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Published April 25th 2013
Step back in time, see how miners lived & strike it lucky
Voted South Australia's best tourist attraction in 2011, The Old Timers Mine & Museum has won a string of awards for being a unique attraction in this area.
If you only have a short amount of time in Coober Pedy (or longer) then definitely visit the old-timers mine and museum to get a real feel of the culture and history of this amazing location.
The beginning of our adventure into the Old Timers Mine. *Image copyright Lesley Mitchell
The mine is an original opal mine dating back to 1916.
The name refers to the old time miners who backfilled the shafts and were hidden in the mine below. No one really knows why they never returned to get out the opal that was still waiting for them.
In 1968 the mine was accidentally found when locals were renovating their underground home and broke through revealing a great deal of precious opal, which you can still see for yourself today.
If you do not want to go down the mine, you can still visit the showroom and see some magnificent opals and opal jewellery and perhaps noodle in the pit to find some gems for yourself. You will be warmly welcomed by the owners here, who have friendly outgoing personalities and great history to share with you.
Friendly and knowledgeable owners who even make some of the jewellery.
Some of the amazing colours and patterns of opal.
Unique pieces to peruse and purchase.
Some of the beautiful jewellery available
However if you can possibly spend the time to visit the mine, I would strongly suggest it.
Upon arrival you will be given a souvenir map for each of the participants. I visited with my two children and they had a great time here. They took it in turns to read out the information in each of the points as they went through the map, hunting for the numbers that told them where to look.
They were having so much fun they did not realise that they were being educated about a great deal of Australia's history and underground life while using their 'treasure' maps.
An easy walk through experience.
They were delighted to discover that as they left the mine, they were to go into another underground sections and find themselves in an underground house. As they explored the different rooms, they talked about what life must have been like in the past for the early people and reflected on how many luxuries they take for granted these days.
They were certainly feeling rather blessed with their lives as we left, but also enthralled and fascinated by their experiences.
On the very next long trip we took, they pulled out their computers and started playing Minecraft, but this time I overheard the teenager say "don't bother me I'm building a dugout".
An historical step back in time. *Image copyright Lesley Mitchell
You can take a self guided tour here at any time without booking between 9 AM and 5:30 PM.
They have free blower demonstrations at 9:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM
Inside you can see Coober Pedy's largest painted lady opal and marvel at the size and majesty of such a discovery.
You can even search through the 'noodling' area to see if you can find some treasures for yourself.
Noodle away to your hearts content.*Image copyright Lesley Mitchell
Entry fees are
$15 for adults and children under 16 are $5
Concession rates at $12.50
Family ticket is $40 and you can rent audio guides for $3.
Are available throughout the town that you can pick up.
The continuous self-guided tour maps are available in
Japanese French Italian German Dutch Chinese Korean and Hebrew
The Old Timers mine is located at
Crowders Gully Road
You can address them at
PO Box 711, Coober Pedy, South Australia 5723