Nestled in the heart of Outback South Australia, Coober Pedy is an opal-mining town set within one of the hottest climates in Australia. The name comes from an Aboriginal phrase meaning “white fellow in a hole”, referring to the many under-ground dwellings constructed for the residents of Coober Pedy to escape the sweltering heat (and the extreme cold that winter brings).
White opals were first found here in 1911 by gold miners, with the industry transforming this desolate stretch of outback into a thriving town. Visitors are still invited to get a prospecting permit and try their luck at finding these highly prized gemstones! Don’t miss a visit to the Old Timers Mine and Museum that showcases the history of Coober Pedy’s opal mining industry or don a helmet to tour Tom's Working Opal Mine and witness uncut opals lining the walls.
Join a 4WD tour to explore the magnificent Painted Desert where hills of red, orange, yellow and white ignite the landscape. The colors of this lunar-like desert transform with the sun throughout the day and are particularly photogenic at sunrise and sunset. Be sure to visit the awe-inspiring Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park that is the traditional home of the Antakirinja Matuntjara Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal people and is a great place to spot red kangaroos, echidnas and a range of native plants.
No trip to Coober Pedy is complete without visiting (or staying in) an underground home, such as Faye’s or the famous Crocodile Harry's Underground Nest. There are also a number of incredible underground churches to explore, in-cluding the Catacomb Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church with its elegant stained glass windows.