Lightning Ridge is famous for being Australia’s “Black Opal Country,” however, there is more to this town than meets the eye because there’s so many things to do and attractions to see, thus making it a top holiday destination.
Getting to Lightning Ridge, however, can be a bit tricky and we highly recommend renting a campervan or a motorhome to get the most out of your stay here. So without further ado, here’s a 4-day itinerary so you can cover all the tourist destinations with friends and family.
Your journey starts with picking up your campervan rental at Sydney. Yep, if you need to rent a camper australia has the best motorhome rental companies to do business with. While you’re in the city, make sure you stock up on supplies you need for the trip. Also, the trip to Lightning Ridge will take anywhere from eight to 10 hours, so make sure that you are well rested before driving.
From Sydney to Lightning Ridge
The most direct route is via the Great Western Highway towards the Blue Mountains Region. Then head to Bathurst, Dubbo, Gilgandra before taking the Castlereagh highway. Upon arriving in Lightning Ridge, you can park your campervan or motorhome at Opal Caravan Park or Lightning Ridge Tourist Park, and get ready to explore this part of the trip.
During your first day in Lightning Ridge eat at their famous diners like the Woolpack Dining Room and General Store which serves western, home-cooked dish. You can also try Noby’s Bistro, Bar and Grill which offers a variety of dishes.
Up for pizza? You won;t go wrong with Bruno’s Pizza Italian Restaurant. They also serve coffee, breads and desserts. For bigger portions, go to the Lightning Ridge Bowling Club for their buffet and curry.Apart from serving mouthwatering local cuisines. These establishments are also great for meeting other tourists and getting to know local residents.
Dig Deep Into The Opal Mines
Spend the next day exploring the rich opal mining history of Lightning Ridge. Australia produces 95-per cent of the world’s opal supply and Lightning Ridge has the largest deposit of it in the country. The first shaft built to mine these gemstones were built in 1905, and the town even celebrates Opal Festival, a four-day event held on 30th June to 2nd August every year. by Simon Brown
Head to the Walk in Mine which takes you on an underground trip to experience how it’s like to be a miner. They also have a jewellery showroom and will let you try “mining” for your own opal. Entrance fees are $20 for adults, $8 for children aged six to 16 (under six year olds are free) and $50 for family (two adults plus any number of children).
You can also take part of the Big Opal Underground Mine Tour, which offers the same activities at $15 for adults and $5 for children. Shop for more opal merchandise and souvenirs in the town’s popular stores: Lost Sea Opals, Australian Opal Centre, Opal Bin and & Down to Earth Opals.
Explore Prehistoric Museums And Tunnels Of Statues
For your third day in Lightning Ridge, explore the Australia Open Centre where they showcase life-like dinosaurs and opalised fossils from the prehistoric era. Entrance fee is free.
If you’re into art, visit the Chambers of Black Hand featuring the carvings of Ron Canlin. His artworks, which are carved in the walls of an opal mine, range from a pondering Nostradamus to Adam and Atlas holding the entrance of the mine. It now has more than 500 carvings and paintings. Entrance fee is at $35 for adults and $10 for children.
Also, drop by John Murray Art Gallery which houses the works of one of Australia’s leading outback artists. The gallery has Murray’s small and large paintings which the public can view on a relaxed and friendly setting.
Dive Into The Waters Of Lightning Ridge
Lightning Ridge offers more than just opals and mining. The region has places where you can relax and get fit. Up for a swim on your last day? Go to the 5-star Olympic Pool and Water Theme Park which operates during the summer months. Soak away the aches of travel by visiting the Artesian Bore Baths. Entrance to the baths is absolutely free.
For souvenirs, you can get great deals from shops around Lightning Ridge like Opal Cave, which has the town’s largest showroom and Absolute Opals and Gems, one of the pioneers of gemstones trade in the region.
To head back to Sydney, you can just take the same route. Though there are alternate routes, the one we wrote here is the shortest course you can take.
Check out Apollo Motorhomes when planning your self-drive holiday to Lightning Ridge and experience the most reliable campervan hire sydney has to offer. With our fleet of vehicles, you’ll find a motorhome that perfectly fits your needs and budget.
Do you know of any other interesting place to visit in Lightning Ridge? Tell us by posting a comment below!