Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cooper Peedy : Opal mining capital of the world 
(Also famous because 50% of the population live in dugout houses underground due to the extreme heat in the Outback.)

Each hill has a hole next to it that goes down 100 feet and is 5 feet in diameter.  If you are a treasure hunter Cooper Peedy should be your destination.  For $55 Australian you can get an opal mining permit, choose your location somewhere within the 80 miles surrounding Cooper Peedy and dig a hole, hoping to find a seam of opal and strike it rich.  In this photo, Kim is "noodling" for opals in the slag piles of the mines.  If you are lucky, you will find your own opals this way.  As long as you can bare the 110 degree heat. 

Because you can leave your opal mining hole after you are done with it, there are many accidents that happen when people are walking around the opal mines and fall into one of the holes.  There are signs all over Cooper Peedy about the danger of walking around beween the opal mines.  And of course, there is a rescue squad....

This is an example of one of the opal stores in town.  Notice the sandstone walls.  This is actually a store that is underground.

A visit to an underground church.

Photos from an underground house.

Yes, and we even tried sleeping underground.  Sleeping in a cave is quite the experience.  The temperature is always nice and cool and it is dark any time of the day.

The local golf course...not to appealing on those 110 degree days

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