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What Is The History of Coober Pedy?
The area around Coober Pedy, which is located roughly halfway between Alice Springs and Adelaide, was first visited by European explorers in 1858. John McDouall Stuart, a Scottish explorer, led an expedition to South Australia’s north-west in search of fertile grazing land and mineral deposits. His efforts were largely unsuccessful however, and it would be many more decades before a settlement was established.
In 1915, an opal was discovered by chance by 15-year-old Willie Hutchinson. Following this discovery, others began to arrive in the region to try their luck at finding the dazzling stones, and the township began to develop from 1916 onwards. Following the discovery of opals in Coober Pedy, the town’s population grew and opal mining continues to be its major industry.
Although the town may be best known for its abundance of opals, Coober Pedy also has some Hollywood clout. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Coober Pedy gained recognition for its dramatic landscapes, and parts of cult classics The Adventures of Priscilla - Queen of the Desert and Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome were shot on location in this Outback town.
Despite Coober Pedy’s relatively small population, sitting at around 2,000 residents, the town has become a multicultural regional centre. Today, more than 45 different nationalities are represented within the town, and flights to Coober Pedy provide an opportunity to find out more about this town - both above and below the surface.
What Are Coober Pedy’s Top Attractions?
Umoona Opal Mine and Museum
Located on Coober Pedy’s main street, Umoona Opal Mine and Museum is housed within one of the town’s original opal mines. Head below street level into the converted underground opal mine following your flights to Coober Pedy and learn about the different types of opal, the mining process and why the town has come to be known as the ‘Opal Mining Capital of the World’. Get to know more about why many of Coober Pedy’s residents choose to live underground, with displays showing the differences between early hand-dug structures and modern subterranean homes. Join a guided tour of the museum after you arrive on your flights to Coober Pedy and learn more about the town’s mining heritage, or take the time to explore the interesting exhibits at your leisure. For those wanting to take home a Coober Pedy opal of their own on their return flights to Coober Pedy, the museum’s gift shop is stocked with jewellery, rough-cut stones and more.
Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Course
Opened in 1976, the Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Course is quite unlike any other you’ll find in Australia. With no grass in sight, players tee off from patches of artificial turf, aiming to send their ball as far into the ‘scrapes’ (black areas of oiled quarry dust that have been raked to create a smooth playing ground) instead of a classic green. The grass-less course covers 18 holes, and some players have even been known to find opals during their game! If you have room in your itinerary, add a round of golf to your holiday itinerary after your flights to Coober Pedy.
Coober Pedy’s Subterranean Buildings
In an effort to avoid Coober Pedy’s intense summer heat, approximately half the town’s residents live in buildings carved into the red earth. Known as ‘dugouts’, the underground structures allow the people of Coober Pedy to avoid the heat of the day and the cold that accompanies Outback nights. As well as homes, a number of other buildings throughout the town are situated below the surface, including several churches, hotels and pubs. Book a night in an underground hotel after you arrive on your flights Coober Pedy, visit ornate churches carved from the earth, or enjoy an ice cold beer at a pub with a difference.
What Should I Pack for Flights to Coober Pedy?
Between December and February, temperatures in Coober Pedy climb upwards of 35℃. If you plan to take advantage of cheap flights to Coober Pedy during this time, consider packing loose clothing made from natural fibres, such as cotton and linen, which will help to keep you cool. From March to November, temperatures are typically cooler, especially during the winter months. Basics, such as shorts and t-shirts, will be all you need if you’re on flights to Coober Pedy this time of year, but a smart casual shirt and pants or a nice dress are always worth packing in case you decide on a night out.
Although the days are typically rather warm in Coober Pedy, temperatures drop after the sun sets. Pack a jacket for the evenings, particularly if you’ve booked flights to Coober Pedy during the autumn or winter months.
It’s important to pack sun protection, especially if you’re planning to spend time outdoors during your stay in Coober Pedy. Add a hat, sunglasses and a high SPF sunscreen to your bag before you leave home on your return flights to Coober Pedy.
Many of Coober Pedy’s top attractions are within close proximity to one another. Pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes when you board your cheap flights to Coober Pedy and see more of what makes the Outback town so special.