All things Coober Pedy

Hit the road for a classic Aussie getaway with a difference. Known as the Opal Capital of the World, the outback – and mostly underground – town of Coober Pedy is one-of-a-kind. Packed with storied opal history from its historic lookouts to its underground network of homes, opal mines and museums, you’ll also discover stunning natural landscapes surrounding this unique region. 

Unique Opal Mines

Umoona Opal Mine and Museum! Image from the South Australian Tourism Commission.

Since the first local opal was unearthed in 1858, Coober Pedy has come to be regarded as the ‘Opal Capital of the World’ due to its abundance of these precious stones. The town is also famed for its unique underground architecture, where the homes, shops and network of tunnels and mines keep temperatures constant and comfortable all year round. 

There are plenty of ways to step into this fascinating and quirky mining town. Umoona Opal Mine also has daily tours and free entry to the museum. Established in the 1920s, this mine offers a range of underground experiences that explain the history of Coober Pedy opals and dugouts. Try your hand at mining for opals at Tom’s working opal mine and Opal Museum.

The Coober Pedy Experience is another one of the leading Coober Pedy tourist attractions. Not only do you get to explore tunnels filled with rich seams of opal and historic artefacts, but you’ll also get to stay in comfortable rooms tucked within one of Coober Pedy’s stylishly refurbished original mines. 

Incredible ancient landscapes

Beautiful scenery from the Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park. Image from Elise Cook.

Only 25km north of Coober Pedy, Kanku Conservation Park is a vast and majestic slice of nature. Cov­ering nearly 15,000 vividly ochre-coloured hectares, this ancient region is home to flourishing flora as well as red kan­ga­roos, echid­na, birdlife and a unique marsupial known as the fat-tailed dun­nart.

Hike through the rugged terrain, take a guided tour, or simply enjoy the stunning natural scenery. There are two easy trails to enjoy and you can also take a guided experience with Noble Tours. The Kanku Conservation Park is also an important site for indigenous culture, and visitors can learn about the rich history and traditions of the local Anangu people.

For another incredible, charter a flight to see The Anna Creek Painted Hills. This spectacular section of Breakaways country can only be accessed by air, due to its fragility and natural beauty. Enjoy a flight as the rocky outcrop of large and small hills unfold from the desert landscape below.

Other things to see in Coober Pedy

When in Coober Pedy be sure to visit the Big Winch 360 Cafe. Image from Heidi who Photos.

Get to know the town and the story of its vast landscape by experiencing Big Winch 360. Situated at the iconic Coober Pedy lookout perched above the town, the winch structure is now also home to a cafe and immersive 360 cinema experience that wraps you vibrant natural history. Enjoy a meal on the deck afterwards, overlooking the town.

Another great place to visit, and one of the free things to do in Coober Pedy, is the Catacomb Church. Dug out in the 1970s, today this space offers a cool and quiet place to sit and reflect. 

There are also great places to relax with a meal, such as the Outback Bar and Grill, home to a spacious dining area and beer garden. The popular Italian Club is another great option. 

Where to stay 

One of the best things to do in Coober Pedy is to stay at the Comfort Inn Coober Pedy Experience. Surrounded by hallways and tunnels filled with opal seams and history, you’ll find comfortable accommodation sculpted within an old opal mine.

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