Lightning Ridge

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Aerial photo of a part of Lightning Ridge town and nearby mines.

Lightning Ridge is an interesting and unique opal mining town in the north-western corner of the Australian state of New South Wales. Australian Traveller magazine has judged that "The Ridge" is in the 53rd position in the listing of 100 of Australia’s Best Towns.

Understand[edit]

The Lightning Ridge region provides many visual experiences that can't be had elsewhere in Australia. Go and see for yourself!

Tourist information[edit]

Lightning Ridge Visitor Information Centre, Lions Park, Morilla Street, Lightning Ridge NSW 2834; phone: (02) 6829 1670, fax: 02 6829 1672. Web: Lightning Ridge Visitor Information

Get in[edit]

Lightning Ridge is easily accessible on a sealed road about four kilometres east of the Castlereagh Highway, approximately 75 km north of Walgett, the next nearest town.

Get around[edit]

A vehicle is required to visit the many interesting out of town sightseeing locations such as Grawin with 'The Glengarry Hilton' and 'Sheepyard Inn'.

See[edit]

  • Amigo's Castle, Lightning Ridge
  • Australian Opal Centre3/11 Morilla St. The, Displays of opal and fossils.
  • Chambers of the Black Hand3 Mile Opal Field, Lightning Ridge +61 2 68290221. The first level is 11 metres underground with images carved and painted in the sandstone walls and pillars.
  • The Bottle House and museum, 60 Opal St. Lightning Ridge Open most days 9-5.
  • John Murray Art Gallery8 Opal Street, +61 2 6829 1130. Mon-Fri 9-5; Sat 9-2; Sun 9-1.. Free.
  • Visit the Walk In Mine to take an underground tour of the opal mines.

Do[edit]

  • The Lightning Ridge Easter festival with the Lightning Ridge Races.
  • Lightning Ridge Bore BathsLightning Ridge Road (via Pandora Street). Open 24 hours a day. Warm artesian waters from the subartesian basin 900 metres below ground level. These waters are therapeutic for tired and aching muscles. Free.
  • Water Theme ParkGem Street (Adjacent to the Lightning Ridge Olympic Pool),  +61 2 6829 0150. M to F 3pm to 7pm. Open during the summer months. The Olympic Pool is handy for keeping fit and has good diving facilities. The Water Theme park has a wave machine and other features. Weekends, Public Holidays & School Holidays 11am to 7pm
  • Go fossicking (noodling) after enquiring at the Visitor Information Centre as to where it is possible to do so.

Buy[edit]

  • A black opal at one of the "Ridge's" opal shops.
  • Artworks produced by local artists.

Eat[edit]

Restaurants and cafes are available to suit all tastes.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

A variety of accommodation catering to different needs and budgets.

  • Wallangulla MotelMorilla Street, Lightning Ridge NSW 2834 (opposite the Telecom tower),  +61 2 6829 0542. The Wallangulla Motel consists of 42 self-contained rooms with air conditioning, direct dial phones, colour TVs and Austar.
  •    Bluey Motel32 Morilla Street, Lightning Ridge, NSW, 2834 +61 2 6829 0380, e-mail: . We are a small 10 room locally run Motel located near the center of Lightning Ridge.

Stay safe[edit]

  • Be careful around mining areas as there are many deep and dangerous shafts. Take care of your children, too.
  • Exposure - it can be very hot there in summertime.
  • Avoid driving at night or dusk as the risk of collisions with animals is greater then.

Go next[edit]

  • Grawin Opal field and the unusual dwellings that are here and elsewhere.
  • Glengarry and visit the "Hilton" hotel
  • Take yourself on a Car Door Explorer trip after obtaining a map from the Visitor Information Centre. These four routes are marked by numbered car doors painted in red, yellow, blue or green. This trip will give you an insight into the lives of miners on the opal fields.


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