Fossils and opals

Discover what's under the surface

Imagine an underwater reef ten times higher than the Great Barrier Reef. Imagine a marsupial with fist-sized molars. Imagine a two and half metre lizard-like marine reptile with razor sharp teeth.

Fossil experience, Arabunna Cultural Tours, South Australia

More than 100 million years ago, inland Australia was a vast sea, full of ancient life forms. The waters have long gone but amazing fossils remain. The underground town of Coober Pedy is a fossil haven and the opal capital of the world.

Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy Coober Pedy

In the opal mining outpost of Coober Pedy, half the population lives in underground dugouts to escape high temperatures in summer. A fascinating and friendly place to visit, it's a must-do on your outback holiday. Coober Pedy’s surface is likened to the plains of the moon and is rich in fossils. It's one of only a few places in the world where you'll find baby Plesiosaur fossils. Try your luck at opal "noodling" (fossicking) at various spots around town then buy up big at more than 30 shops.

Arid Areas Tours

Arid Areas Tours Arid Areas Tours

Arid Areas Tours offers small group and personalised tours of Coober Pedy and the surrounding areas. On the Coober Pedy tour, get out in the dust at an opal field and see how this elusive gemstone is mined and processed to the finished product. Try your luck by "noodling" your own precious stone. Tours can be adapted to meet your requirements or personalised to suit your plans and include the Breakaways, Painted Desert, Manguri, William Creek and Lake Eyre

Desert Cave Tours

Desert Cave Tours Desert Cave Tours

Desert Cave Tours offer a variety of tours in and around the famous opal mining town, Coober Pedy. The tours are only limited by your imagination. Experience the beauty of outback landscapes. Tours include Coober Pedy town and scenic tours, opal discovery and mail run day tour. On the four-hour opal digging tour, you will be able to access working mine fields and will be fitted out with a hard hat, torch and handpick as you mine your own opal.

Flinders Ranges National Park

Flinders Ranges National Park Flinders Ranges

The Flinders Ranges National Park is one of South Australia's most popular destinations. This area is world-renowned for its geological history, Aboriginal rock art sites, impressive fossils and ruins from early European settlement. The park is located in the Flinders Ranges between the townships of Hawker and Blinman. The park offers a wide range of activities including bushwalking, camping, scenic touring, bird watching and Aboriginal and European cultural experiences.

Umoona Opal Mine and Museum

Umoona Opal Mine and Museum Umoona Opal Mine and Museum

Umoona Opal Mine and Museum is Coober Pedy's largest underground and only award-winning tourism attraction. The museum has information on Aboriginal and European settlement in the area and fossils from the South Australian Museum are on display. Take a guided tour and experience underground living in a display home or dig for opal in the authentic mine. Visit the retail showroom for exclusive opal jewellery and opalised fossils.

Things to do

Here are some great ideas for you to try while you’re in the area.

What's on

There are plenty of events on in the Flinders Ranges. Here are some ideas you might like.

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