A region comprising the towns of Willows Gemfields, Rubyvale, Anakie and Sapphire, The Gemfields is located 914 kilometres northwest of Brisbane, 382 kilometres east of Longreach, 305 kilometres west of Rockhampton and 144 kilometres south of Clermont in Central Queensland. The Gemfields can be reached by heading west on the Capricorn Highway from Rockhampton, situated immediately next to the city of Emerald. Covering almost 900 square kilometres, The Gemfields has the largest sapphire fields in the Southern Hemisphere, and is touted as one of the most prominent sapphire-bearing sites in the world. It draws countless tourists and locals who want to experience firsthand and try their luck at fossicking, the recreational activity of looking for gems in underground mines and digging areas. Rubyvale has two underground sapphire mines, but fossickers also have the option of buying a bucket of “wash,” which only requires some sieving and sorting. Anakie has become popular for hosting the four-day exhibition called Gemfest Festival of Gems every August, as well as housing the historic Anakie Hotel. The towns of Sapphire and Willows Gemfields are equally popular fossicking areas where visitors can join half-day or whole-day tours, obtain fossicking licenses and rent fossicking equipment.
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