Lightning Ridge is a mining town – renowned for black opal. Opal was found there around the 1870’s and has an interesting history. I knew little of the town when I drove into it – and had little idea as to what I would find.
It is a town of some nearly 2000 folk, and has hotels, motels, retail area, quite a lot of tourist spots and of course the opal mines. There are three or four self-guided tours – car door tours. Each one with a colour – e.g. red car door tours, yellow car door tours etc.
When I arrived in the afternoon I visited a couple of Art Galleries, and then went to the Walk In Mine – and chatted with one of the staff as I took photos and explained that I was writing for Weekend Notes. I now have an opal and I am looking forward to seeing what I can have made with it.
I had booked into a rather large caravan park/motel, which was quite comfortable, and I went to dinner in the Bistro. Not impressed with anything much there. I don’t enjoy dining on my own, and I didn’t really like my meal, and had to ask the staff to turn down the radio (which was blaring ads!) – the latter much to the amusement of other diners who gave me the thumbs up!
Back to my room – I had a good sleep and was up early in the morning again, to have a further look around the town. I did the red car door tour.
I came across the Artesian Bore Pool, and decided to try it out! I grabbed my togs and towel and went into the ladies change room. So many lovely women – many with a sense of humour. I changed, had the obligatory shower, put my bag and shoes on the bench outside and entered the water. It was around 40 degrees. Hot as! One is not allowed to swim in the pool, just sit/stand and soak it all up.
After the tour and a visit to the Bottle House, I set off for St George – a trip of around 2 1/2 hours.
Just over the border into Queensland is the little “town” of Hebel. Just had to take a photo of the pub. It had a population of 149 in the last census and is just a couple of kms into Queensland.
A busy rural town on the Balonne River. Info here.
I arrived in St George and drove around to get my bearings. I stayed in a lovely motel – Jacaranda Country Motel – one of the nicest motels I’ve stayed in.
Had time to quickly visit a Winery.