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by Simon Bayliss

Lightning Ridge, Outback NSW

Outback Towns

While not on the Darling, it is just 'down the road' as we like to say. Any trip along the Darling, or for that matter, any trip though Outback NSW and south east Queensland should incorporate a trip to Lightning Ridge.

Home of the beautiful Black Opal and like the wonderful gem, the 'Ridge' will show its varying colors depending on how you look at it. The Black Opal is elusive but Lightning Ridge, its character and hospitality certainly are not. There is a wonderful welcome from the time you arrive; you can understand why some travellers visit for a few days and end up staying the rest of their life. It is a wonderfully eccentric place and the eccentricity is comforting in this day of conformity.

Weather in Lightning Ridge



Humidity: 42%
Wind: NNW at 19.31 km/h
14°C / 26°C
9°C / 22°C
Mostly sunny
9°C / 22°C
Partly cloudy
11°C / 23°C
Partly cloudy
9°C / 25°C

Local postmaster back in the 1950's summed it up well... "Though you've roamed the whole world over, seen most all there is to see, There are scenes you've never dreamed of, in the stone of mystery."

You can read all there is to know about the 'Ridge' and even hear stories, but that will give you as much understanding as trying to smell a color.

They are a unique bunch of characters out there and they pride themselves on a wonderful and heartfelt eccentricity; it is something about the pioneering spirit that allowed this area to develop and many visitors become so enamored with the place that a 3 day holiday can turn into a lifetime of pleasure.

The Ridge sits on the world's richest deposits of Black Opal but that is not the only gem that Lightning Ridge lays claim to; it is one of the most welcoming, wonderfully eccentric, and 'must-see' destinations of Outback Australia.


At Lightning Ridge and surrounds, you can experience...

  • Underground scultures
  • Bottle-houses
  • Antique lamps
  • Castles
  • Astronomy monuments
  • Unique gardens
  • Hills named 'Lunatic', 'Pig' and Bald'
  • A pub crawl to 'The Pub in the Srub', 'The Glengarry Hilton' and 'Sheepyard'
  • And even tour underground mines.

And how do you find all these thing?.. look out for a colored Car Door.

Make sense? Thought will when you go though....

Lightning Ridge Visitor Information:

Getting Here:

Lightning Ridge See & Do:

  • Visit the arteisan bore baths
  • Fossick for Black Opal
  • Tour an underground mine
  • Meet a 'crazy' local

Visitor Information Centre:

Morilla Street Lightning Ridge, NSW 2834.


Telephone: 02 6829 1670

By Car:

  • From Brisbane: 736km
  • From Sydney: 750km
  • From Melbourne: 1,210km
  • From Adelaide: 1,440km

Regional Transport Services:

Accommodation in Lightning Ridge

  • Bluey Motel
    Bluey Motel
    32 Morilla Street, Lightning Ridge
    EmailWebsitePhone: 02-6829 0380
    Bluey Motel, Lightning Ridge

    Bluey Motel is located in Lighting Ridge, home of the black opal in the New South Wales Outback. An owner operated motel with 10 rooms, Bluey Motel is situated opposite the bowling greens and walking distance to shops.

    The Bluey Motel offers friendly service, fresh rooms, off-street parking, guest laundry and shady barbecue areas.

    GPS Location:-29.428316488 147.978286898
  • Chasin Opal Holiday Park
    Chasin Opal Holiday Park
    10 Morilla Street, Lightning Ridge
    EmailWebsitePhone: 02-6829 0448
    Chasin Opal Holiday Park, Lightning Ridge

    Chasin Opal Holiday Park is a lovely quiet cabin park situated in a prime location close to the bowling club and the main shopping centre of Lightning Ridge.

    Cabins are modern and are fully self-contained with linen included.

    A warm and friendly welcome awaits you the minute you step foot into this boutique park.

    GPS Location:-29.428308 147.976878
  • Crocodile Caravan and Camping Park
    Crocodile Caravan and Camping Park
    5 Morilla Street, Lightning Ridge
    EmailWebsitePhone: 02-6829 0437
    Crocodile Caravan and Camping Park, Lightning Ridge

    A privately owned and operated boutique park that offers friendly service. Crocodile Caravan and Camping Park have en suite cabins, standard cabins and on-site caravans. Most say the best camp kitchen they have ever seen which includes barbecue, pizza oven, microwave, crockery, cutlery. There is a pool, LPG refills, great showers, security cameras and the park is fully fenced in for security.

