Coober Pedy

Road trip to Coober Pedy

The first travel I planned as part of my career break (in the year 2019) was to a place called Coober Pedy (popularly known as Opal capital of the World) in the South Australia state of Australia. It is about 840 kilometres from South Australia’s capital city, Adelaide.

Adelaide has some really cool murals and street art, read street art in Adelaide.

About Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy is famous for the opal mining industry and is one of the unique places in Australia. It is basically in the middle of nowhere in the outback and it is Australia’s underground town where 80% of the people live underground. The underground homes are referred to as “Dugouts”. It is ranked as World’s strangest town.

Did you know that Coober Pedy was featured in the video game series called Forza?

PIN for later reference

Road trip to Coober Pedy
Please note: This post may contain affiliate links which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link on this post. This will be at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links help me keep this website up and running. Thank you for your support.

How to get to Coober Pedy?

There are four ways to get to the town:

  • Flight – There are frequent flights run by Regional Express between Adelaide and Coober Pedy.
  • Drive – It is about 840 kilometres i.e. 9 hours’ drive (one-way) from Adelaide.
  • Bus Greyhound Australia run buses between Adelaide and Coober Pedy.
  • Train The Ghan express stops at Manguri, which is around 40 kilometres from Coober Pedy.

More detailed information on how to reach Coober Pedy can be found on Coober Pedy’s official website.

Precautions to be taken

  • Beware of the cows, kangaroos, emus, sheep, lizards and other wildlife that may come on roads suddenly.
  • Take lots of water and snacks.
  • Beware of overtaking road trains.
  • Glendambo is the last town to have fuel before heading to Coober Pedy from Adelaide. The distance between the two towns is 253 kilometres. Note: Coober Pedy has fuel stations.
Coober Pedy

Our itinerary

Two of my friends and I decided to do a road trip from Adelaide. We all could drive and have Australian full licences so the distance for driving was not an issue. Also, the roads to Coober Pedy are in excellent condition, they are marked and proper cemented roads.

The itinerary that we followed is:

Day 1

The day was just to fly into Adelaide from Sydney.

  • Took a flight from Sydney to Adelaide. The one-way ticket on Qantas costed AUD 136.06 + 6000 Qantas points.
  • Hired the car at Adelaide airport from Thrifty car rentals.
  • Stayed at Adelaide YHA for the night.
Total distance to drive: None.

Day 2

  • Drove to Coober Pedy via Port Augusta.
  • Stayed at Coober Pedy for the night.
Total distance to drive: Adelaide to Coober Pedy - 846 kilometres (9 hours).
Coober Pedy

Day 3

  • Sightseeing at Coober Pedy. Refer below in the things to do section to see what all things can be done in Coober Pedy.
  • Started our drive back towards Adelaide.
  • Stayed at Quorn for the night.
Total distance to drive: Coober Pedy to Quorn – 580 kilometres (6 hours).
Coober Pedy

Day 4

  • Sightseeing at Quorn. Refer below in things to do section to see what all things can be done in Quorn.
  • Drove back to Adelaide airport.
  • Stayed at Adelaide YHA for the night.
Total distance to drive: Quorn to Adelaide airport via Wallaroo – 350 kilometres (4.5 hours).
Coober Pedy

Day 5

  • Flew from Adelaide to Sydney. The flight costed me AUD 129.06 per person on Jetstar.
Total distance to drive: None.

Things to do

I have divided things to do based on the places I visited.

Coober Pedy

  • Tom’s Working Opal Mine tour – This is a great tour to get a sneak peek into the Opal mining. They have different guided tours, costing from AUD 15 to AUD 28.
  • Stay underground.
  • Painted desert.
  • Longest fence of 5600 kilometres – Even though we wanted to see this, but we could not because of time constraints.
  • Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park.
  • Visit underground churches.
  • Umoona Opal Mine and Museum.

!! You can purchase souvenirs online from Gifts Australia website.

Port Augusta

We could not spend lot of time at Port Augusta and hence we were unable to see the below list of things.

