10 Thrilling Issues To Do In Coober Pedy, South Australia

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There’s an eerie air in Coober Pedy, South Australia. It’s sizzling, dry, desolate, quiet, dusty, and burnt orange. However regardless of its small dimension and barren panorama, there are nonetheless some enjoyable issues to do in Coober Pedy.

You’re surrounded by scrap steel, rotting automobiles, and lumps of orange grime with doorways tucked into the aspect and automobiles parked out the entrance.

You’d suppose it was abandoned if not for the odd automotive throwing up mud because it places into city. It’s one of many quirkiest and most unusual locations you possibly can go to in Australia.

This small city has just a few thousand residents and but it’s recognized for being the Opal capital of the world. It’s additionally recognized for its underground dugouts the place folks dwell to flee the scorching warmth.

Should you’re pondering of visiting Coober Pedy however you’re undecided what to do there, maintain studying for a few of our favourite points of interest within the city.

Is Coober Pedy Value Visiting?

building underground
Homes underground

Coober Pedy seems like a scene out of an apocalypse film. You stand ready for the zombies and aliens to come back strolling down behind it.

I don’t need to say this in an insulting approach, however I believe Coober Pedy is cool.

The air just isn’t cool. In actual fact, it’s stinking bloody sizzling. So sizzling that persons are compelled to dwell underground! See that’s what makes it so cool. Ha! Have I misplaced you but?

Coober Pedy is a enjoyable place. There’s not an important deal to do there, however simply being on this distinctive panorama and seeing how folks dwell right here is so darn fascinating.

There isn’t any different city in Australia prefer it. It’s distant, desolate, and has distinctive lodging choices – and for that purpose, it’s undoubtedly value visiting. Particularly if you wish to get off the overwhelmed observe in Australia.

The place is Coober Pedy?

Map of coober pedy location

Coober Pedy is positioned roughly midway between Adelaide and Darwin in South Australia (with not a lot life in between!) It’s 846 kilometres north of Adelaide on the Stuart Freeway.

On the drive up from Streaky Bay we drove previous a stunning panorama of salt lakes and vibrant desert colors.

Salt Lake between Coober Pedy & Streaky Bay
Salt Lake between Coober Pedy & Streaky Bay

You understand you’re virtually at Coober Pedy if you begin seeing mounds of grime piled up so far as the attention can see – it’s the waste excavated by the opal mines.

It’s not simply the properties which might be underground, the retailers, lodges, swimming swimming pools, church buildings, and even a campground are all beneath the earth as nicely.

serbian orthodox church built into side of cliff
Serbian Orthodox church

What Makes Coober Pedy Particular?

You could be pondering; why on earth would anybody dwell right here if it’s so sizzling you need to dwell underground?


Coober Pedy is the most important provider of Opals on the planet. Opal was first present in Coober Pedy on 1 February 1915 when an adolescent, William Hutchison, came across the “Floor Opal Nobbies” whereas gold prospecting along with his father.

Individuals have flocked to the area since.

Coober Pedy, like in every single place in Australia, lies on aboriginal lands. The standard house owners are the Arabana, Kokatha, and Yankuntjatjarra folks. Its conventional title is “Kupa Piti”, which is Kokatha for “white man’s gap.”

However, tourism is now simply as necessary because the mining trade. We liked it for its full quirkiness and desert magnificence.

cars in a dirt valley
truck in a dirt valley

Issues to Do in Coober Pedy

Now you understand slightly bit extra about why you must go to Coober Pedy and the way to get there, it’s time to point out you my prime issues to do within the city.

Beneath are some points of interest you shouldn’t miss…

1. Go to The Outdated Timers Mine & Museum

outside of old timers mine with giant sign

The Old Timers Mine is the advisable place to study extra in regards to the Coober Pedy opal historical past.

At first I didn’t suppose it was going to be a lot of an expertise however don’t let seems deceive you, as a result of not a lot seems inviting from the surface.

We liked exploring the museum and the mine shafts.

people wearing helmets in a cave

This mine is from 1916. The unique miners had crammed within the shafts and hidden it, presumably to come back again later to get the remainder of the opal however didn’t return.

