Thursday, July 17, 2014:
We awoke to chilly morning in the desert of Coober Pedy and got ready for a busy day touring around Coober Pedy and seeing all of its odd and unusual sights. We packed up the tent (for the last time!) and headed into town to meet some of the people we had been told about. Our first stop was the Underground Hotel where Michael Murphy was expecting us. We were too early to check in but our brief visit got us very excited about sleeping in a real bed and showering in a real shower (oh, and sleeping in an underground cave/hotel for the night). We were told to check out the Old Timer's Mine for a self-guided tour and a visit to the Opal Shop. We took the tour and it was very amazing to see how they have mined opal in the area for the last 100 years. After that we went noodling in the gravel outside the shop and found some really pretty gems. We then headed over to Terry and Josephine's Aboriginal Art studio and Kangaroo Rescue Centre. Terry met me at the door and we had a quick chat about didgeridoos before he gave me a 20-minute crash-course on how to play one. I chose the right didge for me and had it shipped home. Leanne was able to find some beautiful artwork for our house and we had it shipped home as well. At this time the shop was getting busy as people showed up for the feeding of the rescued kangaroos. Terry led us all out back to see the Red Kangaroos that he and his wife had rescued. We all fed them some nibbles and then Terry went and got Ralph from inside the house. Ralph was 6 months old and was still being bottle-fed. He was probably the cutest little thing we had ever seen and everyone was amazed to watch him hop around and jump into his cloth bag. We said good-bye to Terry and headed off to the headquarters of our tour.
We headed out on a tour of Coober Pedy and saw how they mine opal and some of the famous areas of the desert. We saw the Breakaways where they have filmed many post-apocalyptic films such as Mad Max. After the Breakaways, we saw the Dog Fence which is the longest fence in the entire world built and maintained to keep dingoes out of South Australia. Then it was back in to town to see the Serbian Underground Church and visit an old opal mine and museum. After our tour, we said good bye to Layla's new friend, Jenna and her family and headed off to check in to our hotel room. We had dinner at John's Pizza Stand and then went back for a night of relaxation in a real bed! We are headed home to Clare tomorrow after some quick opal shopping downtown. It's been a great vacation and we are already starting to plan our next one!