Visit Australia’s Lightning Ridge in 2023
When you are a tourist visiting Australia for the first time, you probably look at the major destinations like Sydney and Melbourne and browse to see where you will find the best beaches which are in abundance by the way. However, when you love adventure and the Outback there is no better town to explore than Lighting Ridge.
It is in north-west New South Wales and certainly would not make it to the top ten destinations to visit in Australia in 2023. However, we would love to give you the top 10 reasons why you should visit Lightning Ridge in 2023. When you want an authentic and genuine outback experience this is where you should go.
It is an experience that the domestic Aussie traveller should add to the bucket list too. It is the type of town that attracts dreamers and eccentrics. This is the town that you see in your minds-eye when you watch old Western movies and Clint Eastwood riding into town on horseback straight to the only hotel to visit the tavern.
1. Lightning Ridge Opal Festival
If you could arrange your itinerary to attend the Opal Festival, be assured it is well worth it. It is an annual event that lasts four days at the end of July. Thousands of visitors travel to Lightning Ridge for this event that includes a Jewellery Competition IOJDAA Trade Show, Opal Queen Ball and Opal and Gem Festival. Tourists, lapidary enthusiasts, rock hounds, miners, wholesalers, buyers and jewellers get together for great networking and great deals. Tick off your calendar for the end of July 2023 for this festival. More than 200 stalls ranging from lifestyle products, tools and gemstones are included in this festival.
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2. John Murray Art Gallery
Entry to the John Murray Art Gallery is free and here you can peruse small and large original paintings and artwork hosting art souvenirs, cards, posters and reproductions as well.
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3. Amigo’s Castle
The Amigo Castle is a hand-built castle that was built from 1981 to 2001. It is even featured on Better Homes and Gardens and one of Lightning Ridge’s most televised and famous attractions.
4. Artesian Bore Baths
Another free to visit and must-do in this quaint town. It is open daily and even night-time and you will experience the bliss of the heated thermal baths while enjoying the serenity of the surrounding area.
5. Big Opal Underground Mine Tour
Consider that Lightning Ridge is the home to the black opal and there is no better way to experience it by visiting a genuine working opal mine. The tour includes the opal history, fossicking and souvenir shop.
6. Chambers of the Black Hand
It is an experience you will never forget! It is an Egyptian chamber or rather a replica of an Egyptian tomb with a large number of humorous hieroglyphics.
7. Historical Society and Heritage Cottage
It is a 1915 Cottage Hospital Gallery and a 1932 Miner’s Cottage which are deep-seated in local history, souvenirs and books.
8. Opal Bin
When you love opal, it is a must-see as you will find the best and largest collection of opal in Australia. Here the opal is carved and designed in unique, interesting and classic jewellery in gold and silver.
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9. Lightning Ridge Bowling Club Bistro
Lightning Ridge Bowling Club is one of the prime social and sporting places where the town’s people love hanging out. Every year they host a Black Opal Classic tournament when you want to add it to your calendar with huge prizes. It also includes 10 widescreen TV for sports lovers and sports betting opportunity. In addition, you can enjoy live music, dine at one of the finest restaurants in town with the bistro serving the best foods from various cuisines including Australian and Chinese.
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10. Bevan’s Cactus Garden
The Bevan Cactus Garden is the world’s third-largest nursery with more than 2500 plants. A large portion is from Australia while others are grown from seedlings that come from around the globe. Here you will find plants that are well over 100 years old and even a 150-year-old plant.
Are you convinced that our top 10 reasons to visit Lightning Ridge in 2023 are valid? We are sure you do agree, therefore when driving through our beautiful country, drive via the goldfields and Echuca either nine hours from Sydney or the 14-hour drive from Melbourne.
When long drives are not your thing, fly to Dubbo and enjoy a four-hour drive with a rental car or local bus or tour. Lightning Ridge is that one town with a magical allure that even though if you initially planned to stay only a day, might cause you to spend a lifetime.