Tuesday, 22 October 2013

TRAVEL: Emerald

TRAVEL: Emerald, Queensland, Australia.

I had been job-hunting for over a month when suddenly I had 3 job offers to choose from - an Irish pub in Charters Towers, an Irish pub in Emerald (whats with all the Irish themed pubs in Qld?), a hostel in Agnes Waters, oh yeah and a motel/hotel in Miles.
(Nope, I hadn't heard of any of those places either.)

Decisions, decisions.
I chose Emerald, because-
1) Dad recommended Emerald as it was a booming mine town
2) The job offered staff accommodation
3) Emerald has an airport that links to Brisbane
.... 4) Fate. Emerald was where I met my boyfriend. We have been together almost one year now!

So, on Thursday 4th October 2012, I found myself in a strange, hot, country town called Emerald.

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Emerald town:
Emerald is a country town, about 3 hours drive inland from Rockhampton.
Why is it called Emerald? No-one seems sure... some say it is because of all the gems found nearby in the gem fields, some say its because of the green grass (I didn't see much of that, to be honest). Even though the Irish pub had only been open for 2 years or so, the name Emerald made a lot of sense to me.
It is a town well connected to other places by roads, rail and even plane - Emerald has its own airport with flights to Brisbane daily.
I had no idea what it would be like, I imagined it would be tiny and backwards. Its not. It has 3 shopping centers, 2 Woolworths, a Coles, a Big W, clothes shops, charity shops, Harvey Norman, a library, internet cafe (thank God!) and plenty of motels and places to eat/drink.
I worked in the Irish themed pub/restaurant/motel - The Irish Village. This post isn't about my work though, its about the town I called home for 4 and 1/2 months....

Below: Emerald Railway station - it isn't used much these days, the building is very lovely and it is on the main street through Emerald so really - you have no excuses to miss it.

Below: an image taken from outside the Emerald Hotel on Clermont st (the main street)

Emerald Botanic Gardens:
On a rare day off work, October 2012, I walked to the Botanic Gardens - they aren't too far from where I lived (well, about 30mins walk).
On the way there I was attacked by the evil neighbourhood magpie.  It was a scorching hot day. I took only an average sized bottle of water with me and not much food.
PLEASE learn from my mistakes - If you go out walking in Australia take at least 2 liters of water with you, food, a hat, sunglasses, plasters (band-aids) for your feet.... Don't be stupid like me!

The gardens themselves are really well looked after, there are some shady spots but when walking between different areas in the garden you are very exposed to the sun, this is me - dehydrated and sunburnt in the gardens
When I got back home I had to have a lie down for an hour. Pathetic, I know. But seriously - be careful to avoid dehydration and heat stroke, both are terrible!

Photos of the Botanic Gardens:

As much as I moan about the heat, I really had a lovely day here. Its a beautiful and large botanic garden with lots of different areas to explore - theres a river/creek, bare areas, areas heavy with trees, a bush chapel, a windmill, and lots of interesting plants.

.......And "The world's largest Van Gough painting on a canvas" (Yes, the title really exists) goes to... Emerald!
Yes, in the park off Clermont st, the main street (behind the tourist info center) stands a huge canvas with flowers painted on it in the style of Van Gough. Its so random yet seems to fit in perfectly.
It makes a great photo opportunity but it really is so huge you can barely see me there underneath it!

Also located by the tourist centre (it has very helpful staff, by the way), is a mosaic walk that winds around the small heritage houses from eras gone by.
The mosaics represent the history of Australia and Emerald, here are a couple of my faves:

Above: mosaics from the 100yr anniversary walk, old pioneer houses.

Emerald art gallery:
My boyfriend seemed surprised that there even was one here (he was also surprised to learn there was a library, despite having lived there for 4 yrs), but there it was. Its everything you could ask for - air conditioned, nicely laid out and free!

We (me and the boyf) took a day trip to Springsure - it was a warm day, we did a couple of short trails to look out points, it was beautiful.
Springsure's claim to fame is a rock face that (from a distance) kind of looks like the Virgin Mary.
Pictures below, you can decide for yourself:

Below: amazing views of Springsure and beyond

Below: Trent pointed out a rock that looks like "two turtles doing it" - it really does

During my time in Emerald we also took a trip to Blackwater, Capella and the Fairbairn Dam - no photos but I can recommend the Dam for any visitors to Emerald!

Here is myself and a few friends from work, we worked at the Irish Village, an Irish themed pub/restaurant/motel in Emerald. I met some amazing people here and I have no regrets about my time in Emerald - loved it! xoxox

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