Leila and Conan are owner/operators of the Andamooka Observatory. We live in Andamooka all year and don’t close over the summer; we go more nocturnal. Our family-owned tour business can create personalised and private itineraries that take our guests into one of Australia’s last Outback frontiers: the Andamooka Opal Fields. Our bespoke premium tours are ideal for guests who want a pristine desert experience, sensational starry nights, fine food and wine, vast open spaces, abundant wildlife, and marvel at Australia’s national gemstone: Opal.
We can customise private tours to include delicious bush tucker banquets and beverages, searching for opal with LED Ultraviolet flashlights, opal mining, paleontology, opal cutting lessons, birding, sunsets, stargazing, and nocturnal tours.
The Andamooka Observatory was ranked second with the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in the South Australian Tourism Commission’s ‘Best Places to Stargaze in South Australia’.
“For a real taste of the outback, Andamooka has what you need. The town’s observatory has your star-gazing needs taken care of, but you can also go ‘opal noodling’, essentially fossicking for the gems in a town that was once a hub for the opal mining industry”. Vogue Magazine.
The Andamooka Observatory has also been featured on the Discovery Channel’s ‘Opal Hunters: Red Dirt Roadtrip’, Channel 10’s ‘The Project’, Channel 9, SKY, Channel 7, Channel 10, ABC News, social media, and radio.
Leila Day is an artist located in the Far North region of South Australia. She studied graphic design in Mildura at the Sunraysia Institute of TAFE from 2008 to 2010. Soon after, Leila moved to the Andamooka Opal Fields, living in Roxby Downs and working at the Olympic Dam mine for ten years. On her days off from work, Leila studies and learns about opal and the opal mining industry, including researching opal from its formation to the opal market, to folklore and opalised fossils, plus the earth sciences that come with it – palaeontology, geology, and gemology.
Leila applies this research to her art and has created sculptures of extinct sea creatures- jellyfish and belemnites that fluoresce under Ultraviolet light- just like Andamooka Opal. These sculptures began a series of exhibitions and events themed on the Eromanga Sea under the black light. They included installations in her underground opal mine, an exhibition at the Roxbylink Art Gallery and Cretaceous Creatures, a SALA 25TH anniversary exhibition at the Andamooka Observatory in conjunction with National Science Week.
Over 16 years living in South Australia’s Far North, Andamooka Opal Fields Region, Leila has collaborated with local and visiting artists, curated local arts and cultural events and focused on building a sustainable future in tourism, arts and culture for the region. Leila represents her region on boards such as the Outback Communities Authority, Flinders Ranges and Outback Tourism Marketing Committee, Kingoonya Landscape Group, Andamooka Opal Fields Tourism Association Inc (AOFTA), Roxby Downs Art Forum, Roxby Downs District Rotary Club and outside of running her own art business, is employed at the Andamooka Post Office as a Counter Operator and at the Andamooka Observatory as a Tour Guide.
Conan Fahey: opal gouger, international relations consultant and tour guide. Born in Katherine, NT, Conan grew up in Streaky Bay, Maitland, and Kangaroo Island and worked all over Australia and North Asia ( China, Korea and Japan). Conan enjoys sharing and explaining how the Andamooka Opal Fields ecosystem works. Conan first visited family in Andamooka in 1976 and has lived in Andamooka in the late 1980s, mid-1990s and currently since 2017. In between living in Andamooka Conan joined the Australian Army, went back to University and worked overseas for over a decade.
Conan is a board member of the SA Arid Lands Kingoonya Landscape Group, a board member of the Flinders Ranges and Outback South Australia Tourism Committee (FRO), a board member of the Andamooka Opal Fields Tourism Association Inc (AOFTA) and a BHP Olympic Dam’s Stakeholder Engagement Group member. In 2023, Conan competed in the Regional Development Australia Far North’s Leadership Development Program.
Conan is a member of the Space Industry Association of Australia, the Astronomical Society of South Australia (ASSA), the South Australian Museum, the Mars Society of Australia (MSA) and the Andamooka Lapidary Association.
Since e 2018, on Tuesday mornings @ 9.20 am on ABC North and West SA ‘Breakfast’, the Woomera Observatory’s Rebecca Tayler and Conan talk about what is new in space news and stargazing on the ABC Listen App, Andamooka 105.9 FM, Coober Pedy 106.1 FM, Leigh Creek 1602AM, Maree 105.7 FM, Port Pirie 639 AM, Roxby Downs 102.7 FM.