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South Australia PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Smith   
Thursday, 23 April 2009 13:04
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Day 80: Monday 10th December - Uluru to Coober Pidy
 

Another 4.30am start with a 600 kilometres to cover to civilization and Adelaide. First couple of hours spent backtracking to get back on to the Stuart Highway.

Pulled in to take photos of the state border between the Northern Territory and South Australia. I sang South Australia.


South Australia I was born
Heave Way, Haul Way
South Australia round Cape Hone
And we're bound for South Australia

Chorus

Haul away you rolling King
Heave away, Haul away
Haul away you'll hear me sing
We're'bound for South Australia


But I was a little sad to be leaving the Northern Territory and the outback because although the weather's been untypical nothing can hide the variety and beauty of this enormous state which is the size of Britain but has a population of only 220,00. A little further on the bus slowed down as two Wedged Tailed Eagles, the largest bird in Oz were having dinner with a group of White Bellyed Seaguls, second largest, in the middle of the Stuart Highway just inside South Australia. Perhaps I'll like SA even more than NT.

The scenery began to change to a flat arid landscape and as we approached Coober Pidy the desert was punctuated with mounds of waist from the mines. As we entered the town one could be excused for thinking it was a scrap yard of disused machines, corrugated outbuildings and prefabricated shacks and not the opal capital of the world.

We pulled into to the Opal Museum car park and we were met by a guide who was to take us round the town and show us the main sights which consisted of a church, school with special turf playing fields and a water treatment plant. The best thing about the tour was the guide who was a Dame Edna character she spent most of her time rebuking the driver for not immediately responding to her demands to turn left/ right. Her enthusiasm for the town was amazing; she enthused about the school’s lawn, a water treatment plant and a friend who spends $200 a month to water her garden.

Once back at the museum we were ushered into a theatre to watch a video on the history of opal mining and the working of the stones. As the documentary was about to finish Das and Ben took the opportunity to slowly make their way towards the door and the pub up the road when suddenly the screen burst apart and Dame Edna appeared to ask them ‘where they were going’ and there was still the mine to see. After the mine which I thought was quite interesting we were led into the showroom/ salesroom for the real reason we were there: to buy. Most people bought something, some very expensive. By this time the youngster had escaped.

The bar at the top of the street was an architypical Australian bar, modern with canteen type tables and chairs and banks of monitors high up all round the walls, and pokey machines along tha back wall and ajoining room. The clientele either sat playing pokey, stairing mesmorised by the lotto on the monitors or buying beer at the bar. As I made for the table where Anne had sat herself down I noticed Dame Edna at the next table smiling at me. She obviously knew what I was thinking because she simply said ‘I drove here sweety’. I thought she might have used a secret underground passage from the mine.

Went to the underground bar. Das and Ben getting were very drunk but I thought they would be ok because as we went to the bar and bought drinks the barman anounced it wwas closing. After another rten minutes we left and made our way back to the underground type cells.


Last Updated on Thursday, 23 April 2009 14:02