Opalmania!

Coober Pedy Travel Blog

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Two lonely graves at Coward Springs
After packing up camp the first thing we did was go find Vaughan and Glen's Geocache which took us to a couple of lonely old graves near Coward Springs.  Our journey today would take us to Coober Pedy, a place I've always wanted to go because of its uniqueness.  Coober Pedy is in the absolute middle of nowhere and is a large Opal mining town. It got its name from the Aboriginal words 'kupa piti' which means 'White Man in Hole"! It's not only famous for its Opals, but for its underground homes, churches and even underground camp ground! No camp ground for us tonight though! I was looking forward to not only having a bed in an underground hotel but also to go shopping for Opals which was going to be my belated birthday present from Vaughan.
Area around Coward Springs


First stop this morning was at Beresford Siding. We looked around the old fettlers cottages and the water softener plant then continued on to William Creek. Upon arrival, we headed to the joyflight office to take a flight over Lake Eyre. The office was deserted. The plane was outside, but no pilot! He was nowhere to be found so we ventured into the local pub to find out where he could be. The pub was amazing. It was decorated from floor to ceiling with all sorts of donations from caps to bras, cards, money, you name it, it was stuck to the wall! We passed the time with a drink from the bar and chatting to the barmaid who told us she came up from Adelaide to spend some time in the outback.  After an hour or so, still no pilot so we gave up and moved on.
Beresford Siding
 

At William Creek we diverted off the Oodnadatta Track and took another dirt track to Coober Pedy.  It was a nice drive passing through some lovely desert scenery, the landscape began to change and become more red in colour. Along the way we passed through the dog fence which is a 9600km fence that runs from Surfers Paradise in Qld to the Great Australian Bight in WA.  The dog fence was installed to keep the Dingos out of cattle and sheep country in Australia's South-East. Roads that pass through the dog fence are laid with extra wide cattle grids to prevent the Dingos from crossing. While passing through the dog fence, we happened across a group of Emus. We had seen plenty of Kangaroos, but not Emus until now.
Water pump at Beresford Siding


We arrived in Coober Pedy in the afternoon and the first thing was to seek out the visitors centre. At the visitors centre, we grabbed some information on various hotels as we hadn't booked anything. We found a nice hotel with underground rooms on a hill overlooking Coober Pedy. We had lunch then I went for an explore up on the roof of the hotel, it was just a matter of climbing a ladder onto a mound of earth and from up there I got good views over the town. I have to say it's an ugly town, not surprising since most of it is underground! For the rest of the afternoon, we had to catch up on laundry so Gay and I wondered the Opal shops while Vaughan and Glen fixed Glen's electrical problem on his car.  Coober Pedy seemed a bit dead, a few shops and restaurants looked like they had closed down, it certainly wasn't a buzzing town.
How dry the ground is at Beresford Siding
On speaking to one shop keeper, she told us since the mining boom in Western Australia, many people left Coober Pedy and went to the mines in WA as they would make a lot of money over there. Gay and I had great fun perusing the Opal shops and picking out gems for the boys to buy us, it was a tough choice! We went to one shop which was run by some mad old Greek man, it wasn't a very tidy shop and his overpowering sales tactics drove us out! There wasn't much to choose from with eating establishments but we were recommended the local Pizza and Pasta establishment so we ended up there for dinner. The weather was rather cool in Coober Pedy and before long the clouds rolled in and we saw the first rain on the holiday. I'm glad we weren't camping tonight.

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Two lonely graves at Coward Springs
Two lonely graves at Coward Springs
Area around Coward Springs
Area around Coward Springs
Beresford Siding
Beresford Siding
Water pump at Beresford Siding
Water pump at Beresford Siding
How dry the ground is at Beresford…
How dry the ground is at Beresfor…
Lonely tree
Lonely tree
William Creek Pub
William Creek Pub
The entrance to William Creek Pub
The entrance to William Creek Pub
Inside William Creek Pub
Inside William Creek Pub
Interesting donations to the Willi…
Interesting donations to the Will…
William Creek pub
William Creek pub
Anyone for a game of golf!
Anyone for a game of golf!
Sign post at William Creek
Sign post at William Creek
Outback scenery
Outback scenery
Nothing for miles!
Nothing for miles!
Desert scenery on the track to Coo…
Desert scenery on the track to Co…
Desert scenery on the track to Coo…
Desert scenery on the track to Co…
Wildflowers near Coober Pedy
Wildflowers near Coober Pedy
Emus at the dog fence
Emus at the dog fence
Dog fence sign!
Dog fence sign!
Part of the dog fence
Part of the dog fence
View of Coober Pedy from our hotel…
View of Coober Pedy from our hote…
Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy
Our room in the underground hotel
Our room in the underground hotel
Coober Pedy
photo by: ice4swervin