The small town of Coober Pedy in South Australia is home to 1,916 people -many of which live underground in caves. An opal mining town since the 1920’s, people have been seeking refuge from the hot sun by literally going underground. Mining is still going on here, but many older mine shafts have been enlarged and hollowed out to create homes where people live, permanently, underground.
Standard “homes” have a bedroom, lounge, kitchen and a bathroom, just like homes on the surface above. Prices are also comparable to above-ground homes in the town.
While it can get up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit above land, it remains cool with only 20% humidity below in the caves.
The first tree ever seen in the town was welded together from scrap iron. It still sits on a hilltop overlooking the town.
There’s even an underground hotel for tourists, cleverly named the Desert Cave Hotel.
The name Coober Pedy translated to the Australian Aboriginal language (kupa piti), as a “hole white man” or “boys waterhole” or “white people under the ground”.
The local golf course – mostly played at night with glowing balls, to avoid daytime temperatures – is completely free of grass and golfers take a small piece of “turf” around to use for teeing off.
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