Tag Archives: Cooper Pedy

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

Australia, SA – Ghan and the incredible “Opal Capital of the World”- Cooper Pedy

Here’s a quick video of what it was like looking out of my bed this morning on the Ghan. 


Sunrise near Cooper Pedy


Had a fascinating day in Cooper Pedy where 70% of the inhabitants live underground to maintain a pleasant 24 degree temperature come Winter or Summer. These photos show some examples of underground living and the mines. It is very dark when the lights are turned off. We even had our Greek lunch 45 feet underground. 

Living under ground in Cooper Pedy and I meet the ghost of an opal miner

Next stop was an underground Serbian Orthodox Church. Only built 25 years ago and already no longer in use except for once or twice a year. 

Serbian church, Cooper Pedy