Sunday, August 13, 2017

Heading south

We are now headed homewards and in a blink of an eye (approx 700 kms on and an overnight stay later) we are one day in Alice Springs and the next day in Coober Pedy.

A camel on the way at a camel farm.  Camels were imported into Australia in the 1840s-1860s and were used extensively in central Australia in the building of the Overseas Telegraph Line.

What a contrast between these two towns.  Alice is a sophisticated, cool little town whereas Coober Pedy is a dust bowl, hot and dry.  The temperature today is 30 degrees and it is winter, albeit a very hot spell right now.  The town is solely based on opal mining with a lot of underground dwellings which are popular because of the extreme heat in summer.  There is an underground church which we visited when we were last here.  And the camp ground we were staying at then had underground facilities as well as above ground.

A frequent sight as you approach Coober Pedy, of the sand mounds, which are the byproduct of the opal mining and fossicking around the area.

The Big Winch in the middle of the town, symbolising the opal mining industry.

We are doing nothing touristy this time we are here at Coober Pedy as it is hot and windy.  We have found a nice spot to camp for only $5 which has fresh water and a toilet plus wi-fi.  I am sitting in the shade doing this blog posting. Nothing else on the agenda for today.

On the way from Coober Pedy to Yulara we came across this vast salt lake, Lake Hart.  It is a pure white salt plain and very spectacular and also attractive to look at.  People were camping on one side of it which is a designated rest area.  Here is Maxi walking on the salt lake.

Then in another blink of the eye we are in lush wine country around the Clare valley.

Not only is it green and lush, unlike Coober Pedy in the same state which is hot and dry, but the temperature, which was 30 degrees yesterday, is a cool 16 degrees here.  What a land of contrast this country of ours is!

We went to a lovely winery and restaurant at Sevenhills called Skillogalee, which we had never heard of but which was recommended by Lonely Planet as their favourite in the Clare Valley.  We had a wonderful meal and a lovely shiraz to go with it.  The restaurant was heavily patronised by the knowing locals so the suggestion was obviously a well-founded tip.  Our lunch was a celebration of sorts - of the ending of a wonderful trip, just short of four months of travel, and also an early celebration of Andrew's birthday in late August.

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