Gemtree (Northern Territory)

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13/09/15  Our next travel leg took us from Murray Downs Station along the Stuart Highway through Barrow Creek and the small community of Ti-Tree, and east on the Plenty Highway to Gemtree. Starting at 10:00am and finishing at 5:00pm, it was a long day for us, although we weren’t travelling all that time. Along the way, we’d pulled in at the Barrow Creek Telegraph Station for a look around the historical site, and at Ti-Tree for fuel and lunch and a catch-up phone call home while in cell range.

The country was certainly pretty and made the drive feel not quite as long. The landscape included those iconic scenes you associate with Central Australia – vast sweeping plains stretching to a pink or blue mountain range in the far distance; rolling hills dotted with spinifex grass; rocky escarpments above weathered scree slopes. The scene changed over every crest and while we enjoyed the drive immensely, after the long day, we did also enjoy the end of it and arriving at Gemtree to settle in to a couple of quiet drinks beside the van as the sun went down.

The next day had an early start. We were up and heading on a tagalong fossicking tour to a garnet field tucked away in the scrub about 30kms east along the Plenty. Loaded with four sieves, a shovel, a pick, wash bowl and twenty litre container of water (no donkey, though; that was me), we spent three hours digging for the elusive garnets in a lunar landscape pock-marked with hope holes. We certainly came down with a bad case of Gem Fever and were the last to leave, with a reasonable haul for our efforts.


Most of the garnets were only good for Show and Tell, but about ten or so were of a size and quality suitable for cutting and mounting. It was a great experience, and we could certainly appreciate how some people get so caught up in fossicking as a hobby or lifestyle. “Just one more sieve load, then we’ll finish up.” But when you look down and see a garnet lying there in the bottom of the hole, the Gem Fever takes hold again.IMG_9167

The last day at Gemtree was a rest day, reading and watching movies and generally relaxing.

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” – Oscar Wild

Categories: Travel News, Travel News - Northern Territory | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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