Take the family sapphire fossicking in gemstone country around Inverell, a charming town on the banks of the Macintyre River in the splendid New England region of NSW. There is also fascinating pioneering heritage and wonderful bushwalking, fishing and camping in Kwiambal National Park.
Try your luck sapphire fossicking around riverside Inverell, nicknamed Sapphire City. This is gemstone country in the beautiful New England region. The discovery of sapphires dates backs to 1854 and Kings Plains is where one of the world’s richest gem-quality sapphire deposits was mined.
You can fossick for sapphires and other gems and quartz crystals in various locations, including Billabong Blue Sapphire Fossicking Park and Seven Oaks Sapphire Fossicking, next to pretty Frazer Creek. Many fossicking sites allow camping and you can enjoy bushwalking and birdwatching too.
Sapphires are gem varieties of the mineral conundrum and form in several colours, though red conundrum is termed ruby. You can browse for polished gems in jewellery shops such as in Inverell Jewellers and Billabong Blue Sapphires in charming Inverell, where there are plenty of places to stay.
You’ll find many more delightful things to do in and around Inverell, which is 50 minutes’ drive west of Glen Innes and 90 minutes northwest of Armidale. The National Transport Museum is in Inverell and full of classic and vintage cars. The captivating Inverell Art Gallery is in two colonial buildings.
Inverell Pioneer Village is a collection of historical buildings dating from 1841. Pick up brochures and maps from the Inverell Visitor Information Centre and explore the district. There are exhilarating walking tracks in the Goonoowigall State Conservation Area, home to hundreds of wildlife species.
Lake Inverell Reserve is a popular spot for picnics, barbecues and fishing. A scenic drive north is Kwiambal National Park, where there are more bushwalking tracks as well as mountain-biking trails and great spots for fishing and camping. You can enjoy river fishing on the Slippery Rock track.