Ten Things to do in Coober Pedy in 2020
Coober Pedy is the world’s opal capital and few people would believe or realize that Coober Pedy was once covered by ocean. However, that was 150 million years ago and when the water receded the silica minerals flowed into the cavities and crack of the rocks that were once underwater. Through time everything solidified, and opal was formed through the multi-coloured gemstone paradise it became.
Why Coober Pedy is a Destination to Visit in 2020
1. Underground Churches
Have you ever been to or in an underground church? In Coober Pedy, one of the first things you should put on your bucket list is visiting the amazing underground churches. One of the first to be built was the St Pauls and St Peter Catholic Churches. Another is the Serbian Orthodox Church with its stained-glass windows and striking architecture. Another was built in 1944 and in the shape of a cross which is the Catacomb Church.
2. Grass-less Golfing
Everyone is used to golf courses with the most amazing grasslands and obviously, there is no other way to play, or so you thought. One of the most unique golf courses in the world is in Coober Pedy. The Opal Fields Golf Club only has rocky fairways and sand with zero grass. It was developed in 1976 and an 18-hole with the only piece of grass an artificial piece which golfers use to tee off.
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3. Umoona Opal Mine and Museum
The largest underground attraction in Coober Pedy is the Umoona Opal Mine and Museum. It is an original opal mine that was first worked in 1920. You will get a guided tour to the mining of opal and the different qualities and types as well as a shop where opal and opal jewellery can be purchased. Other attractions include authentic aboriginal artefacts and handcrafted opal items.
4. The Painted Desert
Even though you will need a 4-Wheel-drive vehicle, you will easily get one rented or use your own as you must experience the spectacular painted desert which is also known as Arckaringa Hills. Here you will experience Mother Nature in all its glory, and which took 80 million years to create in colours of white, yellow, orange and red. It used to be an inland sea bedrock, but with time it eroded into a lunar landscape of beautiful colours that continuously changed throughout the day. Be sure to have your camera with you!
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5. Kanku Conservation Park
The Kanku Conservation Park is an aboriginal heritage site and also aboriginal owned. A particularly popular place where numerous advertisements and movies were filmed in the Castle or lookout. It is here where scenes in films like Ground Zero and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome were filmed. The distance to Coober Pedy is a 70-kilometre round-trip. A very interesting place to visit even though it might sound rather insignificant while you are there is the 3, 488-mile long fence which is the longest fence in the world. It was erected to keep out dingos and protect sheep. This continuous fence stretches all the way from the east coast in Queensland to the cliffs of Nullarbor Plain.
6. Old Timers Mine and Museum
As most main attractions and things to do and see is the Old Timers Mine and Museum also underground. You will see firsthand the Coober Pedy history and see the original underground home built in 1960 and see how the first working mine in the region operated.
7. Tom’s Working Opal Mine
This is one of the only working opal mines that has been operating since 1988. You will experience the entire process on how a tunnelling machine is used to mine opal, the bosun winch, auto-bucket and see first-hand unmined opal seems in the walls of the mine.
8. Josephine’s Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage
Josephine’s gallery is filled with authentic aboriginal art to view and to buy but what is certainly the biggest attraction is the Kangaroo orphanage. Here you can touch and feed baby kangaroos that have been rescued either through their mother being killed or injured baby kangaroos.
9. Crocodile Harry’s
Crocodile Harry’s is another underground hole with a difference. It is one of the Coober Pedy attractions that should be at the top of the list of experiences not to be missed. It is one of the most visited places in this town with an unbelievable collection of primitive art and collection of bones as well as messages written by Harry himself and visitors that have been to the dugout through the years.
10. Places to Stay
There is a myriad of reasons why you should include Coober Pedy in your 2020 visit, but where should you stay though? While camping and RV accommodation would be a great experience the top would be to live in accommodations that are entirely different than anywhere else. For example, The Mud Hut Hotel, Comfort Inn or Lookout Cave. The Zen Underground B & B, for example, is a carved underground living space with sandstone entry and a massive amount of detail that will be entirely different than any other accommodations you ever stayed in.
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If you are faint-hearted, you will probably suffer in Coober Pedy as it is scorching hot. In the shade, the temperatures are easily 113 degrees that are if it is possible to find a tree with shade. In Coober Pedy even grass is a commodity and before a tree-planting initiative was passed by the city, the tallest tree in Coober Pedy was a metal-built sculpture. Instead of moving to a place with better temperatures the earliest residents adapted and moved underground by digging holes and started building their town including churches underground.