Travel to Coober Pedy and Do Some Noodling

Travel to Coober Pedy and Do Some Noodling

January 17, 2018 Off By Cara Hahn

I want to tell you about Coober Pedy. Where you say? It’s a small, unique town about 850km north of Adelaide in South Australia and is considered to be the opal capital of the world. The population is currently 3,500 with over 45 different nationalities and the drawcard to this amazing outback town is opal mining.

And what makes it so unique? The fact that many people live underground due to the high summer temperatures which can reach as much as 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). The temperatures in these underground homes remain a comfortable 22 degrees.

Coober Pedy is a popular stopover point en-route to the Red Centre and Ayers Rock and a highlight is staying in one of the underground hotels. The Desert Cave Hotel is a favourite, or if you’re one who tends to get claustrophobic, then you could try the above ground Mud Hut Motel which is built of rammed earth and reflects the Australian Outback. You’ll also find underground churches, museums, shops, an art gallery and potteries.

And if you’re a bit of a golf fanatic, you won’t miss out. Of course, you’ll have to wait until nightfall to play in order to avoid the daytime temperatures, but they’ll provide you with glowing balls! The course is completely free of grass, but don’t despair! You’ll also be given a piece of turf to take around for teeing off.

You could easily spend a few days exploring this fascinating area or you might like to try your luck by doing some noodling (or fossicking) of your own. The 406 km Oodnadatta Track is a popular tourist attraction and is a traditional Aboriginal trading route. One way of doing it is by hopping on board the Coober Pedy Oodnadatta Mail Run which does a twice weekly run. It’s a 12 hour trip and stops for meal breaks at William Creek and Oodnadatta.

The truck delivers mail to a number of homesteads including the world’s largest cattle station – Anna Creek, and it will stop at scenic spots along the way. There are a number of springs along the route which feed water from the Great Artesian Basin, with the mound springs near Coward Springs being the best remaining example.

The terrain of this region is both quite eery in places and truly spectacular. It’s an artist’s dream! The area has been the backdrop for a number of movies including Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

So, if you want to experience the true outback Australia, include Coober Pedy in your next travel itinerary.