye and help them dislodge anything a bit stubborn.

Definitely staying in Sapphire at the caravan park and will have a speck in the river there to get the eye in.  Show them a few YouTube video's about where to look for.  They've all been dragged along fossicking enough times they have a reasonable idea.

I agree - I don't think I'll worry about squirter bottles - just tell them to pick up anything interesting (which will keep them busier and happier) and check it all later back where we are staying.

Bucket

  • Global Moderator
  • ALF'er VIP
  • *****
  • Posts: 1112
MrSydney, I'm with geowork, I'd go to one of the fossicking parks there, I've used one called Armfest in Sapphire with good results, but there are others like Pats Gems and another in Rubyvale that also has mine tours (or used too). Armfest and Pats both have tables and Pats even has a cafe. Very civilized!
Common sense isn't exactly common

geowork

  • ALF'er Silver Member
  • *
  • Posts: 26
Unlikely to be sapphires on the surface in Retreat Creek. Digging deep in certain locations there will be, but I don't know those locations. There is a gully across the road from Blue Gem caravan park that always produces sapphires. It is still going for a reason; very, very hard clay wash (jack hammers not allowed). Around the townships is always specked, but you never know. Similarly, creeks and gullies are the most specked. For specking, maybe better to go further away such as Graves Hill, Glenalva, etc, and look around the surface diggings. Hope you find a cutter or two.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2022, 11:30:14 AM by geowork »

MrSydney

  • ALF'er Platinum
  • *
  • Posts: 405
Thanks Geowork and Bucket!

Re Armfest - is this just buying bags of wash or is this genuine unprocessed wash where you can find a decent cutter if you are lucky?  Or you pay an amount, get your own dirt, but have the ease and comfort of their facilities to process?

The reason I ask is that places like Billabong Blue here in NSW are great for beginners in that there is a 'pile of wash' option where they have facilities - but the pile is really just seeded with the discards from their own mining.  You may get lucky with a very small cutter but generally what you find that is larger is cracked or lower quality.  I'm not really interested in paying for this - but happy to pay if it is more genuine wash where you may get lucky!  You may not know but thought I'd ask.

Thanks for your general insights on the specking in general!

geowork

  • ALF'er Silver Member
  • *
  • Posts: 26
I understand your situation MrSydney. The "wash" used in fossicking parks (FP) at The Gemfields does come from the mines. A miner, whether they are independent or owner of the FP will always process their most productive wash for themselves. This best wash does not go direct to the FP. Wash used at FP is either reconstituted (ie been through the trommel and pulsator) or what we call "top wash" that is less productive. This top wash is unprocessed, except maybe through a grizzly. It could contain good sapphire, although sparse. All wash at FP is salted with addition corundum/sapphire to give the public a good experience.

If this situation is not adequate, and isn't for serious fossickers, then you have two practical options. Lots of feets/eyes/walking to maximise specking potential. And this may be best if only a couple of days are available and you are not a repeat visitor. Or dig. Some digging spots may be an easy drive from the caravan parks, others will require camping. There are still plenty of places to dig, although away or remote from Sapphire/Rubyvale. Digging equipment can be hired.

For both these non-FP options don't forget the fossicking license, which is availble online and can be downloaded to mobile phone. All the best.

MrSydney

  • ALF'er Platinum
  • *
  • Posts: 405
Thanks Geowork,

That's what I figured.  I guess we can see how it is going but we'll try the specking first maybe with some easier digging in the creek in Sapphire possibly (will try bring a throw screen).

The plan is to go back without the kids with my mate for a more serious dig another time!!  ;D

Ranger Itchy

  • ALF'er Gold Member
  • *
  • Posts: 125
  • "A GOOD DAY IS WHEN YOU WAKE IN THE MORNING"
Hi geowork,


I'm heading to Agate Crk in May, from Melb.


Quote: options don't forget the fossicking license

Do I need a QLD fossicking license for this?

Cheers Ranger Itchy beers
A great man once said "NEVER APOLIGIZE IT'S A SIGN OF WEAKNESS"
I don't mind being weak occasionally!!!!

geowork

  • ALF'er Silver Member
  • *
  • Posts: 26
Ranger Itchy, Agate Ck is a great place you will enjoy. Yes, a fossicking licence is required. You will be able to purchase a short-term licence to cover your trip. There is no mobile phone coverage at Agate Ck.
https://www.qld.gov.au/recreation/activities/areas-facilities/fossicking/licences-permits/purchase

 

Recent Activities

Faceting machine head assembly. by Faceting Frank
[February 26, 2024, 07:46:39 PM]


Trip to Castlemaine by Bucket
[February 26, 2024, 12:55:39 PM]


Central Vic Quartz by Manficat
[February 26, 2024, 10:17:06 AM]


Save the Gemfields. by pc bowe
[February 19, 2024, 02:03:11 PM]


Club Badges or Pins by dughug
[February 15, 2024, 05:40:42 PM]


Facetron Encoder Mod Thread by Faceting Frank
[February 14, 2024, 03:19:28 PM]


Stone/gem identification by RoughCreations
[February 14, 2024, 08:00:47 AM]


Forum Update 2024 by swirly
[February 07, 2024, 09:52:43 AM]


Joke of the Day by JBK
[February 04, 2024, 10:18:33 PM]


Andrew Brown's latest Gemstone Faceting Designs book (Volume 6) is available now by MakkyBrown
[February 04, 2024, 09:14:10 PM]


Commercial Posting Rules by Bucket
[January 25, 2024, 05:34:12 PM]


Which grit should I use for ocean tumbled stones? by Faceting Frank
[January 24, 2024, 05:39:01 PM]


Inverell visit by Manficat
[January 21, 2024, 11:10:02 PM]


Star Sapphire? by Bucket
[January 18, 2024, 11:32:01 AM]


Heart of the Mountain by MakkyBrown
[January 16, 2024, 04:50:26 PM]

SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2024, SimplePortal