As we travelled quickly from Melbourne to Darwin, there were some places we decided that we would stop and discover, because we may not have a chance to pass by this way again.
The first of these was Coober Pedy. It is an opal mining town, where most people live underground, because it’s too hot to live on the surface. As we drove along, we could see doors set into the hillside, and all manner of household object protruding above the surface. TV antenna’s, hot water systems, water tanks, air vents etc…
We decided we would stay in a caravan park for convenience sake, so we chose Riba’s Underground Camping and Caravan Park. Our camper trailer was too big to fit in an underground campsite, so we had to settle for a shelter above ground.
In the morning, we went exploring and found the underground campsite and TV room.
As we drove out of Coober Pedy, there was evidence left of all the opal mining, in the form of large conical mounds of dirt piled up all over the ground. We expected to see a few of these, but they covered the ground as far as the eye could see for hundreds of kilometres.
One of the first European explorers to visit the area was John McDougall Stuart. He was looking for minerals and other things as he wandered around out here. He reported that there was nothing to find in the Coober Pedy area. Oops!