The Ghan Expedition 2021

Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy is the opal mining capital of Australia, indeed the world, at least in terms of the quantity of white opal produced. "Coober Pedy" roughly translates to "White man in a hole", which pretty much summed it up in the early days of opal mining.

The Ghan stops at a siding about 40km out of Coober Pedy, so it is a bit of a trek on a dirt road into the township. For the tour that Mark and Alexa selected, the first stop was the Umoona Opal Mine & Museum.
After visiting the museum, it was back onto the bus and out of town for lunch. Lunch was served in an underground facility that appeared to be also owned by Umoona. It was a good lunch followed by a tour of the mine area. Perhaps the way to go if a mine runs out of opal - convert it into a tourist complex. Everyone had to wear a hard-hat underground and if you wanted, you could keep the hat after the tour. In these days of COVID, that was probably cheaper than getting them sanitised and repackaged.

Following the lunch, it was back into town to the Big Winch lookout for a final view of Coober Pedy.

Back at the train, there was an afternoon function outside the train. It consisted of tables around a huge pile of firewood. Mark and Alexa (and quite a few other passengers) decided that this was not the place to be sitting when it was hot and humid anyway. This was only event that Mark and Alexa thought was a bit of a fizzer. In winter it would have been great, but on this trip, it was before its time.

As the Sun set, the train took off on its last leg to Adelaide, where it would come within a couple of hundred metres of Mark and Alexa's house.