Located 160 kms west of Cunnamulla (bitumen road all the way), the township of Yowah is Australia’s best-kept secret. It is home to ironstone matrix and boulders called Yowah Nuts, which are cracked or sliced to reveal the “kernel” – hopefully one of solid opal, Australia’s gemstone.
Early miners have often missed such boulders, to the delight of visitors who benefit from “noodling” the old dumps. Some boulders have superbly intricate patterns without being opalised. Why not take a tour to the free fossicking area and search for your very own opals that you can take home with you. Cutting and polishing services are available for your find.
Artesian Waters Caravan Park
Artesian Waters Caravan Park is a family owned and operated park with large camping areas. A feature of the park is the open air artesian bath houses where you can experience the goodness of the warm waters while gazing at the night stars all in the privacy of your own secluded area. There are large shady areas and lots of room to move. If staying in Yowah be sure to book a tour to really understand the area and to get the most from your time in the area.
Artesian Waters Caravan Park
Ph: (07) 4655 4953
Restaurants Sweet “n” Short BK’S Restaurant
At Sweet “N” Short you will experience great outback hospitality and hearty food. Offering quality food for all occasions call in for morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.
All catering requirements can be catered for small or large groups. Tour and bus or coach bookings welcome and local tours can also be arranged. Booking essential!
Sweet “N” Shortt
7 Boobialla Street
Ph: (07) 4655 4793
Barb Mob: 0439 665 029
Scott Mob: 0438 746 980
A trip to Yowah is not complete unless you visit the Yowah Gallery where owners Trafford and Val Hughes will welcome you and show you there extensive range of opals mined at Yowah. Also on display is a large selection of books, aboriginal art and local cards.
Trafford and Val Hughes
7 Whitewood Drive Yowah, Queensland
Ph/Fax (07) 4655 4714.
Trafford Mobile: 0427 554 4714
Val Mobile: 0400 323 847
Opal Mine Tour
Visit the outback opal mining town of Yowah and take a journey of a lifetime with two local families who pride themselves on providing a fabulous up close and personal tour giving you a real insight into the town and the opal industry. Fossick for your very own opal, learn how to do the Emu walk, visit Lovers Leap, the Bluff, Trafford and Vals Open cut mine Tour, Tour of the Yowah Gallery, Opal displays, Display of opal cutting and polishing. Meet some of the friendly faces of the locals on an exclusive adventure in the day of an opal miner.
Fossicking for the opal
The eastern part of the Fossicking Area has always been popular with tourists as a place to “speck” or “noodle” fragments of opal or ironstone matrix from the surface or shallow depth. In this area the main nut band appears to have been exposed at the surface, so that a layer of loose rubble of broken ironstone nut fragments covers the surface to a depth of about 600mm. Spotting chips of opal or fragments of matrix while digging through this material is relatively easy with a bit of practice.
Fuel is not freely available to travellers in Yowah with limited supply it is available only to patrons of the Artesian Waters Caravan Park. There are no gas facilities in Yowah, Cunnamulla, Eulo or Wyandra so if you require gas you should fill up at neighbouring towns prior to travelling.
Yowah is about 160km west of Cunnamulla. Travelling towards Thargomindah, turn off the right about 18km west of Eulo onto the Yowah/Toompine road and travel 48km via Alroy homestead to the Yowah-Quilpie turnoff. Continue a further 23km to Yowah; this last 23km is unsealed.
From Quilpie, drive 110km through Toompine to the Eulo/Yowah turnoff. Turn left and follow this mainly unsealed road for about 56km to the Yowah turnoff, and then continue the further 23km as above.
Industry Yowah Fossicking Area
The Yowah opal field, which includes the nearby area known as Black Gate is the southern-most opal mining centre of western Queensland; it is popular with tourists and fossickers as it has easy access from main roads and has shops, fuel, telephone, caravan park, and a permanent bore water supply. A small local population increases significantly during the winter season.
The Department established the Yowah Fossicking Area with the co-operation of the Paroo Shire Council and the landholder to provide for tourists and recreational fossicking.
To fossick you need to be the holder of a Fossicker’s License. Individual, family, club, educational institution and commercial tour operators’ licenses can be obtained for this area or the whole of the State for periods between one and twelve months, with fees varying accordingly.
Licenses can be obtained from Departmental offices (including that at Quilpie), the Paroo Shire Council, Cunnamulla or selected local businesses.
Hand tools only are permitted.
Several mining claims and mining leases are currently within the Fossicking Area (see map); these must not be entered without the permission of the holders. Pegs mark the corners of each tenure.
Camping is prohibited in the Yowah Fossicking Area.
A camping/caravan park is situated in the town of Yowah
The best time to visit the opal fields is April-September. Summer is best avoided due to the high temperatures and possible heavy rains making road access impossible in some areas. Road conditions should be checked with the RACQ or local police. Emergency supplies including food, water &first aid.