So. Emerald. What can Google, Wikipedia and the Red Cross situation reports tell me about my destination?
Emerald is a fairly large country town of around 11,000 people, that was established in 1879 as a base for the building of Queensland’s western railway. The town is named after ‘Emerald Downs Hill’, and not an emerald mine. This is a disappointment to me. However nearby are the Sapphire Gemfields, the largest, and one of the richest, sapphire fields in the southern hemisphere.
Emerald is at about 23 degrees south in latitude, which is just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. I love going to the tropics, but usually expect exotic cocktails with little umbrellas in, azure blue waters and palm trees to be part of the scene. Rio de Janeiro is at 23 degrees south. Havana in Cuba is at 23 degrees north. You get the idea.
To get to Emerald, I fly direct from Brisbane on a 90-minute flight by turbo-prop aircraft. It is about 1,000km north-west as the crow flies, about the same as flying from Zürich to London. If I was flying from Melbourne it would be a little further than flying from Malaga to London.
With over 12 metres of river water still flooding the town and several hundred people still evacuated from their homes, I am not sure what to expect from this trip. I am fairly sure it will not involve cocktails with little umbrellas in them though.