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