The other weekend we decided we were going to take the kids thunderegg fossicking. Our eldest two kids (and maybe me too…) are big Minecraft fans and Lynell thought it would be fun to do some real ‘mining’.
To be honest I wasn’t expecting much as I had no idea what thundereggs were. I thought they were something to do with dinosaurs, and for some reason had visions of pretend eggs in a sandpit kind of image going on….boy did I feel stupid when the day was out!
On reaching Thunderbird Park, we had a quick lunch stop at the Café (delicious salads) and then headed straight to the mine entrance. Turns out we would be digging in a real working Mine for thundereggs which are around 200 Million years old – actually older than the dinosaurs!
We learned that thundereggs are formed from bubbles of air in pre-historic lava flows that over millions of years of heat and pressure, fill with a variety of minerals to produce hardened egg shaped balls. When cut open they have a captivating appearance comprising of different coloured rocks, minerals, and crystal. I was excited to start mining!
I waved my debit card around enough that we were allowed admission into the mine, and following some safety instructions, we were given a bucket and a hand-pick each and pointed in the direction of the mining areas. After a short walk up the hill full of excitement, we came across the first of two mining areas. Not really knowing where to start digging, a couple of other families gave us some guidance and their best digging holes which had proved pretty lucrative for them. We quickly learned what we were looking for, and the best method of digging the thundereggs out without damaging them. We were all hooked! It didn’t take long for the competitiveness to kick in…..As a parent, more often than not – you allow your kids to beat you at an activity. This day, however, I humbly admit that I got lost in the moment and it was glory for the largest thunderegg finder!
A couple of hours of energetic digging followed by gentle levering of thundereggs from the soft rock deposit, we had a couple of buckets filled with different sized thundereggs. We scored one about the size of a grapefruit, and a number of smaller ones – the smallest being about the size of a large grape. When you return to the Mine shed, you have the option to get some cut open for a small fee per thunderegg. The Mine staff helps you choose which thundereggs may be the better ones, and which are too small. We got the largest ones and a few golf ball shaped ones cut open. After we were shown the first one cut open, we couldn’t resist getting some more cut – these things are awesome!
The Mine shop also sold some clear coat resin to paint on them so that the cut open thundereggs keep a ‘wet look’ finish to them, allowing you to see the detail in them much more clearly. If you go thunderegg fossicking and have some cut open, I would highly recommend getting the clear coat resin to paint them.
All in all the kids and I had an absolute ball; it was one of those memorable days that by far exceeds your initial expectations! You then get to take home a mining certificate and some fascinating and decorative thundereggs that we will be holding onto for years to come. A few weeks down the track and I still find myself gazing into the detail of the thundereggs at times, mesmerized by their age and just the natural wonder of them. I highly recommended this activity for a family day out.