The West MacDonnell Ranges and the East MacDonnell Ranges known as the MacDonnells Ranges have major tourist icon places of interest within approximatley 100 kilometres  of Alice Springs on sealed roads then narrowing down to recognised 4WD offroad dirt unsealed tracks from then on. Western MacDonnell Ranges tourist places to visit are Standley Chasm, Simpsons Gap, Orche Pits, Glen Hellen Gorge, Orminston Gorge,Ellery Creek Big Hole, Mt Sonder, Mereenie Loop and on the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges tourist places to visit are Trephina Gap, Corroboree, N'Dhalla Aboriginal Rock Art, Ross River Resort in Northern Territory Australia
The West MacDonnell Ranges and the East MacDonnell Ranges are known as the MacDonnells Ranges with the centre point commonly known as Heritage Gap at the commencement of Alice Springs in Northern Territory Australia
Home to the MacDonnells Ranges tourist information guide sites One day sightseeing, extended tours, premium coach touring, overnight to extend camping safaris to Uluru Ayers Rock, Kata Tjuta - The Olgas, Kings Canyon, Mereenie Loop, West MacDonnells Ranges and East MacDonnells Ranges in Australia's Red Centre Way in Northern Territory Australia. Hire and rental such as a 2-3-4 berth camper van, 4WD Camper, luxury RV motorhome and selfdrive from Alice Springs to Uluru Ayers Rock, Kata Tjuta - The Olgas, Kings Canyon, Mereenie Loop, West MacDonnells Ranges and East MacDonnells Ranges in Australia's Red Centre Way in Northern Territory Australia.  
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Coober Pedy in South Australia
A tourist selfdrive tourist guide and information

Coober Pedy

Coober PedyIn the opal mining outpost of Coober Pedy, 4000 residents from 50 countries have made an art form of all things quirky. With half the population living in underground dugouts to escape high temperatures in summer, only in Coober Pedy will you find an underground church, underground hotels and a golf course without a blade of grass.

Coober Pedy is an opal mining town located in the harsh Outback of South Australia, some 850 kilometres north of Adelaide and 680 kilometres south of Alice Springs. Coober Pedy is recognised as the largest producer of opal in the world with an estimated 70% of the world's precious opal being mined in the opal fields of the area.

Coober PedyTown tours feature underground homes and opal mines, an art gallery and pottery, and there's also a host of awesome natural landscapes including the Painted Desert, the Moon Plain and the Breakaways. (Incidentally, these great desert locations have attracted film makers from around world, for movies including Fire in the Stone, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Ground Zero, Pitch Black and Val Kilmer's Red Planet.)

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Coober PedyTaking its name from the Aboriginal word "kupa" (uninitiated man or white man) and "piti" (hole), Coober Pedy produces most of the world's opals. Its opal fields, discovered in 1913 by 14-year-old Willie Hutchison, cover an area of 4,954 square kilometres and consist of 70 individual fields. You can try your luck at "noodling" (fossicking) at various spots around town; get a great insight into the history of Coober Pedy at the Old Timers Mine and Museum; and buy up big at more than 30 shops.

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highwayYou can tag along with the famous Outback Mail Run to Oodnadatta and William Creek, or join the nightly Star Gazing Tour on the Moon Plain. Visit over Easter for the annual Coober Pedy Opal Festival (featuring events from the fun to the outrageous), or in October for the Coober Pedy Races.
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Getting There.

From Alice Springs travel southbound on the Stuart Highway or Northbound from Adelaide on the Stuart Highway. Also Known as the Explorers Way. Some 846 km north of Adelaide and 662 km south of Alice Springs.

Hours on rough dirt tracks to anywhere else in any other direction Oodnadatta is 195 km away or William Creek (population 12) is 166 km.

Dog Fence

The Dog Fence70 km round trip from Coober Pedy will take you through the Breakaways, to the famous dog fence and the Moon Plains – the local nickname for the moon-like desert landscape along the fence. The two-metre high dog fence stretches across three states for more than 5,300 km in an effort to keep northern dingoes away from southern sheep and is the longest fence in the world. Check with the authorities the track conditions before going though.



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Coober Pedy Antakarinja country

The Opal – Coober Pedy’s passion In 1915, the New Colorado Gold Prospecting Syndicate, consisting of a Mr. Jim Hutchison, his 14 year old son William, a Mr. Winch and a Mr. McKenzie had been unsuccessfully prospecting for gold out here in the middle of South Australia. The young lad, Willie had been left in camp to look after their supplies but disobeyed orders and wandered off to search for water around the foothills of a nearby range. There was a degree of apprehension among the men when he failed to turn up after dark. But a short time later, he strode into camp with a grin on his face. Over his shoulder was slung a sugar bag full of opal. Now this was a very fortuitous find for the young William – not only did he come across the opal, but he also discovered something equally as precious out here – a supply of good fresh water. This was on the 1st February 1915 - 8 days later, they pegged the first opal claim.

The catalyst for Coober Pedy’s existence had been discovered. Word of the find spread quickly and by the middle of 1916, miners had moved to the area. Young Willie did not live long enough to see the fruits of his discovery. He drowned five years later while driving cattle across the Georgina River, on the Birdsville Track. Construction workers from the trans continental railway, followed by soldiers returning from World War 1 came to the opal fields. They introduced a unique method of living underground in "dugouts". It’s claimed these soldiers, come miners, were used to digging and living in trenches, they knew the advantages to be found in the even cool temperatures of the dugout. Given Coober Pedy is one of the hottest places on earth to live, it only seemed logical. Several major discoveries continued to be made, so in 1920 the local Progress Committee decided that the field should have a proper name.

