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Beauty below the Earth: Top Things to Do at Coober Pedy

Beauty below the Earth: Top Things to Do at Coober Pedy

In the dry Australian Outback lies the spellbinding Coober Peddy, a surreal town peppered with mines and movielike landscapes. 

With extraordinary attractions built under the earth and majestic plains that look out of this world, Coober Pedy offers an unforgettable escapade. 

Our guide below will help you enjoy Coober Pedy like a local!

How to Get to Coober Peddy

By Car: Coober Pedy is located approximately 850 km (530 mi) north of Adelaide. You can drive to this town by following the Stuart Highway (A87) north. 

The journey takes around 8 to 9 hours, depending on the driving conditions, and stops along the way.

By Bus: Several bus companies operate services between Adelaide and Coober Pedy. One popular option is the Greyhound Australia bus service, which offers regular departures from Adelaide Central Bus Station to Coober Pedy. 

The bus journey takes approximately 9 to 10 hours.

By Air: If you prefer a quicker (but more expensive) option, you can fly from Adelaide to Coober Pedy. Regional airlines such as Rex Airlines offer flights from Adelaide Airport to Coober Pedy Airport. 

The flight duration is around 1 hour.

Top Things to Do at Coober Peddy

Take a selfie in front of the Coober Pedy sign

Take a selfie in front of the Coober Pedy sign

Address: 26 Hutchison St, Coober Pedy SA 5723

Snap pics with the Coober Pedy sign to kick off your outback adventure! Capturing a photo with the sign creates a lasting memory and serves as a memento of your unique journey into the heart of the Opal Capital.

Tip: The area where the Coober Pedy Sign is perched can get scorching hot from morning to early afternoon. We advise visiting this spot around sunset when the weather is milder, and the sunset-beautified scenery is enchanting.

Witness nature’s beauty at the Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park

Website: https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/parks/kanku-breakaways-conservation-park
Address: Stuart Hwy, Coober Pedy SA 5723
Contact details: 1800 637 076
Operating hours: Daily – 24 Hours

For us, Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park is where Coober Pedy unveils its most breathtaking wonders. 

Here, we were swept away by the vibrant orange and earthy colors of the desert dancing across Mars-like landscapes—a feast for the eyes and a soothing sight for the mind.

Find the highest hill you can sit on, place a picnic blanket, crack open some cold ones, and be completely enticed by the seemingly-endless plains of the undisturbed Australian Outback.


  • This conservation park is a traditional land that deserves respect. Stay on the pathways designated for tourists, and don’t litter and make too much noise to avoid damaging the area’s biodiversity and tranquility.
  • The park’s elegance arguably reaches its absolute peak during the hour before sunset (around 4 to 5 pm).

Around this time, the park’s predominant yellow and orange hues transition into deep golden tones. It’s a scenery that might remind you of Return of the Jedi or From Dusk Till Dawn.

Go underground at the Umoona Opal Mine and Museum

Website: https://www.umoonaopalmine.com.au/
Address: 14 Hutchison St, Coober Pedy SA 5723
Contact details: (08) 8672 5288
Operating hours: Daily – 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM

The Umoona Opal Mine and Museum is our team’s top suggestion for tourists who want to learn the ins and outs, history, and culture of Coober Pedy’s mining industry.

From the complex gemstone extraction methods to the tunnel systems supporting the mine since the 1920s, this underground tourist attraction will provide you with several mining insights. 

In addition to this, the tour guides will showcase Coober Peddy’s bread and butter—opals.

Tip: General admission to the mine’s museum is free, but if you want to get the full experience, we highly recommend joining the tours guided by the locals. 

Visit the Anna Creek Painted Hills

Address: Anna Creek SA 5723

A prehistoric inland sea that turned into an awe-inspiring geological wonder is something you shouldn’t miss. The Anna Creek Painted Hills is a stunning range of rust-orange mountains adorning the Australian Outback.

This jaw-dropping magnum opus of nature is a product of 35 million years of climate change and continues to amuse us with striking colors and intricate patterns. 

The rock formations are otherworldly, so make sure you have plenty of space left on your camera when you go here.

Tip: The picturesque outcrops of The Anna Creek Painted Hills can only be accessed via airborne transport. We went with Wrightair as our tour provider, but if you’re looking for an alternative, we suggest Ken Duncan.

Dine at The Big Winch 360° Cafe

Website: https://bigwinch360.com.au/
Address: Italian Club Rd, Coober Pedy SA 5723
Contact details: 0417 902 224
Operating hours: 

  • Monday – Closed
  • Tue to Sat – 11 AM to 9:30 PM
  • Sun – 8 AM to 9:30

The Big Winch 360° Cafe is a foodie haven offering 360° panoramic views of Coober Pedy’s expansive landscapes. 

