It seems ages since we last had internet and wote our last blog post, so I guess we have a lot to catch you up on. We left Adelaide at 6pm on the Greyhound bus and arrived in Coober Pedy at 5.30 a.m the following day! Coober Pedy is a opal mining town and 80% of the population live underground. So we booked ourselves into Radeka's underground hostel to experience living in a dugout! We were picked up by the hostel and checked into our dorm 6m underground! It was definalty a weird feeling staying underground because you had no idea what the time of day was and the temperature is a constant (between 20-26 C) so it's a good place to keep cool in the desert! We slept for a few hours to catch up on the sleep we missed out on on the bus, but tried not to spend too long as we only had a day in Coober Pedy and wanted to make the most of it.
We first visited 'Faye's', where a retired couple give you a tour of their underground home. It was originally owned by Faye who actually hand-dug the 5 roomed house in the 1960's. Apparently she was a bit of a legend in the town, recognising the need for tourism and also owning her own opal mine. She also had a lot of wild parties as she was the only one with a swimming pool in the town!!! Afterour tour, we visited the 'Big Winch Lookout' (a winch is what they used to pull the rubble up from the mines - so they built a giant one on top of a hill???) We had a really good view of the town and the surrounding area, it seemed very desolate outside the town. After this we grabbed some lunch, then headed out again to visit 'Tom's Working Opal Mine' which was a 3km outside of town. We decided to walk and it was hot! We thought we could make it for the 3.30 p.m. tour, but after we'd walked all the way there we found out the only tour they had that day was at 10 a.m so we had to walked all the way back into town hoping to catch the 4 p.m opal mine tour at the Umoona Museum and we did! We were taken through the original home and then taken down into the mines where our tour guide explained the methods they used to dig for opals. We even saw opal left in the wall after they had dug an exit tunnel for tourists to access the mines.
Thinking ourselves lucky, we headed to 'noodle' through the mullock (waste pile) for opals which may have been missed! Unfortunatly we weren't as lucky as we thought - Gavin was pretty determined, I think I could have left him there! Tired and covered in dirt (noodling is a messy business!) we headed back for dinner and before turning in for an early night we watched the sunset. We caught the bus for Alice Springs at 5.30 a.m. the next morning. But we'll put Alice Springs into another blog!
Missing you all very much. Thanks for the messages!
Helen and Gavin