Mt Isa is a fairly large mining town in north-western Queensland.
It is an isolated place miles from the
coasts, too hot during the summer and too cold during the winter, but
it’s a fun place to visit. The whole town is dominated by the world’s
largest silver and led mine – the only reason for the towns size and
The town. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.
Mt Isa Mine
Whatever you do here – even if you’re just passing through the town,
you cannot miss the mines. The tall chimneys tower the city,
and everything in the city, including tourism, is dominated by the
the miners are working in the huge underground
mine, you can go on a tour and watch them working and learn everything
about what is mined here and what the miners’ work is like. There are
both surface and underground tours, and if that’s not enough, just east
of the mines is the John Middlin Mining Display & Visitors
where there is more information about mining.
The mine. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.
The Old Hard Times Mine and Kalkadoon Tribal Centre
can buy different tours (you can also have an underground
breakfast, lunch or dinner included if you want) to the mines at
Outback at Isa. Outback at Isa is the new tourist information centre
where there is also the old Hard Times Mine, Riversleigh Fossil Centre,
the Kalkadoon Tribal Centre, a souvenir shop and displays about the
town's history, background of its different nationalities and
information about the surrounding nature. At the Kalkadoon Tribal
Centre you can learn about the history of the Kalkadoon Aboriginal
Fossils from Riversleigh Fossil Field
At the Riversleigh Fossil Centre you can learn all about the
extraordinary fossils taken here from the Riversleigh Fossil Field in
the southern section of Lawn Hill National Park 250km north of Mount
Isa. Riversleigh Fossil Field is a rare and internationally renowned
fossil site where a large amount of megafauna (like huge kangaroos,
and other marsupials,
and huge flightless birds which were
the ancestors of emus)
fossils have formed over millions of years
thanks to the high concentration of dolomite (calcium carbonate) that
happens to be
found here and in north-eastern Northern
Territory. In the Riversleigh Fossil
Centre in the Outback at Isa you can meet scientists who will tell you
all about the fossils, and you can walk through a man-made Miocene
forest, complete with animals.
The Undergound Museum
North of the Outback at Isa is the town’s lookout where you can get
some great photos of the mine and the town centre. East of it is the
School of the Air, where you can go
on a tour and see teachers sitting in front of computers teaching
outback children in their homes. And west of the Outback at Isa is the
Underground Museum and Arilla Paper Enterprise where you can see
Aboriginal artists in the action. In the Underground Museum there are
some good displays of old mining equipment and gives you an interesting
insight to what the mines were like in the old days.
The Undergound Hospital
There is another interesting underground museum – an underground
hospital from the days of WWII. Mount Isa was only 20 years old when
Darwin was bombed by the Japanese in the WWII.
Isa could be the next target, and miners volunteered to dig out the
rooms for an underground hospital which could be used in case of an
attack. Luckily it never needed to be used in the purpose for which it
was built, but it’s complete with medical, surgical and maternity
facilities and today you can visit it as a museum.
Lake Moondarra and Accommodation
North of Mount Isa is Lake Moondarra, a great place for fishing in a
country so far from a beach. You cannot camp at the lake (the gates to
it are closed during the night), but Lake Moondarra Caravan Park is not
far from it.
Night views. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to
Mount Isa Rodeo
The town is also known for Australia’s largest rodeos in August each
year when horse riders and others come here from the whole world and
put on some spectacular rides.
Rodeo. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.
Here's a map of Mount Isa, where I have
places that I mentioned on this web page. You can click on the tags to
see what places they are, and double-click anywhere on the map to zoom
it in and see the places closer. Drag the map to move around, and if
you want to see the satellite image with Google Earth, click on "Sat"
in the top right hand corner.
This site uses
British English, which is the English we use in Australia. You will
find words like "traveller", "harbour" and "realise", and they are all
correct in the language used in Australia.
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