Coober Pedy opal capital of the world

We did a five-hour tour of Coober Pedy today, seeing this opal town in the desert, with its mines, underground homes and churches. They live this way for protection from the harsh elements.

We toured an opal mine and drove past the mullock heaps to colourful natural sandstone formations known as The Breakaways and out across the desert plains, with swirls of wildflowers in the slight indentations where water occasionally pooled.

Movies used to be made here and a flying saucer used in a movie called Pitch Black is in the centre of town.

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Waltzing Matilda, Crocodile Dundee and gum trees – this is Australia

Today we visited Combo Waterhole, north of Winton. This is apparently the waterhole that poet A B (Banjo Patterson visited during the shearers’ strike of 1898 and heard the story of a swagman who evaded arrest by jumping into a billabong and drowning. This choice of death over incarceration, inspired the poet to pen the words for the song Waltzing Maltilda that is sung by Australians worldwide.

David is growing a beard and I couldn’t resist snapping him beside the billabong – he made a pretty good jolly swagman.

The next photo is of Walkabout Creek Hotel at McKindlay (pop 20). This was where the movie Crocodile Dundee was filmed. There are photos in the bar of Paul Hogan in character.

Finally, a beautiful evening at the lookout overlooking Cloncurry, and some agile wallabies grazing in the town cemetery.

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