When it was time to increase his underground residence in 1968, Ron Gough unintentionally found the hidden shafts AND opal ready within the wall.

As a substitute of taking the opal and promoting it (and making a LOT of cash) they left it within the wall and opened up the museum to the general public. It’s a self-guided tour that’s enjoyable and informative.

We realized so much about opal mining and the tales of the individuals who spent painstaking hours beneath harsh circumstances to strike it fortunate!

people looking through buckets of rock

The Coober Pedy opal museum reveals how miners, often working alone, would dig the shafts and blast holes and winch the dug soil as much as the floor, all by hand, with solely candles and carbine lamps for illumination.

The tour additionally takes you thru a number of the unique underground properties. The Outdated Timers Mine is the proper factor to do in Coober Pedy with children for those who’re in search of one thing academic AND enjoyable.

Out the entrance is slightly noodling pit. What’s noodling I hear you ask? It’s looking for opals amongst the rubble.

2. Examine Out The Serbian Orthodox Church

underground tunnel

That is the most important underground church in Coober Pedy, about 3km south of city.

You enter by way of a sloping walkway to the underground. Spiritual icons and statues have been carved out of the wall.

Head up stairs to the balcony for views and a have a look at the stained glass window of the Sturt Desert Pea, the floral emblem of South Australia.

underground building with altar inside

We discovered it slightly underwhelming based mostly upon rave opinions we’d heard of it. Value is $5 donation per particular person. I don’t suppose it’s value this as there’s not so much to see, nor data on it.

However, it could be your factor so the selection is yours!

3. Admire The Views From The Huge Winch Lookout

dirt valley

You’ll be able to’t miss the Huge Winch. Stroll up for those who can embrace the warmth. In any other case drive up and take a look at the sweeping views over the apocalyptic panorama.

That is the place to look at the sundown. We had an overcast day so it didn’t placed on a present for us.

tree sculpture

I’m nonetheless undecided of what the purpose to the Huge Winch is – simply one other Coober Pedy quirky factor!

4. Admire the Views From The Breakaway

The Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park lies 32km north of Coober Pedy.

It consists of vibrant low hills which have damaged away from the Stuart Vary, therefore their title “The Breakaway”.

a desert field with coloired sand
The Breakaways

There are two lookout factors and the arid, barren panorama makes it laborious to consider this was as soon as a part of the nice inland sea 70 million years in the past.

With its flat-topped mesas and placing sandstone colors, it positive is fairly! Sundown is when it’s meant to come back alive essentially the most.

It’s best to notice that to get to the Breakaways it’s essential to drive alongside a mud street so watch out and drive sluggish.

5. Be taught About Opals at Umoona Opal Mine

people in opal cave looking at wall

Umoona Opal Mine opened within the Nineteen Twenties however now operates as a museum and Opal Store.

Should you’re in search of fast issues to do in Coober Pedy, then you possibly can take a brief tour of their underground mine.

You’ll study in regards to the various kinds of opals and their high quality, how Coober Pedy got here to be the capital of opal mining, why folks dwell in dugout properties, and see examples of mining equipment.

Excursions happen every day at 10.00am, 2pm and 4pm. Should you do the tour, you get a reduction on the memento store.

6. Examine Out Josephine’s Gallery & Kangaroo Orphanage

The place on the planet are you able to discover a kangaroo orphanage mixed with an aboriginal artwork gallery? That’s Coober Pedy!

This is among the solely artwork galleries within the city the place you possibly can see aboriginal arts. It was established in 2008, and never solely takes in orphaned kangaroos, however all Australian wildlife reminiscent of wombats, birds and reptiles.

You’ll be able to study Aboriginal Cultural on a heritage discuss, the place you’ll study in regards to the that means behind the artwork, aboriginal weapons, bush medication, and tales of the Kaiditchi man.

7. Look Out From The Dingo Fence

dingo fence, 5300 km long fence to protect pastures for sheeps and cattles
Australia, canine fence aka dingo fence, 5300 km lengthy fence to guard pastures for sheeps and cattles

The Dingo Fence in Coober Pedy is a captivating sight to behold, not just for its sheer dimension and size but additionally for the tales it holds.

