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Heading Bush: Day 5 - "FERAAAAAL!"

Oodnadatta, Australia


If you ever need an early morning wake up call simply sleep in a cave next to Groovy Grape. They were up an hour before us and man, didn't we know about it.

Bloke: Shall we wake that lot up?
Lass: Well I'm not going anywhere near them!
Bloke: Yeah, they're feral aren't they. Did you see that party they were having last night...?

Feral? Us? Too fucking right! And that became our group motto for the rest of the trip.

By the time we staggered into the sunlight they'd gone, leaving only some pizza boxes stuck under the wipers on the jeep and a drawing of penis in the mud on the bonnet with the caption "Cock Riders."
We were too amused to wipe it off. It stayed with us until Alice Springs although we did wish we had let their tyres down the previous night like I wanted to.

Before we left Coober Pedy we were taken on the Opal Mine tour which was actually quite intersting. Coober Pedy (the name is a bastardisation of the Aboriginal phrase meaning "White Man's Burrows") is a fascinating town where everyone lives underground (the houses are a constant 24C without the aid of heating or AC) and owns dynamite. The lass who took us on the tour told us about her childhood where they'd have family nights in front of the TV making bombs for dad. All vehicles that carry the dynomite have to have "Explosives" written on them and Mike reckons he's seen quite a few spelt wrong. Comforting. No wonder if you look closely enough you notice that some of the locals are missing a finger or three.

Its illegal to mine in the town itself but there are no laws against adding an extra room to your cave and many people have struck it rich by extending their property. It costs about $5,000 for a plot of land then about $20,000 to dig a home out and whatever opals you find on the way are yours.

Tempting.

Well it would be if it wasn't in Coober Pedy anyway.

In the absence of rocks, Australia likes to make a big thing about its Vast Expanses Of Nothingness such as the Moon Plain which is where some films like Pitch Black were filmed. Aaaand that's about all it has going for it, that and a small, pink sign placed there by the Pink Roadhouse in Oodnadatta that reads "Ok theres not a lot to see but photo it anyway."

So we did.

Some of Australia's Vast Expanses Of Nothingness are intersected by The Dingo Fence which is a fence about 3300km (the longest in the world dontcha know) that stretches across South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. Its there to keep the dingos up north and away from the sheep. We took photos of that too.

Tourists eh? -rolls eyes and tuts-

Later on we rocked up to the Pink Roadhouse which is a roadhouse that is without a doubt very pink. They provide all kinds of information on how to do the Oodnadatta Track without dying and they sell my favourite things in the world; Tacky Souveniers. I -heart- the Pink Roadhouse.

One thing I miss as a backpacker is having a nice, hot bath. Even if hostels did provide a tub lets face it, it would always be full and if it wasn't it'd probably be so thick with grime you'd be better off rolling round in a three week old communal bush dunny.

But who needs a bath when you have Dalhousie Thermal Springs slap bang in the middle of the desert. Its definately a 4WD effort to get there, I'd never take the Falcon but once you've made it across the "Generally Rough" roads its so worth it despite the mozzies that you have to fight your way through when you get out of the pool. Its bliss. Words fail me. 37C, little fish that come and nibble at your dead skin if you keep still enough and the National Park even provides big rubber rings for chilling on.

What better way to end the evening with a few beers, fish exfoliation and a soak in one of the best places on earth before huddling round Han's candle because Witjira National Park doesn't allow fires.

We gave Mike our full permission to wake us up before light with the promise we wouldn't beat him with sticks so we could watch the sun rise from the thermal springs.

See, that's how much we loved this place.

permalink written by  Koala Bear on November 3, 2006 from Oodnadatta, Australia
from the travel blog: Sod Off Great Big Mission Round Oz
tagged RoadTrip, LovinIt and HeadingBush

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Koala Bear Koala Bear
4 Trips
1393 Photos

I live life on the edge.

Provided I'm harnessed to a safety rope and there's a team of trained professionals on hand to make sure I don't fall off.

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