Monday, 2 July 2012

Coober Pedy SA 23/6/12 to 25/6/12

 We spent a night in Port Augusta to stock up on all the essentials, food, wine, beer, haircuts, shoes and underpants, before driving on to Coober Pedy. Fairly long haul and the trip took us 7 hours.  The road went on for miles with nothing on either side, then you would see a lake or lots of low bushes.  Red dirt and blue sky all the way to Coober Pedy.  We are now officially in outback Australia.
In Coober Pedy about 70% of the population live underground as the temperature outside can reach nearly 50 degrees in summer and go below zero in winter. Underground it stays a constant 23 to 25 degrees all year round. It’s just a little dark though.

We visited a few underground motels, shops and churches.  One of the houses that we visited was hand dug by 3 ladies.  Huge feat as now all done by machine. Underground houses are a renovators delight – you want a cupboard, dig a cupboard; if you want another room, dig another room. The only grass in town was on the local footy ground (home of the Coober Pedy Saints) and the school oval. Everything else is dirt including the local golf course.

We drove out to the Dog Fence which was erected to keep the dingoes out of sheep country in the south. It goes for over 5300 km’s crossing 3 states. Pretty impressive.  On one side of the fence is what they call the moon plains as it resembles the moon surface.  Mad Max 3 was filmed there. Further on were The  Breakaways; colourful low hills which have broken away from the Stuart Ranges that were formed millions of years ago.   A very spiritual place for the Aboriginals.  Prescilla Queen of the Desert was also filmed in this area.  By chance we stumbled upon a film grew and cast on location in The Breakaways. They are filming a reality show based loosely around Prescilla called” I will Survive”.  One of the judges is Jason Donovan who I happened to meet in town (photo below to confirm).

We did a tour of a 1916 underground opal mine. Hard yakka in those days as they had to hand dig everything. We all had fun noodling in the pit out the front of the mine and all managed to find a little bit of opal.

A fun stop but we decided that Coober Pedy is not a long term proposition for us.

We have hit the outback

One of the many road trains that pass us.

Petrol stop only. Didn't see that many sheep or humans

Props left over from the movie "Mad Max 3"

Coober Pedy township

This is somebody's home dug into the cliff face

The motel roof. Note the solar hot water, satellite dish and the many ventilation  pipes 

The lobby area

Morning tea at the underground cafe

Underground church

Nathan teeing off on the fifth looking to find the fairway

And Doug also looking to find the fairway

The moon plains

"The Breakaways". The photos just don't do it justice

Film crew for " I Will Survive" in The Breakaways.

Underground opal mine

Jacob feeding rocks into a "blower"

Nathan and Jacob doing all the work. The other bloke was useless.


More intense noodling

Jason Donovan and me (not Kylie - easy mistake) 

The sand hills left over after an area has been mined

Car kill. One of the many in this part of the world.

Oh so squeezy and the red dirt

What are they up to now?

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