Saturday, March 21, 2009

Adelaide - Coober Pedy

Well, it's been a little while since the last entry - we've been around all over the place and quite often out of range so this entry will be our journey from Adelaide to the Yorke Peninsula and up into the Flinders area. We are currently in Port Lincoln but will save writing about that til we've finished the Eyre Peninsula.

So, after leaving Adelaide we headed straight for Harndorf - purely because we'd seen a picture in a book showing beer and sausages and well.... we just couldn't go past that!! So after having a wee wander around the town (revolving around its German history) we headed to the Harndorf Inn...
.... and indulged ourselves in a beer (only 500ml, not a whole 1L stein!) and the "Trio of Wursts" which was supposed to be for one person but did the two of us nicely for lunch. There was a dish meant for two that was made up of about 7 different sausages, a pork knuckle, steak etc but I'm glad we didn't go for that one!!! What is it about the Germans and sausages - do they really eat that many of them?? (Foo and sha - you guys were there recently?!!)

And of course we couldn't pass up the following photo opportunity. Hmmm, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dummer methinks..

We then drove on to the BAROSSA VALLEY for more wine tasting. We stopped at Williamstown and care of Scott and Jacq's recommendation we called past the "Whispering Wall" which is a concrete wall and due to its curved nature you can stand at one end and whisper and the person at the other end can hear you.. Pretty cool!

We then headed on to a rest stop in Truro. The next day we decided to head straight to Clare Valley and some more wineries. A couple of our favs were Crabtree Wines and Claymore Wines - the latter had some superb wines and they all had great musical names such as "Walk on the Wild Side", "Dark Side of the Moon" and our fav "You'll Never Walk Alone" Grenache Shiraz which was just beautiful.

We continued up North-East to Burra which was our stop for the night. We decided to partake in a bottle of our $24 a case ($2/bottle) cleanskin wine recommended by Sue - not quite up to the Clare Valley winery standards but not a bad quaff for the price!!!

Well, the one bottle turned to 2 and when we awoke in the morning Dave was feeling fine and chirpy but I was a little dodgy due to the fact I'd already drunk a fair whack at the wineries!! The egg sammy Dave cooked up for breaky helped, but the stinking hot day didn't!!!

We went into the Info Centre in Burra and got the key which you use to explore various places in the town. Its a pretty interesting old mining town (copper) with a lot of history. We headed to the Mine and saw Mophett's Engine House which housed a huge engine to pump out the water from the undergound mines.

..and saw the mining using the "open cut" method (view from the engine house)...

I was feeling a little worse for wear by this stage as it was such a hot day. Notice the large bottle of water in my hand... This is about the point I left Dave to it and went and sat in the shade for a while!

We went to an old lock up and saw a few Mills'.... well as Browns. You're on there a fair bit JB - Deserting ship, drunkeness and the like! The numbers on the side are weeks spent in jail. We also saw some Miner's Dugouts, Churches, and an old Brewery and it was all very interesting - would definately recommend it to anyone travelling near there (although without a hangover is probably the best way to go!)

After spending 4 hours walking round the town in 30 deg heat we decided to drive back down to the Yorke Peninsula and headed to Moonta Bay we stopped for a swim about 7pm by the jetty. This place is absolutely DEVINE and a place we definately hope to return to some time. Just beautiful and the water is so clear you can see the crabs and squid at the bottom of the water - making an easy job for the crabbers who just watch the crabs walk straight into their nets!

A lovely sunset in Moonta Bay.

Then it was off to a rest stop in Maitland for the night.

The next day we drove the whole way round the Yorke Peninsula but found it to be pretty barren. Leroy was right with saying its a "desert by the sea". However we didn't have enough petrol to venture down to all the little beaches along the way so I'm sure they were much nicer. It was pretty windy too unfortunately. We had a Magnum ice-cream each which I think was the highlight of the day... Hmmm, thats a little sad isn't it?

Oh - but for a couple of our friends back in NZ it was a much more magical day - Congrats to Andy and Nicky for the birth of Molly!!! Good on ya guys!

We stayed the night in Maitland once more and then started our drive up the the FLinders Ranges. At Bute we stopped at a little park with wallabies, Emus, Kangas, plus lots of ducks, geese and swans.


Dave was much more interested in the tractor...

We stopped at Port Augusta to stock up and went to the info centre to find out about the Flinders area. We were told the roads get pretty bumpy through the Nat Park and that we should have two spare tyres. We only had one and so were very hopeful we wouldn't need the second one (or the first one for that matter!). We were quite excited to be heading inland to somewhere a bit different.

We saw some great scenery - both flat and hilly and lots of red dirt and stopped to look at the Kanyaka Ruins and Death Rock.

We drove past Quorn (very quaint!) and had dinner at Hawker before heading to a rest stop at Nooltana Creek.

The next morning (day 21 -----> 3 weeks!!!) we awoke early and headed back to the Yourambulla Caves which we missed the night before as it was too late in the day. It was a great walk upto the caves where we saw some aboriginal cave drawings at 3 different sites. We also saw plenty of Kangaroos.

