Named not after the gem, but for the lush green pastures that surrounded the town, Emerald was established in 1879 as a base to build the western railway. As the Gateway to the Outback, Emerald is a great base to refresh, restock and relax.
Things to Experience
Strawbale Visitor Information Centre Start your tour of Emerald and the Central Queensland Highlands at the Visitor Information Centre in Clermont Street. The building is an attraction itself as the walls are made from 300 bales of barley straw covered in lime and earthen renders. Located in front of the centre is a sculpture of an Eastern Bearded Dragon made of recycled farming equipment.
Van Gogh Sunflower Painting Once famous as a major sunflower producer, Emerald is now home to the world’s biggest replica Vincent van Gogh Sunflower painting located in Morton Park. The superstructure is 25 metres high with approximately 13.6 tonnes of steel involved in its construction.
Mosaic Pathway The Centenary of Federation Mosaic Pathway leads you through 100 years in 100 metres of Emerald’s colourful history. The footpath features intricately tiled designs that trace history from the beginning of the universe through to visions of the future.
Pioneer Cottage Complex The complex echoes the rich history of the Emerald region. It showcases a small historical village, including the town’s lead-lined lockup, St Marks Presbyterian Church and a communications museum. Gold coin entry: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30am to 12.00pm; and Saturdays 11.00am to 2.00pm (for April to October 2023. Contact the Visitor Information Centre to request access outside these months).
CBD Artworks Take a short stroll along Egerton Street and view the town’s magnificent public art. All pieces were commissioned from a public competition.
Emerald Botanic Gardens are located on the banks of the Nogoa River. The 42 hectares of gardens include a rose garden, maze, bush chapel, sculptures, rainforest and playground. Six kilometres of walking and bike tracks lead to different plant communities of the Central Highlands.
Railway Station Built in 1900 and restored in 1986, the National Trust-listed railway station, with its wrought iron lacework and pillared portico, provides visitors with great photo opportunities.
Emerald Art Gallery showcases exhibitions from local, state and national artists and is located at the Central Highlands Regional Council office. Visit its Facebook page for upcoming events.
Emerald Aquatic Centre Enjoy a day at the aquatic centre, which features three waterslides, barbecue facilities, 50-metre pool, heated 25-metre pool and a fabulous children’s splash pad area.
Outback Exploratorium Discover the wonders of science as you explore the interactive exhibits and events. The centre is at 4-6 Brief Street and open to visitors Tuesday to Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm and Saturday 9:00am – 12:00pm.
Fishing Try your fishing luck in the Nogoa River from either the botanic gardens or the bottom weir.
Rifle Range Reserve is a nature refuge which provides walking and bike tracks set in a tranquil bush setting.
Point of Interest: Outside the Town Hall you will find a fossilised tree estimated to be 250 million years old. The tree was unearthed in 1979 when a new railway bridge was being built across the Mackenzie River for the Gregory Mine.