September 10th, 2008 – by: minx2812
Groovy Grapes Bus
This morning I departed Adelaide, a quaint city in South Australia. I only had been here for 18 hours, but from what I had seen some of it was quite pretty with pretty characteristic buildings everywhere and yet a modern feel, with parks tucked away in corners between blocks. I would like to have stayed here longer, but as it was I was joining a Groovy Grapes tour from Adelaide to Alice Springs, which would be stopping at Coober Pedy for an evening in between. Being it was a very short tour, it didn’t leave time for everyone to be shy and quiet. When we stopped for lunch it gave us some time to start getting chatty, and the tour defiantly gave us something to chat about as we began to prepare salad stuff to make sandwiches, of which the avocado and peppers were moldy and off.
No-one likes gone of food, and we had a bit of a giggle over this.
Me at the Salt Lake
After lunch we passed some of the Salt Lakes, where salt used to be gathered from before it became to expensive to transport to Adelaide, and by the Ghan Railway line. By the time we had reached Cobber Pedy we had chatted enough to not have an awful silence at dinner that evening, and to have some company to explore the town along the way. Coober Pedy is a town in northern South Australia, 846 kilometers north of Adelaide on the Stuart Highway which started becoming a residential area around about 1916.
Being that its in the middle of a desert the temperatures mean that many residents prefer to live in caves mined into the hillsides rather than above land. Living like this means residents do not require air-conditioning, especially during the summer months, when temperatures often exceed 40 degrees Celsius because it remains at a constant temperature of about 22 degrees Celsius.
Me on The Ghan Railway Line
When arriving at Coober Pedy you’ve spent so long looking at nothing that to see some kind of civilization is something. And by the time you rock up at your accommodation you are truly excited, especially when you can’t see it! Seeing doors in the side of rocks, or even mountains was a little bit confusing, but once passed the door, you enter a whole different world. Especially if you’ve never slept underground, which I’m thinking is a high possibility, as I never have! The walls aren’t decorated but remain a natural glowing rock amber.
The lights inside reflecting off this create somewhat an almost romantic ambience, and when switched of, you are in total darkness, not seeing your hand, centimeters from your face! I guess, perfect for a really good nights sleep, providing you do not need natural light to help your mood as you awaken. We were in a dorm in a big dugout right in the centre of town. It meant that we could explore before the sun set too much over the town. There isn’t actually to much to see in Coober at night. You can’t explore out of the town as the mining means there are many pitfalls and drops everywhere where shafts have been dug that you could be lost down forever so walking around in the dark is a worrying thing. There is a great Pizza restaurant John’s, which does amazing pizzas quite cheap, where the whole town seams to meet for dinner as it was packed out whilst we were there. There is also an underground bar, known as the Cave where you can socialize, with a disco ball and some DJ music, or even retire to a room of humming pokies where the worlds only underground poker machines can be found .
Coober Pedy towns sign
Needless to day an experience. One that was defiantly a bit overwhelming after a few beers, which is when a few of us retired to our bunks in the dugout! Getting to sleep wasn't hard, the blackness, means there is not even a shimmer of light to gaze at and you find yourself falling quickly into a deep sleep. To think I was worried about sleeping under tons of rock, when in fact, I couldn't have been that worried when it was one of the best nights sleep I'd had in ages!