The Best Hotels to Book in Coober Pedy, South Australia

Funky opal-mining outpost Coober Pedy surely has to be the quirkiest outback town in Australia
Funky opal-mining outpost Coober Pedy surely has to be the quirkiest outback town in Australia | Courtesy of Di's Dugouts / Expedia
Cassie Wilkins

A funky, semi-subterranean opal-mining outpost halfway between Uluru and Adelaide, Coober Pedy is surely the quirkiest outback town in Australia. Rising from red, dusty, almost Martian landscapes, accommodation here ranges from classic to wonderfully wacky – just like the town itself, first settled in 1915. Half the population here lives in dugouts – underground homes carved into the rock – which offer a comfortable middle ground between the searing summer temperatures and freezing desert nights. Those keen for a truly local experience can choose from many cave hotels – including one in an old opal mine and a hand-carved three-bed family home – while comfy above-ground rooms are also available – bookable on Culture Trip.

1. Desert Cave Hotel, for a unique bar experience


Room at Desert Cave Hotel, Coober Pedy, South Australia
Courtesy of Desert Cave Hotel / Expedia

The family-run Desert Cave Hotel walks between two worlds: guests can stay above ground in a hotel encased in stone from the nearby Moon Plain, or underground in a spacious private cavern – the natural patterns of the sandstone perfectly complementing the crisp linen and white tiles of the ensuite and the modern luxuries of the room. Back on terra firma, you can cool off in the pool or hop on a day tour to delve deeper into this fascinating place.

2. Mud Hut Motel, for eco-conscious travellers


Room at Mud Hut Motel, Coober Pedy, South Australia
Courtesy of Mud Hut Motel / Expedia

Not only is the Mut Hut Motel surrounded by the iconic red soil of the Australian outback – it’s also made of it. Built from ecofriendly rammed earth which gives the walls a unique red hue, this above-ground motel offers guests a private space to unwind, with air conditioning, heating, kitchens/kitchenettes and parking right outside your room. Within walking distance of the local attractions, Mud Hut Motel offers free airport transfers for guests and is pet- and family-friendly, with rooms and apartments sleeping up to four.

3. Underground Bed and Breakfast, for quirky finishes

Bed and Breakfast

Room at Underground Bed and Breakfast, Coober Pedy, South Australia
Courtesy Underground Bed and Breakfast / Expedia

Carved into the side of a rocky hill rising out of the desert a few kilometres east of town, Underground Bed and Breakfast offers some of the quirkiest dugout accommodation in the area – stay in an individually styled, comforting subterranean cocoon and relax in a lounge decorated with the story of the ancient rocks that made this funky outback retreat. Back on the surface, you can chill in the kitchen and outdoor entertaining area – where the corrugated iron facade and wood-burning stove add some extra pizzazz to this fun underground enclave.

5. Comfort Inn Coober Pedy Experience, for the ultimate in comfort


Room at Comfort Inn Coober Pedy Experience, Coober Pedy, South Australia
Courtesy of Comfort Inn Coober Pedy Experience

Offering what must be the most unique Comfort Inn experience in the world – and some of the best accommodation in Coober Pedy – the aptly named Comfort Inn Coober Pedy Experience is located almost entirely in the subterranean sandstone caverns and chambers of an old opal mine dating back to 1918. The accommodation is home to the entertainingly named Soft Rock Cafe and an Aboriginal Women’s Art Gallery, as well as offering ensuite rooms with kitchenettes and a fully kitted-out two-bedroom apartment, a book swap library and board games to borrow. Guests can even explore the old mining tunnels with their exposed opal seams.

6. Di's Dugouts, for stylish spaces


Room at Dis Dugouts, Coober Pedy, South Australia
Courtesy of Di's Dugouts / Expedia

Dug by hand in the ’70s and lovingly styled with rock mosaics and timber, Di’s two holiday caves offer a unique taste of luxury local living on the outskirts of Coober Pedy. Sleeping up to nine, Di’s Place is a complete three-bedroom home – while Dinky Di’s is a lovely two-bed for four. Both homes have laundry and full kitchens, along with lovely outdoor areas with a barbecue – and even windows to let the desert light flow into the living areas, a truly magical dugout addition.

7. Opal Inn Hotel Motel, for retro relaxation


Room at Opal Inn Hotel Motel, Coober Pedy, South Australia
Courtesy of Opal Inn Hotel Motel

Conveniently located across from the information centre and the coach drop-off spot, the Opal Inn Hotel is a friendly one-stop shop, offering accommodation, a bistro, two bars, a bottle shop and day tours. Rocking a retro vibe, rooms here are a welcome and cooling break from the elements – complete with fridges and air conditioning – while campers will love the grassy spots and powered sites.

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