This canine fence is the longest fence on the planet at 5,300km, and isn’t solely a testomony to human ingenuity but additionally serves as a barrier to guard livestock reminiscent of cattle and sheep from predators.

Its bleak and stark environment make for an otherworldly expertise, and it’s a must-visit vacation spot for anybody trying to rediscover the rugged fantastic thing about the Australian outback.

8. Examine Out The Spaceship From Pitch Black

spaceship prop in movie pitch black

The spaceship in Coober Pedy is a novel vacationer attraction. It was used as a prop within the 2000 sci-fi film Pitch Black, and was left right here after filming completed.

It sits within the yard of the Opal Cave Store and is a superb backdrop for pictures.

9. Watch A Film At Coober Pedy’s Drive-In Cinema

Should you’re in search of enjoyable issues to do on a Saturday night time in Coober Pedy, then contemplate catching a drive-in film like they did again within the 1965 when the film theatre was constructed.

Time appears to have stopped in Coober Pedy and this out of doors cinema continues to be the way in which to catch the most recent films within the city.

Examine the ‘what’s on’ calendar to see what’s displaying throughout your go to.

10. Admire the Moon Plain

The moon plains are about 15km north-east of Coober Pedy and appear like the barren terrain you’d discover, nicely, on the moon.

In actual fact, you might even recognise the mysterious lunar panorama that surrounds this city, which rises out from the desert flooring.

Mad Max one, two and three, Past Thunderdome, Down & Beneath and plenty of different films have been filmed right here.

Coober Pedy Eating places

bar underground in coober pedy

It’s not typically you’d discover a South Autralian outback city with large ethnic range, however Coober Pedy has a inhabitants of three,500 and over 45 completely different nationalities.

There’s an important group vibe right here. What perception does that provide you with into what’s on supply in Coober Pedy?

That’s proper – unimaginable meals.

We actually didn’t expertise a lot as our keep was brief, however for a small city you can see solely a handful of choices. Outback Bar And Grill comes extremely advisable and is a superb place to seek out BBQ meals.

Waffles & Gems is a superb place to get some waffles for breakfast. Big Winch 360, which is a vacationer attraction recognized for, you guessed it, its large winch, nevertheless it additionally has an honest cafe (and a 360 cinema, surprisingly). It’s an important place to go for an excellent meal at sundown as a result of it additionally has wonderful views of the environment.

For night drinks, head to the underground bar on the Desert Cave Resort.

The pizza at John’s Pizza Bar was exceptionally good and exceptionally giant! You’ll be able to dine in or takeaway.

Whichever you select, spend a while wanting on the superstar wall to see who has handed by the city and loved John’s pizza.

Coober Pedy Lodging

The Underground Motel

There was no approach we have been spending the night time within the camper trailer. It wasn’t the blazing warmth that made that call for us, however the truth that we have been in Coober Pedy and the purpose of coming right here is to go underground.

Coober Pedy is an Aboriginal phrase for White Mans Burrows. Half the city lives in Dugouts, cheap underground properties which have all fashionable facilities and persistently preserve a temperature of 25 levels year-round.

We needed the perfect place to expertise this and after going backwards and forwards between opinions, we settled on The Underground Motel.

It was cool, actually. The women thought it was wonderful to be sleeping underground, particularly their little nook of colored sandstone partitions their mattress slot in. It grew to become their Princess Mattress and the stage of a superb princess fairy rescue play.

We grabbed a takeaway pizza from John’s Pizza Bar and ate it in our room.

Closing Ideas on Visiting Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy South Australia
Coober Pedy South Australia Picture: Tourism Australia

Coober Pedy is a hidden gem within the coronary heart of the South Australian outback, providing a novel mix of rugged magnificence, cultural range, and quirky adventures.

From exploring opal fields and mines to sleeping in an underground resort, or admiring the grandeur of the Dingo Fence, this city will depart you in awe of its appeal and attract, making it a must-visit vacation spot for any avid adventurer or historical past buff.

For a distinct aspect of Australia, Coober Pedy must be visited.

Video of Coober Pedy

Watch this video for Kalyra’s perspective on Coober Pedy:

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Discover the quirky jewel of the Outback- Coober Pedy, South Australia.