Coober Pedy

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Coober Pedy Travel Guide

Coober Pedy is definitely the most weird and way-out township in Australia with a landscape that is more a moonscape than of the earth. The small population of over 45 nationalities in Coober Pedy came because they were attracted by the lure of opals. Strangely the people live in dugout homes that are defunct mineshafts. The reason: inhospitable climatic conditions that can go as high as 50 degrees in the summer and below freezing in the winter.

If you're wondering why about 5000 people live in this miserable hole at all, you won't have to look far. Coober Pedy in aboriginal is “white fellows’ hole in the Ground”. It is the Opal Capital of Australia.

Located on Stuart Highway, 535 km from the nearest big town, this dried out, dusty town is full of mineshafts; a lot of which have been converted into homes. The rest are still around so be careful or you'll find yourself at the bottom of a used opal mine!

Nevertheless, this incredibly weird town, (which was quite aptly the locale of the film Mad Max III), has friendly people and unforgettable sights and if tourism is your interest, it should be on your travel beat.

Coober Pedy has some 70 opal mines and has the largest concentration of largest opal mines. Ever since a small boy discovered opals here in 1915, the town’s main occupation is opal mining. People of more than 45 nationalities have made Coober Pedy their home.

You can go fossicking around in any opal field in the northeast corner of town or go through the waste dumps, a pastime that is called noodling . In the absence of big mining operators, small time miners can make a killing if they find opals somewhere. To top it all there are still lots of fields that have not been dug.

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