Moonta Mines State Heritage Area, South Australian Tourism Commission

Population 3353

The towns of Moonta, Kadina and Wallaroo form the 'Copper Coast' or 'Little Cornwall', so called because of abundant copper finds and the significant Cornish population. Like so many other copper discoveries in South Australia, Moonta's was made by a local shepherd – in this case, Paddy Ryan in 1861. It was to prove a fortunate find: Moonta Mining Company paid over £1 million in dividends. Thousands of miners, including experienced labourers from Cornwall, flocked to the area. The mines were abandoned in the 1920s because of the slump in copper prices and rising labour costs. Moonta has survived as an agricultural service town with an increasing tourist trade.

Visitor Information

Railway Station, Blanche Tce; (08) 8825 1891

Nearby national parks

Nearby towns

  • Wallaroo

    Vast grain silos greet visitors to Wallaroo, a coastal town and shipping port on the west coast of Yorke Peninsula. The town is an...more

  • Kadina

    Kadina exists solely as a result of the digging habits of wombats. In 1860 upturned ground from wombat diggings revealed copper. This was...more

  • Maitland

    Maitland represents a much smaller version of the city of Adelaide, with the town layout in the same pattern of radiating squares. It is in...more

In Town

All Saints Church of England: features a locally constructed copper bell; Cnr Blanche and Milne tces.

Queen Square: park for picnics, with the imposing town hall opposite; George St.

Heritage walks and drives: self-guided trails to see heritage stone buildings and historic mine sites; brochure from visitor centre.


Moonta Mines State Heritage Area Take a historical walk or drive from Moonta to this significant heritage area. Interpretive walking trails guide the visitor to the major sites, including the Hughes Pump House, shafts, tailing heaps and ruins of mine offices. A 50 min historical railway tour runs from the museum (tours depart Wed 2pm, Sat and Sun 1–3pm on the hour, public/school holidays daily 11am–3pm on the hour). Also on the site is a historic 1880 pipe organ in the Moonta Mines Heritage Uniting Church; Cornish lifestyle history and memorabilia at the Moonta Mines Museum; and the National Trust furnished Miners Cottage and Heritage Garden. Open 1–4pm Mon–Sun. Enjoy old-style sweets at the Moonta Mines Sweet Shop. Via Verran Tce; 2 km SE.

Wheal Hughes Copper Mine: underground tour of a modern mine; tours Wed, Sat and Sun; Wallaroo Rd; (08) 8825 1891; 3 km N.

Moonta Bay: a popular seaside town for fishing and swimming. See native animals at the Moonta Wildlife Park; 5 km W.

Fishing spots near town

Wallaroo 17 km

The small SA seaport of Wallaroo, north of Moonta, offers an excellent base for anglers wanting to catch big snapper, King George whiting, Australian salmon and yellowtail kingfish. Many of the reef systems are close to... Find out more

Ardrossan 51 km

Located on the east side of the Yorke Peninsula, Ardrossan is bountiful water just 150 km west of Adelaide, so is a popular weekend fishing destination. Looking out on the long pier at Ardrossan, it’s striking how... Find out more

Port Broughton 62 km

Port Broughton is a favourite destination for anglers wanting to fish from charter boats. The boat ramp in the sheltered harbour is next to a small pier complex and is popular for small fish including salmon, Tommy ruff,... Find out more

Campsites around town

The Gap camping area 20 km

Several beachfront sites huddle among the dunes here, on the remote north-west coast. The water is easy to access – including for boat launching – and the long, dazzling stretch of beach to the north is... Find out more

The Bamboos camping area 22 km

There’s a varied coastline to discover here - rocky headlands, seagrass shallows, and white sand beaches. The camping is behind the dunes, 12 km north of Balgowan.... Find out more

Tiparra Rocks camping area 26 km

This is the first of 3 coastal-reserve camping areas, 4 km north of the seaside settlement of Balgowan. A crust of vivid red cliffs marks the edge of the peninsula south of this site. You’ll find lots of solitude... Find out more

Maitland Overnight Camping Bay 35 km

This small overnight caravan stop in the centrally located town of Maitland is just opposite the hospital at the northern end of Robert St.... Find out more

Port Arthur Roadside Rest Area 45 km

A shady, no-frills stop for weary travellers at the head of Gulf St Vincent, the rest area is close to mangrove flats where you might see wading birds at low tide. It’s just off the Port Wakefield–Yorketown... Find out more

Wauraltee Beach camping area 59 km

Go camping beside the wild sprawl of beach south of Port Victoria, a low-key fishing and swimming destination with large areas of coastal reserve to wander. The camping area is on the peninsula’s western flanks, 17... Find out more

Black Point camping area 68 km

Black Point’s sweep of north-facing beach is hugely popular at peak holiday periods. This small open area is right next to the boat ramp and main road at the western end of the housing strip; powered sites are... Find out more

Franklin Harbour camping area (bush camping) 69 km

Camping for self-sufficient campers is reached by 4WD via Wellington Rd. Bring your own everything.... Find out more

Port Julia Oval camping area 72 km

Basic community-supported camping is possible in the small coastal town of Port Julia, on the north-east coast. It’s a popular fishing and seasonal crabbing spot, 17 km north of Port Vincent off the coast road.... Find out more

Barkers Rocks camping area 73 km

Basic beachside camping is available on the narrow strip of coastal reserve between Port Rickaby and Bluff Beach. Being west-facing, it’s great for sunsets and beachcombing but there’s not much shelter in... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Port Broughton Caravan Park 60 km

A large park on the waterfront at the small town of Port Broughton, this is ideal for a quiet break or for fishing and crabbing. Bookings are required in peak periods, and a minimum-length stay period applies at Easter... Find out more

Cowell Foreshore Caravan Park and Holiday Units 74 km

Located on the foreshore at the end of the main street, this park is ideally situated for those who enjoy walking everywhere. Fresh Cowell oysters are on sale at reception. Bookings are required from January to April,... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Lake Lochiel rest area 56 km

82km S of Warnertown (L) or 33km N of Port Wakefield (R)

Just off the highway and overlooking the lake.

Inkerman North rest area 63 km

12km S of Port Wakefield (L)

Just off the highway. For southbound only.

Inkerman South rest area 66 km

22km N of Dublin (L)

Just off the highway. For northbound only.

Snowtown North rest area 68 km

62km S of Warnertown (L)

Under trees just off the highway. For southbound only.

Cowell park area 74 km

At Cowell

On the foreshore at the end of the main street through town.

What's on around town

Kernewek Lowender: prize-winning Cornish festival held with Kadina and Wallaroo; odd-numbered years, May.

Moonta Garden Fair: Oct.

Moonta Antiques and Collectible Fair: Nov.

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