sa map

Coober Pedy is a strange town. Half the population live underground and most of what appears above ground is weirdly tacky.


The landscape is sparse, barren and pink



Tourist attractions and opal sales blend into crass, desperate attempts to extract money from passing visitors


Underground houses are burrowed into the hillsides around the town


It is a strange sight, TV antennas, satelite dishes and solar heaters apparently mounted on the ground.


Makeshift structures of corrugated iron and junk are everywhere.


Trashed cars abandoned on the streets don’t look at all out of place


Architecture leans more towards functional than decorative.


The odd time function gives way to decoration the theme of over the top tackiness still triumphs.

The town is incredibly unique and, after a while, the trashy mixture of junk, dirt and recycled tin becomes oddly appealing.

3 thoughts on “COOBER PEDY

  1. Oddly appealing… yes, it is that. We spent a night in Coober Pedy, at an underground hotel; it was probably the strangest experience of my life. It was totally silent in our room and though comfortable we didn’t sleep well, probably because of knowing nothing was above us except earth. It’s a different feeling than being in a basement.
    I remember driving out of the area and seeing all the holes in the ground, left from old mining operations, holes with no fences around them to prevent animals or people from falling in. I certainly wouldn’t want to wander around in the dark.

    • Hi Jo,
      We walked through the underground hotel. I was surprised how square and open the spaces were. I expected rounded, cave like walls and ceilings, but found everything square and parallel. It really is a weird feeling when you see there is no supporting structure at all, just a maze of holes burrowed into rock!

  2. yes, and the home were similar. When one needs more space they simply dig out a shelf or a closet or a room. The homes we visited didn’t feel cramped or cavelike because there were windows along the front which let in plenty of light. We were told that there was no need for air conditioning even though the outside temperature soared because the ground provided natural cooling.

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