Coober Pedy – The Underground City

Coober Pedy – The Underground City

Coober Pedy is a town in northern South Australia with a population of 3,500 and over 45 different nationalities. The town is known as the Opal capital of the world because of the quantity of precious opals that are mined there. Opal was first found in Coober Pedy on the 1st of February 1915 and since then has been supplying the world with the majority of gem quality opal. Unusual name of the town comes from the local Aboriginal term kupa-piti, which means ‘whitemans hole’ or ‘waterhole’. Nowadays Coober Pedy relies as much on tourism as the opal mining industry to provide the community with employment and sustainability.

Coober Pedy is famous for below ground residences, called “dugouts”, due to the burning daytime heat. The aerial view shows a city with no buildings.

Coober Pedy is probably best known for its unique style of underground living. There is a range of underground accommodation (as well as above ground if you prefer). There are authentic underground homes to explore as well as underground museums, opal shops, art galleries, underground churches and opal mines.  The first tree ever seen in the town was welded together from scrap iron. It still sits on a hilltop overlooking the town. Both the town and its hinterland, for different reasons, are very photogenic and have therefore attracted film makers.

One of the underground churches in Coober Pedy

One of the most interesting attractions of the town is 18 hole grassless course of the Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Club, which was voted in the top 10 of the most unique courses in the world, situated 3.5km north of town centre. The game can be played at night time as well. Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Club is the only golf club in the world with reciprocal playing rights with the ‘home of golf’, St. Andrews in Scotland.

[Sources: District Council of Coober Pedy]

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