We got to Coober Pedy at about 3pm and had to compete with the grey nomads ‘holding’ spots in the shade for their friends with tables and chairs. I’d found a spot that I thought would be good for us but an old lady told me she was holding it for her friends – I couldn’t be bothered arguing so I moved to another shady spot and set up camp.
I remembered as we were setting up that the front boot of the van was locked shut so I began unscrewing the frame to break into it. Before breaking the seal of glue around the edge I thought I’d give it one last crack by spraying some WD40 on the handle and using a towel to grip and some brute force I got it open! By the time I finished setting everything up I couldn’t be bothered putting all of the screws back in so I put it on the ‘to do later’ list and headed to the camp kitchen for some dinner and a bit of TV (we haven’t brought our TV with us so neither me nor the kids have seen much in the way of the news or any entertainment on screen).
Turns out it was a good thing we didn’t get that first camp spot – five camps got broken into overnight (with people in them) including the little old lady that wouldn’t let me camp next to her… Karma?? After hearing the news about the break-ins it was off to the information centre to figure out some sort of itinerary while we were here. It was here that we met an older couple from Griffith and helped them out booking accommodation at Uluru – they soon became valuable friends that we have continued to travel the same route with for many stops since.
The kids and I spent the day checking out the orphan kangaroos, old timers mine for some underground exploring and a go of sucking big rocks up an old blower. If I had one of these at home I reckon I could cut my vacuuming schedule down to an annual event! After lunch it was off to Faye’s house for some more underground adventures – it was a pretty impressive place considering it was all hand dug by three women! The kids and I tried our hand at noodling in the dirt mounds outside the house but alas, we couldn’t find a stone worthy of funding some extra time on the road – just some pieces of grey opal.
In the arvo we took a drive out to Harry’s Nest – an old cave that once belonged to Harry the Crocodile Hunter and used in the filming of Mad Max III – it was a pretty cool place lined with paintings, hand written messages, old t-shirts and bras signed by past travellers and the remnants of an old bar. I could easily imagine myself sitting here enjoying a cold beer or bourbon back in its hey day. We left our own message on the wall then it was back to camp via the ‘greens’ of the golf course and some take away ‘Coat of Arms’ pizza from John’s famous pizza shop – the kids are really getting into eating native animals on this trip!
The following morning I checked with the office if the road to the Breakaways had opened yet (recent rain had closed the road) but it was going to remain closed for the next day or two while the Council decided whether or not to spend the money to grade it. We made a snap decision to head off, giving ourselves the physical challenge (aka Double Dare TV game show) of packing up camp in 30 minutes! Challenge accepted! Quick stop at the much talked about underground Serbian Church which I found a little underwhelming before heading to our next stop – Kulgera and Yulara. Must admit there’s a bit of Big Kev excitement in the air at the thought of hitting the NT tomorrow!