The Lighter Side of the Outback

When you live in a place as remote and inhospitable as the Outback, I think you develop…a quirky sense of humour. We got to see many different facets of this humour along our drive.

Welcome to the town of Glendambo! It’s pretty much a service station and a couple farms nearby. This was the view opposite the service station.

Yup, not much here! But with the little Outback windmill, it seems like a place of tranquility and quiet, only interrupted by the massive road trains that barrel down the highway between Alice Springs and Adelaide. These are BIG trucks – 3 trailers being pulled is the most common configuration I saw, and when you cross paths with them, you REALLY notice the size and air displacement that follows. I’m glad I’m not driving here.

Eventually we made it to our final destination for the day, the bizarre town of Coober Pedy. Woody figures this is one of the best town name signs in Australia – who am I to argue? Standing atop the letters is a Coober Pedy invention, the Blower truck.

Coober Pedy is a town built for mining Opals. It has access to one of the richest Opal sites in the world, and all that mining means you have to get rid of lots of dirt – thus the blower truck above. It would vacuum up the dust and dirt out of the mine and could then be transported away from the site to be dumped.

It also means they have amusing warning signs like this all around the town.

But Coober Pedy is probably most notable for how the people here live. They primarily live underground. The summers here are remarkably hot, the winters can get cold (by Australian standards, not Canadian), and there doesn’t seem to be a great season to live outdoors here. So, many started living underground, where the temperature stays a lovely low 20s year round. It was here that we would be staying the night.

It actually doesn’t look like much, does it? I was quite surprised. You really don’t quite feel like you are underground I found. It was almost as if the ceiling had been styled this way, and it’s just a building oddly lacking in windows. I was happy though, I got my very own partition!

This was the view of our hostel from the outside. Right into the hill. I think we were about 5-7 meters underground where we were sleeping. It was indeed a very pleasant temperature to stay in.

In addition to the oddities of the town, they also get some lovely sunsets here.

After finding delicious pizza for dinner, we ventured to Coober Pedy’s lovely underground bar, in the 4-star underground hotel. It was…underwhelming. A very nice place, no doubt, but it just feels like a normal hotel bar to be honest with unique stylings.

Comments are closed.