Leaving the magic of Uluru, it was time to start our journey southwards to Adelaide.
Our first stop on the way to Adelaide was Coober Pedy. Coober Pedy has been the setting for more than a few famous movies – Mad Max and Pitch Black to name a few. Some of the left over props adorn the main street and the whole place has a lunar appearance. We decided to join a tour to better understand what at first glance, appears to be a pretty unexciting and dusty town.
Our tour started at the Cattacomb church - a hand excavated church located nine metres below the surface. The local Minister’s wife even kindly allowed us to look through her adjacent home. With the only natural light and air coming through some narrow shafts to the surface, it was a certainly a strange space. However the strangest fact of all was that the Minister and his wife had lived in Dapto for 5 years! The world really is small!
Next we went ‘noodling’. Noodling involves searching for opal in the massive piles of excavated rock. We didn’t find our fortune but it was great fun! We then took a drive through the active mining area, where they estimate there are almost one million shafts. The larger the piles of rocks you see, the greater the amount of opal that is being found. Well that’s the theory – apparently nobody talks about finding opal in Coober Pedy.
Our final stop on the tour was of an old opal mine. Guided by the charismatic, Rudy; an 82 year old former miner, we walked though tunnels and gained an insight into the highs and lows of life as an opal miner. All in all it was great day that we really enjoyed.
Pushing on the next day we had a short stop in Woomera. Less interesting than the last stop, but still with a story to tell, Woomera was once home to about 6000 people (mostly Americans). Still home for some defence personnel, the town was the setting for missile and nuclear testing in the 1960s. It’s really a ghost town now, although the kids enjoyed looking at the various aircraft and rockets on display.
From Woomera we completed last leg into Adelaide and dropped off Zizi for a well earned rest in a storage shed. The odometer on the Cruiser now reads 23,000km! There’s more to do, but the south is too cold at present and we have decided to make the most of the seasons and head overseas to check out the national parks of North America.