Lightning Ridge

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16 travelers at this place

  • Day9

    Lightning Ridge

    March 8 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Kurzer Ausflug in das Bergarbeiterdorf im Outback (einer der wenigen Orte weltweit wo der wertvolle Opal zu finden ist). Bei über 3,5h Autofahrt, hatten wir nicht einmal ein Auto vor unserer Nase, also war nur Tempomat und lenken angesagt.
    Leider war die Mine überflutet, welche man auf eigene Faust erkunden kann. Daher haben wir uns mit ein „paar vielen“ Buschfliegen 🙈 den Ort angeschaut. Verrückt was man hier alles findet.
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  • Day10

    Lightning Ridge

    March 9 in Australia ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

    Vor der laaangen Fahrt von Lightning Ridge nach Bellingen (7,5h) noch einen Ausflug ins „bottle house mining museum“. Erbaut wurde es von Künstler Tex Moeckel (ein in Deutschland geborener Australier) aus 5800 Flaschen für seine Frau Nola.Read more

  • Day9

    Walgett to Lightning Ridge

    May 29, 2015 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    After another day in the Warrumbungle N.P. and a visit to Coonabarabran we headed North-West to Walgett where we had arranged to stay on a sheep property called Caloola with old friends. On the way we hit our first Dirt Road and the caravan handled it very well, including taking dirt and dust samples along the way and depositing them in the cupboards and over a lot of our stuff. (poorly sealed pipe and electrical penetrations). Because of the drought our friends have been forced to sell most of their sheep and only have about 20 now, some of them lambing at the moment. Here the countryside is completely different to the sheep country I’m used to seeing. Very flat with what they call black soil and no grass, just weedy looking prickly plants which the sheep manage to survive on during drought periods. The trees don’t even grow very tall. We were told that when it rains (as little as 2 – 3mm) the ground becomes so soft and boggy that it is impossible for them to leave their property until it dries out. They have built a gravel hard stand up near the front gate where they move their car up to when the rain is forecast, because even their 4 wheel drive can’t get up their 2.5km driveway. The Barwon River flows though their property and is prone to flooding when heavy rains fall. It all sounds a bit bleak but we actually had a really interesting time there (complete with “billy tea” by the billabong) and learned a lot about the area. They also run a Bed and Breakfast business as part of a chain called Outback Beds and have facilities for campers and caravaners.

    We reluctantly left Caloola after a couple of nights and continued North to Lightning Ridge which is famous for its opal mining. First we visited the Chambers of the Black Hand which is a fascinating underground mine where the chap who owns it has carved hundreds of sculptures into the walls which are made of sandstone. He was actually there carving a new sculpture when we went through and was happy to have a chat. Later in the day we went on a bus tour around the town and went down into a working opal mine where we learned more about what’s involved in mining opal. (We did lots of stair-climbing during the day). We also visited a shop where opals are cut, polished set into jewellery and sold and were given a demonstration of the process. I wasn’t able to convince Frank it would be a good investment to buy me one though! Our driver took us to other local attractions such as “Lunatic Hill” which is an open cut mine. Another mine up there is owned by an odd 84 year old chap who also loved to have a chat. Also Amigo’s Castle which has been built of stones retrieved from the mines and looks really impressive at first until a closer inspection reveals that it is unfinished and has no roof. The reason there is no roof is that the council rates the property by the area of the roof. No roof No council rates. All these characters are very strange and one wonders whether it’s a pre-requisite for living in Lightning Ridge. The guides told us of the high rate of crime in the area associated with the opal industry, including opal theft from mines at night. Gangs are in the area armed with AK 47 rifles and are not afraid to use them even on the police. Miners encroach on other peoples mines, sell opals and don’t pass on the share of the sale to their partners. This includes Siblings, Father and Son partners, Husband and Wife etc, no one is exempt from the greed up here. The other interesting thing is the collusive opal price fixing by the buyers to keep the price of opals artificially high while they rip of the miners. Interesting place to visit.
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  • Day3

    lightning ridge - hot springs

    August 27, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 28 °C

    After a nice lunch and a look around town renowed for the mining of black opals. We headed for the artesian baths. Wow- what a refreshing swim spent in artesian water of a constant 40 degrees.

