About

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

Leila Day is a multifaceted individual with diverse talents and contributions to the arts, tourism, and community development in the Far North region of South Australia.

As an opal gouger, artist, and tour guide, Leila is deeply immersed in the unique culture and landscape of the Andamooka Opal Fields region. Her expertise in opal cutting and her artistic endeavours, which span various media including acrylics, photography, graphic design, and opal itself, reflect her deep connection to the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

In addition to her artistic pursuits, Leila is actively involved in various organisations and committees. She serves as the Chair of the SA Arid Lands Kingoonya Landscape Group and a Chair of the Flinders Ranges and Outback Tourism Marketing Committee South Australia Tourism (FRO). Her involvement in these bodies demonstrates her commitment to promoting sustainable tourism and economic development in the region.

Significant achievements and collaborations have marked Leila’s artistic journey. In 2021, she was accepted to the Country Arts SA Regional Artist Retreat, where she had the opportunity to explore new ideas and collaborations with fellow artists from diverse backgrounds. She has also represented the Andamooka Opal Field Region in the Regional Development Australia Far North’s ‘Rising Stars’ Program, highlighting her dedication to regional development and cultural exchange.

One of Leila’s notable artistic projects is her innovative approach to presenting raw opal using resins and polymer clay. This creative endeavour showcases her ability to combine traditional craftsmanship with modern techniques, resulting in unique and visually stunning works of art.

Leila’s commitment to sharing her passion for art, opal, and the night skies of Andamooka is evident in her participation in exhibitions and events. Her ‘Blacklight Eromanga Sea Exhibition,’ held at the Roxby Downs Art Gallery in 2021, featured sculptures, canvases, and jewellery inspired by the marine creatures of Australia’s ancient inland sea. She has also collaborated with local artists on projects such as ‘The Good, The Twisted and the Unearthed’ and ‘Amorphous,’ showcasing her rich diversity of artistic talent.

Leila’s contributions extend beyond the arts. She is also actively involved in organisations such as the Space Industry Association of Australia, the Astronomical Society of South Australia, and the Mars Society of Australia. Her passion for astronomy and space exploration is reflected in her work as a tour guide at the Andamooka Observatory, where she shares her knowledge of the night skies with visitors.

In summary, Leila Day’s diverse talents, creative vision, and dedication to her community make her a true asset to the Far North region of South Australia. Through her art, involvement in tourism and regional development, and passion for astronomy, she continues to inspire others and enrich the cultural fabric of her surroundings.

 

   

 

 

 

 

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 since 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, and the Mars Society of Australia (MSA).

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.