Going underground usually means that you’ve done something terrible and you need to lay low and avoid the consequences for a while. That’s not the case in Coober Pedy, it just means you’re going home.
Coober Pedy is a town in South Australia located in an extremely inhospitable environment. Desert temperatures in the summer usually exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit and it can get quite chilly in the winter.
In 1915, a father and son came through the area in search of gold. While they didn’t find gold, they did find opal, which quickly became an incredibly popular stone across the globe.
Due to the burning temperatures, miners found it easier to seek shelter within their mines, rather than above the ground. Ultimately they created the 1,500 or so underground homes, or “dugouts,” that exist here.
Coober Pedy is now the main provider of opal worldwide, although it’s arguable more famous for it’s crazy dugouts. The town’s name itself means “white man’s hole,” an Aboriginal term coined in the 1920s because they thought the residents were living in burrows like rabbits.
It has some unusual perks, as described in the video (below), including sound proof walls so that you can rave like it’s 2150 and no windows which means you don’t have to worry about peeping Toms.
A church, one of two
A bar – “Come here often?”
And a bookshop, what more could you want?