7 Days Alice Springs to Adelaide Explorer

The first 3 days were already covered in my previous post, this one covers the remaining 4 days.

In Marla we left around 7.30 am and drove to Coober Pedy. On the way we stopped at the Breakaways. The day before we had watched the movie “Priscilla – Queen of the desert” on the bus. It is a good movie that shows a lot of Australia and especially the area we were travelling through. The Breakaways were in the movie, so was Coober Pedy. Awesome!

Coober Pedy is known for 2 things. First: opals. Second: living underground.

The mines in Coober Pedy produce 90% of the world’s opals. Because it is a very dry state and hot days can easily reach 60°C on the surface, 70% of the houses are underground dugouts where the temperature is a constant 23-25°C or so.

After lunch at a pizza place we unloaded and moved into our accomodation. It was inside a hill above an old opal mine that now contains a museum, a shop and a motel. Pretty cool! You sleep very well in these dugouts because they are completely black when you turn off the light and you don’t hear a thing from the outside world.

After settling in we went into the museum part. First we were shown a movie about the history of opals in Australia, then the central canvas slid aside and a german backpacker with bad english showed us how opals are cut, formed and polished before guiding us through the mines. She had been working there for 5 months and still said things like “the minders became only 20 liters of water per week”.

Anyway, she was nice and it was quite informative. Afterwards we had a couple of hours to do whatever we liked before we went to a nearby place to watch a feeding of young big reds (the biggest type of kangaroo, can grow bigger than a human). It was qute, but could not compare to my earlier experiences where I held and fed kangaroos, wallabies and joeys myself.

At 7 we had dinner. We had a couple of beers and afterwards the drinking continued. We went to the other side of the hill and hooked up with the group going the opposite way, playing ring of fire. I didn’t stay up too long because I needed sleep and wanted to make good use of the light- and soundproof cave. For most of the others it was a long night though and they drank more than was good for them.

Some story that I am not going to tell here in more detail got Gareth the nickname “Willing”. We also picked that up and named our boyband “The Willing”, we did some typical boygroup photos in several places :D.

 

The next day we drove all the way to Quorn, on the way we stopped at one of the many salt lakes. They offer the perfect ground for perspective shots and we did quite a few, great fun!

We had lunch in Woomera and because we had a lot of spare time that day we played a few rounds of bowling before we finally drove to Quorn.

I really liked the accommodation there. It was in an old mill that felt very german. All the walls were made of bricks and concrete – surprisingly sold and long lasting for aussie standards 😀 Additionally the oldfashioned carpets and curtains and the high usage of wood everywhere gave it a very oldschool german touch. The beds were very comfy and it was the first time in ages that we got (and needed) dooners.

We went out to Emily’s restaurant for dinner. That place was kept like it was a hundred years ago and it feels like entering an old western movie when you set foot inside. Great atmosphere and nice food 🙂

 

The second last day of this trip has come. We drove about 1.5 hours into the Flinders Ranges where we did a massive hike around Wilpena Pound. More than 14 km in total! It took us 6 hours, there were some really steep parts with heavy climbing, exhausting as hell! But the view on top was so worth it, photos don’t pay it justice, you need to see it yourself to fully understand the magic.

On the way back we stopped at some caves with aboriginal paintings, but only 2 out of 7 from us could be bothered to go and have a look. According to Benchy they’re not as impressive as the ones we had seen in the centre and in Kakadu. Since we were almost dead we saved the effort. We had another stop at the ruins of an old homestead before we finally drove back to Quorn to have a well-earned beer!

This night we had dinner at another restaurant. We had the choice of 7 different meals! I chose the Kangaroo Schnitzel – delicious! That place was heavy with wood and felt a bit old and very european. The whole town felt that way, very impressive. After the old train line was abandoned the former buzzing city of Quorn turned into a rather quiet place and the population shrank drastically. That’s why there’s not much new stuff but heaps of old atmosphere.

 

The last day had come! And for me the loop closed. We checked out Warren Gorge to see the yellow footed rock wallabies then hiked up Dutchman’s Stern. This is exactly what I had done on my first day of the Nullarbor Traveller where Benchy had picked me up in Adelaide. This day he dropped in Adelaide, the same place where he had picked me up 6 weeks earlier: the YHA.

6 of us met for dinner outside the YHA later and went to Benchy’s recommendation, the Cumby. We had cheap but tasty parmas and expensive beer. It was a nice chill-out after the 15 and 8 km hikes in the last 2 days.

I was quite lucky to have Gareth on tour with me for 4 weeks and Luca for 2, we got along very well. We will probably all catch up in Melbourne since we’re all going there next.

And now I am really really really exhausted and going to bed. Enjoy the photos, these are the last ones of me travelling Australia.
I have 2 weeks left. It’s hard to believe that 10.5 months Down Under have passed already. Time is a mysterious thing.

From 2012-03-28+3 NT to Adelaide. Posted by Philipp Hübner on 3/29/2012 (113 items)

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Category: Australia, Places