We are in Coober Pedy and today we will learn a bit more about opals and the area around this town. And the best way to do all this is by having a guide. So, we ended up with Gunther. As the name suggest he is from Germany and came to Coober Pedy a long time ago to search for opals. So he is an expert now and stopped digging holes in the ground to find these stones. Nowadays Gunther organises bustours to show people like us around.
We started our tour in one of the opal shops in our hotel. Gunther explained a lot about the different opals and how they are turned into all sorts of jewelery. After that it was time to hit the road. On to our first stop: a church build into the wall of a hill. As I already stated in a previous post: there are some faboulous diggers here and this church is a good example. Just look at the pictures…
Then we were off to see the surroundings of this town. On our way out of town Gunther showed us several interesting places. Look at this sign:
On our way we passed a road train. As you can see we are on a dirt road and these big trucks go fast.
Our next stop was at the dingo fence. This is world’s longest fence and it was build to keep the dingos away from the sheep.
The next stop was at the breakaway hills. Initially I thought this was manmade. Since they love to dig in the ground here, they must have a place to dump all the stuff that they dig up. But I was wrong: this is an untouched area. It’s beautiful; just look at the pictures.
We spent quite a bit of time looking at the amazing views, but then it was time to move on. We were on our way to the opal mines. And again: they love digging here! You are not allowed to go into this area unless you have a permit. And I understand why. There are holes everywhere. Their diameter is not big (a few meters), but they are deep (hundreds of meters), so when you fall in: tough luck… The two vehicles in the pictures are used to: transport the dirt and rocks out the hole they are working in and the other one is used to go through the piles to find opals that may still be in there.
One of the things I have learned over the last few weeks is that Ausies have a great sense of humor. A good example is the Coober Pedy golf club. This is a very hot and desert like area. But when you want to play golf, that’s not a problem. You just redefine the definition of the “green”…
The next stop was the local opal museum. This is also build into the side of a hill and shows all the aspects of digging for opals. Furthermore it shows a house build into a hill. Nicely cool, but the views are poor…
After the tour it was time to go back to the hotel and just relax. It’s too hot here to be outside the whole day. We finished the day with a very nice diner. Tomorrow we will move on to our next destination: Ayers Rock.
Monday 23 March 2009