Day 35: William Creek >> Coober Pedy

I had wanted to come to Coober Pedy for more than 10 years, ever since editing a piece for a magazine I was working for (a magazine truly unworthy of a plug, so I won’t name it here). Still, this piece caught my attention for the uniquely “underground” nature of the town. We drove through beautiful scenery from William Creek to Coober Pedy, and I should have quit while I was ahead.

For me, Coober Pedy unfortunately did not live up to my expectations, though I still think the town is unique. (Adam’s expectations had been decidedly lower, and I still think it didn’t meet them.)

Still, we made the most of our time here. We had a nice lunch at the recently refurbished The Big Winch 360˚ Café Bar and checked in to our “underground” accommodation at The Underground Motel. I had insisted on experiencing this type of accommodation, and I’m still glad we did. It was cozy and cute – going for a Tex-Mex or Aztec-y kind of feel – and fit the bill, even if it wasn’t truly underground and more built into the side of an old mining hill. (My mother, who can never have enough light, would’ve hated this!) It would be our third night of the trip not sleeping in Sherwood.  

We checked out the underground Catholic church – again, not really underground but interesting nonetheless. I imagine the services here would feel a bit different from those I grew up with.

Then we walked the (somewhat dilapidated) main street, which is lined with opal shops, as Coober Pedy stakes its claim as the “opal capital of the world.” I am not a fan of opals – give me diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies anytime – but I thought I would have to take a look, so we ventured into one shop. (They didn’t turn on the shop lights till we walked, in.) Nope, still not a fan. There was one opal shop whose name gave me a chuckle:

Not overly impressed with the main drag, we sought solace “underground” at the Desert Cave Underground Bar, another newly renovated watering hole in one of the more upmarket hotels here, which also had some informative underground exhibits.

We went to John’s Pizza for dinner, as it had good online reviews. It was decent pizza, and the place was really hoppin’. (They all must’ve read the reviews, too.) Note: John’s Pizza was not – nor did it claim to be – underground.

When planning this trip, I originally thought we might stay two, even three nights in Coober Pedy, but 24 hours was enough for us. We would move on tomorrow, heading to the Painted Desert.

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