“To live here you need to be at peace with yourself and you need to enjoy your own company.” These words were quoted on the large display of locals and their stories, at the Underground Motel at White Cliffs. With the nearest, and major, town being Broken Hill 300 km away, and White Cliffs population being approximately 200 people, one can understand what he means.
Today had us back on the (dirt) road as it’s now officially time to head back to the big city.
But not before visiting the Underground Motel at White Cliffs, which is an outback opal mining town “a little” off the beaten track.
We arrived in to White Cliffs at what seems like in between group tours. So we’re the only people at the Underground Motel, and we only saw a couple of other “blow-ins” at the local pub.
When White Cliffs was at its peak in around 1899’s it had a population of around 2500 people, now it’s down to a stable 200-ish.
Staying at an underground motel, means that the rooms are carved into a hill and thus have no windows or sunlight coming through. This is to protect against the summer heat and also has the pleasant side effect that it’s unbelievable quiet – and not only because we’re the only ones here; besides the German backpackers “in charge” of the place.
On our way here we had a quick stop at Mutawintji National Park.
My friend Stella had recommended that we made a stop here, and we quickly understood why.
Located in the middle of the dessert, these hills with their gorges and riverbeds radiates a sense of spirituality and being close to nature.
So it is no wonder that this for centuries was a gathering place for the indigenous people, which the cave paintings bear witness to.
Unfortunately some early “explorer” in 1860-something chose to put his own “tag” on some of the original paintings.
As we weren’t quite sure how long our travel time was from the Park till White Cliffs, time didn’t allow us to explore the National Park further, and we had to make do with one of the shorter walks.
Whilst not many people live here and there isn’t much to do but meeting the locals at the Hotel – where swearing is banned and heavily enforced, by the customers themselves, looking at opals and “dug-outs” (the name for houses dug into the Cliffs), and beating your partner in darts; the sunset was absolutely unbelievable!