Welcome to Lucy's collection of ideas and adventures designed to inspire others to get off the couch and explore our local environment.
Published October 16th 2013
Calling all crystal enthusiasts
Half way between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, lies a hidden treasure for families in more ways than one. Not only is this a welcome road side stop off, the kids will be entertained for hours, trying to find crystals among all the rocks. Children of all ages will throw themselves at the "scratch patch" searching for the "golden nugget" (a chunk of pyrite) which will earn them $10 spending money in the Opals Down Under gift shop.
Next time you drive along The Bruce Highway, take the Aussie World turn off and follow the signs to Opals Down Under. As you walk into the gift shop, you can purchase large ($12) or small ($8) plastic containers which you can fill with as many crystals and semi precious stones as you can fit inside (with the lid on) - but the catch is, you have to dig for them.
There are three separate gem fossicking areas, composed of different materials (such as sand, rocks and pebbles). You can select from a range of different digging tools and sifting equipment, just like a true outback miner. At the end, there is a washing station so you can choose your favourite crystals and squeeze them into the container provided. I enjoyed the educational aspect of the place and pointed out the detailed diagrams of how opal is mined to the children, but in truth they were more interested in fossicking than anything else.
The shop is a great spot to purchase any crystals you may not have found in the scratch patch and there is a shady garden with picnic tables should you wish to enjoy a light snack. Small children will enjoy climbing on the giant tortoise sculpture and boys will especially appreciate the resident dinosaur.
After all that fossicking, my kids spent a long time in the car, studying the crystal guide (which was thoughtfully provided) to match the names with the crystals they had found all by themselves - Tiger's Eye, Rose Quartz and Sodalite are some which found their way into our ever expanding collection. This really is a great place to spend some time, particularly if you have anyone with an interest in crystals in your family.