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INTRODUCTION:

Lightning Ridge is home to opal mining. The landscape is dominated by opal mining in and around Lightning Ridge. In fact, Lightning Ridge is practically the sole supplier of Black Opal, the most rare and valuable form of opal.

If you would like to try some opal mining visit the visitors centre for locations. There is a fossicking heap for tourists right next door.

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LOCATION MAP:


View Lightning Ridge Region in a larger map

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FEES:

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ATTRACTIONS/WALKS:

Many of the attractions within Lightning Ridge are visited during the self-drive tours listed below. For descriptions of these attractions see the relevant self-drive tour.

 

Self-Drive Tours:

Example of a Self-Drive Tour Marked Stop (This is on the red tour)The self-drive tours at Lightning Ridge are a unique visitor attraction. There are four self-drive tour represented by four colours - red, blue, yellow and green. Each of these four self-drive tours have a number of stops, each marked by a car door painted the colour of the self-drive tour and the stop number painted on the door.

A brochure covering the four self-drive tours is available from the visitor's centre on the right on the way into town. These tours are the best way to become familiar with all that Lightning Ridge has to offer.

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Red Car Door Tour:

It is recommended that you allow 60 minutes for the Red Car Door Tour, with an additional 90 minutes if also following the Black Queen Detour described below.

Highlights of the Red Car Door Tour include the Black Queen Detour, which includes the 'Black Queen Experience,' which is a 3 act play. There are daily shows at 9am, 1pm and 3pm (Easter through October). There is an entry fee. Allow 90 minutes for this detour.

The Red Car Door Tour will take you through a number of opal fields including Hatter's Flat, Pony Fence and the Telephone Line fields. The tour also includes Amigo's Castle, the Astronomers' Monument and Kangaroo Hill.

Amigo's Castle (see photos) is a private home built under the inspiration of Roman ruins in northern Italy - birthplace of the owner. The home is a 'castle,' which includes dungeons and tunnels which are part of Amigo's opal mine. The castle was started in 1981.

The Astronomers' Monument (see photos) is a concrete construction that is something of a hobby for the owner. It is built as a memorial to famous astronomers. It also resembles something of a castle.

Kangaroo Hill is a place to see antiques, a dinosaur egg, a meteorite and much more. Kangaroo Hill also has a specking heap so the visitor can try and find some opals. There is an entrance fee.

For more information on this tour please grab a copy of the brochure from the visitor's centre on the right on the way into Lightning Ridge.

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Blue Car Door Tour:

It is recommended that you allow about 70 minutes for the Blue Car Door Tour, with additional time if exploring any of the sites at length.

Highlights of the Blue Car Door Tour include the Walk-in-Mine which offers self-guided tours down an opal mine. There is a video to watch and a speck heap for visitors to try and find some opal for themselves. There is an entrance fee.

The Bevan's Black Opal & Cactus Nursery has some 2300 species of cactii, which is the largest collection in the southern hemisphere. There is an entrance fee.

For more information on this tour please grab a copy of the brochure from the visitor's centre on the right on the way into Lightning Ridge.

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Yellow Car Door Tour:

It is recommended that you allow about 45 minutes for the Yellow Car Door Tour, with additional time if exploring any of the attractions.

This tour allows the visitor to see first-hand various pieces of opal mining equipment as you drive through the various opal fields which include the 3 Mile Opal Field and Lunatic Hill. There are many rusting relics to be seen on this tour.

Without doubt, the highlight of this tour is the 'Chamber of the Black Hand.' This is both an opal mine and a sculpture gallery (see photos). There is an entrance fee ($25.00 in early 2010) which is well worth paying to have a look at the sculptures.

Lunatic Hill (see photos) is an abandoned open cut opal mine, with a lookout for views into the mining area. There are also a number of rusting relics around the site well worth looking at.

You will also see a 'church' building built for the movie 'Goddess of 1967' on this tour.

For more information on this tour please grab a copy of the brochure from the visitor's centre on the right on the way into Lightning Ridge.

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Green Car Door Tour:

It is recommended that you allow about 30 minutes for the Green Car Door Tour and this tour is a dry weather tour only as it is on a dry weather road only.

This tour will take you through various opal fields, including the multi-billion dollar Coocoran Opal Fields (mined 1988 to 1996).

For more information on this tour please grab a copy of the brochure from the visitor's centre on the right on the way into Lightning Ridge.

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Lightning Ridge Bore Baths:

The lightning Ridge Bore Baths are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and are free. The artesian water is rich in potassium salts and are said to benefit those that have rheumatism and arthritis. The artesian water has a constant temperature of 41.5 degrees C.

 

CAMPING/FACILITIES:

Camping is available at the Crocodile Caravan and Camping Park, Lightning Ridge Hotel Motel and at Lorne Station just out of town (see Accommodation below).

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PHOTOS:

Photos of the Lightning Ridge area can be found at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmatthews/sets/72157623368945888/

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VIDEOS:

 

ABOVE: Lightning Ridge

 

ABOVE: Chasin' Opal Holiday Park

 

 

ABOVE: Chambers of the Black Hand

 

ABOVE: Chambers of the Black Hand

ABOVE: The Black Queen

 

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MY VISITS:

See: http://www.kevinswilderness.com/NSW/nswRoadTrip2010.html#Day6

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ACCOMMODATION:

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FURTHER RESOURCES:

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MAPS:

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Kevin's Wilderness Journeys Homepage
New South Wales
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28/11/2010