Contrary to popular opinion, Emerald does not owe its name to stewardship over central Queensland’s famous gemfields. The name is taken from a local sheep property, Emerald Downs. As it happens, Emerald, 263 km due west of Rockhampton, is indebted to coal rather than gemstones or green grass for its prosperity.
And, despite its proximity to the gemfields of Anakie, Sapphire and Rubyvale, Emerald has much to offer the visitor in its own right - the entrancing Botanical Gardens, a living museum in the Pioneer Cottage Complex, cotton gin and coal mine tours, a singular, colonial railway station, and, outside the Town Hall, the remains of a tree which sprouted more than 250 million years ago.
Just a short drive through citrus orchards takes you to Lake Maraboon, Queensland's second largest lake which was formed when the Fairbairn Dam was built across the Nagoa River. Campers on the lake shores can hand-feed parrots and possums and fish for the Murray cod, saratoga and other freshwater varieties with which Maraboon is stocked.