Capricorn Way

580KM

ROCKHAMPTON | BARCALDINE

Have you ever seen a real dinosaur fossil, experienced an ancient rainforest, mined for your own sapphires or explored one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World? Do all these things and more with the Capricorn Way Drive.

ROCKHAMPTON TO DUARINGA

ROCKHAMPTON TO DUARINGA

Approximately half an hour west of Rockhampton you will discover Mount Hay Gemstone Tourist Park, 36 kilometres west of Rockhampton on the Capricorn Highway is an internationally known destination for thunderegg fossicking.

Duaringa is the welcoming gateway to the Central Highlands. it is the oldest township in the area dating back to the 1860’s. The Old Duaringa hotel has been preserved as reminder of the pioneering lifestyle. Check out Mackenzie Park on the east side of town, which features the unique Budgeroo or Duaringa stringy bark tree.


DUARINGA TO BLACKWATER

DUARINGA TO BLACKWATER

From Duaringa, keep following the Capricorn Way until you reach Dingo. Take a side road to see the breathtaking sandstone plateau rising above Central Queensland’s plains at Blackdown Tableland National Park. The small town of Bluff is a major rail interchange for coal trains, some up to 2 km long.

Stop at Blackwater, the Coal Capital of Queensland and home to the International Coal Centre which also houses the Visitor Information Centre. Opened in 2008 the centre showcases the Australian coal industry providing an interactive learning experience.

Blackwater is the second largest town in the Central Highlands and offers all major services. Blackwater also boasts a fine Japanese garden. These gardens mark the relationship between Blackwater and her sister city Fujisawa, Japan. Well worth a visit.


BLACKWATER TO EMERALD

BLACKWATER TO EMERALD

Comet was one of the earliest townships in the area. Ludwig Leichhardt named the Comet River in his 1884 expedition.  Continuing along the Capricorn Way, heading towards the township of Emerald.

Emerald is situated on the intersection of the Capricorn Way and the Gregory Highway section of the Great Inland Way. It is the regional centre and thriving hub for many government facilities including council, education, health and industries including mining, beef cattle, cotton, cropping, sunflowers, citrus, gemstones and tourism. It was established in 1879 as a base for building the railway.

The Botanic Gardens on the banks of the Nogoa River are a must see. The 42 hectares of garden are on both sides of the river and include a rose garden, maze, wedding chapel, sculptures, rainforest and 6 km of walking tracks. Check out the ‘big sunflower’, building on its reputation as a major sunflower producer Emerald is home to the world’s biggest Van Gogh sunflower painting on an easel in Morton Park.


EMERALD TO GEMFIELDS

EMERALD TO GEMFIELDS

Take a slight detour and try your luck in the towns of Sapphire, Anakie, Willows and Rubyvale gem fields and go looking for sapphires. People from all over the world descend on the Sapphire Gemfields each year to experience fossicking first hand and to try their luck at finding the ultimate gem discovery.


GEMFIELDS TO ALPHA

GEMFIELDS TO ALPHA

Head to the Outback town of Alpha. Along the drive you will take in the Drummond range. Get the camera ready and make sure you make a stop at the lookout. The views are truly amazing and well worth the stop.

Alpha is known as the ‘Town of Murals’ and displays a number that have been painted on both private and public buildings depicting the area’s history. The region is known as Mitchell country, named after Sir Thomas Mitchell who went through the area in 1846. Before leaving Alpha stock up on your baked goods from their famed bakery.


ALPHA TO BARCALDINE

ALPHA TO BARCALDINE

Once back on the Capricorn Way you will be headed to Jericho. The Jericho Drive-in is the smallest drive-in in the world with a car capacity of just 36 cars. Redbank Park on the banks of the Jordan River is a great place to camp, fish and bird watch. There is a walking track that follows the river and it’s a great place to exercise while experiencing the local flora and fauna.

Barcaldine is situated at the crossroads of the Matilda and Capricorn Ways. It is a town filled with history and colour. Barcaldine is a wonderful place to spend a few days checking out the eclectic mix of modern and historical buildings. Start at the former Globe Hotel, now the Visitor Information Centre. Its on the Capricorn Way almost opposite the railway station and the Tree of Knowledge, the reputed birth place of the labour movement in Australia. The Tree – a ghost gum – grew outside the Railway Station for about 180 years until 2006 when sadly, it was poisoned by an unknown culprit. The famous tree has been preserved and placed under an award-winning timber structure that was constructed to protect the preserved tree and celebrate its importance in Australia’s history. The structure is impressive during the day but when viewed at night is truly magnificent.

There’s plenty more to see here and accommodation of all kinds to suit visitors who want to stay around for a while.


CAPRICORN WAY FULL MAP