The big rock might have been done, but our tour was by no means over. Waking up at 4am for our earliest departure yet, South Australia awaited us.
It was a long morning of travel, with few stops, although we did have the time to wander amongst some desert peas – incredibly vivid red flowers, which appear so out of place in the middle of nowhere, but are said to be good luck to see! So this had to be a great sign for the rest of our journey.
We would spend the night in Coober Pedy – an underground mining town. By far one of the most fascinating places I have ever been, we began with a tour at the opal museum to learn more about why the area became such a mining hotspot. One of the only places in the world where individuals can just pack up, get themselves some equipment, and join in the quest to make their millions! I’ve since met people who have spent time out there giving this a go, and haven’t been so lucky, but it’s got to be worth a try! Unfortunately the opals in the store were a little above my budget (an ideal prestigious gift to take home for someone special without a doubt!).
Our accommodation this evening was a giant dormitory built into the side of a hill, so like everything else in the town – underground. The complete opposite to sleeping out in swags! After dinner, we stopped off at a kangaroo sanctuary where we introduced to a tiny orphaned Joey, and of course all fell completely in love! The owner was a wonderful man who has dedicated so much of his time to looking after rescued animals, so it was a great experience hearing his stories, having a go at playing the didgeridoo, and perusing the beautiful aboriginal art for sale (another great gift idea for those not on an extended trip!)
After a few beverages in an underground bar (naturally), we woke up nice and early for one of the most breath-taking sunrises I’ve ever seen – something I absolutely didn’t expect in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t have any devices on me to take photos, so was able to fully enjoy it all over a cup of tea – a moment someone managed to capture absolutely perfectly.
The next day turned out to be fairly uneventful, after a stop at Lake Hart, a giant salt lake, we had an unfortunate incident with the tour bus which prevented any further activities for the day. But not ones to be defeated, the bus games commenced, and the afternoon flew by. It’s one of my personal recommendations to always carry a pack of cards in your backpack for these quieter moments, and I also choose to carry a frozen themed Uno (a conversation starter if nothing else), and the often hilarious “Heads Up” downloaded on my iphone, which gave us hours of fun on this day!
It was a great campsite for our final night of camping, with a huge kitchen/dining room area which we discovered also had its own disco lighting, so we took great pleasure in commencing an impromptu dance party for our last night! Despite somehow claiming a double bed for the night, myself and Amy were the only ones to commit to swags one last time – the rain wasn’t going to stop us!
After fuelling up on a big last family breakfast, we would be spending the morning at Mount Remarkable, hiking through Alligator Gorge. With everyone in great spirits for our final day, this was a beautiful area, and many laughs followed as people kept stumbling into the water!
For lunch, the perfect stop – Blesing’s Garden winery in the South Flinders Range. A tiny vineyard in beautiful surroundings, the perfect place to lounge around the fire with a glass of wine before setting off back to Adelaide.
It was a bit of a shock to the system to be arriving back into the city after spending the past couple of weeks in such remote locations. But there wasn’t much time to be spent in Adelaide as we had another early departure ahead of us for the last leg of the journey.
The goodbyes weren’t quite as difficult this time as most of us would be reunited in Melbourne, but it was still a shame to be leaving this wonderful tour family behind! It had been a bit of a concern of mine doing a tour, as if you’re put with a group of people that don’t get along, there isn’t a whole lot of escape in the outback. But I was very lucky to have shared this experience with a fascinating, diverse group of people, and after so many nights away from internet signal and social media, we’d all formed a lovely bond, and I’m sure I’ve made some friends for life during such a short space of time.
Would I recommend using Groovy Grape to see this part of Australia? Absolutely! We were very lucky in having wonderful Nicci as our tour guide, but we were also able to see some incredible places, stay in pretty decent accommodation every night, and even my gluten free diet was so well catered for I never went hungry!
I may not be able to do it all over again.. but it’s not over yet Hex!
With kindest regards,
Wannabe Opal Miner Peps xoxo
Have you seen any of these spots in Australia or enjoyed tours through the outback with Groovy Grape? We’d love to hear how your experiences compared!