If you were to stumble upon the town of Coober Pedy in the northern part of South Australia, you might think it was deserted. It's very quiet with only a few industrial machines here and there.
That is because half of Coober Pedy's population of 3,000 lives underground.
The cave system was originally dug for opal mines.
Coober Pedy produces 95% of the world's opal supply. Back in the day, mining was a manual labor operation.
The mines were developed 50 years ago and continuously grew to make more room.
Eventually, the miners created rooms and homes underground. How cool is this kitchen?
Living underground was actually a refreshing change from the harshness of the extreme desert climate.
Somehow the caves look really bright and airy. Not cave-like at all.
Many of the caves lead to the outside world, so it's not quite as intense as you might suspect.
I think they're probably really fun to be around.
They even built churches underground.
The caves are private residential homes, but the community is very social.
If you want to check it out but you aren't ready to commit to literally going underground yet, you can have a taste of cave life at one of Coober Pedy's underground hotels.
Most of the hotels and homes have street level entrances, just in case your claustrophobia really kicks in.
The cave rooms are ventilated with vertical air shafts. The temperature is regulated and the rooms are highly sound-proofed.
If the feeling of being underground seems cozy (and not like being buried alive), the town of Coober Pedy could be a fun, one-of-a-kind vacation.
Credit: Amusing Planet