A whole lot of nothing
Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
162Trip End Dec 18, 2011
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That over we jumped in the van and headed back to Stuart Highway and South, stopping only for some petrol and to take a picture of us leaving the Northern Territory and entering South Australia
We arrived in Coober Pedy in time to watch the sunset over the odd mounds in the centre of town. Coober Pedy is a very odd place. It’s a mining town full of fortune hunters, in the middle of an expanse of desert and the people live underground (which is what it’s famous for). In reality these days there are also a lot of houses above ground as they’ve discovered aircon, but back when people first moved here when they had no building materials for houses and it was too hot in the summer and cold in the winter to sleep outside, they built houses into the rocks or in old mine tunnels. Some people still prefer to live like that these days…..and use planning permission to extend their house as a way to dig for more opals!
That night we went for pizza in town and then headed to a local pub
The next day we decided to do a tour of one of the opal mines because we wanted to see what an underground home looks like and to get an idea of the type of work they did. Before that started we got to have a free demonstration at one of the other museums of the tools and machine’s they use for mining opals. We even got to try the blower which is used to suck up all the materials that they dig away. May have been called a blower but had quite a bit of suck on it! The tour of the mine was done by quite an odd Austrian guy who had lived in Coober Pedy for years – obviously moved to Australia to get his bit of the opal fortune back in the day. In fact he used to live in the underground show home that makes up part of the tour – very strange!! All in all Coober Pedy’s probably the oddest place to have been to twice in your life, particularly if you’re from Europe. I’m assuming this time will be my last….!
We had a quick stop in Woomera which was the place the British chose to test their rockets after WWII. It’s still used by the Aussies to develop missiles and the like and has a very interesting museum and some really cool outdoor displays of planes and missiles. The area around here also has some very large salt lakes but given all the recent rain they’re now just really lakes! They were really impressive, and given the size, the ones with 'mountains’ above them looked like coastal views….odd when we were about as far away from the coast as you can get! We had a few quick photo stops and headed on to the Flinders Ranges.