Category Archives: Travel

Spend the Day Underground in Coober Pedy, Australia

Driving into the dry, hot desert stretches of Australia’s Outback, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Coober Pedy was abandoned long ago. However the barren landscape hides a thriving community of over 4,000 permanent residents, who live under the earth’s surface. Coober Pedy was first established in in 1915, shortly after a mother lode of opals was discovered in the area. Prospective opal miners from around the world flocked to town to seek their fortune, establishing this settlement in the sun. The harsh weather conditions caused the locals to drive their living spaces underground, converting old mines into cosy houses.

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Today, tourists visit South Australia’s Cooper Pedy not only to find out more about it opal mining heritage, but also to see what life is like underground. You can stay in an underground hotel, get a bargain on precious gems at the opal jewellery shops, and even enjoy a gourmet meal below the earth’s surface. The following are a few attractions that make this historic town a fascinating place to visit.

Underground Living

You may assume that the dugout homes in Coober Pedy will feel small or claustrophobic, but they rival many of the finest examples of real estate SA in cosmopolitan Adelaide. You can tour some examples of the homes, which feature modern kitchens, walk-in closets, and a warm glow from the red rocks that comprise their walls. Many visitors choose to stay in the Desert Cave Hotel, which offers 4 star accommodations and an on-site opal gallery. There are also underground gift shops, museums, churches, and cafes to keep you busy when the sun is at its brightest outside. The Umoona Mine and Museum contains an underground house, theatre, cultural displays, and Aboriginal interpretive centre to learn more about the region’s history.

Coober Pedy Golf Course

In the evening hours when the temperature drops, locals and visitors alike can enjoy a round of golf with glow in the dark golf balls. There isn’t any grass or trees in the area, so the course uses mounds of sand, oil and diesel pits, and a large sand trap. This makes it a uniquely challenging and bizarre golf course that will test even the most avid golfer’s skill.

Opal Mining

If you want to try your hand at opal mining, you can visit the “noodling” area open to the public in Coober Pedy. There are designated areas that are open for noodling, so be sure to stick to these to avoid a fine. No permit is required if you don’t use a digging device, shovel, or pick. However, if you plan to use digging tools, explosives, or heavy machinery you’ll need the appropriate permit from the Mines and Energy office.

The Breakaways

If you’re looking for an intriguing day trip from Coober Pedy, you might want to venture about a half hour north of town to the Breakaways Reserve. This includes bright and colourful rock hills which were once part of the Stuart Range, but have broken away over time. Be sure to pack plenty of water, as temperatures can soar. However, visitors are rewarded with amazing views of the Outback. The desert changes colours throughout the day depending on the position of the sun, creating a surreal and completely unique impression on viewers.

A day in Coober Pedy is unlike anywhere else on earth, allowing you to experience what life is like below the earth’s surface.

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Morocco’s Magic: Endless Travel Fun

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ATLAS MOUNTAINS

The Atlas Mountains offer endless fun to any outdoor loving person; from the southern Anti-Atlas ranges that give you fantastic views of the golden desert to the snow capped High Atlas Mountains dotted with quaint Berber villages where you can stay in traditional Atlas Mountains hotels. The Anti-Atlas ranges are less visited hence give an opportunity for anyone looking for a trip off the beaten track, the facilities are minimal as compared to the High Atlas ranges.

Jebel Siroua is an ancient volcano that is popular with hikers. For a more challenging experience the purple colored Jebel Lekst is the most popular and most difficult. Jebel Aklim though less visited is equally challenging; but after the struggles of getting to the top you will be rewarded by spectacular views of the High Atlas and Jebel Siroua. If you’re planning on trekking around volcanoes on your trip make sure you get a travel insurance policy which covers those kinds of activities!

The High Atlas ranges on the other hand gives you more advanced trails as its most frequented by visitors. For those fit enough the Toubkal summit which is the highest in Northern  Africa awaits you, the Imi Ourlad to the beautiful village of Imli offers spectacular lush valleys, sparkling streams and moderate trails. Tizi Oussem route only a short walk from Imi Ourland lets you experience the Berber culture as you pass through their villages; it is an excellent break from the city.

MARRAKECH

Marrakech city is a must stop over: from its fun filled Djemaa el Fna square with charming story tellers, fire eaters, music and dancing. There is a lot to see, you can start by visiting the majestic Koutoubia Mosque with its distinctive traditional Almohad style minaret which is visible from near and far.

Wander along the narrow alleyways and spend some dirhams in the souks. The souks are lined up along the alleyways and comprise of small retail cubicles that sell almost everything from fine fabrics, carpets and spices to love potions and Berber lipstick.

Try out scrubbing yourself clean in the traditional baths known as Hammam and sleep in a riad to experience the rich culture of the Berbers. Before leaving Marrakech make sure you spend a night in the clubs and enjoy being entertained by the popular belly dancers who contribute heavily to the vibrant nightlife. A magical holiday in Marrakech won’t be forgotten quickly.

FEZ

Fez and Meknes are recognized as ancient Morocco capitals. If you are looking for an inspiring historical tour then you are sure to get that and more from Fez. It is Morocco’s intellectual and spiritual center, boasting of one of the world’s oldest universities and the largest intact medieval quarters. It is a UNESCO World Heritage town whose biggest attraction is the old medina Fes el-Bali. Take some time to wander off in the narrow alleyways where you will encounter donkey carts or local artisans at work.

This fantastic town is also famous for its fabulous leather products that are sold in the leather souk. Visit the tanneries and witness the rigorous process of tanning and dyeing leather. Morning hours are perfect to visit when the colors are still bright and appear vivid on pictures.

 

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