THRIVING EMERALD TO DIMINISHING JERICHO
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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JOURNEY: Blackdown Tableland NP to Emerald 130kms
via Alpha to Jericho 230kms
WEATHER: Hot, high 20's and sunny; rain overnight on Thursday. Other nights clear and cool.
Our free camp site, right in the busy city of Emerald was already filling up with motorhomes, caravans and cars and it was early afternoon. We knew it would be noisy and popular and it suited for one night as we had a few things to do in town.
We took a walk around the attractive Botanical Gardens beside our parking spot and checked out the brown Nogoa River; it was a very hot day!
Emerald named after the lush greenness of the land by early settlers has a population of 11,000 people and growing, and is the centre of huge coal mining operations, as well as cotton and grain production on the rich land.
The town seems to be young, the information centre attendant told us the average age is 31 years and well off. Mining story eh?
Nearby are the rich sapphire mines of Anachie and Sapphire.
As we drove past Bluff we witnessed the coal being loaded into rail containers by huge automatic machinery; the trains pull about 100 containers to the port of Gladstone 300+kms away.
The traffic quitened as the night drew on and only two trains rattled by the rest stop. Overnight there was quite a lot of light rain and we were glad to be on solid ground.
Friday morning saw us back on the road in search of a quieter and more scenic spot to spend a few days and happily we found a lovely free camping spot in the tiny town of Jericho
We drove through the Drummond Range and the 168 km trip to the tiny town of Alpha seemed long- perhaps because we were hanging out for coffee. So after coffee we looked around the cute tidy town famous for its murals and admired well kept old buildings.
It was called Alpha because it is the "beginning of the west" and it was established in 1884 to accomodate the railway workers who were building the line west from Rockhampton! It is definitely worth a stop on the Capricorn Hwy.
Jericho has a dwindling population of 100 people and the main industry of the area is beef; like many towns along the highway, it was once a busy railway town with crews of maintenance men, stationmaster etc and Kath met a lady in her 70's who went to school in Jericho when there were 130 pupils- today there are 13!
The minute drive-in movie theatre still operates once a month on a Saturday and the main street has a pub and cafe!
We located the free camp spot by the river and found ourselves a good site; toilets and water are supplied and you can make a fire. It was a very busy area over the weekend with around 50 campers but Monday morning the place emptied as we left.
It was agreat camping area and the river walk was scenic at sunset; a couple of huge pelicans had made the river their own.
The only negative was the use of generators by some campers and we were unlucky enough to have one plonk himself close to us late Sunday afternoon- needed to keep the fish fresh- after a bit of an altercattion he moved it away from us and turned it off at 7pm!
Days here were warm and sunny, nights cooled to blanket/doona temperatures which was nice!
Highly recommend this riverside camp at Jericho.