When people think of visiting Australia, they tend to think of going to the Sydney Opera House or The Great Barrier Reef. Although these are some of the country’s major attractions, there’s much more to Australia than just what you see in guidebooks.
There are some hidden gems down under that you may have never even heard of. One such place is Coober Pedy, just north of Adelaide in the Australian Outback. What makes it so special? The whole town is completely underground.
Coober Pedy, which was named after the Aboriginal world “Kupa-Piti,” meaning white man’s hole, is the opal capital of the world, which helps to explain why everyone there lives underground. In 1915, deposits of opal were discovered in the area, and people came to search for opal and settle there, setting up many mine shafts.
The area was too hot in the summer months, so instead of setting up camp elsewhere, they built the town underground so they could live close by but still stay cool.
There is even a house with an indoor pool! According to the Coober Pedy website, “Built thirty years ago by three women this attraction is an insight in to the strength of character that Coober Pedy was built on.” For just a few dollars, you can visit this unique experience.
The iconic landmark to signify you’ve reached Coober Pedy.
The town currently has 3,500 residents with a diverse population of 45 different nationalities. Most of them live underground. Between April and October, the weather is very pleasant, but come summer, temperatures can reach up to 115 degrees, so you can understand why people would want to stay below ground.
The opal mining industry isn’t as lucrative as it once was, but it is still the driving force behind this little town. However, there are also now hotels, bars and churches underground as well as a variety of other shops.
Tourists come to check out the town, and some of them even stay in their underground hotel rooms.
If you decide to plan a trip to Australia, consider a visit to this unique town—it’s not every day you get to spend time in an underground city!