Outback Australia 2022: Day 15 – Alice Springs to Coober Pedy, SA

Friday 02 September 2022.
Highlights: Emu and Kangaroo sightings, remote Australia, Umoona Opal Mine Museum, Quest Mine experience, the stunning Serbian Underground Church, The beautiful Breakaways

A nice nights sleep in our cabin followed by a full breakfast had us ready for our Explore Alice Springs all day excursion today. We even saw some emus and kangaroos running in the outback before our train stop!

Coober Pedy, SA – just before our stop at Manguri train station

Our stop today has actually at Manguri train station on the Mount Clarence Station, not Coober Pedy. This is a train spot in the middle of nowhere but it did use to be a cattle train stop back in the past. Our bus ride to Coober Pedy (Aboriginal meaning white man in hole) took about 30 minutes, with a lot of this on unsealed dirt roads.

Coober Pedy, SA – Manguri train station in the middle of nowhere

Coober Pedy is the opal mining capital of the world and is a very unusual place. It can get to 50c in the summer and as low as 4c in the winter. As a result a large number of homes are underground. Also there a thousands of small opal mines and as a result it is very unsafe to walk around most mine sites.

Coober Pedy, SA

We started with a visit to Umoona Opal Mine Museum learning about opal and the history of Coober Pedy. We also got to see a pre 1950s underground β€˜home’ and a modern modern underground home.

Coober Pedy, SA – Old style underground home

From here we moved to Quest Mine for lunch underground, very good meal in and interesting setting πŸ™‚

Coober Pedy, SA – Lunch underground at the Quest Mine

After lunch we walked further into the mine and had several options including mining for opal, searching for opal in a cut area, or listening to an older miner with 40 years experience talk about his experiences. I did a bit of all three but Kara stuck to searching for opal and managed to find some!

Coober Pedy, SA – Success

We then moved onto the Serbian Underground Church completed in the 1990s it is one of the most unusual churches I have seen. the rock cravings in particular are a highlight. There is no on-site priest, instead one visits each month and about 100 locals attend services.

Coober Pedy, SA – Serbian Underground Church

Next up was a bumpy visit to The Kunka Breakaways. It lies about 30km from Coober Pedy and it consists of colourful low hills which have broken away from the Stuart Range. First up in this area was the 5,200 kilometre dog fence to protect sheep from dingos.

Coober Pedy, SA – The Kunka Breakaways, 5,200 kms fence

The Kanku – Breakaways Conservation Park is Aboriginal owned and managed and you have to follow a few rules to protect this area. the landscape is as you would image a harsh desert which incredible beauty everywhere you could see. We had some drinks including champagne while taking in the views.

Coober Pedy, SA – The Kunka Breakaways
Coober Pedy, SA – The Kunka Breakaways, our group for the day enjoying some drinks.

A long ride back to The Ghan and on arrival we were given opportunities to take photos of the entire train with no obstructions.

Coober Pedy, SA – Manguri train station with The Ghan in the background

At the train itself they had setup a fire and had some welcome back drinks. While Kara and myself spend most of the time before departure on board (it was getting cold) I did venture out again as the sun was setting for postcard perfect look at the Ghan with the sun in the back ground.

Coober Pedy, SA – Manguri train station, the sun is setting so time to leave.

Unfortunately of dinner allocated time was for the last sitting was 8.15 pm which was a bit of a wait after a long day. However on this occasion Kara and myself got a table to ourselves and dinner was excellent once again. From here it was back to our cabin for the last night

About Nathan

A World traveller who has so far experienced 71 countries (76 by June 2023) in this amazing world. https://nathanburgessinsights.com/travel/
This entry was posted in Outback Australia 2022, Travel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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