LIGHTNING RIDGE

LIGHTNING RIDGE

Postby xmasbaby67 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:45 pm

FINALLY getting around to posting about our trip to Lightning Ridge on the October long weekend.

Had a great time. We went with another family that are really great friends of ours. 4 adults & 5 teenagers in tow....

Left Sat morning nice and early. We made a stop in Gilgandra for morning tea at a lovely little coffee shop in the main street. Poor young waitress had her eyes pop when ALL of us walked in and ordering was a drawn out process with so many hungry teenagers, but the meal was delicious and the best coffee I've had in ages!!!!!

Got to Lightning Ridge mid afternoon (outside visitors centre)
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Checked into the Opal Caravan Park after driving through town. The park is basically across the road from the Artisian Bore Baths....or 'Asian Whore Baths' as one of the teenage boys that was with us mistakenly called it, poor kid still hasn't lived that one down... :lol: :lol: :lol: On check in we were given a drill with a 4ft bit attached which was to help us get our pegs in, worked beautifully!!!!! The park was really lovely and is only 1 year old. We had booked ensuite sites to spoil the kids a little and every two sites are separated by lovely gardens. The amenities are spotless and the main amenities blocks has glass shower screens which is a great idea other than a shower curtain as everything doesn't get wet... Camp kitchen is great and has a lovely big TV on which we watched the Swannies win the Grand Final. :?# :?#
They also have a fire pit which is lit every night and twice over the weekend a lovely couple entertained the crowd by busking and telling jokes....they were quite funny.
Some pics of the park & our set up....
Fire pit...
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Camp kitchen...
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Our setup...love my Customline so much I never want to come home
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The two CT's
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Part two next post........
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xmasbaby67
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Re: LIGHTNING RIDGE

Postby xmasbaby67 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:20 pm

Part two.....

OK I have a lack of pics for the next post as one of my girls (no one has owned up yet!!!!) mucked around with the settings on my camera and me being the technology challenged idiot that I am tried to fix it while they were at the pool and accidently deleted ALL my pics...yep on the last day there too, so I only have pics that I ran around madly taking before we left!!!!!! But don't despair the girlfriend that was with us took pretty much the same pics as me all weekend and she is going to copy them to a stick for me, so I will post them when I have them....back to the review...

We did all the car door tours which were quite fascinating. The countryside out there looks like human rabbits have taken over and dug holes EVERYWHERE..... The piles of dirt next to all these holes(some 60ft deep) are called 'mullock heaps'. I am glad we were doing the tours with another car as some of the roads you feel like in the middle of nowhere and all the little humpy's everywhere (my Customline looked like a palace compared to some of the dwellings that people live in there).

Some of the iconic things in Lightning Ridge I thought would be in the main drag but the big cement mixer is a couple of km's out of town, on the turn off to the Ridge, and the Tourism award winning Black Queen Theatre is on the red car door tour and is in the middle of nowhere.....the show starts at sunset so you would have to drive back in the dark and we were afraid we wouldn't find our way back to town...

We did the Big Opal tour down the mine (well I didn't as I hate confined spaces & our 17 yr old does too), but all the others went down and enjoyed it....although there was a lot of steps down (over 100 ). It was about $10 for adults.

Also went to the Chambers of the Black Hand mine. I took all the kids down as this is a very open mine with large tunnels so I thought I would brave it. The carvings are amazing and he has done a brilliant job. After about 30 mins down there I needed to get out but the kids then went into the smaller mine with a guide for a tour and loved it. This mine was a bit expensive at I think around $20 for adults....

Then we also visited Cooper's Cottage which is not only FREE but it was built in 1916 and was one of the first houses built there. Great to see.

Looked at the outside of the Bottle House as it was $10 just to get in the door!!!! ::() ::()

The kids also went to the local pool which is fantastic and has a water park with 7 slides, pools & fountains etc also with an olympic sized pool and indoor diving centre (the American Olympic team was there training that weekend too) and was only $7 to get in.

The Artisian Bore Baths was great but REALLY hot and you can only go in for about 10mins at a time and feel really drained after.

The Walk in Mine was the pick of them all for us as not only was it the cheapest but the most informative and is tidiest. It is run by a lovely young couple and all his opals he mines are sent to Gold Coast to be set and are all very modern and beautiful (the other mines jewellery looked like it had been there for over 20 years and covered in dust).

But the highlight of the trip was Amigos Castle which is just amazing and the fact that one man had built it with his own hands is quite remarkable. Not sure what happened to him but it is not finished but was just so grand and beautiful. Loved it

Also stopped in on one of the car door tours to have a quick look at the Astronomers Monument which is quite strange and can only be viewed from the fence. I didn't really get it at all but quite weird.

We had a great weekend and was happy to stay for another couple of days but had to get back to work

So on the Tuesday morning we had to pack up and head home..... :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

Stopped in at the truck stop on the way out of Gilgandra for lunch....yummy too. Also we did a drive by through the main drag of Coonamble to check out where hubby used to work and it's a lovely little town.

Another great thing is the big corrigated galahs on the way in and out of Gilargambone ....yep had pics of them too but it will have to wait till I get the other pics...

Also forgot to mention that the caravan park also had a brand new pool and Balinese hacidena. It also has it's own 'mullock heap' for you to fossick in if you want to.

Also visited the local markets on the Sunday morning for a bit of a look....more opals and other interesting stuff and locals..

We also called in to the local hardware/camping/$2 store to find it a gold mine. Walked out buying a trivet for our camp oven, hubby got some new sunnies & a new watch for the 14 yr old. Could have bought a lot more but didn't have the room to cart it home.

I think that is about it....... Had a fantastic weekend and for anyone thinking of going for a visit I would highly recommend it.

Oopps: Sorry Rosco....paid a little visit to the Bowling Club too which is one of the biggest in NSW apparently and it was great & so was the beer!!!!!! They also had some great pics of the club being directly hit by lightning in the 1990's, quite ironic I thought....
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xmasbaby67
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Re: LIGHTNING RIDGE

Postby xmasbaby67 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:30 pm

Also remembered something else:

The young guy that owns the Walk In Mine was telling us that around $220 million of opal comes out of the ground each year in Lightning Ridge and is mainly mined by around only 40 blokes!!!!!!!! That's a staggering amount and that equates to around 5.5 million per person per year......YES PLEASE!!!! :cheers

That would have to have been the one big fact that I retained over the weekend. And after seeing some of the locals at the markets on the Sunday it is very difficult to tell just who the multi millionaires are.....some strange blokes out there... :roll:
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Re: LIGHTNING RIDGE

Postby GypsyLady » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:36 am

GREAT report XB......I have a photo of that castle somewhere....think it might be from my SPAMER days tho.

I was out at Lightning Ridge last year but this time it was only a stopover and I did not have time to play tourist. Did go to the thermal pool on my way out of town tho. Got almost instant relief from the pain in my knee. It is one of the hottest thermal pools I have come across. Do have some pics of it too.
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The worst day camping still beats the best day working
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