This unique town of miner’s homes and semi-dugouts nestles on a honeycomb of underground diggings in a field famous for the quality of its gemstones.
Andamooka is 600 kilometres north of Adelaide and visitors today will discover that underneath its rugged exterior, like the rough opal itself, there is a wealth of warmth and colour.
There are a variety of things to do and see here. Discover Andamooka’s unique ‘matrix opal’ or the rare beauty of the famous local crystal opal. Buy directly from the miners at one of the opal showrooms in town or from The Bottle House (built in 1972), eliminating the middleman and saving dollars. You can buy painted opals from Hilda, and art from resident artist Alex Mendelsohn. Visit Don’s to see a fascinating collection of rocks and fossils or ask for a tour of the early miners and buyers cottages in the centre of town (listed on South Australia’s Heitage Register). Don Clark is a long term resident, as is Inge Duke from the post office who also offers cottage tours.
Try ‘noodling’ (fossicking) for your own piece of elusive opal, but please check you are not on somebody’s ‘pegged’ claim and always be alert as there are many old mine shafts around. Visit the vast, usually dry salt lake of Lake Torrens, the satellite opal fields of White Dam or the remote Stuart Creek opal diggings for a taste of the real outback. Take a two hour self drive tour of the opal fields with Erica of the Rainbow Opal Showroom and see how and where the opal miners live and work.
Relax at the Tuckerbox or Opal Hotel for meals or a refreshing drink, or explore this tiny opal mining town and unusual lunar like landscape by foot. Andamooka is the gateway for four wheel drive vehicles connecting with the Oodnadatta or Birdsville Tracks, or taking the Farina Adventure Trail and linking up to the Flinders Ranges.
Andamooka opal adorned the hemline of the year 2001 “Opal Dress” worn by Olympian Tatiana Grigorieva; a breathtaking beauty valued at AUD500,000 and housed at the South Australian Museum.
The opal fields were discovered in 1930 by two drovers from Andamooka Station who saw flashes of brilliant colour on a hillside after a rare thunderstorm. Opal is still mined in close proximity to the town and extends into 24 fields, giving the area a fascinating moon-like appearance. Andamooka is the only town in Australia where none of the streets are named and the main thoroughfare is built in a creek bed.
Activites and Experiences at Andamooka
- Off Road Driving
- Accommodation Andamooka Dukes Bottle House MotelCamping GroundOpal Fields Caravan ParkAndamooka Opal HotelAndamooka MotelRainbow Opal Bed and Breakfast
- Bottled Gas
- Public Bar
- Medical Facilities
- Post Office
- Takeaway Food
- Places of Worship Andamooka Community Church (non-denominational)Andamooka Bible ChurchRoxby Downs/ Andamooka Assembly of GodRoxby Downs Catholic Parish