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November 28th 2017
Published: December 10th 2017
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Red sky at night, Shepard's delight!Red sky at night, Shepard's delight!Red sky at night, Shepard's delight!

Sunset at West Beach, Adelaide
Our first stop in South Australia was the famous opal mining town of Coober Pedy. When we first read about Coober Pedy, an underground town in the outback desert, we were beyond intrigued. What does an underground town look like? Was there going to be a trap door with steps down??

The underground homes, churches, hotels, etc. are not what you would expect. There are no trap doors (devastating we know). But rather the buildings are dug into hill sides. With temperatures in Coober Pedy varying from up to 50 degrees in summer to freezing in the winter, these underground homes remain at about 25 degrees year round.

One of the other benefits of building an underground home is the chances of finding opal in the process which can fetch thousands of dollars per carat depending on the colour. Having never heard of opal before, within 24 hours we were out trying our luck "noodling" — searching through heaps of discarded gravel for pieces of opal missed by the miners. A half hour quickly turned to two despite the 35 degree heat! Unfortunately all we had for our efforts was three minuscule pieces of white opal (the cheapest and most common kind) and a piece of brown glass from a beer bottle (which Mau was 100% convinced was a piece of lucrative black opal). Suffice to say we will be back to the day jobs next year!

From mines to wines - our next stop was the beautiful Clare Valley wine region. The lush green vineyards were in stark contrast to the arid landscapes we had become accustomed to in the previous weeks. We rented a couple of bikes and set off to explore the famous Riesling trail (a former railway line) lined with cellar doors. We popped into a couple to do some wine tasting - swirling and sniffing, and oohing and aahing like professionals!

Our first experience of bad weather in Australia came in Clare. Oh the irony. Out on our bikes in the cold and the rain, it really was a home away from home!

Adelaide, the city of churches, gave us our first proper taste of an Australian city. Although it has a population of more than 1.7 million, it had a really relaxed vibe which we loved. We didn't get up to much but enjoyed strolling around the city. We stumbled across a coffee festival on the Sunday (or so Donal thinks). The latte art competition on the main stage provided some great entertainment while we tried some of the local coffees and treats.

The western facing beaches in Adelaide were stunning. We caught one sunset whilst there and were completely blown away.

Next up? Victoria!

Additional photos below
Photos: 39, Displayed: 23


Our first view of the opal mining in Coober PedyOur first view of the opal mining in Coober Pedy
Our first view of the opal mining in Coober Pedy

We literally saw thousands of these excavated piles during our stay in Coober Pedy!
The town of Coober PedyThe town of Coober Pedy
The town of Coober Pedy

Approximately 70% of the population live underground
We literally saw hundreds of these poor guys along the road.We literally saw hundreds of these poor guys along the road.
We literally saw hundreds of these poor guys along the road.

In one 50 km period we counted 44 kangaroo remains!
A view from Mount Remarkable, MelroseA view from Mount Remarkable, Melrose
A view from Mount Remarkable, Melrose

All grain crops as far as you can see!
A classic windpumpA classic windpump
A classic windpump

Used for pumping water - with huge areas of crops there were tons of these pumps in sight!

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