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Strike out for Lightning Ridge

Welcome Signage, Lightning RidgeCREDIT: Destination NSW

Lightning Ridge is famous for its black opals ― one of the world’s rarest gemstones.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Strike out for
Lightning Ridge

Welcome Signage, Lightning Ridge CREDIT: Destination NSW

Lightning Ridge is famous for its black opals ― one of the world’s rarest gemstones.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

With its cast of characters, eccentric monuments, artesian bores and moonscape of mines, there’s nowhere quite like the outback New South Wales town of Lightning Ridge. Here are some fun ways to see it at its quirky best. 

Go beneath the surface 

Visit the first licensed opal mine open to the public in Lightning Ridge at the Big Opal. Here you’ll learn about how opals are mined, the lifestyle of miners and the rare treasures they seek. You’ll also get to try your hand at fossicking, as well as shop for gems in the opal shop.  

At the incredible Chambers of the Black Hand, ex-miners share stories of hardships, innovation and reward as they lead you through an underground cavern carved and painted with more than 700 artworks by local artist Ron Canlin. 

Run by passionate residents, Outback Opal Tours offers several guided experiences, from town trips to visits to working mines. The popular Full Day Tour provides a ‘wild west’ experience at the rough-and-ready Grawin, Glengarry and Sheepyard opal fields, as well as visits to three authentic bush pubs.  

Soak it all in 

At the end of a hard day’s fossicking, there’s no better way to unwind than to soak in the therapeutic waters of Lightning Ridge’s artesian bore baths, naturally heated to a constant temperature of 41.5°C ― perfect for aching muscles. Free and always open (except between 10am and midday on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for cleaning), the circular spa is a wondrous place to take in the shimmering night sky as you soak up the health-giving waters and socialise with locals and visitors alike. 

Artesian Bore Baths, Lightning Ridge CREDIT: Destination NSW

Have a relaxing day in a naturally heated thermal pool at the Artesian Bore Baths, Lightning Ridge.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Artesian Bore Baths, Lightning Ridge CREDIT: Destination NSW

Have a relaxing day in a naturally heated thermal pool at the Artesian Bore Baths, Lightning Ridge.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Chambers of the Black Hand, Lightning Ridge CREDIT: Destination NSW

Go on a guided underground tour at the Chambers of the Black Hand, Lightning Ridge.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Chambers of the Black Hand, Lightning Ridge CREDIT: Destination NSW

Go on a guided underground tour at the Chambers of the Black Hand, Lightning Ridge.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Jump behind the wheel 

Take a self-drive tour of Lightning Ridge’s main attractions on the quirky Car Door Tour ― simply follow the coloured car doors on one of the four separate routes. Meet the characters behind the Opal Tree and the Beer Can House on the Green Car Door Tour. Or visit miners’ cottages, abandoned mine shafts, a graveyard of rusty treasures and Stanley the Emu on the Yellow Car Door Tour. You can also admire 2,500 varieties of cactus at Bevan’s Cactus Gardens and take a walk-in mine tour on the Blue Car Door Tour. And marvel at the creativity of the Stone & Bottle House, Ridge’s Castle and Amigo’s Castle on the Red Car Door Tour. 

Embrace local culture 

Plan your trip to coincide with the Lightning Ridge Opal Festival, a four-day celebration of the opal industry held each July. The event has been running since 1971, when local miner Derek Foster and his wife Hazel created a program of activities to mark the town’s culture and character. Highlights include an opal and gem expo, with more than 150 outdoor stalls selling gemstones and jewellery, and the colourful black-tie Opal Queen Ball. The International Opal Jewellery Design Awards jewellery design competition is held every second year alongside the ball. 

Australian Opal Centre, Lightning Ridge CREDIT: Destination NSW

Opals and fossilised opals on display at the Australian Opal Centre, Lightning Ridge.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Australian Opal Centre, Lightning Ridge CREDIT: Destination NSW

Opals and fossilised opals on display at the Australian Opal Centre, Lightning Ridge.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Amigo's Castle, Lightning Ridge CREDIT: Destination NSW

The heritage-listed tourist attraction Amigo's Castle built by Vittorio Stefanato (Amigo) from 1981 through to 2001.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Amigo's Castle, Lightning Ridge CREDIT: Destination NSW

The heritage-listed tourist attraction Amigo's Castle built by Vittorio Stefanato (Amigo) from 1981 through to 2001.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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