Thursday, 21 June 2012

Coober Pedy

Today we traveled the Stuart Highway to Coober Pedy. We hit a record today with the GPS saying not to turn for 478km. We went into Woomera for a look, an aboriginal word which means "spear launcher". The prohibited area is the largest land based missile and rocket range in the western world. Initially a joint project between Britain and Australia, the site continues to host space activities for Australian and international defense and aerospace organisations.

This is Island Lagoon Salt Lake just outside Woomera.

The next salt pan was Lake Hart.

There is even less vegetation here than there was on the Nullabor Plains we traveled several years ago, which is surprising to us.

We then drove into Coober Pedy. Taking it's name from the Aboriginal word "kupa" meaning uninitiated man or white man and "piti" meaning hole. Situated upon the edge of the erosional scarp of the Stuart Ranges, on beds of sand and siltstone 30m deep, and topped with a stony, treeless desert.

The properties are built into the hills with caldwell drive holes to the sky for ventilation. Shown in the photo below - the white pipes sticking up out of the ground.

This is our room in the Lookout Cave Motel. Our room is on the right between the trees. It is interesting that we have the opportunity to live underground today being the winter solstice. A time when we look inward and reflect on the past year. We will sleep safely literally within mother earth in the darkness and awaken anew in the morning as the days begin to become longer.

The ceilings in the living area of our unit are literally hand picked with the strokes of the pick evident, here in the bedroom it appears to be machine dug with the markings of the machinery showing clearly in the walls and ceiling.

This is the Catacomb Underground Church a non denominational church. Originally built in 1944 this unique church is cut out of sandstone in the shape of a cross. The cross, lecture and communion table are fashioned from local mulga wood and an old miner's winch.

We then visited the Crocodile Nest an eccentric's dug out and mine. Mad max 3 was filmed in Harry's dugout. 

This is the bathroom and shower.

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