Coober Pedy, Australia

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Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Greyhound Pioneer bus departed Adelaide and travelled through the outback at night.  As I gazed out the window and looked up at the millions of stars scattered across the sky - I felt really excited about the next stop on my journey around Australia. I was headed for Australia's opal capital, a unique town (certainly for me), a place where the residents lived in what could only be described as dugouts - a place called Coober Pedy.
Arriving into the South Australian town in the early hours, myself and another traveller were picked up and driven to Radeka's hostel. which would be my first experience of underground living. After check- in I headed to the underground sleeping quarters. A poster with all Australia's deadly spiders and snakes greeted me at the bottom of the steps. Dormitory beds were pushed up against an outer wall but without an inner wall I was able to see all the sleeping backpackers.  Fortunately the darkness obscured their faces. 
In the morning I booked an afternoon tour of the area surrounding Coober Pedy but first I wanted to explore the town by myself.  I'm came across large mounds of earth with a door which was entrance to someone's home. The residents of Coober have to cope with extreme temperatures which is the reason they live underground.  I was there in July (winter) and although I needed to wear a sweater, I still had to apply sunscreen to my face  because the sun was strong. Barefooted Aborigines (both men and women) tended to hang around the local supermarket. - but were neither intimidating or threatening.  I took a walk to the nearby Stuart Highway (which connects all the main towns between Port Augusta and Darwin. Since the Opal was discovered in Coober Pedy people flocked to the town in search of the colourful stone.

  The landscape near the highway is covered in deep mine shafts, From the distance I observed a sea of  tiny mounds of earth which have been placed beside each individual shaft. The public are warned not to set foot on this territory.
 On the organised tour  visited the home of Crocodile Harry. To be honest I'm not sure who exactly he is or was but his home which he had opened up to complete strangers was featured in Mad Max 3 - which was reason enough to visit. We observed a golf course in a moon like landscape and dingo fence and the Breakaways.  Don't bypass Coober - its worth visiting.  On another occasion I visited White Cliffs which is similar to Coober Pedy.

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