  • Day24

    Day 24

    June 23, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Had a good night at the free camp last night very quite considering it is on the highway, nice clean and new toilets good overnight stop. Headed off at 8 this morning, stopped in at St George for fuel and kept on going to Dirrinbandi then down to the Hebel gate the Qld and Nsw border, weather still very good 23 degrees so decided to stop in at lightning ridge for the night. At the Opal caravan park, good as usual this is our 3rd time here very busy lucky to get a powered site, had lunch and drove in to town for a look around, booked the bus for 6 o'clock to take us to the bowling club for drinks and tea.Read more

  • Day35

    Day 35

    July 1, 2018 in Australia ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    A little bit noisy last night till the road trains stopped but otherwise all good, on the road by 8 this morning, taking a shortcut from Mitchell to St George good road a small amount of single lane the rest of the 200km was very good. Stopped at St George to top up with fuel and to grab some cold pasties for lunch, and had a cuppa had to find a dry spot had a lot of rain here overnight. Onto the Castlereagh Hwy heading south next stop was Dirranbandi for lunch it rained nearly all the way there and the temperature is only 13 degrees here back to reality after 5 weeks of warm weather, Hebel Gate was next to pass through and then the NSW QLD border, we got into Lightning Ridge about 2 o'clock our stop for the night. Had some good rain here too but a little warmer at 17 degrees, lucky we booked as the van park is full school holidays now so busy everywhere, off to the bowling club on the courtesy bus for drinks and dinner a tradition when we are here 👍Read more

  • Day16

    Lightning Ridge, NSW

    March 27, 2019 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

    Many hopeful miners have ventured to this area in search of the black opals. Some made it rich, some busted and others just hung around.

    Once the kind of town you would expect to feature in a movie script, Lightning Ridge has a colourful past. Today the mining is large highly mechanised big money operations. The rules are strict and compliance is out of reach of most small operators.

    Tourism is the new vogue and there are the cafes, accommodation and high end galleries to prove it. It is still worth a visit if you are heading past.
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  • Day107

    III. AUS - OA/NSW 2; Sunshine Co-Ligh EN

    December 14, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Tu, 13.12. Sunshine Coast
    I met Tom and his 7 year old daughter in the early afternoon. I will be Ester's nanny for food, accommodation and transport for the next few weeks, spent Christmas and New Years Eve together with locals and travel around New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, CBT and Queensland in a more than luxurious campervan.
    After a short introduction they immediately showed me their hometown Sunshine Coast: we first went to Noosa, famous for shopping, surfing, beaches and national parks - very nice but already now pretty busy and touristy.
    After a short stop at Aldi and German memories especially thanks to the cheapest prices I have seen so far we went to Yandina to see a viewpoint which is only known amongst locals and saw some really big and tall kangaroos.

