A Town in a Hole: This Australian Village is Entirely Underground


Coober Pedy, a town in a hole in South Australia. Originally established as an opal mining town, today it’s home to around 3,500 people, but judging by the bare landscape, you’d probably never guess it was there.

Throughout the centuries, humans have invented lots of unique and fascinating ways to live, particularly in areas that aren’t all that hospitable to life.

This aerial view shows a city without buildings. In fact, the entire town is basically in a hole!

In the middle of the Australian desert, lies this inconspicuous-looking hole.

To the untrained eye it looks like nothing at all, but just round the corner is another entrance that begins to reveal what actually lies beneath.

Yet from the surface you would never know anyone lived in the barren landscape. The unassuming community lies in the south-east of a desert, which is as big as France and Germany combined.

The underground network stretches for miles under the red soil and is made up of tunnels and homes – complete with all the normal furnishings.

If you want to see what it’s like to live here, hotel rooms are available.

Or, you can always camp in the world’s only underground campground.

There is also five churches, a restaurants and hotel rooms for people who want to experience life “down under”.

The Desert Cave Hotel offers unique underground desert accommodation in Coober Pedy. You can also stay overground – but where’s the fun in that.

Beneath the surface, the rooms are decorated using native rocks and colours so the outback’s unique culture is not lost.

It is eco-friendly because the underground rooms naturally regulate their temperature which reduces the need for air conditioning.

And it features all the usual creature comforts as well as a swimming pool, bar and games room.

Their cave restaurant serves modern Aussie cuisine for breakfast and prices for a double room start from $193 (around £109).

So, why is this underground town even here? In 1915, a father and son came through the area in search of gold. While they didn’t find gold, they did find opal, which quickly became an incredibly popular stone across the globe. But due to the scorching temperatures, miners found it easier to seek shelter within their mines, rather than above the ground. Ultimately they created the 1,500 or so underground homes, or “dugouts,” that exist here. Today, Coober Pedy is the main provider of opal worldwide, but the town is just as famous for its bizarre dugouts as its precious stones


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