COOBER PEDYAustralia's underground city is half way betweenAlice Springs and Adelaide, a mining communitywhere the people are as colourful as the town'sfamous opals. Taking its name from theAboriginal phrase 'Kupa Piti' (meaning 'whiteman's hole in the ground'), Coober Pedy is abizarrely fascinating town where many residentsescape the harsh desert climate by livingunderground: the soft opal-bearing earth is idealfor digging out your own des res. A tour of theopal mines is a good prelude to exploring thestunning and aptly named Painted Desert, butto get a real taste of the area join the OutbackMail Run that links Coober Pedy, Oodnadattaand a number of Outback stations. Coober Pedycan be reached by car, by train to Manguri orcombined with a tour of the Flinders Ranges. 64Desert Caves Hotel,Coober PedyContinuing the intriguing underground theme, thishotel offers you the chance to sample subterraneanliving. The guestrooms are both above and belowground and the usual hotel facilities are found hereamongst cool stone walls and soft lighting. Relax atthe underground café, enjoy a refreshing drink at theunderground bar or shop for exquisite rough or cutopals at a number of local shops. For those withoutvehicles the owner of the hotel will also collecttravellers arriving by rail at Manguri train station.ANDAMOOKAOn the edge of Lake Torrens National Park thesmall town of Andamooka was originally thehub of a thriving opal mining industry, a sparsewhite gravel landscape populated by beehivetype hillocks and scattered shacks. Andamookastill reflects its pioneering heritage and thetraditional Aussie pub here, Duke's BeehiveBottle House, is made from 10,000 brown glassempties and the High Street is lined with tinyclay houses preserved in their original state.Wirraminna Station,near Andamooka Close to the magnificent salt pan of Lake Hart is theworking sheep station of Wirraminna, where you cansample authentic Australian Outback living. Michaeland Julie are your hosts in a farm sprawling acrosssome 125,000 acres, where you can share theirhome and participate in station tasks. Take a peekinto the local schoolhouse for a glimpse of theinnovative 'school of the air' that provides aneducation to Outback children. Converted 'Jackaroo'quarters offer modern, comfortable accommodationclose to the main homestead: breakfast provisionsare supplied, while home-cooked dinners can beprepared on request.EYRE PENINSULAHills smothered in wild flowers edged by acraggy coast, the Eyre Peninsula stretches fromthe vast landscape of the South AustralianOutback to the ocean. To the north are theGawler Ranges, rich with wildlife, while at thenatural harbour of Port Lincoln sealions anddolphins roam. Overlooking the Great AustralianBight to the west, Baird Bay is abundant withsealions and from June to October, withmigrating southern right whales. Regular flightsfrom Adelaide arrive at Port Lincoln, the hub ofmany off-the-beaten track encounters on small-group 4WD vehicle tours.Baird Bay Lodge,Eyre PeninsulaOn the shallow western arm of Anxious Bay are tworammed-earth lodges that provide wonderfullyspacious accommodation. Each is equipped to thehighest standard with comfortable bedrooms, openplan lounge and fully equipped kitchen. Boatcharters are available for fishing expeditions and daytrips to swim with the sealions. Your hosts Alan andTrish have an infectious passion and sensitivity to thenatural environment which leaves a long lastingimpression on all those who visit.Desert Caves HotelThe 'Painted Desert', Coober PedySealions, Baird Bay
SOUTH AUSTRALIA65tailor-made travelAll our travel arrangements are on a private,individual basis to offer you complete freedom ofchoice. The itineraries and accommodation optionsthroughout the brochure are designed to give you aflavour of what is possible and can be tailor-made tosuit your preferences. Prices vary according toselected accommodation and season. Please callour Australia specialists on 01869 276 345 todiscuss your individual requirements.GAWLER RANGES SAFARISLacking sealed roads - or even marked trails -the wisest (indeed only) way to access this areais by guided 4WD tour, and the best operator isGawler Ranges Safaris. This small and locally-owned company has been running tours forgroups of two to six visitors for nearly twodecades. Hard to beat for their enthusiasm andknowledge, they offer three and four-dayitineraries, longer tours on request, and willtailor an itinerary to your specific interests if youwish. Accommodation is in comfortable walk-insafari tents set on raised decks and you arecertain to see plenty of kangaroo, emu andwombat. Many tours culminate in a visit to therugged seaside village of Baird Bay for thewonderful opportunity to swim with playfulAustralian sealions. Kangaluna Camp, Gawler RangesThe permanent camp of Kangaluna has beencreated in stark contrast to its surroundings.Spacious safari tents each contain two beautifulbeds crafted from local woods and you have yourown private shower and toilet. Each tent has beenthoughtfully positioned in a pretty bush setting, agood distance apart, but for even more privacy youcan opt for a 'Wild Camp' experience, where youare set up with a comfy bushman swag in the bush,star-lit all night long. Following dinner you either canput your feet up or strike out into the surroundingbush for a nocturnal wildlife walk.Outback & SeaLionEncounterThis tour of South Australia's arid heartlandexperiences rural hospitality on a working sheepstation, discovers charismatic Outback towns, andexplores the deep red sands, crisp white salt lakes,mountain ranges and striking rock formations.Day 1:Depart Adelaide bound for Olympic Damwhere your friendly hosts will take you toWirraminna Outback station. Day 2:Explore Roxby Downs and Woomerrawhere you can join a mining tour andlearn about the chequered past andpresent of these townships. Day 3:Depart Wirraminna bound forAndamooka opal town where you willjoin your Gawler Ranges 4WD safari andhead to your Outback tentedaccommodation.Day 4:Venture off-road into the Gawler Rangesand up to Lake Gardiner salt lake to seethe flora and fauna of the south.Day 5:Head towards Baird Bay for a wildlifecruise to see dolphins and the sealioncolony. A delightful coastal drive southwill take you to Port Lincoln for yourflight back to Adelaide.EXTENSIONSLinger longer in the wonderful beach-house at BairdBay and savour the natural environment or contrastyour Outback experience with a few extra nights inAdelaide, a sophisticated city but with all thefriendly hospitality of a small town.Lake GardinerGuide in the Gawler RangesKangaluna CampSWIMMINGWITH SEALIONS Sitting in the middle of a channel and guardingthe approaches to Baird Bay, Jones Island hosts acolony of Australian sealions. Take to theshallow waters and you will soon be joined by ahandful of these wondrous creatures, whichswim up close and make elegant tumble turns,stare inquisitively into your mask and tickle youwith their whiskers. This amazing encounter ispossible for those staying at Baird Bay Lodge, oras part of a Gawler Ranges Safari.THE GAWLER RANGESNATIONAL PARK Crowning the Eyre Peninsula the Gawler Rangesrear up from the wheat and barley-fields aroundWudinna, changing from level countryside intoancient eroded hills, dramatic rocky outcropsand volcanic rock formations. Fringing theregion are immense areas of savannah which formuch of the year are covered in deep red soiland spinifex grass, but are transformed eachspring as a blanket of wildflowers sets the areaablaze with colour. The dazzling Lake Gardiner,a glistening salt pan amid the surrounding redsoil, resembles a piece of Antarctica whilst theimmense 'Organ Pipes' amphitheatre makes anatural stage for the local wildlife. The park ishome to some of Australia's oldest landscapes,whose colourful and unusual rock formationshave been baffling geologists for years.