Lightning Ridge Things to Do

  • Coopers Cottage
    Coopers Cottage
    by balhannah
  • Coopers Cottage
    Coopers Cottage
    by balhannah
  • John Murray Art Studio
    John Murray Art Studio
    by balhannah

Best Rated Things to Do in Lightning Ridge

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    COOPERS COTTAGE

    by balhannah Written Jun 16, 2010

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    Coopers Cottage
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    Coopers Cottage, built in 1916, is the home of an early miner, named Bert Cooper who was one of Lightning Ridge's earliest residents.

    It was open, and ADMISSION IS FREE, so we wandered in.

    A little bit about it.......................

    A Miner by the name of Bert Cooper was born in 1907, the year the town was surveyed. He was known as "Father " Cooper, this was because his wife called him that, not because he was a man of the cloth. A shearer by trade he went opal mining for pocket money.
    He lived in Coopers cottage for approx 40 years.

    Open from 11am to 5pm ....7 days a week.

    FREE ENTRY

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    WATER THEME PARK

    by balhannah Updated Jun 17, 2010

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    Lightning Ridge water theme park

    In Summer, when Lightning Ridge hits some high temperatures, then there are several places you can go to cool off.

    If you have children, then the Water Theme park looked pretty amazing, children would just love it!

    These are some of the Water features in the complex...............

    A wading pool with a swan slide, turtle slide, frog slide, a buccaneer island with 3 slides and 2 water spraying cannons and 4 water curtain mushrooms.

    A Butterflyslide and a lily pad trail. Free floating Crocodiles.

    A spiral water slide and a nautical shell spiral slide entering into a 1.1 meter pool.
    A 25 meter wave pool, and a wading pool with an octopus where on each of the arms are swings (three different kinds to accommodate children of all ages).

    An Outdoor Beach Volleyball court.

    really it is "Paradise for children!"

    ADMISSION IN 2010....Monday to Friday $3.50 per person
    Weekends, Public Holidays & School Holidays ....$5.50 per person

    OPEN....From Monday To Friday 3pm to 7pm
    Weekends, Public Holidays & School Holidays 11am to 7pm

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    • School Holidays

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    CHAMBERS OF THE BLACK HAND - PART 2

    by balhannah Updated Dec 11, 2013

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    Part 2 of the Tour, and this was the amazing part.

    Let me tell you about this 100 year old mine where approx. 20 metres underground, subterranean tunnels open into vast chambers. I think you will be just as amazed as my husband and I were, when we saw the first walls decorated with carvings and paintings by artist Ron Canlin, the owner of this unique attraction. Not only that, this tour is informative and entertaining, [miners tend to have humorous yarns to tell]

    The carving level is 11.2 metres underground, so I guess you could call it an underground Art Gallery.

    The Owner ...Ron Canlin spent 10 years chiselling the sandstone walls into more than 400 works of art, probably a lot more than that by now!
    Canlin was an opal miner before deciding he'd turn his hand to stone carving when he wasn't digging for his fortune. He has had no Art lessons, which is the incredible part. All the work is carved in the sandstone with a butter knife & spoon.

    The first level is 11 metres underground with images carved and painted in the sandstone walls and pillars.
    There is something for everyone, including the children. .....

    See the Last Supper, a nine foot Archangel Gabriel, Gollum and other characters from Lord of the Rings, Australian flora and fauna, Nostradamus, Adam, Jack Sparrow, Shrek, Puss in Boots and Donkey, Terracotta Soldiers from China, a Samurai warrior and more.
    The gallery has a huge Buddha, its very own Egyptian Chambers including a sarcophagus and Nephretiti. There is he Jungle Room has lions, tigers, chimpanzees and elephant plus the cute little meerkats.
    For the children, there are the heros like, Superman, Shrek and the Simpsons, and a lot more.

    He did the work alone, then eventually decided to open it up for the public.

    We walked around several times, each time noticing a different sculpture, finishing off with a FREE Tea & Coffee.
    Opals are for sale, at what I thought was pretty good prices. It is the only underground Opal shop in Lightning Ridge.
    You can pay by credit card and cash on the tour.
    Details are on the previous tip for opening hours, etc.

    This is a mind - boggling display of under ground art, just simply amazing, one not to be missed.

    A MUST SEE!

    COST FOR THE FULL TOUR IN 2010.....$25

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    3 MILE OPEN CUT MINE @ LUNATIC HILL

    by balhannah Written Jun 16, 2010

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    Lunatic Hill Open cut mine
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    Following the YELLOW CAR DOOR TOUR We came across the big Open cut mine on Lunatic Hill.

    There are not many open cut mines in Lightning Ridge, as........
    because of the scarcity of opal, it means it is not usually viable to mine by open-cut methods, which involve excavating millions of tonnes of earth.
    Where open cutting does occur, the area has usually first been mined by underground methods, and here we saw that, and you can too if you look at the photos. The holes are where old underground mines were originally. I love the pretty colour!

