Check out the Australian Outback from a different perspective—underground! In Coober Pedy, over half the town lives below the surface, and a number of hotels, churches, museums, and attractions are underground as well. It makes sense, as this scorching town saves on air conditioning in the summer (and heating in the winter) by building in the cool earth away from the sun.
The town’s main industry is opal mining, and a few places even let you try your luck at “noodling” (digging for opals), so come here for a chance to strike it rich and build your very own underground mansion. Cooper Pedy is pretty isolated from other towns, so it’s a really interesting, authentic Outback experience.
Where is it? South Australia.
Where to stay? At the world’s only four-star underground hotel, the Desert Cave Hotel. Rates start around $240, and you’re sure to get a good night’s sleep without any sunlight to wake you in the morning.
What else should I know? Watch out for the abandoned mineshafts throughout town—just because you fall down one, doesn’t mean you get to keep any opal you find down there.
Who’s it for? Those who want to visit Australia but hide from the sun, eco-lovers who enjoy energy conservation, anyone who wants to check out the Australian Outback, and people who love shiny things.