Last night we had a surprise but very welcome visitor – fellow Trailblazer adventurer “Frosty”. We have known Wayne and Marg Frost as long as we had owned our Trailblazer 5th Wheeler, and we have stayed in touch via email, occasional phone calls, and through our respective blogs. We have met up in Melbourne but we had never crossed paths on the road. Wayne and Marg had booked into a caravan park in Sapphire yesterday for a week to do some fossicking and had seen another Trailblazer at the free camp and wondered who owned it. Wayne then read our blog and realised who it was and came straight over. We had a great chat and hope that we will catch up again later in this trip.
Our free camp site at Sapphire is basically a vacant block of land between the swimming pool and the fire station. There is a public toilet and a dump point and a great general store a couple of hundred metres away. The land isn’t flat but there were 8 vans there overnight and room for a few more.
We had a look around Sapphire before we left and it really is a fascinating place with lots of mines and miners living in sheds and caravans, and plenty of gem shops and places catering for fossickers and prospectors. Much of the landscape seems to consist of mullock heaps where miners have deposited unwanted soil and other material.
First stop for coffee was a short distance up the Highway at Rubyvale. This is a bigger and in some regards a more modern version of Sapphire – there is certainly more development happening. We stopped for coffee at the Rubyvale Café where the coffees were great and I had the largest melting moment ever. The Rubyvale Gem Gallery is in the same building and there is also accommodation available. There are still plenty of more “traditional” mining and tourist establishments in town.
Back on the highway and another stop at Capella. We went for a good walk around town and picked up a few supplies. One very interesting monument was dedicated to the Australian Light Horse Brigade and the belief that the traditional wearing of emu feathers in the soldiers hats’ has a direct link to Capella. Also of interest were some large silos just out of town, but we couldn’t work out what they contained.
From Capella it was on to our final destination – the free camp at Theresa Creek Dam – and we made one of the worst decisions in our many adventures in the Trailblazer. We ignored a street sign pointing to our destination in favour of listening to the GPS! Big mistake!
Our GPS – which we call Gabby – told us to bypass the sign to Theresa Creek Dam and take another road. She then told us to turn onto a dirt road and then possibly 15 kms up that road decided that she was lost. Not good news! We had no other option but to continue up the dirt road until it either reached civilisation or we could find a place to turn around – not necessarily an easy thing in a Trailblazer 5th wheeler.
Fortunately a farmer/grazier/? and his wife pulled over next to us and confirmed that we were lost but told us that we could follow them to a couple of options where they thought that we could turn around. We passed on the first option and although we were a bit doubtful about the second we managed a U turn and then headed back down the dirt road.
Finally we reached the turnoff we should have taken in the first place and soon arrived at Theresa Creek Dam. It was quite crowded and no wonder. What an amazing place! Cost is $10 per night and there are showers, toilets and a dump point, but it was the view and the serenity that was priceless. After a long walk around the camp I cooked gourmet burgers on the BBQ and we sat out under the moon and stars until very late. Nothing beats an outback sky at night!
Although we have only booked a single night here we think we will stay a bit longer.