Coober Pedy is a unique place to visit
Maria Venter – South Africans to Oz
Since opal was discovered here in 1915, Coober Pedy has evolved into one of the most unique places to visit in Australia.
It’s a cosmopolitan town with a population of 3,500 and over 45 different nationalities.
Today it has over 70 opal fields and is still the largest opal mining area in the world, supplying most of the world with this gem quality opal.
Coober Pedy opal Capital is where?
I remember driving into this small town about 846km from Adelaide and half way to Alice Springs, and being struck by the unusual landscape on all sides.
As far as the eye can see across the Australian outback there are large mounds of dirt piled high with very little plant life in between.
It appears as though a family of giant moles have been tunneling their way through the area. In fact, these mounds are evidence of the all the opal mines beneath the surface.
I have heard that no big mining companies have taken over this area because opal can’t be quantified by exploratory drilling – the only way is to dig!
Get rich by ‘noodling’
Budding miners simply turn up, obtain a land permit, peg a chunk of land and get digging.
Visitors who can’t afford to hire expensive tunneling machinery can try their hand at ‘noodling’ – which is the name given to the practice of digging through the piles of excavated earth which dot the landscape.
Some still strike it lucky!
Take a tour
Due to the hot dry desert conditions, most residents still live underground in ‘dugouts’.
There are tours you can take through some of these homes, as well as overnight accommodation.
There are even a couple of underground churches that are worth a visit, complete with stained glass windows and stone carvings.
Unique golf course
It is the only course where members have reciprocal rights with the Saint Andrews golf course in Scotland!
At this unusual golf course there is not a stitch of grass to be found and given the daytime heat, most games are played at night with glow-in-the-dark balls.
A must on the bucket list
So if you are heading to this quirky town any time soon…here is a list of things to see and do while you are there:.tripadvisor.com.au/Attractions
Enjoy and go ‘Downunder’ when visiting Coober Pedy opal capital, to keep cool!
Check out my bucket list of other places to visit in Oz