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Sorrel searches for her Gem.
Sorrel searches for her Gem.
What a find.
They're searching for gems, too.

The Gemtree

Thursday, July 19, 2001
Not far from the centre of Australia, in the Harts Ranges, is the hot and dry Gemtree Caravan Park.

Not far from the centre of Australia, in the Harts Ranges, is The Gemtree Caravan Park. The area is very hot, very dry and, on the surface, quite unremarkable.

However, if you take the trouble to dig a little, you are guaranteed to unearth garnets or zircons. Garnets are wonderfully blood red and zircons are almost as brilliant as diamonds and come in the same variety of colours. It is exciting to find the stones, both of which polish into pieces suitable for jewellery.

Gemtree Park is a real oasis in the semi-desert mulga country of the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges. While the feeling is definitely "out in the bush", it has modern, clean amenities and basic necessities such as laundry, fuel and mini-store. Well-behaved pets are permitted to stay with you.

There is a choice of accommodation and a secluded, bush campsite will give you the feeling of being the only people there.

There are powered and unpowered sites among the mulgas, with all facilities, but without a feeling of being jammed in.

If comfort is something you can't leave behind, Gemtree has air-conditioned cabins for you.

Graham Short takes fossicking tours from the caravan park at 9am. He is experienced at knowing where to look and you can rent equipment to make things easy. If you wish, their on-site gem-cutters can turn your stones into beautifully facetted gems.

The perfect end to a day of fossicking is to relax under the stars around a campfire, and in winter months, you might like to join in a game or two of paddy melon bowls, a game unique to the outback.

While gem fossicking is the main activity at Gemtree, there are other things to do, such as the challenge of the vermiculite, nine-hole golf course or admiring the wide variety of flora and fauna of Central Australia on the 2.5km nature walk. There is a manmade dam at the end of the walk — and it is a birdwatcher's paradise.

Location

140km northeast of Alice Springs.

Cost

Gemtree Caravan Park cabins cost $55, powered sites cost $20 and non-powered sites cost $16 per double per night.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Gemtree Caravan Park
Box 8895, Alice Springs NT 0871
Ph: (08) 8956 9855 Fax: (08) 8956 9860
Website: www.gemtree.com.au.

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