We've Found the Ocean once more!

Trip Start Jan 23, 2010
Trip End Jan 29, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FINALLY we have found the ocean again!  The good news is we can also go in it - with no danger from crocs and killer jelly fish.  The bad news is, it's FREEZING here!!  We are so, so, soooo not used to the cold! (Range being between 8C - 24C)  We have the opportunity for some work in this wonderful, quaint, quirky seaside town called Robe in South Australia - we love the place and the ocean - but we are struggling with the weather........ So without winging further, I will update you on how we got here.

We were on our way to Ayres Rock/Uluru, hoping that this Australian icon would re spark our sightseeing, as we really couldn't look at another gorge. OH my goodness.  Did it EVER!!  (Now for all of you that are scornfully wondering why I am not using only the aboriginal name here, you need to read on further down - not very politically correct, so prepare yourself!)

We headed along Lassiter Highway towards Uluru and then saw Mount Conner.  Now those that don't know, it is a huge mountain looming out of the ground  and because of where you are headed, you look at each other, with "Is that it?" "no it's too soon" "It certainly looks like it" "It can't be it" "It IS it!" "It's NOT it!" "D'you think it's it?" There really should be a sign saying "NO THAT WAS NOT IT!"

Another hour and then we saw IT and this time there was no mistaking.  For all of you that have made this trek,  WHY can you not stop looking and marveling at this amazing almost spiritual rock!  I took 126 photos!!! REALLY??? How many do you need, but you seem to get under this spell and need to capture it in every possible light, and at every possible angle. Tell me you didn't!!?  And if you haven't been here yet, put it on your bucket list!

Then after the initial wonder, we were faced with the 'to climb or not to climb?' I did not know before I got here that the Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal people prefer you not to climb it and in order to respect their culture, request that you don't.  Well try explaining that to my children, who have just spent the last 2 months seeing Aboriginal people who certainly didn't appear to be respecting our culture OR theirs come to think of it!  (Not allowed to say that?? - okay, they 'allegedly' didn't appear to! )

HOWEVER after a trip to the magnificent cultural centre at Uluru, you certainly got a feel for the magic and whilst there was not an Aboriginal in sight, I for one was totally absorbed by their amazing culture and traditions.  If only we could get more of them to be the same.  Their rules, their mens business and of course their woman's business, all intrigued me and made an awful lot of sense. My only criticism would be the lack of geological explanations, as to how this one rock is here in such a huge expanse!  Only one page in the brochure was dedicated to this and it was very much; 'We think this' and 'Maybe that' which I have to say only added to the intrigue!

We walked round the rock, marveled at it, stared at it, but we didn't climb it. Respect at the end of the day, starts at home.

We stayed a few days longer than anticipated as we felt strangely uplifted by the whole experience. A trip to the Olgas/Kata Tjuta, whilst is fabulous, you cannot help but compare it to Uluru and it just didn't hold the same magic to us. The weather was strangely cool in the middle of this apparent dessert.  It rained three out of our four days her and talk about green, we found ourselves here at the greenest it has been in over 60 years.  We left and I had to keep the camera in the bag - I didn't need anymore photos! 

So we headed to Coober Pedy - This is the name that I would have called my business if I had remained single and started up my own podiatry business!  ...... Need an explanation?  My maiden name was Coomber - so similar to Coober and Pedy similar to pedicure/podiatry! ??  Okay, I have way to much time on my hands!! 

Coober Pedy - on approach I got all excited with all the mounds everywhere where the average Joe has got his permit and has been mining for opals.  Someone said that 90% of the worlds opals were found here - I really wanted to give it a go....BUT settled for a bit of 'noodling' (sifting through the earth that 'real miners' have left behind - we DID actually find some - small, but nonetheless opals)

Then after the approach we arrived in the town and I really did not know what to think.  It looked desolate, dusty and bleak....however...it had something, that I couldn't put my finger on.  The longer we stayed the more we loved it.  I really mean it, I loved it!  I will return to Coober Pedy one day. 

People really do live underground!  The front of the house, is there for all to see and then it just disappears and all you can see are the pipes sticking out of the rocks behind it.  So you get your permit, dig for your opals, then instead of filling in the hole, you put in a fitted kitchen, four bedrooms and a lounge.  This appealed to me immensely!

 A trip to the Old Timers Mine is a must and the children loved the opportunity to use the 'blower'.  You can see these scattered all over town, where they are still used to suck up all the mined rocks and blow them out the holes.  Everyone you meet who has settled here, mines or has mined at one stage.  It felt so personal, not like the cast crude open mines we have seen all over this country.

