Lake Maraboon at dusk
Lake Maraboon

Once the home of sunflower farming in Australia, the Emerald region is now cloaked in a patchwork of thriving agriculture. Visit to explore the unique sandstone wilderness surrounding this vibrant town nestled in Queensland’s Central Highlands.

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Places to stay

Geological beauty, serene bushland and historic gemfields - this region offers a range of comfortable accommodation options. Located right in the centre of town is the fantastic Emerald Star Hotel, offering comfortable rooms in pub style accommodation. There’s also a range of modern 4-star hotels in the main street or book an apartment or cosy bed and breakfast.

No stay in Emerald is complete without a visit to the nearby Lake Maraboon, a regional highlight popular with locals and visitors alike. Choose to stay in one on the holiday parks, deluxe cabins or campsites overlooking the beauty of the lake. The perfect base to cool off with a swim, enjoy watersports or fish for barramundi and the famous red claw crayfish.

Things to do

This may be the outback, but Emerald is a modern town with all the facilities, dining options and outdoor activities you need to create a memorable holiday. A good place to start is the Central Highlands Visitor Information Centre located in a hay bale building on Clermont Street. Follow the Emerald walking trail from the information centre past public art pieces including the world’s largest Van Gogh sunflower painting depiction in Morton Park.

Visit the historic railway station for a great photo opportunity under the iron lacework or explore rainforest, a rose garden and a maze in the Emerald Botanic Gardens. For a tasty meal, take your pick from the restaurants, cafes, pubs and bakeries in the town centre offering a variety of cuisines.

In Emerald you'll find events and activities for the whole family. Choose to visit the Southern Hemisphere’s largest sapphire gem field and join the festivities at Gemfest - the four day celebration held every August in the Sapphire Gemfields, 45 minutes drive east of Emerald.

Take a trip to Springsure and attend the lively St Patrick’s Day Races and visit Minerva Hills National Park and Virgin Rock while you’re there. If you’re visiting in October, experience the thrill of country racing at the Emerald 100 race weekend.

Spend a day exploring ancient Aboriginal rock art, stunning sandstone formations and native wildlife at Carnarvon Gorge or Blackdown Tableland National Park, both  just a few hours’ drive from town.

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Getting around

From the airport

Emerald Airport is located approximately six kilometres from the town centre and taxis are available outside the terminal. 

In and around the city

The city centre is small enough to explore on foot but taxis also service the centre. The Sapphire Gemfields and the Central highlands are best discovered by car.

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