Edit Blog Post
Published: July 15th 2013
Part 3, starting at day 3 of my outback tour. Day 3
Another early start with a long day ahead. At breakfast I discovered something else I like - lemon butter. Yum! You know, I think I could keep a whole blog dedicated solely to food. I'm obsessed.
We hit the road, first stop a huge salt lake. The sun was shining and the sky blue, which reflected on the water just beautifully. I climbed a salt hill and we took photos of the salt ground and the rainwater that had partially filled the lake. Millions of years ago, it was the bottom of the sea. Over years the salt has gathered and hardened, leaving a pure salt surface. Was pretty amazing and beautiful.
The sun got warmer and I changed into my flip flops. Woo hoo! Welcome back sun, Melbourne is missing you. It's been a almost 4 months since I could wear flip flops outside and not freeze.
We stopped for lunch in Glendambo. Population: sheep, 22,500; flies, 2,000,000; humans, 30. The pub was pretty big, catering for travellers passing through the outback. Everything is so far apart, towns, pubs, hotels, etc, that everyone
congregates in the same place before moving onto the next same place. There's not a choice of hotels, a choice of pubs, a choice of service stations nor a choice of restaurant. You go to this one or you go another 150 miles without.
Our afternoon was spent travelling to Coober Pedy - the opal capital of the world! It's an opal mining town with not much else going for it. Though they do have the nations famous 'Johns Pizza Bar'. What is cool about Coober Pedy though is that 90% of its population lives underground. It's a desert town, which gets unbearably hot in summer and freezing cold overnight in winter months. Houses are chiseled into the rocks or are created from dugouts. This maintains the house at a constant 23 degrees. No need for heating nor air con. Ever. We took a tour of an underground house and it was odd to see. Without lights on it was pitch black; you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. We learned about how they get air coming in, how they get electricity, plumbing, etc.
That evening we went to a kangaroo orphanage. They were adorable!
The joeys are brought here when their mum has been killed. Usually at the side of the road, joey still in pouch. The kangaroos are then raised by hand. We watched the owner feed a joey with a bottle, tucked in a rug-like pouch. We got to pat and feed the adult kangaroos. We dined at John's Pizza Bar, smashing through 2 large pizzas and finishing off with a packet of chocolate hobnobs I'd found I the international section of the local supermarket. They cost about £5, but it was so worth it to taste good English biscuits, and to introduce them to my international friends. After dinner, Shelley, our guide, took us to a nearby underground bar. They had a jukebox, pool table and dance floor with disco lights. The 6 of us were the only ones there. The barman gave us some free goes on the jukebox and turned the disco lights on for us. We drank cider, cranked up Micheal Jackson - beat it, learned the dance to Las Ketchup, and were taught line-dancing to Cotton Eye Joe by our new Texan friend. Hilarious and fun night. We returned to our underground hotel for the night and
collapsed into bed. Day 4
We went straight to the opal mine for a tour. We learned mining techniques, watched a film about opals in an underground cinema and were shown opals of different shapes and colours, identifying which were most valuable. We also spent an hour in the jewellery shop, looking at the finished product. I have no money and resisted all temptation. Others in the group spent hundreds of dollars on opal rings, necklaces and earrings. I saved my money to be able to eat for the next few weeks/until I again have a job and an income. We did however have the chance to find some opals. We went noodling! We sifted through piles of rocks just laying at the side of dirt roads. All of us found opal. Some opal had no colour and was thus worthless; others found opal with hints of blue, green and red. I found a mixture of all sorts. Who knows, I may have $1000 of opals in my bag now. Unlikely, but you never know. Though it does mean I'm carrying around rocks everywhere I go now. Not ideal when I'm trying to keep the weight of my
bag down to about 15kg. I'll soon have to choose - shoes or rocks...? Tough one.
We were back on the road for hours and hours as we headed further north. We stopped every so often to stretch our legs, spot wildlife, or photograph the longest man-made fence in the world. Now there's something you don't find in the travel guide. It started to be built to keep animals away from crops and campsites, and it kept getting added to and added to until it became the longest fence in the world. We also spotted plenty more kangaroos, emu, eagles, dingos and brumbies. The wild horses were especially cool - we watched them fight and play. The sun began to set and so we all jumped off the bus to collect some firewood. We filled the trailer, for tonight we were camping!
We continued north, crossing the state line into the Northern Territory. Of course, we stopped to take silly photos; half of our bodies in South Australia, the other half in Northern Territory. We stopped in the town of Kulgera; home to 'the first and last pub in the Northern Territory' given its location near the state
line. We had a drink in the pub, took photos of a giant beer can and looked up at the 'shoe tree'. If you've seen the film Big Fish, it was a lot like the piece of string across the town, on which hung everyone's shoes. Except this was a tree :-) odd, but cool. We continued to the town of Eldunda for a roast dinner and to enjoy our last night of a restaurant/pub meal. The rest of the week we'd really be in the middle of nowhere and cooking for ourselves on camping stoves.
The weather stayed dry, the stars were shining and we set up camp. We discovered swags - Aussie bedrolls - which were actually more comfortable than I thought they'd be. Essentially it's a thin mattress wrapped inside canvas. A flat tent for one. We lit the campfire, toasted marshmallows, and chatted away. It was a great night. I felt so chilled out and I loved being outdoors. I slept soundly in my swag, excited for the next few days, where the real magic happened.
Tot: 0.508s; Tpl: 0.053s; cc: 9; qc: 53; dbt: 0.0292s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb