Lounging in Lightning Ridge

July 2019, Lightning Ridge, NSW Lounging around Lightning Ridge Quite possibly the best attractions in town are the “Three pubs in the scrub” which is a drive out to the Grawin opal fields and its iconic pubs , the “Car Door tours” which entails following the trails of coloured car doors hanging from trees to see the sights of the town and the “Chambers of the Black Hand” a hand hewn underground art gallery like no other. Having got down and dirty noodling for opal and enjoying these tours on our previous visit this time we’re here just for a … Continue reading Lounging in Lightning Ridge

Follow the Sun Day 5 – Lightning Ridge

Day 5, Thursday 18/7/2019 Lightning Ridge 8 – 18 A lay day lie in, aah heaven. We potter about and do a few chores, like filling the water tanks as we’ve got two freedom camps ahead of us. We buy a new bucket in town as the holey one is of little use, unless we want to call it a basket that is. Lightning Ridge is a funny town that you either love or hate and we love it, so much so that three years ago we spent a week here. It is best described as semi desert as little … Continue reading Follow the Sun Day 5 – Lightning Ridge

Noodling at Grawin Opalfields

May 2016, Near Lightning Ridge, NSW The Grawin Opalfields is a short drive from Lightning Ridge (about 80kms) and well worth the visit for the pubs and the humour. If you are a fossicker there are public dumps available to noodlers. Need an explanation? Well the professional opal miners dump their unwanted tailings at a public dump. Amateur fossickers must never trespass on mine sites but they may fossick or noodle at these public dumps. Read the signs carefully and only noodle where it is specifically allowed. Fossickers do find small pieces of opal at these places. I have no … Continue reading Noodling at Grawin Opalfields

Should’ve Gone to Specsavers

We’re soaking in the artesian bore at Lightning Ridge when I notice a man waving. Is he waving at me or my friend Vee? Neither of us can see all that well, especially when the glasses are in the beach bag but we can see that he has a flowing bushman’s beard at least a foot long. He swims slowly across the pool then stops next to the bloke beside us. We both breathe a sigh of relief. “G’day” he says “when ya want to know the news (around here) ya come to the bores.” Continue reading Should’ve Gone to Specsavers

Grawin Opal Fields, Lightning Ridge

Two out of three ain’t bad. There’s another opal field about 60kms from The Ridge and it is home to 3 iconic pubs. We set off in a convoy of 3 cars down a good bitumen road to the tiny town of Cumborah. A little further on we turn onto an appalling dirt road that our mate Vee rates as worse than the Birdsville Track. Outback Jack is in the back seat thanking God that Vee has offered to take us in her car! We bump along swearing and cursing the road and the dust and reading car door signs … Continue reading Grawin Opal Fields, Lightning Ridge

Car Doors and Castles

Two streets down from the Opal Caravan Park is one of the famous Lightning Ridge Car Door Tours, the Red one. Thus we leave the bitumen to follow numbered red car doors to explore this town’s minefields and minefield is an appropriate description. Because people live on mining leases in Lightning Ridge their houses are as basic as possible. By order of law the land should only be used for mining not housing. The hillsides are littered with ramshackle dwellings, decaying caravans, tram cars, corrugated iron shanties and mullock heaps with rusting bucket structures atop that look like roller coasters, which … Continue reading Car Doors and Castles

Lightning Ridge

Lightning Ridge is unique. Seven hundred kilometres from Sydney it feels like the outback but in Australian terms of distance it isn’t, really. An ironstone ridge rising from a floodplain it attracts lightning and thus the name.The Ridge is an opal mining town where people live above ground usually beside their mines. Unlike the opal towns of Coober Pedy and White Cliffs where they prefer to live underground because of the hot climate and the dry air in their mines. To the tourist it is a town of characters and eccentrics and never knowing whether the scruffy bearded guy in … Continue reading Lightning Ridge