Umoona Opal Mine & Museum
Lot 14, Hutchison Street, Coober Pedy, 5723, Australia
More about Coober Pedy
Typical scene on the opal fields
Other mines en route
Yes, it's real
Travel Tips for Coober Pedy
Bring a good hat.
I'd pack normal stuff plus a good hat for the sun and some sunscreen. Nights can be cold so if you're going to be out and about (I can't imagine why, there's little night life) pack a sweater. Best you bring with you what you need, as being a remote outback town, if you find what you want in Coober Pedy, you'll pay more for it. Best to buy film at a more reasonable price before you get here.
The breakaways is also known as the painted desert. The area is very beautiful, the hills are so colourful and we saw many kangaroos here. Unfortunately they were all too far away for good photos :-(
Old Timers Mine
This attraction was recommended to me by....another attraction (see Riba's). Though it costs I found it well worthwhile and definitely something to put on your itinerary.
What's good about it is that it covers just about every aspect of mining life at Coober Pedy. It also has, uniquely, some genuine pockets of quality opal still in the mine (pic 2).
There are a couple of neat sculptures as shown in the opening pic (the other one is a camel).
It shows how mining was conducted and still is in some places. It illustrates via dummies and real furniture just how life can be underground (pic 3). It's a viable option for so many because the temperature outside in summer can be blindlingly hot.
There's a fascinating collection of historical articles and pictures that kept me interested for half an hour and, at the end of it all, there's the well stocked gift shop.
It's located close to the centre of town alongside some other attractions.
I got to know one of the traders called Bill and, after a long conversation, he offered to take me out to his mine. Unfortunately, on the appointed day, his two co-workers were away at funerals so we ended up going to another mine.
Initially Tellos wasn't home but he turned up just when we were about to leave so I got to look in the mine that you could drive in. It's never been a really successful mine, just a small pocket here and there and they both rued the nearby mine that unearthed over $3,000,000 worth of opal. That's the way it goes here which makes it unlike a lot of other mining, there's no certainty.
Bicycling the Outback - South Australia
Coober Pedy is world famous for its opels and underground dwellings. This town remote as it is, is no longer off the beaten track as it would have been 30 or more years ago. Since the Stuart Highway was sealed in the mid 1980s and the Ghan Railway line rerouted a few years earlier along with the great popularity of four-wheel driving Coober Pedy caters to all kinds of tourist and traveller. The town is well facilitated with a couple of supermarkets, internet cafes and no shortage of Opel related businesses.
When concerning bicycle touring Coober Pedy has seen a few. During my visit in mid 2002 I met one young Englishman who had come all the way from Europe by bicycle. Coober Pedy is a great place to make a two nights stop in to find needy supplies and refress for the journey onwards.
A full day here is really required to see some of the towns special sights such as the underground church to name a few. If you have the chance a 10KM trip out to Crocodile Harry's place is something to remember indeed.