|Mining camp, Coober Pedy|
The Ghan stopped way out in the middle of the desert at a place called Manguri Siding and then it was about an hour by bus to Coober Pedy. First indications that we were getting close to town were the conical piles of mine tailings heaped row upon row amidst rusty old trucks whose motors are used to power the blowers for the mines. It's a kind of wild west sort of place, dusty and untidy with piles of abandoned, broken down equipment and machinery here and there.
|Mountains of mine tailings|
|Inside St Elijah's Church|
|Coober Pedy's Raison d'etre|
I was mesmerised by the variety, colours and fire in the opals on display and can understand how mining for them becomes a "thrill of the chase" and somewhat addictive. Many of us bought opals, including me. An extravagance I know but I don't expect to be back in Coober Pedy any time soon.
|Inside an underground house|
The beauty of these underground homes is that they are a constant, comfortable 21 degrees all year round while, outside, the summers can be searingly hot, up to 51 degrees, and the winter nights, bitterly cold.
|Coober Pedy's "Boot Hill'|
We had a good look around the town, weaving around the residential streets, noting the number of homes by the number of air vents peppering the small hills. We even called in at the local cemetery, a real "Boot Hill", with its makeshift headstones of beer kegs and mining equipment.
|A number of homes are under this hill|