Thie weirdest place in the world
Trip Start Sep 07, 2011
289Trip End Sep 06, 2012
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I decided to have a little walk around the town this morning as I had booked onto a tour this afternoon. The first thing I visited was Coober Pedy's football ground which is home to the Saint's. I think I have found the new ground for Bristol Rovers. It seats about 8 people and has enough room in the car park for about 100 cars. More than enough room I think. They even allow you to walk your dogs on the grass. Mr Stone - Can you let them know and I can put a bid in for them!!!!!
I went in to most of the opal shops to look at the gorgeous stones. They really are beautiful. I went in to one particular shop which was run by a Greek family. The shop was called Opalios (Opal for the precious stone and Ios is a Greek Island and means fever - Opal Fever!). The woman was very kind and let me take a lucky stone for free and also gave me a box of chippings which could contain any sort of opal, all you have to do is follow the instructions on the box on how to clean and store them. Come on, if there was anything worth a lot of money, they would have already taken it, but it was nice of her to give it to me. She was asking me if there was anything I liked which there was and she got them out to show me
The tour this afternoon left at 1pm and our driver was Phil. He definately looked like he was from the outback. Skinny and a full on beard. No Crocodile Dundee hat though, very disappointing! We started off by driving through the town and Phil telling us a little of its history. There are around 3,000 people that live here, but about half leave in the summer months and head south where it is a little cooler as extreme temperatures can get over 50 degrees daily. Even that's too hot for me.
Along the roadsides and across the fields, you will see many lumps of rubble. This is not rubble but the aftermath of the diggers that have blown this from the ground looking for opals. He asked us how many we thought there were, and I guessed hundreds of thousands
The next stop was the oddest of them all. Coober Pedy Golf Course. It is 18 holes, but I really haven't a clue how you play here. Not because of the heat, but there is absolutely no grass and just dirt. The greens are black dust. We had a look from tee 1 and I could not work out where the hell you were supposed to hit the ball. Nigel - This would be one for you!!!! No one plays in the summer as it is too hot, but some do play at night with illuminous balls. God knows what colour balls they play with during the day. Maybe green, as there is nothing else out here that is!
Taking a long drive through the dangerous opals fields (we were not allowed to get out of the bus as there are mine shafts everywhere and also hidden ones which people have been killed falling down), we stopped to noodle
The next stop was unbelievable and I just don't know how to describe it. The photos again won't do it justice. We visited Crocodile Harry's home. Crocodile Harry was born in Latvia and moved to the Northern Territories to hunt Crocodiles, hence the name. He was also a Baron! He decided to move down here for the opal mining. He married a lovely well educated Australian lady. However, she may be well educated, but not intelligent. Crocodile Harry loved to drink, and he would be completely wasted most nights. He also had an eye for the lady's and he didn't even try to hide it from his wife. To say the marriage didn't last long was an understatement. Anyway, Crocodile Harry built his home underground and started mining around it. He had women come and stay with him all the time. I explain more in a second.
We first looked around some of the tunnels that were dug for the opal mining. In there we had to be quite as there were microbats that were living in there. We did spot them and managed to get a few photos before they started flying at us as they heard our voices and got scared
Part of the desert we drove through was used in the film Max Mad III. There are props left from Pitch Black, a crashed spaceship which is in one of the car parks. Priscilla Queen of the Desert was filmed here - I have to see this film as everyone raves about it. If you haven't watched it, go get it.
We also drove through the Breakaways which are believed to have broken away from the Stuart Ranges, again, how it got is name. The flat top of the hills are believed to be the top of where the old ocean just to be, millions of years ago. It was an unbelievable sight. The other unique feature we saw was the dog fence, or dingo fence. This is the largest man made construction in the world. It stretches over 5300 kms and covers 4 states, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia
To top the day off, after I dropped off, I went back down the road to a lady's house who takes in orphan joeys and kangaroo, where their mothers have been killed, either by trucks on the road, or by Aboriginal people who still hunt them for food. They were so cute. They had 5 grown kangaroo, only one is going to be sent back out into the wild, one is going to a sanctuary, and the other 3 will live there for the rest of their lives. There were 3 joeys around 4 months old. They were gorgeous. They were carried out in what looked like dog carriers (a bit like you see the posh pups carried around in by celebrities). Within the bag, they were in a little handmade pouch, so this mimicked their life inside their mum's pouch. I witnessed the funniest thing ever When they wanted to get back into the pouch, and it was obvious when they did, the lady lowered the pouch and the joey did a forward roll into the pouch
So that was my full day in Coober Pedy. The most weirdest and wonderful place. I could never live here, but I am so glad I came to visit.
Some more interesting facts about Coober Pedy. It is known as the opal mining capital of the world.
The follow films have been filmed here:
Fire in the Stone, Where the Green Ants Dream, Ground Zero, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, The Salute of the Jugger, Stark, Until the end of the World, Priscilla Queen Of the Desert, Siam Sunset, The Drovers Boy, Pitch Black, Red Planet, Kangaroo Jack & Opal Dreaming!
That's it for now folks. Long drive ahead of me tomorrow. Not going straight back to Adelaide. I think I might stop off at the Flinders Ranges which is about 3 hours north of Adelaide for an overnight stop and look at the beauty that this has to offer before I stay one more night in Adelaide!