Steeped in history and just 165 kilometres from Adelaide, Moonta was South Australia's second largest town in its heyday. Moonta's origins in 1861 were very fortunate - a shepherd noticed traces of copper on a wombat burrow, which led to the establishment of the Moonta Mining Company that soon became one of the richest copper mines in Australia.
The ensuing flood of skilled miners from Cornwall changed South Australia's cultural mix. Apart from contributing to an economic explosion, the immigrants brought us Cornish architecture and the delicious Cornish pasties. Today, one of the things Moonta is most famous for is its Cornish pasties which can be found at the local bakeries and cafes.
Moonta has many beautiful old buildings, churches and historical sites. The Moonta Mines Museum located in the former Moonta Mines Model School, circa 1878, contains works on the life on a miner, with a very hands-on approach for kids and is well worth a visit.
The main street has a variety of shops open seven days a week including antiques, gifts, cafes and hotels. The Moonta Gallery of the Arts in the Town Hall exhibits local artists with exhibitions changing every month.
Things to do:
- Moonta Mines National Heritage Area.
- Take to the Moonta Mines Walking Trails, or ride the 50-minute round trip on the Moonta Mines Tourist Railway. Both are a great way to take in some of the Moonta Mines National Heritage Area.
- The Moonta Mines Tourist Office located in the former Railway Station can help with all the must see and do's of the area.
- Kernewek Lowender, held every 2 years in Moonta, Kadina & Wallaroo
- Discover your family history at the Family History Research Centre.
- Moonta Gallery of the Arts
- Visit the Moonta Mines Sweets Shop for some old-style lollies.
A legacy of the areas amazing history is the Kernewek Lowender, the world's biggest Cornish festival held every two years in odd numbered years. It's a festival of all things Cornish from the Swanky (miner's beer) and Cornish pasties to street processions, dance, music, theatre, a vintage car rally and more.
Port Hughes and Moonta Bay are close neighbours with the Port Hughes jetty offering excellent fishing opportunities.