Fossicking For Opals At Coober Pedy. Person Can Try His Luck By Fossicking For Opals In Abandoned Mines.
If you are from Australia or visiting Australia, then you must take a day or two out and go fossicking for opals at Coober Pedy. Coober Pedy is known to be the world’s largest production center of opals and it contributes to about 80% of the total opal produced in Australia. Coober Pedy lies about 529 miles north of Adelaide and 428 miles south of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway.
Coober Pedy was discovered in 1915. The town has seen tremendous ups and downs since then, but has now grown into a modern mining town thanks to the multi-million dollar opal mining industry. There are hundreds of opal mines that have been abandoned after opal mining as they have been rendered to be no profit making. A person can always try his luck by fossicking for opals in these abandoned mines.
It is adventurous and gives a great feeling of treasure hunt and, who knows, it might turn profitable as well. Coober Pedy is easily accessible by air from Adelaide. A daily bus service can also take you to Coober Pedy. If you want to enjoy the stunning beauty of the Australian country side then drive to Coober Pedy. The Ghan train from Adelaide can also take you to Manguri Siding which is only 42 kms from Coober Pedy.
Opal Mines And Dugouts
There are many interesting facts about Coober Pedy that one must know before going there. The town has a large number of establishments under the ground due to the extreme temperatures. These include houses, churches, hotels and offices. About half of the population there lives in underground houses known as dugouts. Coober Pedy is a cosmopolitan town and provides good hospitality to the tourists. A tourist can sign up for any of the opal fossicking tours that are run by all major tour operators in Adelaide and Alice Springs.
The climate of Coober Pedy is of a semi desert type. Days are warm and nights are cold. The best time to visit Coober Pedy for opal fossicking is from April to October. During the rest of the year, it is too hot and dust storms are common. For the tourists, the main area for fossicking in Coober Pedy is called the Jewell Box and lies in the eastern part of the town. Here tourists can search for opal by using shovels and spades. Opal can be differentiated from an ordinary stone by the colors present on its surface. When opal is cleaned with water and exposed to sunlight the opal colors can be seen very clearly.
What Do The Laws Say?
Tourists that go fossicking for opals to Coober Pedy must also be aware of the local laws. A fossicker must get a permit if he wants to go opal fossicking. The law allows using only hand held tools to search for opals. Fossicking on private lands and leased land is allowed only after obtaining the written consent of the owners. Fossicking for animal fossils, meteorites and diamonds is not allowed and in case such an item is discovered by the fossicker then it must be turned over to the local authorities.
These are the few restrictions that one must be aware of. Permits are easily granted by the authorities to the tour operators. It is also advisable not to stray from your group as there are hundreds of open abandoned mining shafts and if you fall into one of them you will be severely injured and no one will be able to find you.
Other Attractions At Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy offers much more to tourists apart from opals. Its moon like landscape has attracted movie makers and many movies have been shot here. The natural scenery at Breakways is breathtaking. Moon Plain makes you feel as if you are on the lunar surface. For art admirers, the Ummona opal museum is a place to visit. It shows the history of the town. It also displays some of the finest opals mined here. Desert cave is the only underground hotel in the world with four star rating. These added attractions are like bonuses to your fossicking trip. Your visit to Coober Pedy is sure to provide much more than opal fossicking. It will give you the adventure and thrill that you want and if you are the lucky one to find an opal, you will surely remember your visit to Coober Pedy forever.