Australia, SA – More of Cooper Pedy – or have I landed on the moon? 

Cooper Pedy has been the highlight of the places I’ve visited while on the Ghan. There is something about it that is somehow appealing – maybe precisely because it shouldn’t be. You have to live underground; the landscape is definitely lunar-like and many sci-fi films have been made here; the mounds of shallow opal mines look like aliens have landed; they have a dog fence that runs across much of Australia (?!) and all the locals we met were real characters with a tough but friendly outback demeanour. Certainly no whingers here – and I really liked that. 

Cooper Pedy is also well known as “opal capital of the world” as it is the source of over 85%of the world’s opals and of course I thought it only polite to indulge in a purchase. I’ve also learned that finding opals is basically down to hard work and good luck. As a result some people have quickly become millionaires but most have not but they like it out here and they keep looking. Only $70 for a mining licence for 50 X 100 metres so anyone can stake a claim.

My opals from the source at Cooper Pedy

And here is what the moon might look like from some lookouts in an area known as the Breakaways. 

The Breakaways, Cooper Pedy

The Breakaways with “Salt and Pepper” hills and the opal mine stacks

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