Didn’t stay in Emerald long – too far to go today. The weather forecast is for increasing temperatures high 30’s, so we’ve decided to head coastward-ish. But first a drive through Sapphire and Rubyvale. I know the desire to be in dry, dusty, scrubby-treed country to fossick for hours in the hot dry dirt to find a pretty stone to make a pretty ring is a very strong pull for many people – and they’ll be pleased to know they won’t get any competition from me!
Morning tea at Rubyvale and saw … wait for it … BROLGAS – up close on the road just in front of us. Ahhhh happy me!
Headed north out of Rubyvale towards Clermont. Rejoined the Gregory Highway at Capella. Learnt something new here. It’s rumoured that while the Light Horse battalion that was here during the shearers strike in 1891?? A couple of the lads killed an emu and put a feather in their cap. Up until then it was only the officers who wore a parrot feather in their caps. Over the next few years both officers and enlisted men changed to wearing the emu feather. There’s a monument to the Light Horse brigade here in Capella with the story.
On to Clermont – lunch under a beautiful flowering gum of some description in the park before you get into town. Clermont was surveyed by Ludwig Leichhardt and settled in 1861 when gold was discovered. The township was devasted by a flood in 1916 when 65 locals lost their lives (and a piano was found in that tree when the waters went down). There’s now a mock piano in the tree as a memorial. Heading towards Nebo we went through the Bowen Basin Coal fields. They are massive … and not attractive!
Homevale National Park is off the Peak Downs Highway north of Nebo, on the road to Glendon. At 11km along that road turn into Turrawulla Rd then 22km (past the turnoff to Mt Britton), until you see the sign to Moonlight Dam Camping area 7km further in. And yes, it is a 4WD track by that time. When I rang the National Parks people to book the site she didn’t know it existed – obviously not often visited. We arrived about half an hour before dark – lucky we can now be fully setup in about 10 mins. Still time for wine o’clock as we sat in a lovely cool breeze, watched the sun set over the dam and the birds catching their last morsels for supper. A long day driving, but that’s the best place to be when the temps are over 35!