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Cradle Mountain Tasmania

Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy was full of surprises and was both exactly what we expected and nothing like what we expected.

The drive in was exactly what you'd expect, very long expanses of straight road and flat plains. Then the wildflowers started to put on a show and they were amazing, massive carpets of purple and yellow spreading out so of course we had to stop for a closer look and a few pictures. We came in from the Eastern side and saw our first opal mine or at least the first one we recognised up on the hillside which was a bit exciting or maybe anything would have been exciting after the drive across? Of course we had to do what everyone does and take a picture of the rig with the signs on the way in, things were getting VERY exciting.

We stayed at 'Old Timers' which is a free campground walking distance to pretty much everything. It was exactly what you get for free, flat dirt parking lot at the Old Timers mine and museum with access to a toilet which was the bonus. You have to get in at just the right time, the area was packed when we arrived so we waited for someone who was packing up to leave so we could fit in. We went for a bit of a walk about the day we arrived, town is interesting, there are old movie props dotted about from when the area was used for filming, given it really does look like a barren alien landscape we can see why. The homes were just as interesting, you could see a kind of shed/house bit at the front and the rest of the house went back into the hillside with ventilation pipes here and there. Some of the houses were just the standard above ground but we're pretty sure the ones inside the hills were a lot more comfortable in summer.

Given their campground was free it seemed only fair that we pay the $15 each fee for the self guided tour of the museum, mine and underground living area they had set up ($30 for a tour and 4 nights stay, awesome). They had a section set up to show how the mining was done in the early 1900's with signs and dummies, we spent a lot of time reading and taking pictures, it was really interesting walking through and imagining how it was for those first miners (and maybe some of the small claims owners now) I think the biggest surprise for me when we got to the house part was the pink and white walls underground, it made for a really light feel to the rooms and it didn't really feel like being in a cave if you could ignore the lack of windows.

If you get a chance do head out this way for a look, it was surprising, interesting, dusty, entertaining, dry, informative, ok ran out of words but so very much worth the visit. Every second shop in town sells opals (surprise surprise) and the IGA is well priced and stocked, not sure what we were expecting from an outback supermarket but we'd give this one a positive review. We did a good stock up shop there before heading out, and turns out we would be really happy we did! lol We did do a day trip out to the Breakaways but that's a story for next time.


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