ABOUT 50 million years ago, the region that we now know as the Sapphire Gemfields was a very different world.
This world was dominated by a landscape that was in the process of change, a world at times extremely violent. At other times a quiet serenity would descend upon this "land before time”.
You ask, how do I know this, I wasn't here? You are right, I wasn't here, but sometimes I think my mother-in-law was.
The very nature of the landscape that we see today tells us the picture.
Ancient rivers and creeks, long filled from erosion and volcanic actions over the many millions of years, are just a part of the answer.
Today, these ancient creeks and rivers are the source of the highly prized and sometimes enormously valuable sapphires, hidden by mother-nature among the tonnes of gravel and billy boulders, further evidence of those long ago times.
Today's landscape also bears witness to more than 36 volcanoes, or at least the remnants of, spread between the towns of Rubyvale and Clermont to the north.
This drive takes just over an hour or so, depending on how many times you stop to take a picture or to have a cuppa on the side of the road.
The road is sealed all the way and the country varies from fairly flat to gently undulating and, every now and then, up out of the surrounding lowlands rises one of these 36 remnant volcanoes, further evidence of those violent ancient times.
The sapphires of Central Queensland are widely known and highly prized around the world, sapphires are in fact Queensland's stately gem.
The connection between sapphires and volcanoes was set in motion those many millions of years ago.
Volcanic action, eruptions and lava flows were the source of distribution for the sapphires as they were blasted or scattered into the surrounding landscape.
They eventually made their way through the erosional forces of nature over millions of years into these dried up and ancient creeks and rivers that we scratch around in today.
Notable volcanic peaks are Mt Leura, Mt Ball, Mt Mica, Policeman's Knob and Mt Bullock and for those seeking a softer mountain climbing experience the walk to the top of Policeman's Knob provides a spectacular 360 degree view across the surrounding area.
Sunsets viewed here will simply take your breath away.
So, if you find yourself with a spare day or two, why not take the drive back to the "Land before Time”, it's well worth the journey.
Stop and have a wander around the towns of the Sapphire Gemfields, stay a night or two and then enjoy the drive north to Clermont... Clermont, now that's another story.
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