We then drove on up to the Flinders Ranges where we headed to Wilpena. We decided to do a 3 - 4hr walk up to view the Wilpena Pound from the top. The Pound is like a huge natural ampitheatre (and I mean HUGE!) This was a walk rated as "difficult" and I found it very challenging - there were lots of steep climbs and it was a very hot day (who leaves for a 3 hr walk at 11am, the hottest part of the day??? Us of course!!). It was also pretty hard on the knees on the way down but the view at the top was well worth it. Dave didn't struggle too much though - I'm rather unfit at the moment!!

Here's a couple of pics from the internet (sorry they're a little small):

We then drove onto the Bunyroo Gorge and the Brachina Gorge - the latter was very spectacular! Here's a photo of the pig taking on the Bunyroo Gorge - Poor old Pig - she did so well!

We drove out of the Nat Park and got a good shot of the ranges:

..and had to stop at the Parachilna Hotel for a well earnt beer! Never tasted better!

We drove on to Leigh Creek - a mining town that was only built in 1978 so its quite new and purpose built (they tore the old town down prior to this) - much bigger than we expected! Stopped here for the night at a rest stop.
The next morning we headed up to Maree - heading Coober Pedy way.
We stopped at Leigh Creek Mine which gave us the chance to take a few photos:

We called in to see "Talc Alf" who does talc carvings on a variety of things. He was a real character and even has his own theory of the origins of the English Alphabet.

We saw a snake which we later found out was probably an Inland Taipan. Glad we were in the car when we came across this!!

We then headed for William Creek and stopped for a beer and to dust ourselves off at the famous William Creek Tavern which is full of thousands of photo ID's, items of clothing including underwear and shoes - all attached to the walls, roof etc. The bar lady said that the bar would probably fall down if they took everything off!!!

It was here we realised that the poor pig had lost a hubcap in the bumpy road!!! (it is all gravel / dirt road from Lyndhurst (Talc Alf) to Coober Pedy - over 400kms!!)

We then drove on to Coober Pedy - famous for Opal Mining and known as the opal Capital of Australia (or is that the world? oops shows how much I was listening!) We stayed at Reba's Underground camping where we took our mattress underground to sleep which was very nice and cool - and no flies (of which there were millions). We also had a tour of their mine. We had a good sleep apart from being woken at midnight by noisy German backpackers who didn't seem to realise or care that their voices were echoing around the walls!
Hooray for a shower - it'd been about a week this time since the last one (apart from the swim at Moonta) and phew - we must've smelt as bad as the backpackers we saw at Clare Valley who came in to look for work and caused the assistant to turn her nose up at them!!! After she told them there was no work available they then asked for a wine tasting and you could tell she wasn't too happy about it!
That night we met a lovely couple - Deborah and Andrew who have been travelling round Australia for 4 years! They work the tourist season and then travel the rest of the year. They were heading up to the Bungle Bungles (up nearish to Darwin) to look after a camp and said they may be able to employ us for a bit which would be great!!

In the morning we had a look round Coober Pedy Town and saw four Underground Churches, an underground bookshop and the Underground Comfort Inn. In case you haven't realised a lot of the houses and businesses are underground dugouts - to escape the heat in summer and the cold in winter. They stay an ambient 24 degree yearround.

Underground Church:

Dave spotted some old tin:

Lookout - as you can see its basically a lot of dirt and dust... not my sort of town!!!

The Coober Pedy Gold Club - famous for having no grass and black greens:

Danger Signs around the opal Fields:

The "Dog Fence" - 5500km long and built to keep the dingos away from the sheep:

We hung around the town for most of the day despite being a little over the heat and dirt, because we heard the sunset in the Breakaways (about 30km North) was amazing. We headed out to check it out:and it was pretty cool - the "painted hills" are famous due to the changing light at sunset which makes them look like they have just been painted on to the landscape:

..But the flies were something else entirely....

...and didn't make for the most "romantic" sunset we've ever seen..

After sunset we drove on back South for about 100kms and stayed the night at a rest stop. We awoke the next morn to a beautiful sunrise - even better than the sunset the night before!!

We drove back to Port Augusta and called by Lake Hart - a smaller salt lake. Still too many flies so we retreated back to the air conditioned safety of the car.

We stopped at Port Augusta to buy jandals (sorry - THONGS!!) for Dave who also mysteriously lost one somewhere - what is going on??? I also picked up a pair for the bargain price of $1(!!!) to replace the mismatched pair I've been wearing for the last couple of weeks.
And this is where the blog will end for now. Stay tuned for the Eyre Peninsula which we are taking slowly because it is just beautiful and there is too much fishing to be done. Plus the locals are damn friendly and we're having a blast!!
All our love to everyone and Bye for now xxx


  1. Sounds amazing my friends! Love the photos! Miss you and love ya heaps! Mist, Mark and Ethan xxx

  2. Love ya work team - you are making good ground and seeing some fabulous sights along the way. Livin' the dream!
    Love you both lots xxxx

  3. Thanks for the comments guys - yup, livin the dream indeed!!! :-)