Andamooka began its life in 1930 when two boundary riders discovered opal on Andamooka Station. Fast forward to today, and this quirky desert hub is a wonderland of discovery. Experience opal mining, astrophotography, astronomy, wildlife, wildflowers, birding, or fossicking for fossils, gems and gold. Andamooka is famous for Opalised Fossils.
The Andamooka opal fields are the most accessible in Australia, just a short drive from Roxby Downs and a quick flight from Adelaide to Olympic Dam, but their ease of access doesn't take away from the beauty of this town. Join an Andamooka Underground Opal Mining tour or a nocturnal tour at the Andamooka Observatory. Take a self-guided town tour starting at the Opal Mining Machinery display, and look for opals along Opal Creek Boulevard. You can also discover Andamooka’s unique ‘matrix opal’ or the rare beauty of the famous local crystal opal. See Karkaroo the Andamooka Plesiosaur, an astonishing opalised fossil on display in the Andamooka Opal Underground Museum.
If the joy of this opal town wasn't enough, South Australia's only known dinosaur, Kakuru kujani, was also discovered in Andamooka some time during the early 1970s. Australia is the only place in the world where you find opalised fossils, which are the bones of a small carnivorous dinosaur species Kakuru kujani have been replaced by precious opal. Kakuru is a genus of theropod dinosaur that lived 110 million years ago during the early Cretaceous Period.
See local art studios, museums, and the main street's Heritage-listed precinct. You also can't miss Andamooka Observatory an off-grid art space/observatory that offers astronomy, opal mining, and tag-along Ngarndamukia (Lake Torrens) tours.
Dazzlingly white under a blue sky, the usually dry Lake Torrens, a 5700-square-kilometre salt lake, is only accessible by 4WD via a 15km track from Andamooka. Don’t drive on the surface; it might look firm, but it’s not!