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NEWS

Is this the best sleep in the world?

Imagine a place with absolutely no sound or light. There’s no heat and no humidity. It feels perfectly calm, as if time doesn’t exist and the space around you is directionless.

You’re tucked up in a comfortable bed and you drift off to sleep, with nothing at all to disturb you until your mind and body decide they’re ready to reawaken. This is the experience in one small, South Australian town – Coober Pedy – where houses and hotels are buried into hill faces and extend deep underground.

Approaching these dwellings from the outside, you can’t tell how big or small, grand or simple they’ll be once inside. Some expand out into virtual mansions; multi-stories of carved rock rooms, far below Coober Pedy’s sandy external surface. As you enter the first rooms, you sense the coolness and quiet immediately. The natural light fades and you feel, almost literally, at one with the earth. It’s no surprise then that many visitors end up having a couple of fantastic sleep-ins!

“I’ve had a few guests who emerge for breakfast looking quite shocked by how long they’ve slept!” laughs Robert Coro, Chair of Coober Pedy Retail Business and Tourism Association and owner of the Desert Cave Hotel.

“You certainly want to set an alarm if you’ve got a sunrise tour of the Breakaways or an early morning start on the Outback Mail Run. “If you haven’t been to Coober Pedy, you can’t imagine what real life underground is like – we have not just houses and hotels but restaurants, bars, shops, museums and even churches.

“Coober Pedy is the one place where you can stand at the lookout, located right above all of these buildings, and still not see most of the town!

“What started as a clever way to keep opal miners cool and comfortable at night has turned into a pretty bizarre and unique lifestyle.”

For more information on visiting Coober Pedy, email Robert Coro or call +61 419 828 615

A fantastic lunar landscape on earth

Images of the moon’s mysterious craggy ranges, rocky deserts and pockmarked surface have captivated people for decades.

Although most of us will never make it to the moon ourselves, there is one place you can visit that is almost as unearthly – Coober Pedy in South Australia’s Outback.

Flying into the remote town, you’ll see thousands of pyramid-like mounds of white rock spotted over the orange sand, interspersed with deep holes tunnelling far into the ground.

This bizarre landscape has been formed by men, women and families from 45 different nationalities over 100 years, all drilling with the hope of finding opal… and a quick fortune.

Robert Coro, Chair of Coober Pedy Retail Business and Tourism Association and owner of the Desert Cave Hotel, says some of the area’s natural formations are equally as fascinating. “Just outside the town we have the extraordinary giant rock formations The Breakaways which, on sunset, seem to glow like giant embers,” Robert says.

“The nearby Painted Desert is a mass of rocky hills bursting out of the flat plains which, in the sunlight, show off dazzling colours. “Then we have Lake Eyre – a huge expanse of shimmering white salt when it’s dry, or a basin of brilliant floodwaters, wildflowers and birdlife in wet years.

“It’s no wonder this place attracts so many artists and photographers, plus all the filmmakers – ‘Mad Max 3’ and ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ are very well known but Coober Pedy features in plenty of other great movies too.

“While it’s fantastic to have all these exciting projects happening around us, the simple things never fail to amaze people either – if you have never been out in the desert at night, stargazing at the bright Southern skies from a place that feels like the moon itself, you really should try it!”

For more information on visiting Coober Pedy, email Robert Coro or call +61 419 828 615