Ok, so arrival in Coober Pedy, set up and finally a little time to relax as we have 2 days here to recover a bit from the last couple of days driving.
Everybody loves Coober Pedy. It is about as outback and rough as you can get and I think that is why is has so much appeal, because it just seems so different. With all the opal mining mounds, to the unusual characters down the street, to the tourist attractions, to the chance of maybe happening across your fortune in opal! I don’t know what it is, but I love it here. And anyone could maybe find that elusive opal just by walking down the street, it really is that easy! Last time we were here, a couple of overseas tourists ‘kicked’ a stone on the side of the road and it literally turned out to be a massive opal! And I think that may be some of the lure of this place.
While sitting out relaxing, a lady comes up to us inviting us to participate in the filming of a new tv competition show that is going to be on later in the year. Of course we say yeah! Why not, it’ll only take a couple of hours of our time, and we’re here for a couple of days, so why not.
In the morning, we head in all directions to look around and refamiliarise ourselves with the place and of course there is always heaps to see. The kids want to noodle for a bit, which is basically digging around in the dirt looking for opals. Our kids know what to look for and soon have the spoils of a little bit of ‘noodling’ about!
Next it’s off to Old Toms Working Mine for the show. When we get there it’s a mass of tv crews setting up and getting ready for the show. We have been sworn to secrecy, needless to say it has a little bit to do with contestants working towards getting a spot in a broadway show, one in which most Australians would be very familiar with.
All we have to do is get excited and bop around to music at a certain point, which is not too hard. The funniest part is when Jimmy, from the mine, forgets his lines a couple of times and just cracks everyone up with his strong Scottish accent and dry humour!
Of course there are some ‘stars’ on board, and we just happen to meet Hugh Sheridan – Ben from Packed to the Rafters, who turns out to be super friendly and easy going and did not tire once of our continuous requests for photos and autographs! He spent a bit of time talking to us between his shoot, and was a great bloke. The girls were awestruck! Photos to follow! Also on set was Marcia Hines, who was also a lovely patient friendly lady. Jamie was over the moon having met both of them and getting their autographs and photos with them both.
We spent about 3 hours watching all the commotion and really enjoyed it. Dave took the other kids off to noodle and see some of the sites. Tea was a magnificent roast cooked in the Tole Webber and the amazing camp kitchen they have at the caravan park. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Next day it’s up and at em again, touring around town and looking at the sites. A short, quick trip out to the moon plain and more noodling and exploring. The kids wanted to visit the school in town and were invited to take part in one of the classes with the indigenous kids, who they were all really taken by, but at the same time blown away by their circumstance and lack of discipline (for want of a better term!!), whilst Josh had been lucky enough to score a nice piece of opal at the film shoot which he wanted to see if we could get cut at one of the local opal dealers which they accommodated really well.
Kirsten and I headed off to see some of the more unusual sites. The Serbian orthodox underground church, which is amazingly carved and intricate inside and also the local ‘Boot’ hill to see some of the more unusual grave sites! Of which there are a few, including some of the more colorful characters from here.
Then off to the local kangaroo orphanage for feeding time in the evening, and finish off with a pizza from the caravan park, whose owners happened to have been one of the original Lygon St pizza owners way back when and were lured to Coober Pedy. The pizzas are ok, not the best I’ve ever had, but literally for the middle of nowhere, ok. Then it’s pack up time as we are off again to Erldunda, half we stop between Coober Pedy and Alice Springs. Also the turn in point to get to Ayers Rock and our meeting place for Aaron and Leanne and the kids next week.
Of course, we can’t leave without dramas, but they can wait for another time, so I’ll finish her in Coober Pedy and try and get back again soon.