Pedy’ was originally known as the ‘Stuart Range Opal Field’, named after
John McDouall Stuart, who in 1858 was the first European explorer in the
area. Then in 1920 it was re-named to ‘Coober Pedy’, based on the
Aboriginal words of ‘kupa piti’, which is translated as meaning ‘white
man in a hole’.
Aboriginal people have walked and lived across this area for thousands
of years. Because of the desert environment, they led mainly a nomadic
hunters and gatherers existence, travelling constantly in search of food
and water, as well as attending their traditional ceremonies. In June
1975, the Coober Pedy Aboriginal Community adopted the name ‘Umoona’,
meaning long life and named after the ‘Umoona’ or mulga tree, a common
tree in the area.
How to get there
Coober Pedy is located about 846 km north of Adelaide and 685 km south
of Alice Springs. You can get there by road using car, or coach, by air
with Regional Express Airlines operating services to and from Adelaide,
and by train. The Ghan train stops about 40 km west of Coober Pedy to
allow passengers to disembark, however you need to arrange transport
from the rail siding to Coober Pedy.
Between March and November the weather is usually very pleasant, typical
of a semi-desert climate, where the days are warm, but the desert nights
are cold. From December to February the weather warms up and summer
temperatures range from 35°C in the shade, with the
occasional dust storms. The annual rainfall is about 175 mm per annum.
Check out our listing of
accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide
information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for
more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.