CANCELLED. Easter Long Weekend Fossicking Field Trip to Lava Plains Sapphire Fields, 10-13 Apr. Updated 23 Mar


Cancelled following the request by the Premier of QLD, Annastacia Palaszczuk, on 23 March for the public to remain at their homes and suburbs during the Easter break and not to go bush


Easter Long Weekend Friday April 10th to Monday 13th Lava Plains Sapphire Fields. Would members please acknowledge their participation by filling out the trip sheet on the notice board in the club no later than Monday 16 March. The sheet is a fossicking licence and insurance requirement. Please include number of nights and if powered or unpowered site is required. Members usually book unpowered sites. You can still enroll after 16 March but you need to book for yourself at the campsite.

The campsite is Pinnarendi Station Stay & Cafe, $18 unpowered per night (two people), $25 powered per night (two people). The campsite is marked on map below.

Field Officers and Contact Numbers

There will be up to three highly experienced and knowledgeable field trip officers attending the trip. They are Robert Lees, Leigh Twine and Craig Walker. Given the relatively nearby location of the fossicking area and the experience of those attending, this is a great opportunity for those new to fossicking.

Shortly before a field trip commences all updates and direction will be through field trip officers. Please make sure you know who your field trip officers are and that you have spoken to them or speak to them as soon as possible after arriving.

Following are contact numbers while on the trip. South of Mt Garnet mobile reception gets increasingly irregular. However there is good Telstra mobile reception at the campsite due to a nearby tower.

Contacts on Trip Mobile Number
Field Trip Officers 0407 037 528
Club 0450 185 250
Backup Contact 0417 765 841

Campsite and Trip Details

Walking Required, Bring Water

It is rare that vehicles can be brought right up to locations where fossicking occurs. For this trip it is estimated walking distance to fossicking locations range from 500 meters to 800 meters.

Do not forget a hat, sun protection and water!

Equipment Required

Please see Basic Fossicking Equipment by Leigh Twine. If you are going on a trip with the club and do not have all this equipment please mention this to the club before departure. The club has a limited amount of equipment it can bring and loan. There is information about fossicking stands at Members, Equipment

Time and Place

Start Time and Place: Please check before departure for updates. Fossickers should expect to meet between 10am and noon on Friday April 10 at Pinnarendi campsite before going to first fossicking site. The road is fully paved to the campsite except for the last three km. Expect travel time to take four hours from Cairns (during daylight hours) and to take two hours to setup camp.

Look for this flag:

Please look for the following flag at the campsite to claim a site where other members are

After you have arrived and visited where members have sites, please visit the camp kiosk, state you are with the gem club and that you have booked an unpowered or powered site and pay. You can also pay at the same time for a wood fired pizza on Saturday night.

Other than the open air restaurant area, there are no structures on campsite for shelter from rain. Please be prepared!

First Fossicking Trip Around 12 noon on Friday 10 Apr it is expected there will be an excursion commencing from Pinnarendi campsite to around Valley of Lagoons to choose promising fossicking locations, near GPS point LT02. Lava Plains is notorious for its deep sticky mud during wet weather (be prepared). From reports, Valley of Lagoons does not get as muddy during wet weather.

End Time: The trip finishes at 10am on Monday April 13. You need to leave your site no later than 10am on Monday 13th. If you wish to fossick on the Monday and leave a vehicle or trailer at the campsite while fossicking (with others) then it is expected you will be allowed you to park your vehicle or trailer out the way of sites.

As a field trip approaches updates will be available through the next upcoming fieldtrip page, which is this page. You can bookmark this page.

Using Generators at Campsite

The campsite prefers those who need power to use powered sites. However they allow generators to be used at unpowered sites under the following conditions:

  • Daylight hours only
  • Generator considered to be quite (this excludes high power generators)
  • Not on continuously
  • Other campers do not complain

Driving Hazards

Driving at night south of Mt Garnet is hazardous due to animals on the road. At the very least you will need to slow down considerably travelling at night.

How to get there (travelling from Cairns):

Distances and two maps below provided by Leigh Twine

km Start End
190 Cairns Mt Garnet
53.2 Mt Garnet Pinnarendi Station turnoff (on Kennedy Developmental Road)
46.8 Pinnarendi turnoff Mines Hill fossicking area
10.8 Mines Hill Lava Plains/Valley of Lagoons turnoff
1.4 Turnoff Wyandotte Creek fossicking area

Click on map images to enlarge:

The first map has two GPS points and they are labelled LT01 and LT02 below

LT01 is the northern most point of Mines Hill - Lava Plains fossicking area.
LT02 is the southern most point of Wyandotte Creek fossicking area.

Useful information about fossicking

In particular please read Personal protection and safety

Three club reports from two different trips to Lava Plains

GPS Points that can be bookmarked on browser

They are listed below in lat and lon order so they can be pasted directly into Google Search. Everything below the map at the top are irrelevant Google Search results that the numbers used brought up. Clicking on the map at the top will take you to Google Maps. If you select the two numbers on the left with a mouse, right click and click on ‘Search Google’ this has the same effect as a copy and paste into Google Search.

Lat, Lon Link on club map with description
-18.04056, 144.88218 Pinnarendi Campsite (Station Stay & Cafe)
-18.42460, 144.74201 LT01, northernmost point of Mines Hill - Lava Plains fossicking area
-18.52900, 144.75012 LT02, southernmost point of Wyandotte Creek fossicking area
-18.43059, 144.73866 Turnstile entrance from highway to Mines Hill

Checking where you are with a mobile phone without mobile reception

The online (and offline) map below provided by John Heenan and includes information from various sources. The GPS points above can be bookmarked for both online and offline access.

Before you leave you can access the following club site,, to help with locating where you are in relation to the fossicking areas. The site cannot be found by using Google search so you need to access by a link (such as from a browser bookmarked GPS point) or by manually typing into an address bar.

Accessing the site stores sufficient information to be usable with a mobile phone when there is no mobile phone reception. Currently updates occur in the background without notification and complete faster on fast links. To check if you have received an update wait for up to one minute after access and refresh. If you want a quicker way to access the links to GPS points than using bookmarks on your phone then add in geomarks from the screen.

John expects to have updates for the trip, so it is worthwhile to access before departure so updates can be loaded.

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