This Australian Town Is So Underground
Coober Pedy in outback South Australia is famed for its opal production, which borders on overachievement – it’s literally called the “opal capital of the world” due to the large quantities of the precious gemstone it produces from its mines.
Pretty much smack bang in between Alice Springs and Adelaide (eight hours in a car each way) and right in the middle of the red centre, it goes without saying that Coober Pedy gets hot. Really, really hot.
It’s this scorching heat that’s led to the most unique trait of the country town. Opal miners looking for shelter realised that it really is cool to be underground, so they started building their houses there.
These below-ground residences, called “dug-outs”, were so effective in keeping out the heat that soon shops and facilities made their way down there too.
Coober Pedy is even home to a dugout church, meaning you can have the most underground wedding of all time.
The desert lifestyle isn’t for everyone – Coober Pedy has a population of just 2,000 people – but it’s a popular tourist destination for those heading up the Stuart Highway or just for adventurers seeking something different.
Your closest port of call is Adelaide, then an adventure north.