    The largest open cut opal mine ever worked in New South Wales is Lunatic Hill Open Cut, at the Three Mile field, Lightning Ridge, it is now preserved for a place in the History books.

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    CHAMBERS OF THE BLACK HAND TOUR - 1

    by balhannah Updated Dec 11, 2013

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    Our Miner guide
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    What a funny name for a tour..............Well, name aside..........
    THIS WAS ONE EXCELLENT TOUR!

    The tour is in two parts, you can do either a part of a full tour, all the full tour.

    We chose the full tour.

    We entered the Mine down a steep stair-case, what goes down, must come up [ a steep climb up at the end of the tour] but do not worry, they have a one man lift if needed.
    We arrived in a large room where there were showcases of Opals for sale. This is where we paid for our tour.

    We then headed with our guide, through more tunnels, with him explaining all about mining and chasing the elusive Black Opal. It was very interesting.

    Bookings are essential.
    FREE PICK-UP FROM ACCOMMODATION

    Tour time from November to March are 10.30am full tour and 3pm full tour
    March to October 31st - are 10.30am full tour - 1.30pm carvings only and 3pm full tour
    Tour Cost is $25.00 per adult - students $10.00 each for the first 2 and under 6 Free of charge.
    Tour takes approx 2 hours in a comfortable 16 - 18 degree temperature all year round.

    Wear closed in flat shoes and a light jumper, they give you a Hard Hat to wear.

    Most importantly............REMEMBER YOUR CAMERA!

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    JOHN MURRAY ART GALLERY

    by balhannah Written Jun 16, 2010

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    John Murray Art Studio
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    John Murray is one of my favorites. I just love the way he paints Australian scenes, the humour he paints, his paintings put a smile on my face!

    John Murray came to Lightning Ridge as a city artist, and to me, he has really embraced the Outback

    At John Murray Art Gallery we saw vibrant paintings, full of colour, just like the Australian Outback is.
    Inside, the gallery is full of large and small original paintings, reproductions, posters, cards and art souvenirs. Paintings are of everyday situations, human traits, landscapes & places that are a familiar part of life in the bush. He tends to paint the more arid regions of Australia.
    They are so well done, no wonder he is one of Australia's leading out back artists.

    All I can say is..........Pay this studio a visit, take your time and have a good look. If you want to buy originals you can, and you can also buy cheaper prints which he has signed. Cheaper again are greeting cards and fridge magnets, so there is something for every one.

    I couldn't walk out without something, I wonder if you can?

    OPEN..... Weekdays 9am - 5pm
    Saturday 9am -2pm & Sunday 9am - 1pm

    FREE ADMISSION

    NO PHOTOS ALLOWED

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    ARTESIAN BATHS

    by balhannah Updated Dec 11, 2013

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    Artesian Baths

    On a cold day, what could be better that sitting in the warm/hot Artesian Bore Baths. These are so nice, I think probably good for ailments, my body just relaxed in the warm water.

    They say the baths are the best remedy for soothing aches and pains and can help to alleviate arthritis.

    The Great Artesian Basin is approximatley two million years old and this is where the water comes from. Natural pressure sends the water to the surface through an artesian bore and an even temperature of about 40deg is maintained.

    They are open 24hours a day, all year round, so at night time, you could be sitting in the warm water enjoying the stars on a clear night.
    Change rooms and Toilets are there, and best of all.......They are FREE

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    • Backpacking
    • Eco-Tourism

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    GEM GARDENS

    by balhannah Written Jun 17, 2010

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    Entrance to this part of the Garden
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    The Botanic Gardens at Lightning Ridge are a little different. This is because, one whole area is dedicated to Shrubs/Tree/Flowers that grow in the Outback.

    These are the ones that can help you to survive if you are lost in the bush, or the ones that the Aboriginal's use for food. You can actually survive by eating their fruits, roots, flowers or other parts.

    At the start, I took the time to read the information board, then followed the winding path through the gardens. By each Shrub, there was more information.
    I found it very interesting, especially as I have some of the edible plants growing in my home garden, and didn't know I could eat them!

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    FREE FOSSICKING

    by balhannah Updated Dec 11, 2013

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    Trying to find some Opal at the Free area
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    Located next to the Vistor Information centre in Lightning Ridge, is a FREE FOSSICKING AREA

    It pays to remember, that you are not allowed to just go into anybodys mullok heaps, even though they look deserted, they are a Miners claim. Miners can be very angry people, and they do not like people who are "ratters", they are people that "Rat"..."Rob" their claims.

    This FREE AREA is so visitors can have a bit of fun.
    Dumped Mullock is fairly regularly dumped in an area here. You can go your hardest trying to find Opal here.

