5 places you can dig for fossils in Australia
Updated: Nov 5
Did you know that Australia is filled with fossils? The country is home to the fossilized remains of large extinct mammals, gigantic sea creatures and different species of dinosaurs. Pack your caravan with your best mate and your kids and head into the outback on an Australian fossil-finding expedition on your next holiday.
Where to find fossils in Australia
Where: Lightning Ridge, New South Wales
Fossils you can find: Plant, marine and dinosaur fossils
Deep in the heart of outback NSW is Lightning Ridge, home to the prized and rare black opal. It's also home to the Lightning Ridge Fossil Dig~one of the most unique fossil-hunting opportunities on the planet. It’s the only place in the world to find opalized fossils and you can join their week-long fossil dig to learn about and search for opalized plant and animal fossils. Lessons in fossil preservation and casting techniques are included, as are lectures about dinosaur hunting, opals and mining. It’s your chance to be part of a truly significant fossil location.
2. Kronosaurus Korner
Where: Richmond, Queensland
Fossils you can find: Plesiosaurs, ancient fish, reptiles and dinosaurs
Millions of years ago, Richmond was underwater and part of a large inland sea. Marine reptiles and fish dominated the sea and their remains can still be found in the area. Kronosaurus Korner is your Richmond fossil headquarters. Start with a tour of the museum which houses over 1,000 marine fossils dating back over 100 million years. Go fishing for fossils by joining the guided Digging @ Dawn tour for guaranteed finds or purchase a permit at the visitor center to try your luck.
Where: Winton, Queensland
Fossils you can find: Sauropod dinosaurs and dinosaur footprints
Dinosaurs used to roam Winton and evidence of their dominance is still being found today. At the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, you can see Australia's largest, and most complete theropod and sauropod. The center also houses a sauropod tracksite and invites visitors right into the fossil prep lab. For a more immersive experience, the Australian Age of Dinosaurs hosts a yearly dinosaur dig that is hugely popular. If you don’t want to brave the elements and bush flies, you can also get your hands on actual fossils by taking part in their Prep-a-dino lab experience. This aspect of paleontological work is important in the preservation and identification of fossils. Find out more about the Australian Age of Dinosaurs fossil prep experience.
In 2024, join the Megafauna dig and fossil prep lab experience with the Eromanga Natural History Museum.
4. Eromanga Natural History Museum
Where: Eromanga, Queensland
Fossils you can find: Ice age megafauna and sauropod dinosaurs
The Eromanga Natural History Museum is in a town at the edge of Australia’s ancient inland sea. 100 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed this area, while 100,000 to 50,000 years ago, huge megafauna like Diprotodon—an ancient marsupial bear—called this area home. Join a dig to unearth the fossilized remains of these creatures on the Eromanga Megafauna Dig and prepared in their prep lab. Visit the museum to see Australia’s largest dinosaur and to see fossils emerging from the rock in their fossil prep lab. You can be a part of the discoveries by joining their dinosaur or megafauna dig or learn to prepare fossils yourself.
5. Flinders Discovery Centre
Where: Hughenden, Queensland
Fossils you can find: Ammonites and belemnites
Anyone and everyone is welcome to hunt for 100+ million year old ammonites and belemnites in and around Hughenden. Go to the Flinders Discovery Centre and Museum first and check out their collection of fossils, including Hughie the Muttaburrasaurus dinosaur and the impressive collection of ammonites from the area. If you’re up for some fossil hunting yourself, ask for a map at the museum and scope out the fossilized treasures close to town on a self-guided tour.