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