Coober Pedy is an almost surreal place. The drive into town crosses a huge flat plain along the edge of the Breakaways hills, bringing you to the Opal fields. There are dirt mounds everywhere; it looks like some giant ants have been at work.
Lots of signs warning you about deep mine shafts and reminding you to look where you walk.
The town itself is not huge. There are a mixture of above ground and dug out buildings. More buildings above ground than I had expected. Heaps of opal shops and tourist accommodation.
Water is at a premium in Coober Pedy and there’s nowhere free to fill you water tank. There is a water bowser near the visitor’s centre where you can buy water – 20c for 30 litres. The caravan parks also have bowsers and charge a similar amount to fill your water tank.
We set up at Stuart Range Caravan Park, which is a nice park that is currently being renovated. Not a blade of grass anywhere. Finally got to have my pizza for dinner – I’ve been waiting for about 3 weeks. John’s Pizzas are delicious!!!!
Went for a poke around in town in the afternoon. We had fun looking in all the Opal shops. Amy bought herself some opal earrings and Liam bought a miniature wheelbarrow of opal. Cameron was in heaven because the IGA supermarket also encompassed a hardware and camping store.
Our favourite was the Opal Cave which is in a big dug-out with a crashed space ship out the front and a lookout on the hill that forms the roof.
The space ship was a prop from a movie called “Pitch Black” that had been filmed at the nearby Moon Plains. They also filmed parts of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Mad Max3 at the Moon Plains.
Played tourist this morning and went exploring the town some more. The Old Timer’s Mine was great!
The kids liked that they got to wear hard hats. It was really interesting walking around inside an old opal mine and learning about the history of the area.
We also really liked seeing inside a fully dug-out home. Tried our hand noodling for opal in the free noodling pit out the front of the mine. Much easier than noodling for boulder opal in Opalton. We also visited Umoona Museum which was good and had geological and fossil displays. Very interesting for Amy – our budding geologist/palaeontologist.
Next stop Opal shopping – Hooray!!! Amy & I both scored Opal necklaces. 🙂
The kids enjoyed watching some “Kids TV” in the camp kitchen and it was very hard to convince them to come driving for the afternoon. Mum & Dad power prevailed however and we spent the afternoon exploring some more.
Drove along the Oodnadatta road to the Dog fence, then out along the Moon Plains to the Breakaways. I can understand how the Moon Plains were named; a huge expanse of Giber stone plains with the Breakaways looking like moon craters in the distance. The plains are very green at the moment with lots of wildflowers.
The Breakaways are beautiful and give a good idea of what the Painted Desert looks like.
Snacked on the Doritos at the lookout as we hid from the flies.
We also stopped to have a quick look at St Elijah’s underground church on the way back to camp.