Everyone in This Bizarre Australian Town Lives Underground

(Photo: Nicholas Jones)

And you would, too, if your local temperatures regularly rose to 125ºF!

Coober Pedy is a mining town in Australia. If it weren't for the huge opal reserves here, no one would live in this hellscape that was used to shoot the post-apocalyptic film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

(Photo: Nachoman-au)

But that's only how it looks like from the surface. Go below, and you can find comfortable and well-decorated churches, a bar, and other amenities that you'd expect from a modern town. No one wants to spend a lot of time on the baking hot surface, so they cut rooms into the rock.

(Photo: eyeintim)

There are about 1,500 homes in the town. They're called "dug outs." In a typical house, the kitchen and bathroom are on the surface or close to the entry hole because they need water access. But the rest is below ground.

(Photo: Werner Bayer)

The construction style does offer some advantages. When you need a new addition to your house, all you need to do to get started is cut a room out of a wall of your house. And since it's all opal mining territory, you may find valuable rock that can pay for the cost of the expansion.

(Video Link)

There's a fun bar called The Desert Cave. It can get loud there, but that's okay. Because the walls of every home in the town are made of rock, the noise from the bar won't disturb you.

(Photo: Charles Bukowsky)

When you do venture up onto the surface, keep in mind that you're in the middle of a mining complex. There are specific dangers that you'll have to worry about.

(Photo: Rob Chandler)

The barren landscape is unappealing to many people, but movie directors love it. It was ideal for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and the 2000 Vin Diesel movie Pitch Black. That movie was about a spaceship that crashed into a desert on an alien world. When filmmakers wrapped up production of Pitch Black, they left the spaceship prop at Coober Pedy. It's now one of the local tourist attractions.

-via Glenn Reynolds

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This is great the ref: to Mars is fan*TAS*tic WHY... Because in the book Alternative 003
one of the Alternatives was to live under - ground .. Of course there are other examples of the combination of under & above ground as a life style!
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If you go in Google Earth to -29.00968,134.75495, you can see the crashed spaceship.

I gotta say though, looking at the town in Google Earth, I think the claim that "everybody in the town lives underground" is a bit of hyperbole.

I'd be interested in knowing how far outside of town the actual scenes from the movie were filmed --- I'd guess the prop was moved here after production wrapped.
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I'm amazed they left the prop. Lots of times lawyers advise them to remove that stuff for liability reasons. And the underground houses remind me of Hole 'n the Rock near Moab, UT.
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