    Our tour guide told us, that since December 2009, in 6months, over $3000 worth of Opal has been found here, I even found a very small piece myself.
    I didn't have the right tools, had to scratch around using my hands and shoes, so if you are thinking of doing this, bring a pick and a water spray, this way you can spray the rock to see if you have Opal. I also believe, you can hire the necessary equipment from the Info Centre.
    It is hard work as it had formed a very hard surface.

    For a bit of fun, you can stick your head through a "standing Miner & his Wife" that has been painted by John Murray.

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    John Murray Art Gallery

    by thedouglas Updated Sep 21, 2008

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    John's art hangs in some of the biggest board rooms of Australia and also my bedroom.

    John Murray's art is unique - and, whilst it has been copied, nobody captures the essence of the bush meets people theme that John does! His Gallery holds original artwork for sale - including a huge almost mural like pic, which has been hanging waiting for the house to be built for it! - limited edition prints, framed and unframed prints, cards etc.

    John's paintings frequently depict human and animal parallel situations and everyday activities and folly. His work has been described as photo-realism, and is loved for its uniqueness, the humour and whimsy, and there is something for everyone to identify with in his work.

    John has been at The Ridge since 1983, and he opened the gallery in 1992. Absolutely unmissable if you visit The Ridge.

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    Artesian Bore Baths

    by thedouglas Updated Nov 9, 2006

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    Blissful for weary bodies
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    These baths are situated at the end of Pandora Street - and are open around the clock, with no charge for entry.

    The water is at a constant 42C degrees, and there is a fairly regular pilgrimage of people to the baths, both for the sheer bliss of the water, and the more therapeutic benefits for ailments such as arthritis and rheumatic conditions. The warm, relaxing and therapeutic waters and general atmosphere of these pools is lovely. Water is available in permanent supply, and mineral waters bubble up from up to 900 metres below the surface.

    The baths were an original favourite camping site for the pioneer miners - imagine how good these waters must have been for weary bones and muscles all those years ago! You can still see many opal miners relieving tired, aching muscles in the baths after a hard day's work.

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    LIGHTNING RIDGE SCENERY & HOMES

    by balhannah Written Jun 17, 2010

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    Miners home
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    If you come to Lightning Ridge, then you really must leave the main town area, and get out to where the Miners and their Camps/Humpys/Homes are.

    This is where the real Lightning ridge is, and I am sure you will be amazed at what the Miner's live in, especially if you have never been to a Mining area before.
    Old Buses, Old Caravans, Lean to sheds, Quirky homes built with bottles & cans, all set amongst a dry landscape full of Mullock hips, it certainly is a very different!

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    LIGHTNING RIDGE BOTTLE HOUSE

    by balhannah Written Jun 17, 2010

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    Bottle house museum

    Another unusual building in this town, is the Bottle house, it looked to be made out of hundreds of bottles. People around here sure know how to recycle!

    Originally a miner's camp it now houses a collection of bottles, mining artifacts, rocks & minerals & More.

    Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm 7 days
    ADMISSION IN 2010...... $5 adults, Children free

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    VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE

    by balhannah Updated Dec 11, 2013

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    Lightning Ridge Visitor Information centre

    At some time during your stay here, you should visit the Visitor Information Centre.
    We went to the Centre 1st, and found out about what tours and sights to see.

    We also bought a map for $1, which gave us information on the "Car door self-drive tours"

    The woman behind the counter was helpful and knowledgeable. From her, we found out this Town works together.
    The tours all cost the same price $25, you just have to choose which one to do. They both do nearly the same route, they can't vary much here.
    Meals were the same. We paid $10 at the Hotel, and if we went to the Bowls club, it was $10 as well.

    Toilets are located here.

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    OUTBACK OPAL TOURS

    by balhannah Written Jun 16, 2010

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    Outback opal tours bus
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    This the name of the company that we did a tour of Lightning Ridge with.

    There are two companies, and they both go for similar times and see similar sights, there really isn't much different they can do.

    On our tour, we did see a raw opal being cut and polished, but then we were left in the shop to look and hopefully buy. This happened four times on the tour, way too often we all agreed...........Just how much money do they think we have, .....this is what one lady said.
    On the plus side, at least we were not pressured to buy.

    The tour took us on three of the 'car door' drives.
    It was disappointing that with our driver [Peter] we could not get out to take photos. We realized that different days there are different drivers/tour guides, some better than the others. We did not have the best, and on comparing notes with fellow travellers that did this tour, did not do everything advertised, such as the fossicking for opals.

    The inside of the Bus was nothing fantastic.
    Afternoon was included, help yourself to tea & coffee, and biscuits.
    Make sure you have the money in cash to pay when the driver arrives to pick you up, as they do not have Eftpos or Credit cards.
    They do have a Free courtesy pick up from you accommodation.

    Cost in 2010 was $25

    Times are ....9am - 12pm and 2pm - 5pm

    I feel that it was a waste of time, we would have been better off saving our money.

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