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Tours and Tourist Attractions: What to See and Do in Coober Pedy

Home > Coober Pedy > Art | Festivals | Lists | Outdoor | Parks
by Archie Ward (subscribe)
I'm an Australian living in Thailand. I like to read, write and travel. I'm currently working on my (commercial) travel website to make more moolah for my trips.
Published July 26th 2015
Kupa-Piti, the white man's hole

Photo Credit: Thomas Schoch

For those wondering what to do in order to experience the true splendor of the Australian outback, Coober Pedy is a great place to explore. Offering the true outback experience, Coober Pedy's things to do provide one a great sense of this Australian territory while offering great times and learning experiences. For the best experience, I recommend lending at least a few days and arranging the hire of a car ( was particularly useful in locating all of them and finding which was closest to my hotel) to seeing this fascinating area. Here are some of the best things to do around Coober Pedy during your visit.

Arid Areas Tours

For a very complete and enjoyable tour experience of this old, opal-mining town, catch a tour with Arid Area Tours. This unique offering of Coober Pedy tourism provides a thorough and interesting learning experience of the rich history and present living in and around town. Attendees are taken all around the town with stops at all of the important local fixtures. One thing I love about this tour, aside from how thorough it is, is the fact that you are not made to feel rushed, being provided with plenty of time to see the sights, ask questions, and take pictures.

The Breakaways

Photo Credit: Robyn Jay

The Breakaways is the name of the areas of desert, mountain, and mining regions around the outskirts of town. There are several Coober Pedy tours that explore this area should you prefer guidance and the company of other tourists. However, those wanting to explore apart from the group are free to do so, and can also have an equally enjoyable experience. Here, you will find much of the area's fascinating, underground architecture, native plants and animals, and mining settlements, as well as experience the rich geography of the outback.

Desert Cave Hotel

Photo Credit: Nachoman au

The Desert Cave Hotel was a memorable experience for me and is one of the more popular Coober Pedy tourist attractions. The hotel and its accommodations are all underground, providing tourists with a rich opportunity in experiencing this particular realm of Coober Pedy. Below the surface is, after all, where much of the town's rich culture originates. But keep in mind; this is much more than a simple hotel experience. Here, you will find underground tours, an award-winning exhibit of the area's opal mining history, and some of the region's most fantastic dining experiences.

Josephine's Gallery

I definitely consider Josephine's Gallery a necessity amongst the various things to see in Coober Pedy. Much of this establishment is devoted to the different types of art of the region. This includes locally-made didgeridoos, plenty of aboriginal art, gemstone and opal displays, historic artifacts, and much more. Once finished touring the rich array of art pieces, you can move on to checking out the center's kangaroo refuge. Here, orphaned and injured kangaroos are given refuge, cared for, and made available for public view. I found this to be quite the diverse and fascinating venue.

Old Timers Mine

Just off of Crowders Gully Road lies Old Timers Mine. This is the site of past mining activities, now transformed into an interactive museum and exploration center. Visitors can tour some of the mines and learn about their very interesting history, as well as an intriguing mystery therein. Why were many of the shafts abandoned and apparently hidden from future explorers? You can attempt your own conclusion before moving on to trying your hand at finding opal of your very own. In addition, check out some of the actual mining machinery, the souvenir shop, and some great, mining demonstrations.

Coober Pedy Gem Trade Show

Another of the great things to do in Coober Pedy is attend the Coober Pedy Gem Trade Show. This trade show takes place at the Croatian Club in town and occurs every April. Here, the finest goods of the opal and gem trade are put on display and made available for purchase and trade. This is a great opportunity to see some of the world's finest gems and local finds, all in one place. There are also offerings made available including music, food, social opportunities, and more. People from all over the world transcend on this event.

Coober Pedy OZ Mineral Races

For those looking for a slightly higher level of excitement, the Coober Pedy OZ Mineral Races offer just that. Every August, The Coober Pedy Racing Club sponsors this event in which horse races and motorcycle races are the center of attention. Visitors to this event will enjoy adrenaline-packed racing, special events, great food and drink vendors, souvenir opportunities, prize-yielding contests and drawings, and more. This is definitely an event worth checking out for the whole family.

Queen of the Desert Festival

Queen of the Desert Festival

Photo Credit: David Shankbone

The Queen of the Desert Festival is an annual celebration of Australia's history in film and entertainment. It is also known as the world's longest street parade. The parade travels through a number of towns before finally culminating at Coober Pedy. The event often has a charitable cause within its mission and is an opportunity for locals to dress-up as a favorite film character, as well as parade their off-road vehicles, also decorated accordingly. This is a great time whether you are a parade participant, or simply a spectator. Be ready to take lots of fun pictures.

Australia features some of the most interesting touring and entertainment opportunities in the world. Coober Pedy is a great example of this, from its many, unique, downtown offerings, to its mesmerizing surroundings in the Australian outback. These are some of my suggestions to you as to what to do in Coober Pedy, and experience the full glory of this wonderful place.
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Why? To see the opal capital of Australia (and the world!)
Phone: 08 8672 4600
Where: South Australia
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