Man-made cave for sale could be Australia's cheapest 'home'

A “partially developed” powered cave in outback NSW has come on the property market with a $14,000 price tag, which could make it Australia’s cheapest home.

The property, in the ex-opal mining town of White Cliffs, is essentially a man-made cave carved into a the rock face of a cliff.

A “partially developed” powered cave in outback NSW has come on the property market with a $14,000 price tag. Source: Gumtree

The current owner, known only as Jeffrey, has listed the cave on Gumtree, marketing it as an “unique opportunity” that will allow the buyer to “create your own underground home”.

However it will require a fair bit of work to transform the site to a habitable state, as it is mostly arid land with a flat area leading up to the cave’s hollow opening.

The dugout site is in the former opal mining community of White Cliffs, where about 200 people live. Source: Gumtree

Aside from water and power connected to the site, there are five ventilation shafts to help keep the cave cool.

The new owner will need to burrow further into the surrounding cliffs to create a wider living space.

“You can’t mine opal any more but you can dig yourself another room and if you happen to find something you’ll be lucky,” Jeffrey suggested in the ad.

This file image of an existing dugout in White Cliffs shows a completed home entirely underground. Source: Chris McGrath/Getty Images/File

The underground community of White Cliffs

The small opal mining town was the first commercial opal field in Australia, which began in the 1880s.

In 1894 the miners began converting their disused mine shafts into underground Hobbit-hole style homes with kitchens, bedroom, and living rooms.

The disused mine shafts have been converted into underground Hobbit-hole style homes with kitchens, bedroom, and living rooms. Source: Chris McGrath/Getty Images/File

About 200 people now inhabit the White Cliffs community, with many being prospectors or amateur miners who live in the underground properties known as dugouts.

The summer temperatures of White Cliffs typically exceed 40C, so miners were forced underground, where the dugouts maintain a constant temperature of 22C. 

White Cliffs is just over 1,000km north-west of Sydney, or 12-hours drive, via Dubbo and Wilcannia.