The characteristic outback town of Andamooka (only 30 kms from Roxby Downs on a sealed road) is well worth the drive. Beautiful opals and jewellery are showcased, there are mine tours and excellent facilities. It is a warm hearted multi-cultural community of many different nationalities and visitors are most welcome.
Andamooka opal, considered the most stable in the world, is mined close to town, extending out to 24 fields, giving the area the appearance of a lunar landscape. Opals presented to the Queen came from here. Matrix opal (mostly treated to enhance the colour) is unique to the district.
Opal was discovered by two stockmen from Andamooka Station in 1930 who saw bright flashes of colour on a hillside after a thunderstorm. It was during the Depression years and prospective miners walked or came by whatever means they could to this exciting find.
Several heritage cottages remain on the banks of the creek in the centre of town. The early miners’ ingenuity in using building materials to hand and in the furnishings is quite remarkable. The cottages are open for tours on demand – ask at Andamooka Post Office.
In the early days mining was by pick and shovel. Today bulldozers carve their way down to the Opalised “level’ – the ancient seabed where opal was formed 70 million years ago.
The stunning Addyman Plesiosaur opal fossil on display at the South Australian Museum was found here.
The ‘Ettamoga Pub’, just out of town, was made famous by Bill McDougall, a colourful character who raised thousands of dollars for the Royal Flying Doctor.
Lake Torrens with its glistening layer of salt is a short drive away. Ask locally about tours and information on the “Torrens Track”.
Andamooka Opal Festival is held on the long weekend in October each year.