Old Timers Mine
It was nice to have a hotel bed for the night. The problem was that because we were underground, it was hard to tell whether it was morning or night! It was pitch black when we woke up. We had another whole day in Coober Pedy
and today we planned to do a mine tour and explore some of the underground buildings, not to mention purchasing some nice gold Opal jewellery! In the late afternoon, Glen suggested we go out to The Breakaways for sunset. First thing was to purchase the jewellery and to make sure the walking Vaughan bank was with me! Glen told us that someone he met recommended to him that the place to buy jewellery was from an eccentric old Greek guy with an untidy shop as he was the cheapest and supplied all the other shops.
A display at the Old Timers Mine
I said to Gay that must have been the old Greek guy who's shop we weren't impressed with yesterday. Anyway, we went back there and he greeted us with enthusiasm and wondered why we wandered off yesterday, there was no fooling this old chap, we told him we had laundry to attend to but we are back now. He pulled out all his rings and Vaughan bought me both a ring and necklace which was much cheaper compared to the other glitzy shops we went to. Gay bought a ring for her daughter. The boys thought the old Greek guy was hilarious with his nutty professor mannerisms.
Having got all the purchasing out the way, we could now engage in some site seeing. One shop keeper had recommended the Old Timers Mine, an original opal mine dating back to 1916. The mine was very interesting as you could take a self guided tour through it and experience the working life of the pioneer opal miners.
Inside the Old Timers Mine
Following the tour there was a demonstration of the equipment used in today's mining of the opals. It was lunchtime when we had finished looking around the mine so we went in search of a cafe. Once again, finding somewhere to eat was a challenge, nothing seem to be open so after visiting the Big Winch at the lookout we went to the supermarket and made up our own lunch.
The afternoon was spent visiting the underground churches. First stop was the Church of Christ, who's decor was modelled on a mining theme. It was the most unique Christian church we had ever seen. The Serbian Orthodox Church, which was a few kms out of town, was the next stop and quite impressive indeed with its ballroom style design and stained glass windows.
A display at the Old Timers Mine
Last stop was the Catholic Church which was the first church built in Coober Pedy. Now we were churched out, we went and paid a visit to the most prestigious underground hotel in the town, the 'Desert Cave Hotel'. The hotel is not only 5* accommodation but host to a gallery and wonderful display depicting the history of the town and excellent displays of opal mining. The hotel also boasts that it has the worlds only true underground gaming room and bar, which we did endeavour to check out!
As it was getting late in the afternoon, we headed out to The Breakaways for sunset. The Breakaways are about 33kms north of the town and are an area of striking rocky outcrops with flat top mesas, the area around here was the setting for the Mad Max movies. We arrived just in time for sunset and it was quite chilly. The eerie silence and the striking sandstone coloured rock outcrops falling away into a vast expanse of gibber desert really made you feel like you were on another planet. The sunset wasn't brilliant but it did bring out the colours of the rocks just beautifully.
In the evening we had dinner at the only Greek restaurant in town and one that had a good name for itself, the food was delicious.