  • Wadlata Outback Centre.
  • Mattew Flinders Red Cliff Lookout.
  • RSL Military museum.
  • Port Wakefield itself (known for its good bakery).
  • Lochiel (check the big, dry lake for the Loch Ness Monster).


  • Pichi Richi Railway station – This was really interesting as we saw a train with Steam engine board and start its journey.

Where to stay?

We stayed at three different places for three nights, one of them being an underground accommodation.


  • Name: YHA.
  • Cost: AUD 27 in a 6 Female Dorm.
  • Address: 135 Waymouth Street , Adelaide, SA, 5000.

Coober Pedy


  • Name: Transcontinental Hotel (booked through AirBnB).
  • Cost: AUD 82 for 3 people (AUD 27.34 per person).
  • Address: 15 Railway Terrace, Quorn SA 5433, Australia.

Car hire

We got a corporate offer from Thrifty car rentals, so the car hire expenses turned out to be very cheap. While hiring a car from a rental company, we always look for complete insurance with minimum excess. The total cost including the ultimate protection was AUD 277.50 for 3 people. However, this cost did not include the fuel charges, which costed us additional AUD 248.79.

Note: Thrifty car was comfortable and clean. Even though we did not hire from Hertz, I have always loved hiring cars from Hertz. The cars are well maintained and clean.


Below are my expenses for this whole road trip:

Note: The expenses are for each person. It was a little cheaper because we were three of us and we divided the expenses among the three of us.

  • Flights:
    • Sydney to Adelaide = AUD 136.06.
    • Adelaide to Sydney = AUD 129.06.
  • Car + Fuel:
    • Car = AUD 92.5.
    • Fuel = AUD 82.93.
    • Car park = AUD 10.
  • Accommodation:
    • YHA Adelaide = AUD 27.
    • YHA Adelaide = AUD 27.
    • Backpackers Inn (CP) = AUD 40.
    • Hotel Transcontinental (Quorn) = AUD 27.4.
  • Food = AUD 116.2.
  • Museum tour = AUD 10.
  • Souvenirs = AUD 70.
Total cost = AUD 768.15 per person

Safety for solo female travelers

Overall, Australia is very safe for all kinds of travelers. It is one of the backpacking destinations in the World with amazing facilities and good hostels. So, I would definitely say that it is absolutely safe for solo female travelers as well. However, like any other place, please do take precautions and trust your instinct, especially at nights.

Are you new to solo traveling and have a lot of questions? Read frequently asked questions about solo traveling.

PIN for later reference

Road trip to Coober Pedy

Memorable experiences from Coober Pedy 

Look at that Moon!

‘Oh my God!’, ‘What is that?’, ‘Is that really the moon?’, ‘Is it real?’, ‘You got to be kidding me!’ were some of the thoughts my friends and I had when we saw a half-round shaped ‘something’ at the end of the horizon. And yes, we did quickly realise it was the spectacular moon. A big round red moon!

img_1919Memorable experiences from Coober Pedy

The sight was absolutely breathtaking, the moon was huge and red and spectacular. The pictures do no justice to the sight we saw. We parked our car on the side of the highway and took so many pictures to our heart’s content. This is one such beautiful moment that we will never forget in our lives. And we are glad that we experienced this amazing memorable moment.

Spotting a wedge tailed eagle

It is during an unfortunate situation that I spotted a wedge tailed eagle . There were so many road kills on my recent road trip, between Adelaide and Coober Pedy. Many wallabies and wildlife killed on the highways. There were dead carcasses on either sides of the roads and these served as a great food source for the wedge tailed eagles. The wedge tailed eagles fed on those dead wallabies, while the crows patiently waited at a considerable distance.

It was my first time. I had never seen a wedge tailed eagle before. They are such big birds (one of the many Australian native birds) and they ruled those roads. But I need to confess, I expected more hair/fur on their heads. Well, they were pretty much bald – which was surprising to me 😀 .

Closing Notes

Coober Pedy was surely one of my most memorable trips in Australia. The place and the outback is something that I love and I really enjoyed visiting the place. It is unique and one of its kind and hence I highly recommend visiting Coober Pedy.

Also read

PIN for later reference

Road trip to Coober Pedy