Also known as The Copper Triangle, the towns of Kadina, Wallaroo and Moonta market themselves as such for tourism. The area was the backbone of the South Australian economy when copper was discovered and mines opened up in the area in the late 1800’s. The copper was high grade closer to the surface but the deeper they went the lower the grade and eventually the mines began to close during the 1920’s as it became unviable.
The 3 towns, each within 15 to 20 kilometres of each in a triangle boast impressive museums and each compliments the others in their draw cards. Kadina is the largest centre with an impressive shopping precinct houses The Farm Shed Museum, while the coastal town of Wallaroo is home to a Heeitage and Nautical Museum, with Moonta having the Moonta mines Museum.
Wallaroo is also the eastern port for the ferry service spanning the Spencer Gulf across to Cowell.
Moonta, where I stayed for 3 nights was one of my favourite towns in Australia. A big call yes. Very friendly townsfolk, nice little shopping precinct, impeccably presented houses with neat clean streets. It is situated about 3km from the beaches at Moonta Bay and Port Hughes.
The mine museum was packed with information. Unfortunately it was quiet the afternoon I was there and the volunteer lady manning the desk followed me around for the first hour giving me a running commentary on everything I was trying to read. I think she was lonely. I was periodically saved when other visitors came in to pay and I tried to hide in another section of the museum but alas she found me every time. The museum is housed in the old School of Mines buildings.
When copper was discovered, miners from a England and in particular Cornwall were encouraged to emigrate and so Moonta has a rich Cornish heritage. Known as “Australia’s Little Cornwall”, the three towns host the biennial Kernewek Lowender Copper Coast Cornish Festival, the worlds largest Cornish Festival, held in odd numbered years in May.
Oh and the traditional Cornish pasties found in some of the cafes and bakeries here are to die for.