Lightning Ridge is a town with more than 100 years of opal mining history. The town proudly calls itself “The Black Opal Country”. Apparently, Australia is the world’s major producer of opal. They are found around the margins of the Great Artesian Basin. I wasn’t a big fan of fancy stones or gems (cos I know I will just lose them😥), until I saw some pretty (and expensive) ones from the shops. OMG! The colours were beautiful.
Anyway, aside from opal, endless opal fields, and the long mining history of this town, they also have a lot of galleries. The tourism board made the whole sightseeing thing easier for visitors, as they created the Car Door Explorer Tours, whereby they planned the most convenient routes (organised by different coloured car doors) for visitors to follow in one 4-paged booklet. I thought it was a good idea for smaller towns to adapt the same.❤️
Old and rustic, the town aims to please, but not too much. According to some readings, LR is also a town known for its “positive-can-do community spirit, as the town is built in mateship and having a go”. Well, that was about right, as we managed to talk to a few residents. It’s too rare to hear people talking about their jobs with much love and enthusiasm. I am probably generalizing, but they were just inspiring to listen to. I said to Tim, we should surround ourselves with people like them. 🙃
Our main purpose for coming to this town wasn’t to sightsee. We were here to buy some supplies before we head out to the place recommended by Rob and Kate (seasoned couple/travellers camping in Barmedman). But we were already there, so might as well do it, right? Lightning Ridge also has an Artesian Bore Bath (the outback’s version of a hot spring) where people can swim in for free. We relaxed and swam there for three nights. Imagine swimming in a hot spring, under the moonlit sky. It helped Tim sleep better, but don’t forget your mosquito repellent.
Where did we stay?
Crocodile Caravan Park: We stayed in a family-owned caravan park. Their powered sites were a bit small. The toilets were a bit old but all very functional. The hot water showers’ pressure was good. I just loved the warmth of the people and the colours of the park.