I’ve always been dreaming up new forms of shelter (like tiny houses, bamboo houses, mobile houses) so I spend a lot of time looking at weird houses and fascinating lifestyles, I thought I’d seen it all — but then I came across Coober Pedy in South Australia, and now I finally feel like I’ve seen everything.
Coober Pedy was established in 1915 following the discovery of opal by a 14-year old boy who was camping with his father’s gold prospecting party.
On the surface, the place looks pretty deserted.
A treeless plain on the edge of the Stuart Ranges, with a few sparsely spaced houses, a couple of inns and restaurants, a police station, a school and a hospital further north.But that’s only half the town.
One of the most famous signs of Coober Pedy.
The town has around 250,000 mine shafts and signs like this warn visitors about the dangers of walking without looking. This sign is now reproduced in t-shirts, coffee mugs, flags, bags and plenty more things which you can buy as souvenirs.
The town has also become the main provider of opal in the world.
Because of the area’s high temperatures, the residents here half live underground in spacious caves and tunnels called “dugouts” where the town’s residents have built homes, hotels, restaurants, bars, churches and more.
In the summer, the temperature often exceeds 40 degrees Celsius. On these hot days, the relative humidity rarely gets over 20%, and the skies usually remained cloud-free.So now Coober Pedy exists almost entirely beneath the ground!
Half-above and half-below the hot earth, these homes are certainly unique — but they offer the same comforts of normal modern-day houses.
But it’s not just homes and hotels they have underground. They also have a beautiful church…
Entrance to an underground church.
A jewelry store showcasing the town’s beautiful pieces of locally mined opal…
Go back up and enjoy a bit of sun in Coober Pedy’s golf green!
Please SHARE if you’d never heard of this strange town either!