Surprise!! It’s Mt Surprise


Towards the west we go.

Heading to Mount Surprise for a few nights we decided to detour through Herberton. We had heard good things about the old town there. We pulled up with plenty of RV parking and could see the old town through the fence. Thinking we would just be having a quick stop, we go to walk through the gate to find out it was going to cost us $60. A bit annoyed as it was unexpected to be spending that much for a stop, we paid it and went on through. Greeted with rustic wooden huts, white weather board cottages, and an old fashion “town”.  Each building was filled with an abundance of antique rusting items. There were rooms of sewing machines, printers, telephones, saddles, records and radios, there was even a supermarket filled with old tins from much loved brands.

Tom found the large shed of old mining machinery and tools, which he did spend a bit of time looking at. Spending a bit of time in the mines himself he was intrigued to see how they used to do it. It was slightly organised in some places and a touch messy in others. It was overwhelming, filled with just stuff. Finally we found the old style garage, which (I don’t know why) we were expecting to see some restored old cars and yes one or two were restored but the rest of the massive shed was just rusted cars, the kind of thing you see on a farm. It was time to cut our losses and head back to the caravan, this was not our thing. Now don’t get me wrong, some parts (very little parts) were interesting but we personally found it over priced and quite boring.

Stopping only for an awesome steak burger in the real Herberton town we were on our way to Mt Surprise. We chose to stay at Planet Earth Adventures, we were excited to see such an open, no fuss camp ground. After such a long day, it felt so good to put the kids down for bed, crack a beer, relax and spend the night stargazing.

It’s morning, it’s a bloody freezing morning. No one was prepared to get out of bed but today we were on a mission. We were going fossicking. First stop is the sweet little gem shop right next door to our park for our fossicking license, yep, thats right, you need a licence to hunt for pretty rocks! The owners of the gem shop were so informative. Showing us detailed maps of where to go, exactly what we were looking for and how to find it. We were hunting Topaz, that was our mission.

After arriving at the gem fields, we quickly navigated to a quiet location along the drying creek and got to work shovelling and shaking these stones. We shovelled. We shook. We found things. We ate lunch. We shovelled and shook some more. We gave up. We drove home. Heading back to the gem shop to drop off our hired equipment, we took in a small jar of our findings. We knew what we found wasn’t Topaz but we just wanted to double check. Today we were unlucky.

Essentially we spent an entire day digging through rocks to bring home some pretty but worthless rocks and we absolutely loved it! The thrill of the chase kept us going. Splashing in the creek and throwing rocks all day kept the kids going.

We highly recommend giving fossicking a go.

Better luck next time.

Time to pack up and keep heading west.


Want a quick itinerary and more detail? Click HERE 

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