This morning began very strangely as we woke up to the alarm at 7 as we were booked into a tour at 8.20, but the sun wasn’t even up. It was downright confusing. We were even checking other clocks etc as it just didn’t seem right. Anyway, it apparently was.. so we got up, had brekky, packed up cabin & Molly, and headed up to meet our tour bus. We begrudgingly left Molly unlocked (with variables hidden) as the AC repair guy had promised he’d be there before we left for our tour…. well,.he wasn’t. Neither was he there when we returned 3hrs later, or been there while we were gone. But that story will be told later…
Our Cooper Pedy tour was a bargain at $135 for the 5 of us. It was a 3hr tour including all of Coober Pedy (I think I will always say Coober Pedy with an Italian accent from now on, as it’s how I heard our guide say it so many times today. Lol), the underground churches, mine sites, homes (dugouts), museum and Opal mine.
Our first stop was this Serbian Orthodox church. It was AMAZEBALLS… and seriously, I mean AMAZEBALLS !! It took only 4 weeks to dig out, and it was all paid for by it’s members. They found approx $4000 worth of Opal while digging out this church (which really isn’t that much).
Our second stop was this ‘noodling’ site which is basically an area set aside for tourist to try their luck at finding some Opal. We did find a few pieces, but nothing with any colour.. so nothing of any worth. Mining in the township area isn’t allowed on a commercial level, which means you can’t get a permit to mine there…and it’s a $6000 fine if you do it.
In this pic below, we have ventured into the Opal mine & muesum. The roof was a tad low for DH in places (many places). He came out with sandstone pieces and dust all through his hair. Bahahahahaha
Because they keep quite a lot of value in Opals in that museum (I’m taking in excess of a million dollars ) a caretaker has to stay overnight. We were able to see through the 3 bedroom caretakers dugout which is 25m below ground level. (50% of the 2000ish Coober Pedy population live in dugouts, but they’re mostly dug into the side of a hill, not so much down into the ground. Although some aboveground houses do have dugouts underneath their homes…. like a cellar). Anyway, back to this caretakers 3 bedroom dugout… it has everything you would expect in a normal home.. full kitchen, toilet, shower, bedrooms, laundry, living room, TV (with a very long aerial cord that snakes up through the sandstone to the surface. Each dugout requires a 32m deep, 1m wide hole dug, for their waste & water etc to go down into. I would’ve thought that it would eventually fill up, but our guide has had his for 44yrs and it’s just under half full.
This pic is in a random place for some reason. .. it’s the motel room that Apollo has put us up in (again) because our AC isn’t fixed and it’s 38 dehrees.
Ok.. moving right along. After leaving the tour and picking up unfixed Molly, we headed up to the lookout the tour guide had pointed out whilst on the tour.
Another thing shown to us on the tour was the mined areas out the back of Coober Pedy (or the front, depending on which way you look at it I guess). You can spot the areas from way off because there is mound after mound of dirt. When obtaining a mining permit, you can drill down to 22m with a diameter of just over a meter. Opal only appears in horizontal lines, so when they’ve found an Opal line, they will then make tunnels in, often meeting up with other shafts.
Coober Pedy have two weird (& frankly dangerous laws) (well, one is a non-law actually).
1. You are not showed to backfill a hole once you’ve finished mining it… leaving a 22m deep hole there for someone to fall down.
2. There is no law about covering or fencing around mine shafts… so no-one does it.
Apparently an Aboriginal lady who has always lived in Coober Pedy fell down a shaft 2yrs and was killed.
So, I’m sure you’ll understand that I wasn’t super keen to have the kids look in the shafts, but DH said they had to have the experience… I chose to not watch that particular part… and prayed insanely huge warrior angels would surround them at that time.
Following all that, we got back onto the Stuart Highway and made our way to Marla’s Travellers Rest. The lack of AC hit us particuarly hard on arrival when we were told that the pool was closed due to a pump problem.
Anyway, as I’ve already told you, God provides every time, and we were in 2 beautifully AC’d rooms before too long.
A delicious steak burger in our bellies, and we’re all good for a great nights sleep. Here’s praying our AC is fixed trow. 😊
Blessings Peeps !! xox