Fossicking for anything other than gold within Western Australia is a bit of an oddity, something you rarely hear about, especially in the lower half of the state. In fact I’d passed over the idea of fossicking for rocks and minerals here almost completely, but while visiting friends in Kalbarri we went for a look at some old lead mining areas near by and we found some lovely samples of lead and different forms of copper.
I’ve been tumbling rocks constantly for the last few months since I bought the tumbling kit. After years of collecting rocks while travelling around the country, it’s great to finally be able to see some of them at their best, polished and shining. These ones above were from Tassie along the north coast where there are a couple of fossicking areas, I believe most of them are jasper, though there’s some agate in there and petrified wood as well.
Rainbow lattice sunstone is an amazing thing, looking closely at it, you’d swear it was man made, surely such perfect straight lines, all at the same angles, layered on top of each other couldn’t be natural. For those more technically minded, it’s a feldspar called perthite with lamellar and sagentic twinning of thin titanium iron oxide blades, much of this lattice has oxidized to display the iridescence effect.
For me it’s a pretty shiny rock, and I like pretty shiny rocks.
I’ve done some driving in the last week or two, I’m sitting at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory and it’s about 36 in the shade. Strange to think that only a couple of weeks back I was suffering from the cold back in Tingha, in fact I still have the little fan heater out in the back of the troopy, figure I could pack it away now as nights rarely get to 10 or less. The picture above was somewhere in Northern Queensland just before dawn, the sky was the bluest blue I’ve seen in a long time.
It’s been a long hiatus between posts and much has happened since my last post. After leaving Tassie and returning to my van in Learmonth near Ballarat I sold my Landcruiser 200 series and prepared the Troopy for an adventure – the big lap of Australia in the troopy. Well at least that was the plan, however, things don’t always turn out how you plan them and I’m not sure whether I’ll make it around as I’m moving too slowly yet again.
Yeah sorry, another car picture. I pulled into a caravan park which seemed very full and I was about to turn around and leave till I saw another troopy parked by the water so figured I’d stay for a night. They had bought there’s many years ago as an x-camper and changed almost nothing on the vehicle, it was the old straight 6 with no turbo, only 2 years older than mine. I’d arrived back in Tassie at about 5 in the morning, it was dark and foggy and I’d had very little sleep laying down on a couch in the ferry.
I was moving fairly quickly across the top of Tasmania, the good thing about this state is that everything is so close together, it doesn’t take long to move around although the roads are generally very small and windy. I’m so glad that I didn’t bring the caravan over here. From the Weld river it was only a short drive of about 30km up to Gladstone where there was a fossicking area for smokey quartz.
Ahh Tasmania, lush and green with rain forests filled with ferns and mosses, there are some fantastic walks through varied scenery ranging from sparse open dry forests, through to mountain heaths and deep lush areas, as well as rugged coastal cliffs and beautiful beaches. It really is a land of extremes down here with the only constant being that it remains cool most of the time. Though even the weather has it’s extremes, when it’s cloudy it’s cold, but then within seconds the cloud can clear and the sun is scorching hot. This means that you seem to be constantly putting on and taking off layers of clothes.
Back in Victoria and I’ve been rather slack in not posting on the blog for well over a month. I spent about a month in the vicinity of Tingha fossicking for many different shiny rocks and I had planned to write a very long blog post explaining my fossicking experiences around the area. I have written a lot of the post, but it’s taking a long time and I haven’t organized much in the way of any photo’s for the post either, so we’re skipping it for the moment, to be finished at a later date.
Corrugated dirt roads, termite mounds, cattle and harsh country, that’s what it’s all about up this way, and the clouds starting to roll in as the wet season approaches. This is Mount Surprise, or more precisely, O’Brien’s creek which is 35km further down this little dirt road. I arrived here at about 3 in the afternoon after two days of driving and what a joy. The campsite here is huge, it’s $10 a night per person and includes toilets and showers, rubbish bins and good clean drinking water if you need it. The campsite is right on Elizabeth creek and it’s magnificent, a huge variety of birds live around the area and galahs make a lot of boisterous noise early in the mornings and late in the afternoons.