Outback opal hunters

Outback opal hunters

Posted by Australian Opal Direct on 27th Dec 2023


The Opal Mining Season is well under way in Outback Queensland. We would like to take you along on a ride through Opal country and share some of the sights as we drove to our Opal Mine located about 200 kilometers from Winton the capital of Boulder Opal in Queensland, Australia. As we began our drive, we came across the Dinosaur Stampede Road sign.

The Lark Quarry Trackways are located in Boulder Opal Country 110 km southwest of Winton on the way to Jundah. It captures a unique moment in time from 95 million years ago where over 150 small dinosaurs were confronted along a shallow waterway by a much larger predator in the form of a meat eating Theropod. The stampeding herd of smaller dinosaurs scattered in all directions leaving a chaotic mass of footprints in the mud as they made their escape. These footprints were lucky enough to be preserved and were discovered in the 1960s. This is a must-see attraction when visiting Winton.

Our next stop is the Jundah Road sign:

This is one of the most renowned Boulder Opal Fields stretching from Opalton southwest to the town of Jundah. The Opal Rush of 1895 saw Opalton's population surge. Today Opalton's permanent population is lucky to be 20. When asking an Opal Miner if there is any Opal left you typically hear them say "There is plenty of opal in the ground, the only thing is that it's mixed up with a lot of dirt!"

Stop #3: Traffic Hazard Ahead

When travelling the Outback and the Opal Fields of Queensland make sure you take care and are well prepared with enough food and water for an unexpected extended stay. A Four-Wheel Drive Vehicle is essential and be prepared with at least 2 spare tyres, a Sat Phone and a GPS is also advisable. If you do breakdown remember the cardinal rule to stay with your vehicle.

Stop #4: Waterhole with Dog

Oasis in the Desert - even a permanent waterhole is running low after a dry summer without rain. Matilda, the new addition to our Opal team, enjoys a swim in the waterhole that provides much needed sustenance to the wildlife in the Outback Queensland.

Stop #5: Old Road Sign

There is no Wi-Fi or GPS navigation out here! With tracks going every which way on the Opal Fields ensure you know where you are going or have a local navigator as one can easily get lost.

Stop #6: Sandstone Mesa or Jump Up

The ancient sandstone has been eroded away leaving sandstone hills covered with Spinifex grass which is typical of Boulder Opal Country

Stop #7: Mailman’s Waterhole - A famous staging post for Cobb and Co.

Mailman’s Waterhole, also known as a “billabong” in the desert, was a famous staging post for Cobb & Co to change horses because it was a permanent source of water. Cobb & Co was established in 1853 named after American Freeman Cobb who was the most well-known independent Australian coaching business of its time modelling it after Wells Fargo in America. Freeman Cobb brought the stagecoach to Australia thus enabling the bush to be connected to the major towns of the outback allowing for the transportation of people, mail and supplies. Mailman’s Waterhole was an important staging post connecting Longreach to the Opal Fields and further.

Stop #8: The Opalton Bush Park - A Popular Camping Spot

Opal was first discovered here by George Cragg in 1888 and Opalton became known for quantity as well as the quality of its opal. In 1899 the largest piece of opal ever recorded was mined from Opalton, a crystal pipe opal more than three meters long. Now Opalton is home to a much smaller community. Tourists are able to camp at the Opalton Bush Park and try their luck in the public fossicking area.

We loved having you along on our ride. Stay with us, there is much more to come.

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