More Australian Reflections with Zeb and Eider Part II

Driving through Broome, we entered the Kimberley.   Derby is one of the major cities here.   We loved Derby but we were fascinated by the Boab Tree.   This is the Boab Prison Tree.

Prison Boab Tree

Prison Boab Tree

Legend says that prisoners we put inside this tree at night, while being transported to Derby.    That is rather scary.   Back in Broome, Cable Beach is a wonderful place.   A meal or snack at Zander’s on the beach and fabulous sunsets viewed from a camel create unforgettable memories.

So cool

So cool

At Broome’s Town Park we were fortunate to witness Stairway to the Moon.

Stairway to the Moon in Broome, Western Australia

Stairway to the Moon in Broome, Western Australia

This experience is also forever in our memory.   Australia has many beautiful national parks.  There are over 500 Australian national parks.   In Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory we gazed at Aboriginal Rock Art

Aboriginal rock art

Aboriginal rock art

and watched huge crocodiles.

A really big crocodile at Kakadu

A really big crocodile at Kakadu

Thankfully the crocodiles were more interested in the warm sun than tasting Colorado Traveling Ducks.  We rode the Ghan, Australia’s other main railroad, to the red center of Australia.   Another fascinating train ride.   We believe sunrise at Kata Tjuta was beautiful.

Sunrise over Kata Tjuta

Sunrise over Kata Tjuta

Uluru, formerly called Ayers Rock, is huge.

Not just a smooth rock

Not just a smooth rock

Scientists say most of the rock, or monolith,  is still underground.   The above ground height is 863 meters or 1,141 feet.   More than that amount is still hidden underground.   Next we took a public bus to Coober Pedy.   This opal mining town celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Coober Pedy celebrates 100 years

Coober Pedy celebrates 100 years

Inside an opal mine, the opal is beautiful in the rock.

Opal still in rock

Opal still in rock

Just waiting to be mined.     Much of this town is underground, living in cave live areas.   The Underground Serbian Orthodox Church was spectacular.

From church balcony

From church balcony

A short flight to Adelaide and we rode another bus into the wine country.   Here we saw beautiful countryside and, of course, tasted some good wine.

Wine was sampled at Henry's Drive Winery

Wine was sampled at Henry’s Drive Winery

Our time in Australia was so much fun.   Tomorrow we will finish our reflections of our wonderful vacation.

Coober Pedy and Nearby with Zeb and Eider

We walked around this little town and we have never seen so many opal stores.

One of several small opal shops lining the street in Coober Pedy

One of several small opal shops lining the street in Coober Pedy

We went inside some, but the human already have some opals, and Zeb and Eider don’t think any new opals will be coming home with us.   We liked this car, the Opal Bug, at the Opal Beetle.

Car at Opal Beetle Shop

Opal Bug at Opal Beetle Shop

We entered the Umoona Opal Mine and Museum.

Umoona Mine

Umoona Mine

Into the mine.

Entering the mine

Entering the mine

Through the tunnels.

Walking through mine tunnel

Walking through mine tunnel

A layer of opal still in the rock.

Opal still in rock

Opal still in rock

This opal is great and they had a wonderful gift shop.   But still no opals going home with us.    These rock formations are known as The Breakaways.

The Breakaways

The Breakaways

Look at this sky.  Love the clouds.

The Breakaways

The Breakaways

Nearby is the dingo fence, or the dog fence.

We are at the Dingo Fence

We are at the Dingo Fence

This dingo fence is the longest structure in the world.   It is even longer than the Great Wall of China.   This fence now extends for 5,300 kilometers.     At one time it extended 9,600 kilometers.

Longest structure in the world

Longest structure in the world

The fence was built by ranchers to prevent the wild dingos from the north from killing the stock   The dingo fence was built in 1946.   We then visited the Underground Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Elijah Parish.

Underground Serbian Orthodox Church

Underground Serbian Orthodox Church

We are entering the tunnel leading to the interior of the church.

Tunnel to underground church

Tunnel to underground church

The altar is beautiful.

Altar of underground Serbian Orthodox Church

Altar of underground Serbian Orthodox Church

This is the view from the church balcony.

From church balcony

From church balcony

The church is built into the mountain, like a cave, so they can have these beautiful windows on one side

Dugout allows one side with beautiful windows

Dugout allows one side with beautiful windows

We really enjoyed our visit to Coober Pedy.   We hope you visit also.

Zeb and Eider Visit the Opal Capital of the World: Coober Pedy

Zeb and Eider Duck and the human are now in the opal capital of the world.

Coober Pedy is the Opal Capital of the World

Coober Pedy is the Opal Capital of the World

We are in Coober Pedy, South Australia.   Coober Pedy is in the southern outback desert.   In the heat of summer, temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius have been recorded.   For those of us using Fahrenheit temperatures, that is about 124 degrees.   The first opal was discovered by Willie Hutchison in 1915, and the town was born.

Coober Pedy celebrates 100 years

Coober Pedy celebrates 100 years

95% of the world’s opals come from Australia and Coober Pedy produces more than any other area of Australia.

Beautiful opals

Beautiful opals

When World War I ended, returning soldiers came to find opals.   There was very little wood to build homes and the soldiers had lived in underground fox holes during the war.   With no wood and extreme heat, living underground was the best solution.   The home were called dugouts, as most were dug out of the side of a hill.

Dugout is dug out of side of mountain or hill

Dugout is dug out of side of mountain or hill

The name of the town came from the aboriginal phrase, Kupa Piti,which means “white fellows in a hole.”   Today over half of Coober Pedy’s population lives in dugouts, underground.   The underground temperature remains a comfortable 24 degrees Celsius (about 73 degrees F) all year.   We stayed at the Desert Cave

Desert Cave Hotel. We stayed in underground part in the back

Desert Cave Hotel. We stayed in underground part in the back

in an underground room.   This is the hotel’s underground hall to our room.

Underground hall to our room

Underground hall to our room

Since we are underground, the emergency exit must be a staircase leading up to the outdoors.   Here we are on the emergency exit.

Climb up for emergency exit

Climb up for emergency exit

Our hotel has a bar and game room that is underground.

Underground Bar in our hotel

Underground Bar in our hotel

We like this place.

First underground bar for Zeb and Eider

First underground bar for Zeb and Eider

Our breakfast restaurant, the Crystal Cafe, is also underground, as is the gift shop and the opal store, Opal World.    Our hotel, the Desert Cave, has a tunnel from the reception to the restaurant and shops.   We are going down the stairs and into the tunnel.

Down the stairs to our hotel tunnel

Down the stairs to our hotel tunnel

In the tunnel we discovered an opal mine and museum.   Here is a pretend miner using the mine shaft to enter and exit.

A fake miner using ropes to enter and exit the mine

A fake miner using ropes to enter and exit the mine

There is a photographic history of Coober Pedy in the tunnel.   We are on some mining machinery in the tunnel.

We are on old mining equipment

We are on old mining equipment

We really liked our hotel and we like visiting Coober Pedy.   If you visit here, be sure to arrange transportation to your hotel before you arrive.   There are no taxis in Coober Pedy.   Next time we will show you some of Coober Pedy.   We like it here.