The Opal Capital of the World has a varying population from around 2000 to 4000, with 45 different nationalities. Far removed from the rest of mainstream Australia, the wealth brought in during the mining boom has allowed residents to build luxurious underground dwellings complete with swimming pools and entertainment rooms, and four out of five residents live underground.

The stark landscape surrounding Coober Pedy, including the 40km or so in every direction that’s dotted with shafts and mullock heaps from opal workings, as well as the moonlike Breakaways and not-too-distant Stuart Ranges, has formed the backdrop for films like Mad Max III, Priscilla, Pitch Black and Red Planet. And the cultural mishmash in town means only one thing: great food. There are a ton of different dining experiences to tickle your tastebuds, and to work off those extra pounds you can have a swing of an iron on Coober Pedy’s grassless golf course. Or, if you’re not so skilled with a golf club, check out the underground catacomb Anglican Church, The Big Winch Lookout and the Old Timers Mine to get a real understanding of just how different the locals here live.

Where? // 846km (10hrs) northwest of Adelaide, 690km (8hrs) south of Alice Springs.

Did you know? // Golf is played during the night at Coober Pedy, with a glowing ball to avoid the heat in the day.


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