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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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Australia has more to offer than just beaches and the Great Barrier Reef

When you think of Australia, what comes to mind? Kangaroos? BBQ’s? Cricket? Of course they all do, these are the things we associate with OZ – but there is much more to this vast country. It’s the perfect holiday destination with such a diversity of experiences and places to explore. Start planning your adventure now, who knows what you will discover on a holiday down under.

Fraser Island

Fraser Island

Australia is of course renowned for its spectacular beaches and glorious shore lines. Many journey to Australia to see these natural world icons – with the Great Barrier Reef being amongst the most famous. Yet, there is so much more to see! The Blue Mountains offer a breathtaking blue-hazed vista of natural beauty. This World Heritage Area contains an amazing one million hectares of tall forests, sandstone cliffs, canyons, waterfalls and bushland.  Here you can let your adventurous side escape and go mountain biking, rock climbing, canyoning, and abseiling or simply take a Bush walk to absorb the astonishing panoramas. You can very easily find discounted hotel rooms in Blue Mountains on Expedia. The hotels are mostly located in the small city of Katoomba, approximately1h30 from Sydney. These valley hotels will give you an easy access to the many local activities and wild hiking trails. Plus, you will have an amazing view with on the valley, which is really breathtaking at sunset.

Or take a trip to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island which is the world’s largest sand island. The Aboriginal founders called this island ‘K’gari’, or paradise, and it’s no surprise as to why with its 75 mile long beach and an abundance of wildlife. Here you can four-wheel drive next to the coloured sand cliffs or take a bushwalk through heathlands full of wild flowers after a spot of peaceful swimming in the beautiful surrounding lakes. You can even see kangaroos, wallabies and possums as you picnic in the Happy Valley, perfect!

If thrill seeking isn’t your thing, and you want to escape it all but still be close to Australia’s astonishing natural landscape, then restore body and mind whilst staying in the luxury accommodation which can be found at Bloomfield Lodge. Here you’ll be amongst the tropical Daintree rainforest but have the comfort of luxurious lodgings and outstanding food. The Daintree Rainforest is the largest tropical area in all of Australia and is home to the infamous Bennett’s Tree-kangaroo, 430 species of birds and 12,000 species of insects. At Bloomfield Lodge you can of course also experience the Great Barrier Reef and beautiful beaches to get the best of both worlds.

If cities are more your thing, then a visit to Sydney is not to be missed! Sydney is Australia’s famous harbour city and the capital of New South Wales. You can easily explore all the sights and beaches within three days or so, making this the perfect beginning or end to your Australian holiday.

 

 

 

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Best Fine Dining in Perth

With such an abundance of restaurants and cafes in Perth, it can be hard to choose where to go. Here are five of the best fine dining restaurants this city has to offer. Let the gastronomic marathon commence.

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Restaurant Amuse

Run by husband and wife team, Hadleigh and Carolynne Troy, Restaurant Amuse is a multiple-award winning (17 at last count) restaurant featuring modern Australian cuisine. The restaurant is known for its 9-course dégustation menu, which takes seasonal, local ingredients and culinary creativity to produce cultural fusion masterpieces. Oh, and it’s paired with lots of rare wines. They cater to specific dietary needs by offering vegetarian and pescatarian dégustations as well as gluten free options. The chefs push the boundaries of both dish and presentation in order to keep the tastebuds ‘amused.’

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Bistro Guillaume

This French restaurant brings the bistros of Paris to Perth. The dining room is sumptuous and inviting, with contemporary fixtures and bright green accents. It’s all about food with friends here, making it perfect for those who like to spend a leisurely evening with good food and conversation. Acclaimed French chef Guillaume Brahimi is serving a menu filled with provincial French dishes including gratin dauphinois and a mind-blowing Passionfruit Soufflé.

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Halo

It’s all about the views. Halo is in a prime location at Barrack Street Jetty with a scenic outlook of the esplanade and the Swan River. Maybe you’ll even spot a dolphin as you dine. Halo restaurant serves up contemporary Australian cuisine with affordable prices and impeccable service. Being so close to the water, this restaurant specializes in fresh, local seafood although it still caters to meat lovers with succulent chicken, venison, lamb, and steak dishes.

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Balthazar

Balthazar is sophisticated, yet relaxed. Men in suits talk business and the wails of an accordion pierce the air (sometimes). This charming modern Australian bistro has a cellar feel as hundreds of wine bottles are scattered around the restaurant, giving a nod to the awesome wine list forthcoming. The wine list is carefully arranged and extensive, with over 400 options to choose from. The food is complex and lovely all around, with options such as roasted figs in honey fromage frais with rocket and mouth-watering pork shank.

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The Loose Box

The chef and owner of The Loose Box is Alain Fabrègues, who has received both France’s highest culinary award, the Meilleur Ouvrier de France and a French knighthood Chevalier Dans L’Ordre National du Merite, for his contributions to French cuisine. Reservations are essential and there is only a 7-course dégustation menu. Needless to say, this is serious cuisine. Fabrègues combines fresh Australian produce with classical French culinary principles to produce masterful dishes such as Daube de Boeuf Aux Chataignes. The restaurant is nestled in the suburbs in a cozy house setting.

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