Coober Pedy

 Photos for this post here.

 
The next morning in Adelaide Bobbie & I dragged ourselves out of bed at 5am ready to be picked up by Mulga of Mulgas Adventure Tours and to start our 5 day tour up to Alice Springs and around Uluru. We then hooked up with about 20 other people and set off in our mini bus at around 6.30am. The weather hadn’t been great right up to the day we left and the tour guides wern’t sure if we were going to make it to Coober Pedy because all the water just sits on the surface and creates a flood zone, but we kept on trucking all the way expecting to hit a wall of water which never came much to the relief of everyone of the bus. The distance we travelled on day 1 from Adelaide to Coober Pedy was 842 km and it took us roughly 9.5hrs. Quite a distance in a small slightly cramped mini van. But it was still fun and the fun didn’t stop once we got to Coober.

 Coober Pedy is a small mining town which is famous for its Opal deposits and its underground house dwellings. 50% of the houses in Coober are dug out from the rock and go to a depth of 17 metres. The reason why is because during the day the outside temp can reach up to 58 degrees C and at night a mere 38 degrees C. But in an underground house the temp stays a constant 22 – 24 degrees C all year round without the need for expensive air-con units. To build a house in Coober it will only cost you around $20000 for a 4 bedroom unit and if you happen to stumble across any opal whilst digging then its yours for the taking, as long as you keep it to yourself. This is because opal mining here is known as black money, which means its isn’t declared to the government so no-one gets taxed on it. The only way you will know if your next door neighbour has found opal is if he/she buys a new car, extends his/her house or goes on a long holiday unexpectadly. Im not sure why the government just ignore this but it does happen.

When we arrived in Coober the weather was good, no sign of any clouds and perfect for taking photos. So we all dumped our stuff in the underground hostel we would be spending the night in and went out to explore. This didn’t take long as Coober is tiny and not very photogenic but I  think I got some good shots. We then took a tour of an old mine and was told a bit more about the process of mining Opal and the history of Opal it self. Then I found myself in the giftshop surrounded by beautiful Opal necklaces as Bobbie decided which one she wanted to purchase. That evening we went out for pizza which was on Mulga and then we hit the underground bar for a couple of beers before turning in earlyish because we had another 5am start the next day…

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