Do not judge a book by its cover. That is so very true when it comes to your first impressions of Coober Pedy. There definitely is much more to this little outback town than what it seems from the surface. It's been on my to-do list for a while and we finally made it their last month.
When we arrived, we decided to join in on the Coober Pedy and Breakaways Tour conducted by Noble Tours Australia. Our tour guide Aaron was just fantastic - friendly, enthusiastic, passionate - and loved showing us around the town and beyond. We were picked up from our accommodation by a 4WD bus at 1pm. Our first stop was the Umoona Mine and Museum. Aaron walked us through the museum which was very informative before bringing us down to the mine itself. We gained an insight into the what and how of opal mining.
Then we made our way to the famous Faye's Underground Home. If you think the home itself is fascinating enough, wait until you hear the remarkable story behind it. I think you've got to see it to believe it. Next was the enormous Serbian Underground Church. It might not look like much from the outside, but I'm sure you'll have a completely different view once you're inside.
Then it's time to leave the town behind and venture out to the Breakaways. On the way, we stopped to have a look at the Dingo Fence and Moon Plains. Aaron explained the significance of it all to us while driving. Being up close in the Breakaways was amazing and the view from the lookout at sunset was spectacular. Aaron also had some nibbles prepared for us to enjoy while taking in the view.
On the way back into town, we visited the opal fields and Aaron brought us to see his mine. It was truly an experience. We then had one final special photo stop before being dropped off at our accommodation. Overall we enjoyed ourselves very much and I would recommend that you getting in touch with Noble Tours Australia during your visit to Coober Pedy.
I loved Coober Pedy but my accommodation was not underground. The Churches and homes underground are unbelievable.
Almost purchased Opal earrings, procrastinated too long and regret it now. If you see something you like, buy it, add to the local economy. It's a long way to go back if you decide later! Great photographs.
Saturdays they have market stalls. Some sell opal which was mined in the local area. Sone of it is cut and polished and is put in jewellery. It's definitely worth checking out as they don't charge retail overhead prices
The Desert Cave Motel has underground accommodation and also above ground for when the underground is full. The service is excellent. The Resturant has fantastic cuisine but it's a bit expensive if you are on a budget.
There is quite a few places that have good quality meals. However if you have special medical diet requirements be sure to ask plenty of questions
HI Audrey, Thanks for your story on Coober Pedy. I spent two years there as a teacher in 1965 and 1966.. and lived in a very basic dugout owned by The Education Dep`t The school had no running water or electricity and it was a dirt road from Pt Augusta onwards for 400 miles. Happy memories! Brendan McGuire.