Travel to Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy is the “Opal Capital of the World” and has numerous attractions including underground homes, The Breakaways, Moon Plain, The Dog Fence, and of course, opals. Located 525 miles north of Darwin, and 450 miles south of Uluru Ayers Rock, this remote outback town is easily accessible by air, road and rail.
If you are a film buff, the local scenery might be extremely familiar to you! The unique landscape was used to great effect in Mad Max III and Until the End of the World, as well as Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
There is not much to the town of Coober Pedy - just a plain scattered by conical pink mullock heaps, and warning signs alerting you to the unfenced 98-foot shafts and several “above-ground” buildings. Wandering around the dusty streets, it can be hard to tell whether some of the odd machinery lying about is bonafide mining equipment or left-over props from the increasing number of films using the town as an apocalyptic set. The Big Winch Lookout in the center gives a grandstand view of the mix of low houses and hills pocked with ventilation shafts. The welded metal “tree” up here was assembled before any real ones grew in the area, though in the last few years there have been some attempts to encourage greenery with recycled waste water.
Visit the Old Timer’s Mine - and original opal mine and underground home dating back to 1916. The exhibits have been set up by miners to demonstrate the mining techniques and lifestyle of those who worked in the original mine. The actual mine however is not a mock up, it is an actual mine that was buried and forgotten until an excavation for an underground home extension broke through the sandstone earth wall and the mine was rediscovered.
The Opal Cave is an underground complex featuring a display of high quality jewelry, opal cutting demonstrations and an opal museum. Opal Quest is a working opal mine, that offers visitors a chance to see how the rare and precious stone is mined today.
Twenty five miles north, the Breakaway Range is a brightly colored plateau off the highway for spectacular views of the hostile terrain, and bush walking through two-hundred-year-old stands of mulga. The colors of the Painted Desert change with the passing sun and give the area a surreal atmosphere that should not be missed.
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