Perched upon higher grounds, dining here isn’t just a treat for the taste buds but a magical gift to the eyes, especially during sunset and starry nights.

If you enjoy films, prepare to be enchanted by The Big Winch’s Cinema Experience—Australia’s first permanent 360º Circlevision theater. 

Inside this cozy and spacious theater, you’ll learn about the 1858 expedition of John Mcdouall and the charming tale of miners who found solace and livelihood in an arid paradise.

Tip: The Big Winch serves top-tier meals, all with varying flavors and appeal. But if it were up to us, we’d go for their Chicken Foccacia, T-Bone Steak, and Atlantic Salmon.

The beverages that can complete these dishes well are the cafe’s smoothies. 

Don’t miss out on their cream-of-the-crop sweet delights too. The Big Winch’s Classic Strawberry Cream Brulee and Mini Pavlova are delish heat-busters.

Address: 131-133 Hutchison St, Coober Pedy SA 5723
Contact Details: 0428 356 669
Operating Hours: Daily – 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM

The allure of world-class Aboriginal art and the unabashed cuteness of roos is a combination not everyone can resist! 

In Josephine’s Gallery and Kangaroo Orphanage, you’ll enter a vibrant world of Aboriginal masterpieces celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Cobber Pedy. 

You’ll also learn about the orphaned roos’ rescue stories—heartwarming tales of human heroics and wildlife resilience. 


  • Respect the guidelines and instructions provided by the staff. The welfare and well-being of the roos are of utmost importance, so it’s essential to follow any rules regarding interaction, feeding, and handling. 
  • To properly approach the roos, don’t rush. Maintain a calm demeanor when you’re near them, as they get spooked easily.

Experience noodling or fossicking

Experience noodling or fossicking

Location: 846 km north of Adelaide on the Stuart Highway

Are you ready to unleash your inner treasure hunter? Noodling or fossicking is an exciting activity of searching for valuable gemstones, minerals, or fossils in their natural environment. 

It typically involves using tools like shovels and sieves to sift through soil, gravel, or rocks.

The appropriately-named Jewel Box in the Eastern Fringes of Coober Pedy is where we tried noodling. 

It’s an exciting and hands-on activity that allowed us to connect with the land, indulge in the thrill of gemstone discovery, and create lifelong memories with our treasure-hunting mates.


  • Be cautious of your surroundings, and watch for potential hazards like unstable ground, sharp rocks, or open mine shafts. Wear suitable protective gear, such as gloves and sturdy footwear, to prevent injuries.
  • Equip yourself with the necessary tools for noodling like small pickaxes, shovels, sieves, and protective gear.
  • Show respect for the environment and leave the area as you found it. Fill in any holes you dig and avoid damaging the natural surroundings. 

Preserving the integrity of the land ensures others can continue to enjoy the fossicking experience in the future.

  • Last but not least, be patient. If pressure makes diamonds, patience leads to opals.

Take a stroll on the Moon Plains

Location: 18 km north-northeast of Coober Pedy

You don’t need a multi-billion spaceship to experience walking on the moon. Simply book a trip to Coober Pedy’s Moon Plains! 

This dry and barren terrain has unique rock formations and, as the name suggests, resembles the lunar surface. 

Exploring the Moon Plains’ undulating hills and craters is an adventure like no other—one that becomes so much better if you let your imagination run wild. Do you want to role-play as Matt Damon’s The Martian character? Go for it! 


  • The terrain of the Moon Plains can be rugged and rocky, so it’s essential to wear sturdy and comfortable footwear such as hiking boots or approach shoes.
  • The outback sun can get intense, so be sure to wear a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the harsh rays and carry enough water to stay hydrated throughout your exploration.

Head to the Catacomb Church

Website: https://catacombchurch.com.au/
Address: LOT 746 Catacomb Rd, Coober Pedy SA 5723
Contact Details: (08) 8672 5038
Operating Hours: Daily – Open 24 Hours

Venturing into the Catacomb Church in Coober Pedy is like entering a hidden sanctuary holding an air of mystery and tranquility. 

Whether you’re a Catholic or not, this unique attraction that took inspiration from Rome’s catacombs offers an unforgettable spiritual and recreational journey.

The dimly lit stone passageways are the highlights of this place for our team. 

We also marveled at the remarkable architecture and intricate details showcasing the relentless dedication and expert-level craftsmanship of those who built this place of worship. 

Tips: As a visitor, it’s important to respect the sanctity of the space by speaking softly and refraining from being disruptive and touching any artifacts or religious symbols.

