Coober Pedy Pictures
Outback Photo Gallery

These pictures of Coober Pedy show the two faces of the Australian opal mining town.

There is a secret underground world out there, in the middle of South Australia's barren Outback desert. Also, "barren Outback desert" may sound unappealing, but I beg to differ...

Coober Pedy Pictures 1

Overlooking The Town
Coober Pedy picture

Photo by Whinging Pom via Flickr

The town itself does indeed look unappealing at first sight. What you can see is no more than a collection of sheds and other drab grey buildings, strewn among the piles of dirt excavated from the opal mines.

Coober Pedy Pictures 2 and 3

Entrance to the Underground World
Entrance to Underground Motel

Photo by Rob & Jules

Underground homes are not the holes you imagine. People don't dig down, they dig into the hillsides. The entrance is at street level, as seen here. What you can also see is a ventilation shaft in the foreground.

Below is another example of an entrance.

Building Entrance

Photo by Rob & Jules

There is no way to predict what you may find underground...

Coober Pedy Accommodation 4

A Coober Pedy Hotel
Coober Pedy Hotel

Photo by Phillie Casablanca

This is the picture of a hallway in a more upmarket hotel...

Coober Pedy Accommodation 5 and 6

Budget Acommodation
Budget Acommodation

Photo by Rob & Jules

...and this is what the hallway at some backpacker budget accommodation looks like. About as charming as an underground parking lot, isn't it?

Camping underground looks about as inviting:

Underground Camping

Ok, so the budget underground accommodation options aren't the prettiest, but they are cool and quiet. It's always a relief to escape the heat and the flies and the dust above ground.

And take note of the walls in all the pictures above, those beautiful rose colours and patterns. The underground homes people live in don't look like those budget places, rather they look like the flashy hotel in the first picture: tall ceilings, modern interior, and those gorgeous walls... Or, if they are older, then everything is rounded...

Coober Pedy Pictures 8

Old vs. New: Two Churches
Churches in Coober Pedy

These two churches demonstrate the difference very well: on the right you see the Serbian Orthodox church, dug with a modern tunneling machine. On the left is the old catholic church, hand dug, like many of Coober Pedy's early homes that were dug in the search for opal...

Coober Pedy Pictures 9

The Opal Fields

It's possible to visit the opal mines, both old, museum style mines, as well as new, active mines. What's not possible is to run around on your own...

Warning Sign

The opal fields surrounding the town are a maze of piles of mullock (the excavated material) and live and abandoned shafts. You wouldn't be the first to simply disappear out here...

Coober Pedy Pictures 10

Opal Mine
Opal Mine

So just join one of the many tours that are offered.

I said in the opening paragraph that I disagree with the notion that the barren Outback desert is not appealing. To see why, have a look at the next page: the first three Australian desert pictures were taken near Coober Pedy.

Think you might want to stop and have a look at all that? You can read more about Coober Pedy, Australia and the nearby attractions, here.

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