I am not a tour following fellow, but in this instance in Coober Pedy I had to go as I had no other way to travel out to the scenic areas around town. Other tours we went after were closed or cancelled because they had word that roads were closed due to the unseasonably high rain in the area, so we explored more options and came up with a winner.
Arid Areas Tours is run by a great bloke named Wayne. You see, Wayne does private tours for people coming into town. That means he goes where you want to go and at the pace you decide. He also charges better rates compared to the other tours because he doesn't raise his price every time OPEC sneezes.
Wayne picked us up at noon in front of our hotel. His 4WD was clean and he was ready to show us around. After driving through the city we went through the opal mine fields. Wayne has been living in Coober Pedy for over a decade so he knows all about the city and its history. He also has insight into mining as he has worked the fields and even showed us a site he used. He also lives in an underground home and is a proper Coober Pedy local.
The Breakaways are easy enough for any vehicle to get to and only a short drive away from the town centre. A bit of info that I read on the sign. The Breakaways are a site of significance to the Antakirinja Matuntjara Yankunyt Jatjara People. Basically, all this means is that it is aboriginal land and you should treat it with respect.
The first stop on the tour was at a few of the lookouts at the Breakaways. The Breakaways is a geological wonder, more than 100 million years in the making. It is easy enough to get to the lookouts, but you really need a guide who knows the history of the area to help you appreciate what you are looking at.
These particular formations are called the Two Dogs, or Salt and Pepper. Several well known film crews have shot here including Mel Gibson's greatest achievement Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome. You also may know of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Red Planet. Again, we it might be hard to recognize because this year happened to be unseasonably wet, so green is everywhere. Buy the Two Dogs.
The Moon Plain is harder to recognize from the movies, but it was in the movie Red Planet. This whole area was actually under water at one point in the history of the Earth. Prior to that however, it was a forest. You can almost see the yellow shade of ground. Those are stumps from million year old trees that have been petrified over time.
The Dog Fence, also known as the Dingo Fence, built in the 1880's it is the longest fence in the world. It spans over 5,500 Kms, from Southern Queensland to the cliffs of the Nullarbor Plain in South Australia. The original purpose of this fence was to keep Dingoes out of South East Australia and away from herds of sheep. They were fine to live on the northern side of the fence as they weren't interested in cattle.
It has been successful to some extent. In more recent history, Dingoes have begun breeding with wild dogs, and adapting into pack animals, which hunt together and are more likely to kill cattle.
Seriously now, do yourself a favor and call Arid Areas Tours. It's like having a friend in Coober Pedy who will take and show you around the town. That is exactly what a tour with Wayne is like. He does a fabulous job showing you the best of what Coober Pedy has to offer.
Wayne will take great care of you along the way. Even better still, do a bit more research on what your most interested in Coober Pedy. Other area sites he can take you to include the Desert Golf Course, Serbian Underground Church or Crocodile Harry's House. Also we have a few more photos of Coober Pedy around town.
First Impressions of Melbourne