TUESDAY 31 AUGUST MARLA TO COOBER PEDY 247kms
Getting away was easy, because we were still hitched up. Today would be a comparatively short drive, so we were in no hurry.
It was a straightforward run to Coober Pedy, though quite hot. I drove some of it – John wants me to become comfortable towing the van.
At a roadside stop, John emptied a jerry can into the fuel tank.
We reached Coober Pedy late morning and booked into the Oasis Caravan Park. $13.50 a night, after the Big 4 discount. The caravan park is alright. There are no taps at sites – understandable where water is so scarce. There was one tap at an outside sink. The showers are coin operated – 20cents for about one minute! Travellers can buy water at the town’s public point – 20cents for about 30 litres. That is a better rate than the showers!
We were set up by lunchtime.
After lunch, went for a walk and explore, which we could do as the park is in town. Just as we set out, the fire siren sounded and a fire truck went racing out. Later, someone said there was a big road accident out of town.
The town seems slightly more ordered than when we were last here in 1993, but the shop front offsets are still higgledy and there are no footpaths. Coober Pedy, is, of course, an opal mining township. As we’d approached the turnoff from the highway, we’d started to see the white dump heaps and occasional blowing machines, that are the signatures of the opal areas.
We walked to the Big Winch Lookout, where there was quite a good view over town, with its dugout homes going into the hillside, and the bare sports oval. There was a gallery at the lookout, and we browsed in this; I bought postcards and magnets.
Next, we visited the Old Timer’s Mine – it cost us $5 each, but it was self-guiding and we spent over an hour in their tunnels, shafts and dugouts. It was quite fascinating and informative – and just a little claustrophobic. I do not like underground!
We wandered the long way back to camp, stopping to buy a paper, some cheese, and cucumbers.
Tea was salads and tinned salmon.
It is very pleasant to have warmer nights again – we barely even need the doona now.