    GPS Location:-29.429207099 147.975153923
  • Fossickers Cottages
    Fossickers Cottages
    2 Morilla Street, Lightning Ridge
    EmailWebsitePhone: 02-6829 0066
    Fossickers Cottages, Lightning Ridge

    Welcome to Fossickers Cottages, the perfect place to stay, to relax and experience Lightning Ridge first hand. Meet the locals who are passionate both about their town and the black opal, the stunning gemstone that is mined from the depths of what was once a great inland sea.

    Opal Cottage is a little one bedroom cottage overlooking the old fields with an uninhibited view to the west for a glimpse of the most beautiful sunsets you might ever see. Opal Cottage has peaceful gardens where you can hand feed the birds.

    Harlequin Cottage was built over thirty years ago as a four room hut. It has grown over the years, into a cute two-bedroom cottage.

    Close to the centre of town, Fossickers Cottages, are a stones throw from every amenity in town.

    GPS Location:-29.429898 147.975123
  • Lightning Ridge Tourist Park
    Lightning Ridge Tourist Park
    44 Harlequin Street, Lightning Ridge
    Email Website Phone: 02-6829 0532
    Lightning Ridge Tourist Park, Lightning Ridge

    The Lightning Ridge Tourist Park is ideally located in the centre of Lightning Ridge within a five minute walk to a range of shops, cafes, clubs and the Aquatic Centre is next door.

    The Lightning Ridge Tourist Park offers the following:

    Discounted Rates for extended stays, Ensuite sites, Large drive-thru powered sites, Unpowered sites, Grassed tent sites, Refurbished amenities block with laundry, Camp kitchen, Free Gas barbeques, Fire Pit, Pet friendly, Vehicle wash facilities, Dump Point, Book Exchange, Sausage Sizzle and Craft mornings in winter months , Tour Booking Office with onsite pick up available, Discounts to both CCMA and Seniors Card Holders staying more than 1 night.

    GPS Location:-29.428889 147.979614
  • Opal Caravan Park
    Opal Caravan Park
    142 Pandora Street, Lightning Ridge
    EmailWebsitePhone: 02-6829 4884
    Opal Caravan Park, Lightning Ridge

    Opal Caravan Park is ideally located in a quiet bushland setting and is a three minute walk to the hot artesian bore baths which are open all day and night with free admission.

    Created with you in mind, featuring modern facilities, spacious drive through campsites for caravans or camping, en suite sites and self-contained cabins, this outback accommodation venue is bound to delight.

    There is disability access in all areas and the park is pet friendly. Also on offer is free wi-fi internet, opal fossicking, heated swimming pool, two camp kitchens with free gas barbecues and pizza oven, and tour and attraction booking service with pick-up point at reception as well as a free courtesy bus to town daily.

    There is so much to see and do in Lightning Ridge and the region surrounding it - you will have to stay more than one day!

    Where holiday dreams are real.

    GPS Location:-29.42796 147.9878897
  • Sonjas Bed and Breakfast
    Sonjas Bed and Breakfast
    60 Butterfly Avenue, Lightning Ridge
    EmailWebsitePhone: 02-6829 2010
    Sonjas Bed and Breakfast, Lightning Ridge

    Sonja's Bed and Breakfast is your home away from home in Lightning Ridge, the heart of Australia's black opal country. Sonja's is a perfect home base for a visit to the fascinating opal mining town of Lightning Ridge, on the edge of the outback in north western NSW.

    They have four self-contained units with homely furniture, comfortable beds with quality linen and doonas. Up to 10 people can enjoy comfortable accommodation.

    At Sonja's Bed and Breakfast you are just a stone's throw away from rejuvenating in the therapeutic waters of the Hot Artesian Baths. Visit John Murray's Art Gallery and other local arts and crafts, or the fascinating Amigo's Castle and Astronomer's Monument. Kangaroos, wallabies and birds are plentiful on the opal fields just a short stroll from Sonja's. Try your luck fossicking for opal, and don't forget to relax on the balcony to watch the magical sunrises and sunsets.

    GPS Location:-29.435205 147.980876

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