An intriguing mining settlement where fortunes can still be made
Can get very hot in summer
A fascinating town with buried charms
The over-riding thing you'll see at Coober Pedy is piles of dirt. Lots of piles of dirt. More than you could ever imagine. In fact you'll see them before you get there and, if you're heading north, for over 40kms after the town.They're known as mullock heaps and "noodlers" used to get amongst them and seek the opals that the miners might have...more
I got to know one of the traders called Bill and, after a long conversation, he offered to take me out to his mine. Unfortunately, on the appointed day, his two co-workers were away at funerals so we ended up going to another mine.Initially Tellos wasn't home but he turned up just when we were about to leave so I got to look in the mine that you...more
Cemeteries everywhere are a repository of history and information. One thing you'll learn here is that many of the original miners came from Greece, Croatia and Serbia, although the latter two were part of Yugoslavia at the time the emigrants left.Their efforts to leave their country behind had taken them to just about as far as you could get from...more
This attraction was recommended to me by....another attraction (see Riba's). Though it costs I found it well worthwhile and definitely something to put on your itinerary.What's good about it is that it covers just about every aspect of mining life at Coober Pedy. It also has, uniquely, some genuine pockets of quality opal still in the mine (pic 2)....more
So, if you went there in your car and didn't walk, the following pictures will give you and idea of what you missed. Walking will give 3 to 4 times the pleasure, I can't recommend it highly enough. To stand beside those buttes is a special feeling. The colours will astound. Here's what I wrote at the time."In the distance you can see the range of...more
Man sent a rocket to Mars. Astronomers were agog with the possibilities, scientists couldn't get to sleep wondering what it would be like on the surface.Thus it was that the pictures came back and everyone wanted to see them.However, people at Coober Pedy thought it was all ho-hum as they'd seen it all before; in fact, just out of town.At some...more
There are those who might lead you to believe that Coober Pedy produces over 90 percent of all opal. This is more than slightly erroneous. In fact, the entire state of South Australia only produces 33%. New South Wales with places like Lightning Ridge dominate production in Australia.Australia dominates the world's supply of opal, producing over 90...more
Just two days before I arrived in Coober Pedy a friend rang up and told me to visit The Breakaways. I'd never heard of them but, on his recommendation, I went out.Frankly, whenever I think of Coober Pedy now, The Breakaways immediately come to mind. It's a fairly well know tourist attraction of odd rock formations and the large majority of people...more
The discoverer of opal in the area was someone called Will Hutchinson. Will was only 14 at the time and was along with his dad and others on a gold prospecting trip. He was looking for water and discovered both a few kilometres south of Coober Pedy.Tragically he never got any benefit from his discovery as he drowned in the Georgina River while...more
Mining started in 1915, though on an amateur scale, and is still going on now, in a much more professional manner. If you'd like to give fossicking a try then head down to the Jeweller's Shop opal field or one of the others that offer such services. Even if you aren't lucky you can always buy one as a souvenir from the numerous opal shops (over 20...more
These hills are about 35 km north of Coober Pedy, you'll have to buy a permit. One of the formations is called The Castle and it featured in Mad Max III and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. There's a road going in a loop past The Castle, The Dog Fence and The Moon Plain.more
Go on Radeka's Breakaway Tour! For less than $20 you can visit everything that makes this place unique. See a part of the Longest Fence in the world, (The famous Dingo Fence), and the Moon Plain ( where Hollywood films most of its mars movies). Visit an underground church, and meet Crocodile Harry, the original persona for Crocodile Dundee. He was...more
St. Nicholas Street, PO Box 219, Coober Pedy, 5723, Australia
Good for: Couples
P.O. Box 375, Catacomb Road, Coober Pedy, Australia
Good for: Business
Crowders Gully Rd
Good for: Business
When I was last in Coober Pedy it didn't exactly tend towards fine dining....more in the Pizza restaurant and Pub Meal line....but I remember the pub meals were good, with huge chicken schnitzels....if only I could remember which pub....
But you won't go hungry - there are several places to eat.
For once, this time I'm recommending you DON'T try to drive yourself to this place (of course you can if you want...but..it's further away from anywhere than you think.)It's a good 850 kms north of Adelaide (and about another 850 south of Ayers Rock with only a small fuel stop town in between) Travelling for days through the desert is monotonous...more
65 Reviews and Opinions
Coober Pedy is THE place to buy opals, some Duty Free, but don't expect to find them cheap, unless it's some tiny trinket. Still, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Such beauty such as opal comes at a price. Depends on what you'd like to buy. A very impressive ring could cost you thousands, but if you went for a doublet opal with a small...more
The local Coober Pedy townspeople have a reputation for being very close lipped. Secrecy is like a religion here.
Locations of good opal finds are secrets which are jealously guarded and, in the past, disputes between miners or neighbours were often settled with dynamite....
It may sound like a lawless town, but don't worry, as a tourist I felt perfectly safe there.
The local community has always been quite ethnic - in the early 1990’s it was still a mix of over 40 different nationalities, including Italians, Greeks and Croatians, who have their own clubs/restaurants in the township.
The town has always had quite an isolated image, but that is slowly changing as more people are discovering this place and tourism becomes more and more important.
It's not a good idea to go wandering about the mining area (just outside of town) by yourself. For one reason, it's dangerous with all the deep shafts. For another, the miners certainly won't want you hanging around fossicking (hoping to find good discarded opal chips)If you take a mini-tour, chances are you may be able to take some small stones...more
I'd pack normal stuff plus a good hat for the sun and some sunscreen. Nights can be cold so if you're going to be out and about (I can't imagine why, there's little night life) pack a sweater.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Best you bring with you what you need, as being a remote outback town, if you find what you want in Coober Pedy, you'll pay more for it.
Photo Equipment: Best to buy film at a more reasonable price before you get here.
This gives an idea what it looks like down one of the opal mines. The shaft is sunk vertically, then you dig horizontally where possible, trying to follow the 'seam' of opal, if you find one.
On a tour, it's possible that you can go down certain working mines.