A trip out to the Breakaways just outside Coober Pedy was an experience.  On the way there, we found the Moon Plain, featured in numerous movies (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome being one) due to the unique landscape.  Also there, The Dog Fence. The fence being one of the longest structures in the world, 5614 km long.  Built to keep out the Dingos out of the more fertile areas further south in the 1880's.  The Breakaways, are also an important Aboriginal site and the colour of the earth in this wonderous place was amazing,

The children's favourite thing was a trip to the local Kangaroo rescue centre.  Being able to hold a joey brought in a few days ago, after its mummy was hit by a car.  The little joey was doing well and whilst the visit was free, we couldn't help but donate a 'lid' (top of the milk mix they feed the babies) and write a little something for $20.  Money well spent for this dedicated couple, who tailor their days and nights (!) to feed the babies!

We continue our trip and finally complete the Stuart Highway (Darwin to Port Augusta) a total of 2834 kilometres. We felt like we should have received a certificate!  We spent a few days there before hotfooting it to Adelaide.  We headed to the seaside town of Glenelg and stood looking and smelling the ocean. We only had a few days to spare as Fabio had a job to get to in Robe.  With only two days there, we bumped into The Howe family from our school!  The children loved catching up with Amber and Cody and I think I talked poor Annette's ear off.   We only had a few hours together so they have promised to come and see us in Robe.  So good to see someone from 'home'.

Robe is the nicest of little towns where the population hovers around the 900 - 1000 mark most of the year.  BUT I am told swells to 23,000 - 24,000 in the coming weeks!  I just hope the sun comes with them.  The children didn't seem to mind and insisted that they got in the water that we have longed for for so long. We told them it was cold, but they didn't care they wanted to surf, so in they went......taking Fabio with them. Blue, they were blue when they came out......still, lesson learnt.  It's certainly no Scarborough!

Talking of home...we have moved into a house!  It's weird!  Sooo much room.  However, I feel like I need to iron, straighten my hair and hoover (vacuuuuuuuum to all you Aussies!). I even put up our Christmas tree today.   And that is where I am now.  On my dining room table.  Fabio is in the lounge and the children have their own rooms!!    I shall now go to the loo and not have to go out into the night.......Such sweet pleasures.

Until next time.........

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Claire Doughty on

Hiya gorgeous girl and family, good to hear life on the road is still amazing, couldn't resist making a comment as I sit in my quaint little office in downtown Perth completing the P&C 2009 files for auditing...yes you should laugh, only finalised my file and yours my dear are spread across the kitchen table....current plan is to place all in a bag and hand over on Friday morning and wait for the explosion of questions.....did I mention that somethings just never leave you....so sit back and reminiece aboutt those wonderful canteen days and if I get a question that I feel only you could answer I will head to the email. My fault should have sorted some 11 months ago but life got in the way.....if I don't get that chrissy email out have a blast, sounds like you may be on the road for some time. enjoy always Claire....no poetry tonight only had one red...keep the comentary comming we all enjoy

M & M on

hi there my sweets

oh what a wonderful time you are having...Mandy i just always love reading all that you have been up to, You should become a writer, you put words together so beautifully and with a great sense of humour. I loved what you were saying about Uluru, & how you felt and yes, i think i have mentioned to you before, it is definitely on our Bucket list. You all look very very well. We will wave at you as we fly over on our way to Sydney to see Maryce next weekend :):) love you all..xxxxxxx

Kelly on

Well I have added the ROCK to my bucket list. This list just keeps on getting longer, thanks to all your travels. The photos look great and I am glad to hear that you are back to indoor plumbing, lol! Poppy is doing great, she tore up the back yard this morning, chasing a leaf, she is a nut. Curtis is away in China until Dec. 21 so she is taking advantage of the extra room in the bed. The boys would like to say hi to Jack, Leila, and Adam and say that miss them, but now want to go travel as well. I will speak to you soon.

Zio Pietro & Zia Antonietta on

Only a short comment: you'll never forget these places for all your lives, our dear "begolis"!! And us with you. I've always liked Uluru and its many legends, even what concerns "The Dreaming Peoples".
Go on and send us this magnificent Australian spectacle. Zio Pietro & Zia Antonietta

The Rigolettos on

hi mandy, fab and the kids hope you are having fun. the house under ground shpre look freaky!!!!!
we really liked all your writing and the pictures and espacialy the pictures with jack,lielia and adam fressing in the water
have fun surfing
me and madi just finished yr 6 yay!!!!!!!!!
by love the Rigos

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