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Lightning Ridge New South Wales
Black Opal Country Opal Info
Black OpalLightning Ridge is an outback Town that has its origins in the Opal mining activities in and around the district. Lightning Ridge has all services and caters for the tourist extremely well. It has good shopping for essential supplies, many Opal jewellery store outlets, and good caravan parks, hotels, Bowls Club and many other services typical of self sufficient outback towns. The Information Centre is worth visiting and is easily located on the main roadway near the entrance to the town. Maps and Tourist information is available from the Information Centre.
Opal Fields: Lightning Ridge
Lightning Ridge Opal MineThe Township is located approximately 70Klm north of the New South Wales Centre of Walgett. Travel 70Klm north along the Castlereagh Highway then turn right for a further 6Klm to Lightning Ridge.
Where to Fossick
Fossicking is mostly carried out by searching through the mine overburden dumps, most miners disregard or miss smaller pieces of Opal. Where these pieces may not be commercially useful the hobbyist sees good value. Trucks from the mines drive up onto the dumps and unload 5 or 10 cubic metres of mine tailings each time. Grawan Opal FieldPeople who noodle for a living are ever present and watch each truck load carefully as it is unloaded; as a general rule-"no Potch no Opal". If Potch is present then the load is surrounded by the avid noodler and the pile is systematically gone through in the hope to find some colour of Black Opal. The only way to find Opal is to be in the group sorting the pile of tailings; this can be competitive at times.
In Lightning Ridge camping is restricted to Caravan Parks. Some bush camping is allowed out on the fields next to the Mine Overburden Dumps; no electric power is available. You must be self sufficient to do this as there are no services in the area. View Mud MapLow Cost Camping can be obtained at Grawin, Glengarry and the Sheepyard. The Sheepyard Hotel caters for the tourist well by providing a "Do it yourself" shower heater for $2.00 per shower-this is the camping fee. Of course the usual hotel services are supplied. Similar options are available at Glengarry and Grawin. Caravan parks in Lightning Ridge have all services.
Vehicle Access
As you would expect major roadways in and around the town of Lightning Ridge are all bitumen and access for conventional vehicles is very good. Gravel roads out to the main mining areas are typical country gravel roads and can be rough at times, most bush tracks, which give access to mining dumps, are traversable by conventional vehicles driven at the right speeds. However these tracks can be rough and the construction of 4WD vehicles minimizes damage.


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