Coober Pedy to Port Augusta – 542 km | 5.5 hrs
** We strongly advise against driving at night due to the volume of kangaroos that will jump in front of your campervan. Not only will you damage your vehicle, but you'll injure or kill a kangaroo. When you see a dead kangaroo on the road, check its pouch for a joey when safe to do so. Kangaroo rescue centers can be located at Coober Pedy, Alice Springs, Darwin and Katherine. You can find wildlife rescue phone numbers here. You might save a life!
With dusty desert landscapes, rusty car wrecks and cave-dwellers, Coober Pedy is like the post apocalyptic wasteland of Mad Max. The name Coober Pedy comes from local Aboriginal words kupa (white man) and piti (hole).
But there’s a good reason why Coober Pedy’s inhabitants live underground. The flies alone will drive you insane but temperatures here reach an unbearable 50 C in summer, while underground it’s a pleasant 23 – 25 C all year. There are underground churches, book shops, art galleries, cafes and museums to explore.
Opals are what drew the white folks to this part of the world in the first place, and Coober Pedy is still the most important opal producing region in the world. Australia produces 95% of the world’s opals.
Coober Pedy opal mines. Photo: adelaide_aerial via IG
Stops and Photo Opportunities
Break this long drive up with an overnight stop in Port Augusta. Port August is 310 km (3.5 hours drive) from Adelaide and 550 km (5.5 hours drive) from Coober Pedy. The old town centre of Port Augusta has some elegant old buildings and a revitalised waterfront with a jetty where locals cast fishing lines and Indigenous kids do back flips. There are plenty of attractions to amuse you for half a day or more.
Stop, revive, survive! Take regular breaks for silly photo ops. ch.thab via IG
Faye’s was hand dug by three women in the 1960s and hasn’t been
redecorated since. Take a guided tour
and enjoy the retro décor and the living room swimming pool.
ENTRY: $10 adults
Faye's underground home
Enquire at the Visitor Centre how to ‘noodle’ through permitted mine areas to find your own gemstone.
Opals. Photo: sedaopals via IG
The historic Old Timers Mine was hand-dug in 1916 and includes
display galleries, two underground homes from the 1920s and 1970s and precious
seams of opal. It will give you a good insight into the town, its world famous
opal mining, and the characters who have called Coober Pedy home.
ENTRY: Adults $15, kids $5, Family $40.
The Umoona Mine and Museum includes an underground house,
Aboriginal interpretive centre, a panoramic theatre, historic displays, opal
retail shop and Aboriginal arts and drafts.
ENTRY: Adults $12, kids $6.
Umoona Opal Mine and Museum. Photo: kimbrpodde via IG
Church of Saint
Elijah the Prophet is the name of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Coober Pedy.
Elijah is important to Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Jews. The church
complex includes a church, a community hall, a parish house and a religious
school, and all of it is carved in the sandstone between 3 and 17 meters
under ground. Highlights include the stained glass ceiling
window, a glass iconostasis and the bas reliefs of saints carved into the
ENTRY: $5 adults
Church of Saint Elijah the Prophet. Photo: factualcynic via IG
Let yourself in and look around. It is a simply decorated serene place with soft music.
Tom’s is a maze of tunnels, interesting
demonstrations and the chance to find your own opal.The guided tour offers use of
the tools and demonstrations of the machinery, which you will miss on the self
ENTRY: Adults $15, children $8, family $40. There are also tours.
Tom's Working Opal Mine. Photo: rhiannontooker via IG
Various levels to explore and some lovely stained glass.
This is the smallest and oldest of the Coober Pedy underground churches and is
conveniently located in the middle of town.
This prop from a 2000 science fiction movie Pitch Black starring Vin Diesel sits in
the town of Coober Pedy by a parking lot as though it was left there after a
The spaceship of Coober Pedy. Photo: leorsner via IG
The underground town of Coober Pedy. Photo: amy rosew via IG
The rusty vehicles of Coober Pedy. Phot: beachbushandbackroads via IG
Coober Pedy. Photo: saweekender via IG
Coober Pedy rusty vehicles. Photo: viajandoconladani via IG
Underground dwellings, Coober Pedy. Photo: oliverclose via IG
Opal Inn Caravan Park
Free WiFi, 2 bars, a bistro, bottle shop (liquor store), laundry, grassed camping area,
RATES: Powered site $35. Unpowered $25. Additional adults $10.
BIG4 Stuart Range
BBQs, camp kitchen, TV room, laundry, dump point, tourist information, bottle shop, children’s playground.
RATES: Powered $37. Unpowered $32. Additional adults $12 children $6.
Oasis Tourist Park
Indoor pool, games room and clean shower and toilet amenities.
Coober Pedy is part of the Adelaide to Darwin Drive through Central Australia which is mapped below. For more road trips, see our list of Campervan Road Trips in Australia.
Heart of Reef Shuttles, 48-50 Carlo Drive, Cannonvale, Queensland 4802 Phone: 1800 216 223
490 Nudgee Road, Hendra, Queensland 4011
Phone: 1800 216 223
440 Sheridan Street, Cairns,
Queensland 4870 Phone: 1800 216 223
273 Elizabeth Street, Coburg,
Victoria 3058 Phone: 1800 216 223
23-25 Erskine Rd, Caringbah,
Sydney, NSW 2229 Phone: 1800 216 223