Australia 2011 (Part III: Coober Pedy and the Road to Uluru)

Sorry it’s been a while, but I got a bit busy with school, work, and family. Anyway, here’s the belated post that I promised: Nothern South Australia, including the amazing Coober Pedy.

From Wikipedia: Coober Pedy is sometimes referred to as the “opal capital of the world” because of the quantity of precious opals that are mined there. Coober Pedy is renowned for its below-ground residences, called “dugouts”, which are built due to the scorching daytime heat. The name ‘Coober Pedy’ comes from the local Aboriginal term kupa-piti, which means ‘white man’s hole’.Image

Free range chickens, Aussie style. We literally saw flocks of them by the side of the road as we were driving north from Port Augusta.

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A view of the Outback. Lovely place.

ImageAn Aussie road train.

ImageFirst sight of Coober Pedy. They filmed the Mad Max and Pitch Black films  here, as well as some less well known films (outside of Aus of course.)

ImageWorld’s only underground Catholic church, as far as I’m aware.

ImageUnderground church interior.

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An opal store. Coober Pedy people are nothing if not imaginative.

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This man and his wife runs an ‘orphanage’ for baby kangaroos whose mothers were eaten by aboriginal hunters or hit by road trains. Most of the orphans he reintroduces to the wild, but some, like this male red, become family pets.

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Another of the man’s orphaned kangaroos. He and his wife have about a dozen.

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And some kangaroo meat we picked up at the local Cole’s supermarket.

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Kangaroo stir fried with some onions and spicy chilies. Yum. Coober Pedy also had a great pizza restaurant whose specialty dish was ‘The Australian Coat of Arms’: half the pizza was covered in emu meat, and the other half was topped with kangaroo meat. Kicking myself that we didn’t get a picture of that one.

ImageKulgera Pub and RV (Caravan) Park. Last stop on the Stuart Highway before reaching the Northern Territory. I’m still not sure what all the shoes mean.

That’s it for South Australia. Join me next time (hopefully tomorrow) for the jewel in Australia’s crown, Uluru and King’s Canyon, Northern Territory.

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Australia 2011 (Part II: Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and SA)

I really liked Adelaide. The sunshine and relative dryness was a welcome change from soggy Victoria, and Adelaide has a  special charm of its own. It’s much smaller than Melbourne, so that it manages to combine the community feeling of a small town with the convenience of a much larger city. Best of both worlds.

The drive towards Adelaide was striking. Lots of small towns scattered throughout Canunda National Park. Here’s me fighting a giant lobster, the claim to fame of one small hamlet:

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Giant things are sort of an Australian national pastime. This one’s in Kingston, SA.

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These signs amused me no end on the long drive.

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Adelaide, finally. Why do I feel so at home here?

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Adelaide is surrounded by hills, each of which sports its own little village. This one, called Hahndorf, was founded by German shipwreck survivors in the 1830s. Just added to the very pleasant but deeply surreal quality of Australia.

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I laughed for ages at this sign. (Hahndorf).

Amanda and I then splurged for a package tour to Kangaroo Island, because we would soon be heading up north, where chances to see (wild) South Australian fauna would be few and far between. I’m very happy we did.

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An Australian sea lion pup having a roll.

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Kookaburra!

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New Zealand Fur Seal pup having a doze.

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Does my butt look big in this?

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A koala, awake for once.

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And this is Remarkable Rocks, the last bit of land before you come to Antarctica.

And they’re truly remarkable, by the way.

That’s it for this edition of Dabendan’s Aussie adventure. Join us next time for Coober Pedy, where they filmed Mad Max and Pitch Black. See you tomorrow!

Dabendan