Click on a question below to find the answer.
Q: Where is the Central Highlands?
A: The Central Highlands is located in Central Queensland, west of Rockhampton and straddling the Tropic of Capricorn. It covers an area of 60,000 square kilometres and encompasses Arcadia Valley,Bauhinia, Blackwater, Bluff, Capella, Comet, Dingo, Duaringa, Emerald, Rolleston, Sapphire Gemfields (Anakie Siding, Sapphire Central, Rubyvale and Willows Gemfields), Springsure and Tieri.
Q: How will COVID-related restrictions affect my trip there?
A: A significant number of restrictions have now eased – and there’s more to come – so it’s a great time to plan a visit to the Central Highlands!
- Queenslanders are now allowed to travel anywhere inside the state for recreational purposes but there are still controls in place for the Queensland and Australian borders. Find out more about border restrictions.
- Flights, trains and coaches to and from the region are still operating limited services. Check with the operators to get the latest information:
- Many tourism businesses – including motels and attractions – are now allowed to operate again although most need to restrict visitor numbers. It’s best to contact them directly to find out more.
- All national park and forest camping areas, day-use areas and walking tracks have reopened but public shower facilities remain closed. Find out more.
- Fossicking areas have reopened. Find out more.
- Recreational facilities at Fairbairn Dam / Lake Maraboon have reopened. Find out more.
Q: What’s the best time of year to visit?
A: Most visitors tend to come to the Central Highlands between March and October, when most days are cool and sunny. This is also the time when most major events happen, such as Gemfest, and all tourism operations are open.
If you decide to travel here over summer, rest assured most places are airconditioned! Be sure to pack your swimmers to cool down in the region’s dams and lakes and public swimming pools.
Q: How can I get there?
A: The most popular way visitors tend to reach the Central Highlands is by road. The main roads into the region are the Capricorn Highway (east-west) and the Gregory Highway (north-south).
There is a Spirit of the Outback train twice a week* from Brisbane to Longreach via Rockhampton and Emerald.
There is no public transport within the Central Highlands.
*Please check with operator to confirm updated schedules due to COVID restrictions.
Q: Where can I get fuel?
A: Service stations can be found at Duaringa, Dingo, Blackwater, Gemfields, Springsure, Rolleston, Capella and Emerald.
Emerald has two Woolworth Caltexes, and a Caltex truck stop, Shell, BP and Puma.
Q: Where can I find information on road conditions?
A: Visit the QLD Traffic website and type your location in the search bar.
Q: Where can I get caravan spare parts and repairs?
A: Mobile mechanic Dave Morris sells some parts and performs minor repairs. Contact Dave on 0439 753 246 or email@example.com.
Calyn Mechanical Repairs in Emerald can perform minor tasks – phone (07) 49876603 or 0429348344 or 0400205129.
Unfortunately, there is no shop in the Central Highlands that sells spare parts for caravans, with the nearest one in Rockhampton.
Q: Where can I hire a car?
A: There are several hire car companies in the Central Highlands and they are all based at Emerald Airport. Contact them directly to find out more.
Q: Where can I access free WiFi?
A: There are several free WiFi hotspots in Emerald:
- Visitor Information Centre
- 65 Clermont Street (Telstra Air Hotspot)
- 123 Clermont Street (Telstra Air Hotspot)
- 32 Egerton Street (Telstra Air Hotspot)
Free WiFi (and low-cost public internet) is also available to at Blackwater, Emerald and Springsure libraries.
Q: What is mobile phone reception like?
A: Mobile reception is generally excellent throughout the region however you might find some blackspots at the remote locations, such as Carnarvon Gorge.
Q: Where can I stay?
A: Take your pick from campsites, caravan parks, motels and hotels. Find out more in our Stay section or contact the Visitor Information Centre on (07) 4982 4142.
Q: Are there any motels or caravan parks that allow pets?
Q: Can I take my dog into a national park?
A: No dogs are allowed in National Parks. Assistance dogs are allowed with a permit – more details can be found here.
Q: Where can I go shopping?
Q: Where can I find a dump point?
- Emerald Showgrounds and in all caravan parks in Emerald
- McKenzie Park, Capricorn Highway in Duaringa
- Turpentine Rd, Blackwater
- Beazley Park, Dawson Hwy Rolleston
- Springsure Showgrounds on Barcoo St, and Rich Park Area on Dawson Hwy at Springsure
- Flagon Alley, Sapphire
- Bridgeman Park, Capella Showgrounds
Q: Where can I find a laundromat?
A: Emerald and Blackwater have laundromats.
Q: Where can I find a public toilet?
A: Use toiletmap.gov.au to find a public toilet near you. Facilities in Emerald are located at the Visitor Information Centre, Emerald Botanic Gardens, Emerald Town Hall and on Borilla Street (behind the library)
All towns in the region have public toilets Botanic, Townhall, Borilla street, and all shopping centres. Capella has free hot shower. And all the towns in the surrounds have toilets.
Q: Where can I find public showers?
A: Emerald Tourist Park in Emerald allows tourists to use its facilities for a $5 fee. Capella Lions Park has a free hot shower. Duaringa Rest Area has hot showers (for a gold coin donation).