After much deliberation the choice fell on Coober Pedy. The most widely accepted translation is thought to be the Aboriginal words Kupa Piti which loosely means “White Man in water hole”. Water – Coober Pedy’s problem I’d suggest that many of the miners wished they were in a water hole. Lack of water, which often had to be re-used many times before being discarded, was always a problem in Coober Pedy. Water and provisions had to be trucked in great distances, under incredibly difficult conditions. The water problem became so bad that in 1924 the Government decided to build a 2,000,000 litre steel water tank to catch a bit of rainfall runoff. The only problem was, there was no rain until 1925 to put any water in the tank. The town got a much more reliable supply in 1985. The water supply now comes from an underground source 24 kilometres north of the town. The treatment and pumping process make this some of the most expensive town water in the world. Field of dreams The 1950s miners began experimenting with the open cut method of mining and then in the 60s, all mines became increasingly more mechanised, with blowers and trucks, conveyer belts – shafts that got deeper – down to about the 30m level. Interestingly large companies have never operated in the area. Mainly due to the fact that a miner can only take out a lease of 50 square metres and then they’re obliged to operate for 20 hours a week. Some argue that this has slowed progress in the town.

Development has come a distant second to the need to find opal. The Dog Fence But in amongst the mines and the mullock heaps, runs one of the lesser known achievements of the modern age, the longest man made structure in the world. It was established in 1946 to keep the Dingo away from the merino. The fence begins east of Surfer's Paradise in Queensland, and ends up north of Ceduna in the Great Australian Bite. Back in 1989 vast tracks of it were washed away in the floods. They reckon 20,000 sheep were killed by dingoes while it was down, which gives you a fair idea what happens when they do get in. The economic benefit of the fence far outweigh the disadvantage. Quite frankly - no fence, no sheep. Being underground During the 1960's, the mining industry expanded rapidly due to the many European migrants who came to seek their fortunes. There were over forty different nationalities in Coober Pedy which created a few dilemmas. When it was decided to build a church in the 1960s the idea was to build one church shared by all.

In true pioneering spirit, everyone pitched in to build what is believed to be the world’s first underground church. Opal fever has ensured that Coober Pedy continues to attract unique characters, all of whom have been seduced by the glow of a great opal. Various levels of professionalism are required to find opals. But if it’s your time, then the opal gods will shine. And it’s that “special feeling” that a hidden treasure lies just behind the next layer of rock that keeps bringing people to Coober Pedy. It’s definitely an Australian icon town and it’s all about the opals.

Courtesy of: SA Tourism and SA History

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Photographs Courtesy Of: NTTC - Northern Territory Tourism Commission.
Maps Courtesy Of: NTTC - Northern Territory Tourism Commission.
Photographs Courtesy Of: PJ B Private Collection.
Information courtesy of Parks and Wildlife Service NT for the promotion of tourism for the Larapinta Trail.

Photographs Courtesy of NTTC - Northern Territory Tourism Commission
Information courtesy of Parks Northern Territory

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East MacDonnell National Park and West MacDonnell National Park
in the MacDonnell Ranges in Northern Territory, Central Australia
A tourist selfdrive tourist guide and travel information

East MacDonnell National Park and West MacDonnell National Park in Central Australia
• West MacDonnell Map • West MacDonnell National Park • East MacDonnell National-Park
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West MacDonnell National Park and surrounding areas
• Larapinta Trail • Glen Helen Gorge • Glen Helen Lodge accommodation • Ellery Creek Big Hole • Ochre Pits • Ormiston Gorge • Redbank Gorge Waterhole • Roma Gorge • Serpentine Chalet • Serpentine Gorge • Simpsons Gap • Standley Chasm • Honeymoon Gap • Palm Valley

• Albert Namatjiras Monument • Namatjira Drive • Namatjira Twin Gums • Hermannsburg • Ghost Gum • Wallace Rockhole • Palm Valley

East MacDonnell National Park and surrounding areas
• Arltunga Historical Reserve and hotel or camping • Trephina Gorge • Emily Jessie Gap • Corroboree Rock • Ross River Resort • Ruby Gap • N'Dhala Gorge Nature Reserve • Gemtree • Chambers Pillar • Rainbow Valley

Other Highways, Scenic Routes, Ways, offroad 4wd Tracks and Roads in Central Australia
• The Mereenie Loop • Red Centre Way • Explorers Way • Stuart Highway • Ernest Giles Road • Namatjira Drive • Larapinta Drive • Luritja Road • Lasseter Highway • Binns Track

Top End - Natures Way in Northern Territory Australia
• Darwin • Tropical Darwin • Map of Northern Territory • Katherine Gorge • Tennant Creek • Devils Marbles • Kakadu National Park • Natures Way Top End • Katherine Gorge • Litchfield National Park

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• Alice Springs • Alice Springs Airport • The Ghan Alice Springs • Alice Springs Heavitree Gap • Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park • Uluru Ayers Rock • Ayers Rock Resort at Yulara • Voyages Resort at Ayers Rock Resort, Yulara • Ayers Rock Airport 'Connellan Airport' • Kata Tjuta 'The Olgas' • Sounds of Silence dinner • Mount Sonder • Mount Connnor • Mount Ebenezer • Curtin Springs • Stuarts Well • Erldunda

Kings Canyon
• Watarrka National Park • Kings Canyon • Kings Creek Station • Kings Canyon Resort • Glen Helen Lodge accommodation

Remote access sites
• Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve • Gosse Bluff Tnorala Tylers Pass • Haasts Bluff - lkuntji

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