Coober Pedy

The opal mining capital of the world and film location for Mad Max 2 & 3, Pitch Black and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Coober Pedy is a fascinatingly odd place. It is home to around 3,000 people, 70% of whom live underground (it’s name literally means white man hole), and is surrounded by about 100,000 exploratory holes, dug in the search for opals.dsc05464

The town is a complete mess, but one that somehow has character in it’s complete lack of character and convention to what an established settlement of a hundred years should look like.dsc05366 dsc05462 dsc05343

In keeping is the famous golf course, the only one in the world with reciprocal rights with St Andrews, a bargain at $75 annual membership. Due to the heat (~50C in summer) they play at night with fluorescent balls.dsc05294 dsc05292

There a few props from Pitch Black still around, including these orange structures originally home to the film’s aliens, and the spacecraft.dsc05346dsc05468 dsc05471The opal mine was fascinating, and explained that there are no big opal mining companies as it is literally pot luck whether any are found, so all are individual miners hoping to get lucky. Some do, most don’t. There was also a mock up of one of the underground homes which are perfectly sensible in a place that gets very, very hot for much of the year. Great places for sleeping in as they remain at a constant ~22C but little claustrophobic without natural light.dsc05368 dsc05381 dsc05393 dsc05398 dsc05409 dsc05412 dsc05439

We spent the night in one, a huge bunk room that could sleep fifty people.dsc05511 dsc05286

The place was pretty cool at night as the sun set.dsc05504 dsc05507

Nearby are the Breakaways, a good if cold spot to see the sunrise.dsc05560 dsc05564 dsc05570

Author: jontycrane

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