Mucking Down at the Hard Times Mine – Mount Isa

Kitted out in hard hats, cap lamps, bright orange overalls, gumboots and 15-kg worth of tool belt (kidding – this part wasn’t compulsory) we descended into the depths of an underground world of shafts, heavy machinery and alarming warning bells. It was a taster of what the ‘real’ men and women of Mt Isa do for their bread and butter……

Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

Getting ‘kitted’ up

Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

Heading ‘Down Under’ for a True Blue mining experience

Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

“Please don’t make me wear this……”

Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

Going Down! Who else is keen??

Thirty seconds later the gates of hell our lift (an Alimak Cage) were thrown open and a dozen headlamps attempted to light up the darkness that confronted us. It was a far cry from the standard 5-10 minute journey that ‘real’ miners take to their destination, kilometres beneath the earths surface, BUT it started to give us an understanding as to why our Aussie miners deserve to get paid serious bucks for the work they do.

Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

Exploring underground..

At least the air was cooler. We had landed in ‘Isa’ mid-winter but temperatures were still in the mid-30s (Celsius) and going underground was definitely a reprieve. A reprieve until you start working with some of that heavy machinery that is!

Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

Working the ‘tools’

The Hard Times Mine Tour takes you on a hands-on, historical journey through the past and future of mining in the outback town of Mount Isa (somewhere far-far west of the Queensland coastline). Here you get to sample some of the equipment that has now been made defunct thanks to modern mining practises. Personally, I’m pretty sure most of the workers would’ve been happy to see the back of some of these machines.

Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

Some serious machines down here

Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

Emergency shelter ‘just in case’

Hanging out’ in the never-ending tunnels and shafts that turn pitch black at a flick of a switch gave us a glimpse into a miner’s every-day working life. Every step of the way my rating of a miner’s mettle was accelerating up the Richter scale – from ‘Truly Impressive’ to‘Seriously Awesome’.

Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

All the machinery seemed to be in working order (and LOUD!!!)

The noise, the dust and the serious fire power of boom drills, mucking units and all of that ‘other’ heavy machinery, was seriously something else.

Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

Even got to take time-out & enjoy ‘smoko’ in the mess hall

Smoko was a subdued affair after all the action of ‘working’ the tunnels but it gave us a chance to drill our guide about his 30-years experience of working the local mines…now that we could all hear ourselves think again of course! It also gave us a taster of how a working day ‘rolls’ for your average underground miner, sitting in the mess hall (basically another section of tunnel) and chatting over a cuppa whilst sharing home-made slices and sandwiches.

Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

Clocking out is an important task

Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

Job well done & time to knock off

By the time we hit the blue skies of Mount Isa again and ‘clocked out’ my appreciation for the mining men and women of our country had skyrocketed upwards. I seriously understood why they deserve every little bit of $$$$ they earn for venturing down into that world each day and embracing it as their ‘office’!

Check out our short video below to see how this Mount Isa Mine Tour ‘rolls’…..

Good Things to Know:

  • The Mount Isa Mine Tour (Hard Times Mine) operates from the Visitor Information Centre or ‘Outback at Isa’ building, and you’ll find a museum, gallery, café plus loads of other info onsite as well.

    Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

    Where it all started…. a ‘nugget’ of iron ore

  • It’s recommended you wear light, loose clothing – T-shirt and shorts and don’t forget to bring a pair of socks. All other clothing and boots is provided.
  • Times: Tours run 7 days a week. Bookings essential: (07) 4749 1555.
  • A ‘Waiver of Liability’ must be signed by all participants.
  • No cameras are permitted on the Hard Times Mine Tour.
  •  The minimum age for children is seven (7) years of age and over.

    Mt Isa Mine Tour @AdventureMumma

    Certified miners

 

Who’s been to Mount Isa?? Did you do the Mount Isa mine tour? Any other things that you would recommend that families ‘must do’ if visiting the ‘Isa’?

Please Note: We received our tour complimentary BUT all views, opinions and photos in this article are 100% my own.

Click HERE to Book the Hard Times Mine Tour.

Heading East to coastal Queensland? Then check out our Post on Townsville to Charters Towers.

OR click HERE for more info on Tropical North Queensland (our backyard).