    We, 14.12. Sunshine Coast/Noosa/Rainbow Beach: Fraser Island
    On Wednesday I spoilt myself with another expensive tour but again it was really worth it :)
    Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island with 180,000ha and only 200 people living there. The island can be reached by ferry via either Hervey Bay, Rainbow Beach or Noosa. Despite the sand the vegetation is unique, there are whole rainforests with a lot of different flora and fauna. The most popular animals are probably the fox similar dingos but unfortunately we could not see any. It is possible to drive with a 4WD on the whole island but you really need to consider the tides - as it didn't rain for a long time and especially with more and more people coming during the upcoming peak season and school holidays it is more likely to get stuck in the sand.
    From Coolum Surf Club we roughly drove 1,5hrs through a lot of forests quite similar to Germany along some mango and aqua farms and through kangaroo area to Rainbow Beach. We released the tyres' air pressure to catch the ferry at Inskip Point which brought us, pelican spotting included, to Fraser Island.
    We then roughly drove for 2hrs amongst the famous 75 Mile Beach; this is like a normal road meaning that you have to adhere to the usual traffic rules, but with a max. speed limit of 80km/h. After a delicious breakfast we drove further inland via a very bumpy road to Lake McKenzie, probably the most popular lake here. The crystal-clear blue lake is about 150ha, 7-8m deep and 100m above sea level surrounded by dunes and rainforests; it was so nice to swim again in normal, non-salty water :)
    After an - especially for me as a backpacker - really luxurious lunch (grilled fish and amazing salads including eggs, potatoes, rice, feta, melon and pineapple) we continued to Central Station and Wanggoolba Creek to do a nice small hike in the rainforest. For me the huge diversity of flora and fauna is still incredible - everything just grows in pure sand :)
    After that we started heading back via 75 Mile Beach which looked totally different in the afternoon. Unfortunately we also saw two huge bush fires, the season is only starting now.
    After that we drove for another 45km on Rainbow Beach to Double Island Point and via a river ferry back to Noosa where we then could enjoy the moon rising (full moon night) - an absolutely amazing day :)))

    Th, 15.12. Yandina
    On Thursday I had the chance to better explore Tom's and Ester's home town and Yandina on the Sunshine Coast is really nice. After seeing a bit of Australia's work life and some more beautiful beaches I visited the ginger and macadamia factory, tried several different nuts and flavours before being packed up by Tom in his 54 year old shiny car.
    In the evening we then packed the car and the caravan before watching some nice videos from Tom's and Ester's one year trip around Australia.

    Fr, 16.12. Yandina - Toogoolawah
    Wohooo, this day I finally hit the road again:
    Next road trip but this time in luxury and style in a 12m long car and campervan vehicle, own house built up within 14s including gas stove, fridge, freezer, microwave, sink, proper bed, tables and windows ;)
    From Yandina we drove inland to the west into mountaineous hinterland to Montville, a small town with a lot of shops and nice lookouts. This is also a good spot to view the Glasshouse Mountains, a very beautiful mountain range.
    Via Woodford which is particularly known for its music festivals we then continued through mountaineous and later hilly and green grasslands that reminded me a lot of New Zealand, especially with all the sheep.

    Sa, 17.12. Toowoomba - Goondiwindi - Moree
    Toowoomba is located a little bit higher on a mountain and popular for the nice flowers and botanical gardens of Kings Park. The latter was already nicely decorated for Christmas. Not far from there we went to a nice lookout and the witches playground.
    After Goondiwindi we then drove over a bridge to the next small town Boggabila, crossing the border from Queensland to New South Wales. NSW has daylight saving so that we lost an hour and had to change the time from 6-7pm - but as a result sunset is not before 8 :)

    Su, 18.12. Moree
    Veeery relaxing day: we got up early in the morning to go to the Hot Springs, two swimming pools up to 42* hot. There was also a super huge slide which we used more than often ;)
    In the afternoon we drove a little bit further, with the landscape getting remarkably drier with a lot of farmland. We also saw kangaroos again :)

    Mo, 19.12. Lightning Ridge
    Lightning Ridge is a mining town in the Outback, particularly known for black opals. On the way we saw a lot of emus, amongst them also 9 baby ones. The town itself is very deserted with a lot of unsealed roads. However, there are some interesting museums and galleries such as:
    - Underground sculptures
    A man carved a lot of different sculptures in the rocks, just using a butter knife and doing so over a couple of years - very detailed and impressive.
    - Art Gallery
    Ester has been portrayed here 2 years ago and the picture is still being displayed.
    - Walk in Mine
    Visit of a mining site
    - Aboriginal sandwich for lunch
    The so called Abosangas are made of toast, butter, vegemite, chips/French fries.
    - Amigo castle
    A castle built out of stone
    - Oval Museum
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Lightning Ridge, LHG, Лайтнинг Ридж

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