- 1 Agate, Sapphires, Topaz, Galore. Fossils, Icecream, Games and More at the Lismore Gemfest!
- 2 Pretty but don’t touch!
- 3 Crystal Hunting and Gem Fossicking
- 4 Fun party game for the kids
- 5 More!
- 6 What’s on offer inside the great hall
- 7 Raffles, food, and lucky gate prizes
- 8 Toadstool Rating (by the kids)
- 9 Google map link
- 10 The Inside Scoop
- 11 City Essentials
Agate, Sapphires, Topaz, Galore. Fossils, Icecream, Games and More at the Lismore Gemfest!
Looking for a family friendly activities to do when you are in Byron Bay or the Gold Coast? Then keep an eye out for this event. The annual Lismore Gemfest is on again Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th May at the Lismore Showgrounds. My kids LOVE this event and so do Roam the Gnome and I. It’s only $5 entry for adults, $1 for kids, and under 5’s are free and you’ll find plenty to do. It’s the biggest rural show in NSW. Wow. The Lismore showgrounds that plays host to this event has retro-style showground buildings, animal stables, and sheds. It’s so Australian! Laid back country living at its’ best.
Because it was held quite close to the Byron hippie heartland, I assumed this place would be filled with bright and colourful ‘hippies’. If I’m really honest, I expected lots of dreadlocks, barefeet, flowing skirts, the smell of patchouli, and that I’d be walking along to the beat of reggae. So I was quite surprised to see that this was not the case at all. Turns out ‘gem collecting’ is big serious business and there are LOTS of people who travel the country, from digging site to digging site (fossicking might be the more accurate term) on their quest to find precious gems. Then they meet up at these kinds of events all around Australia to sell their finds to other gem lovers.
Pretty but don’t touch!
There are LOTS of different treasures for sale along the main drag of stalls. Fossils, meteorites, agate slices, rainbow-painted fordite, and huge crystallised chunks of amethyst. This section is the tricky bit when you are there with kids- to navigate all those pretty stones and bright sparkly things WITHOUT TOUCHING? Almost impossible. Come prepared with a stroller to contain that touchy-feely toddler! A few of the stall holders can be a bit grouchy towards the kids, and over-the-top protective of their wares, even when the bigger kids are only looking, and not touching, and that’s never fun.
We took a quick look as we wandered by, and then headed straight towards the kids activities where they can dig in and get more hands-on with the stones.
Crystal Hunting and Gem Fossicking
Heaven for kids. This, plus the ice-cream before we left, was the highlight of their day and they spent about an hour sitting on the grass searching and digging. Hot tip: Grab a delicious takeaway chai before you pay your $2 for this activity, then everyone will be happy. The lovely people manning the stall didnt even charge for Jack but gave him his own pair of tweezers and bag to collect treasures too. Those generous acts of kindness always make my day when travelling out and about with the boys.
Fun party game for the kids
You could easily replicate this Lismore Gemfest activity at home for a kid’s party. You just need a big bag of fine stones or gravel (fish tank gravel is perfect), a small bag of tiny crystals to sprinkle through the gravel, a bucket of water to soak them in before you scoop, some carpet squares or hessian to lay the stones on during the dig, and some pairs of tweezers. These plastic ones are perfect. Look out for them in chemists, or you might find a supply for sale at the Lismore Gemfest if you look hard enough.
Indoors, the kids could look at their gems under the microscope, as well as have a turn at dry fossicking for gems with this sifter. Ned and Jack thought this game was great fun.
What’s on offer inside the great hall
There’s also the Great Hall of Gems in the showground hall. We found the vendors in this hall to be much more kid-friendly and tolerant of children who’ve just stumbled upon THE BEST TREASURE SHOP IN THE WORLD! Look at all those tumbled stones. It’s a rainbow! There’s also plenty of treasures behind lock and key in glass cabinets here, so the children could gaze at sapphires, gold nuggest, precious jewellery, and opals to their heart’s content. We let the boys choose a bag of tumbled stones each here for a couple of dollars each.
Raffles, food, and lucky gate prizes
Bring cash and eat lunch on site. There’s quite a few food trucks here and you can choose between hot potatoes, sausage sandwiches, pies, wraps, and other goodies. Plus there’s ice cream. Don’t forget the ice cream.
Toadstool Rating (by the kids)
*Look out for ‘Lismore Speedway’ on the map below*
The Inside Scoop
Parking is on-street around the showground and is free. Be careful as you cross the road to go in. Hold their hands. It’s pretty busy with cars and people all about.
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