Lightning Ridge ... Opals and Art

“The Ridge”, a place that abounds with colourful characters, barrels of dreams, opportunities and experiences! The unique locals pride themselves on a wonderful sense of eccentricity, reminding us that the Australian spirit is not a thing of folklore.

6 Day Tour

Monday 30 May - Saturday 4 June 2022

Tour Cost (GST inclusive):
$2,095 per person twin share
$295 single supplement

Inclusions

  • Guided tour of and tasting at Coolmunda Organic Olives
  • Entry to Customs House museum
  • Guided tour of Dirranbandi
  • Guided tour of Lightning Ridge
  • Entry to the Cactus Sanctuary
  • Guided underground tour and fossicking at Opal Mine Adventure
  • Entry to Chambers of the Black Hand
  • Entry to Opal Cave
  • Entry to A Hidden Gem and John Murray Art Gallery
  • Entry to Unique Egg
  • Cruise on the Balonne River with Sandytown River Cruises, St George

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: (D)

Brisbane to Goondiwindi

Mon 30 May 22

Welcome to our Lightning Ridge adventure. We join our fellow travellers and head towards our destination, Goondiwindi. We stop at Coolmunda Organic Olives for a guided tour and tastings. Coolmunda Olives take great pride in nurturing an organic crop for the freshest, tastiest and healthiest product. Located near Inglewood, Queensland’s olive growing capital, the climate is perfect for producing plump, juicy olives. We continue to Goondiwindi where we visit Customs House Museum. A border customs point before Federation, this authentically restored building contains a magnificent cottage garden and a rich and colourful collection of mementos of yesteryear.

Lunch at own expense | Dinner at accommodation

Day 2 : (BLD)

Goondiwindi to Lightning Ridge

Tue 31 May 22

From Goondiwindi, we head to the small town of Thallon to see the incredible Silo Art. Titled ‘The Watering Hole’, the mural portrays the district to perfection as it features the Moonie River, an amazing sunset and the area’s agricultural base. It also recognises the members of the indigenous community by the inclusion of a scarred tree. We head to Dirranbandi. Following lunch at the Dirranbandi Hotel we collect our local guide for a tour of the area. We will hear all about the most famous of its cotton fields, Cubbie Station, as well as get a personal insight into the cotton industry by visiting one of the local cotton and grazing properties. We continue to Lightning Ridge for time at leisure. With its stark and scarred landscape, this town has a peculiar fascination for visitors. Famous for magnificent opals, the town is home to the unique black opal, a rare and luminous gem mined from the surrounding plains. It is the only place in Australia (and one of the few places in the world) where the highly prized opal is found. You may want to visit the town’s many opal stores where you can marvel at these local wonders.

Breakfast and dinner at accommodation | Lunch at The Dirran Pub

Day 3: (BD)

Lightning Ridge

Wed 1 Jun 22

Today, we are joined by a local guide for a town tour to see Amigos Castle, a huge Italian style castle built by one man, the Bore Baths and Coopers Cottage, an authentic miner’s camp. We then visit Bevans Cactus Farm, the largest cactus nursery in the Southern Hemisphere. Grown from seeds collected around the world, many plants in this nursery are now over 100 years old. Next, we experience the atmosphere of an underground mine at Opal Mine Adventure. Here we’ll earn about opal mining through a video presentation and visit the showroom to view the opals from the local area. We will be captivated by Chambers of the Black Hand where local artist Ron Canlin has created the most amazing paintings and sculptures 11.2 metres underground. There is the Last Supper, Archangel Gabriel and the Chinese Terracotta Warriors. We will then visit the Opal Cave, to discover how the opal is cut and polished with a local opal expert.  

Breakfast at accommodation | Lunch at own expense | Dinner at Bruno’s Italian Restaurant  

Day 4: (BLD)

Lightning Ridge Art and Opals

Thu 2 Jun 22

This morning we will make our way to the southern entrance to Lightning Ridge to see Stanley the Emu, an 18 metre high sculpture by artist John Murray. This morning we visit an off-grid art camp originally built by acclaimed local artist John Murray. At A Hidden Gem, we are hosted by award winning entertainers, Mel and Susie, known as Australian Champion Bush Poets and Yarnspinners. We enjoy a delicious morning tea and a comic tour of this amazing property. After lunch in town, we visit the John Murray Art Gallery. Wandering around the gallery, John’s artistic talent becomes apparent with his pieces filled with light and humour. It’s clear he likes to make people smile and enjoy his creations! We have time at leisure for the rest of the afternoon. You may like to visit one of the many opal shops in town or go out to experience the Lightning Ridge Artesian Bore Baths.

Breakfast and dinner at accommodation | Lunch included      

Day 5: (BD)

Lightning Ridge to St George

Fri 3 Jun 22

This morning we venture to the township of St George, perched on the banks of the Balonne River, where we join Sandytown River Cruises for an enjoyable tour along the river, taking in the beautiful river gums, birdlife and landscape. Next, we visit the Unique Egg. In an unassuming brick building, you will come across the humble emu egg, carved into a stunning, illuminated piece of art. Created by Steve Magaritis, this genuinely impressive collection is the world’s only display and works have been gifted as far as the White House!

Breakfast and dinner at accommodation | Lunch at own expense

Day 6: (BL)

St George to Brisbane

Sat 4 Jun 22

We have a travel day ahead as we make our way back to Brisbane. We arrive home late afternoon from our fantastic Lightning Ridge holiday.

Breakfast at accommodation | Packed lunch included