Rubyvale is an oasis in the moonscape scenery, with its unique local architecture of billy boulders and ironbark logs.
It’s a bustling hub of the Sapphire Gemfields, with gem cutters, jewellers, fossicking parks and mine
tours; and a pub, cafés, general store, service station and accommodation providers.
Things to Experience
- Fossicking Parks – the simplest option to go on a treasure hunt. Simply buy a bag of wash, get some instructions from the staff, and start fossicking.
- Dedicated Fossicking Areas – hire the equipment, buy a fossicking licence (online here or by phoning MyMines (07) 3199 8133 – have your email address and credit card handy), and head to one of these designated zones:
- Middle Ridge – sapphire and zircon gems can be found in the mostly shallow wash of this area.
- Tomahawk Creek – more remotely located some 45 kilometres north-west of Rubyvale. Blue and parti coloured sapphires have been found in the generally shallow wash. The 2,500 hectares of bush tracks also make this a great spot to explore in a 4WD or trail bike.
Walk-in Mine Tour Step into another world on a walk-in mine tour where the underground temperature sits at a cool 25 degrees Celsius. Tours take visitors through the network of tunnels, providing insight into the process of underground sapphire mining. Marvel at the tiny tunnels called tummy tunnels used by the pioneer miners.
Gemshops and Galleries There’s no better place to purchase an Australian-mined and cut sapphire or quality sapphire jewellery. Gemcutters are available to facet your very own find and jewellers will set them into a piece of jewellery that could become a valuable family heirloom to be treasured forever.
Policeman’s Knob offers magnificent views over the surrounding landscape and is a perfect spot to take in the sunset. Keep an eye out for rock wallabies who find the rock structure an ideal home and seem unfazed by human visitors. The Knob can be tricky to reach if you don’t have a high-clearance vehicle so get some advice (and directions!) from the locals beforehand.
Fun photo ops – Australia’s penchant for ‘Big Things’ is on full display, with Rubyvale’s Big Miner at the front of Bobby Dazzler Mine just one of six oversized photo ops in the Gemfields. The Thong Tree, on Goanna Flats Road just outside of Rubyvale, is where travellers’ broken pluggers go to rest and you’ll want a family selfie with the road sign at Tellembuggerem Close.
Miners Common – Be ready to give way to cattle, horses and camels. Officially proclaimed in November 1914 and known as the heart and soul of the Gemfields, the Miners Common covers 4,500 hectares. On the last remaining miners common in Australia, residents have the right to graze a few head of livestock in unfenced areas including the town centres of Sapphire and Rubyvale.
Point of Interest: The 1983 Australian movie Buddies was filmed in Rubyvale. It starred Colin Friels, Harold Hopkins, Kris McQuade and many local people as extras. The story depicted life on the Sapphire Gemfields during the machinery boom of the 1970s.