Check Crocodile Harry’s Underground Nest & Dugout

Address: Seventeen Mile Rd, Coober Pedy SA 5723
Contact Details: 0448 632 583
Operating Hours: Daily – 8 AM to 8:30 PM

As an “underground town,” we can say that Coober Pedy marches to the beat of a different drum. 

Its attractions are arguably more eccentric compared to other South Australian spots. Then there’s Crocodile Harry’s Underground Nest & Dugout upping the quirky levels.

As you step into this underground abode full of whimsical memorabilia, you’ll be welcomed by walls adorned with an eclectic mix of artwork, knick-knacks, and souvenirs from around the world. 

The most fun part about this spot is that there’s no limit or restriction to the things you can leave here—as evidenced by the unorthodox items you’ll see here.

Tip: Before you visit this spot, think of an item or message you want the world to see. It can be funny, sentimental, or even something that might be considered NSFW!

Shop for opals at Opalios

Website: https://www.opalios.com.au/
Address: 8 Hutchison St, Coober Pedy SA 5723
Contact Details: (08) 8672 5690
Operating Hours: Daily – 9 AM to 6 PM

In a town teeming with opal jewelers, our pick goes to Opalios. Opalios is renowned for its extensive collection of opals, showcasing a wide variety of colors, patterns, and qualities. 

The prices of the opals here range from $133 to $15,000!

Opalios’ team possesses in-depth knowledge and expertise when it comes to their prized gemstone. 

They can provide valuable guidance, educate you about the different types of opals, and ensure the authenticity and quality of the stones you choose.


  • Opalios offers the option of customizing your opal jewelry, allowing you to create a truly unique and personalized piece. If you want to go all-out on your opal shopping experience, this is the route we suggest.
  • Determine your budget for purchasing opals and communicate it to the staff at Opalios.
  • Examine your opals meticulously and always request a Certificate of Authenticity. Opalios is a trustworthy store, but you have to be 100 percent sure about your jewels’ legitimacy. After all, they aren’t cheap.

Play at the Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Course

Website: http://www.cooberpedygolfclub.com.au/
Address: LOT 1509 Rowe Dr, Coober Pedy SA 5723
Contact Details: 0417 217 904
Operating Hours: Daily – Open 24 Hours

A touch of lushness amid a predominantly deep brownish-red landscape is a sight to behold, especially if it’s a golf course! Surrounded by the rugged outback scenery, the Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Course provides a unique and memorable experience.

Although not as large or well-equipped as modern golf courses, Coober Peddy’s humble but sublime golfing link has an offbeat charm and quirkiness that perfectly embodies the town’s character and spirit. 

You don’t see goannas, roos, and shinglebacks in most golf fairways!


  • The unique terrain and conditions of this golf course may require some adjustments to your playing style. Prepare for firm fairways, sandy areas, and potential wind gusts. 

Consider using lower-lofted clubs and adopting a more strategic approach to your shots because this golfing spot is far from easy-peasy.

  • Watch out for the wildlife. As said above, animals typically roam this golf course.

Respect their personal space and you won’t have to run away from angry emus.

See the Crashed Space Ship

Address: 111 Hutchison St, Coober Pedy SA 5723, Australia

Did you know films like Mad Max 3, Queen of the Desert and Black Hole, and Pitch Black were filmed in the unique scenery of Cobber Peddy? In fact, the latter actually left a movie prop in the Town of Opals—a spaceship.

While the 2000 sci-fi flick that starred Vin Diesel kind of bombed in the theaters, the remnants of the galaxy-crossing spaceship it left is still a bustling attraction. And the best thing is it’s free to visit!

Tip: The best time to visit the spaceship is around 4 to 5 PM when the weather is not too harsh. Keep in mind that it’s out in the open, so if you visit a bit earlier than we recommend, it might be too hot.

Explore Faye’s Underground Home

Website: https://www.cooberpedy.com/fayes-historic-underground-home/
Address: Gem Pl, Coober Pedy SA 5723
Contact Details: 0473 834 000
Operating Hours: 

  • Sat to Fri – 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM
  • Sun – Closed

The phrase “Down Under” is truly exemplified by Coober Peddy’s tourist sites—one of them being the iconic underground home of Faye Naylor. 

Once inside, you’ll find a series of interconnected underground rooms and corridors—testaments to the makers’ architectural ingenuity. 

The walls and ceilings of the home are left in their natural state, displaying the rich colors and textures of the underground.

Tip: Remember that Faye’s Underground Home is a privately-owned property, and it’s important to respect the owners’ privacy and belongings. Follow any instructions or guidelines provided by the tour guide or posted at the site to ensure a respectful visit.

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