Lightning Ridge Opals and Art 2024

Home to the elusive ‘Black Opal’ and renowned for its colourful characters and fantastic experiences – the Ridge is as unique as the Black Opal itself.

6 Day Tour

Monday 6 May - Saturday 11 May 2024

Tour Cost (GST inclusive):
$2,435 per person twin share
$365 single supplement


  • Luxury Coach Travel in our Business Class Coach
  • Entry to Customs House museum
  • Guided tour of Dirranbandi
  • Introduction to Opals talk at Down to Earth Opals
  • Guided tour of Lightning Ridge and lunch with Black Opal Tours
  • Entry to SPARK
  • Visit ‘Stanley’ the Emu and John Murray Art Gallery
  • Guided underground tour at Opal Mine Adventure
  • Entry to Chambers of the Black Hand
  • Morning tea and comic tour at A Hidden Gem Bush Theatre
  • Entry to Unique Egg
  • Cruise on the Balonne River with Sandytown River Cruises, St George
  • 5 nights accommodation
  • 5 cooked breakfasts, 5 two-course dinners, 4 lunches

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: (LD)

Brisbane to Goondiwindi

Mon 6 May 24

Welcome to our 6 day tour to Lightning Ridge. We are welcomed by our friendly Blue Bus crew as we travel west towards our overnight destination – Goondiwindi. We stop for lunch in Inglewood before arriving in Goondiwindi where we visit the 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. We check into our motel with time to freshen up before dinner.

Day 2 : (BLD)

Goondiwindi to Lightning Ridge

Tue 7 May 24

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. This afternoon we arrive in Lightning Ridge. 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. We visit Down to Earth Opals, which has been mining, designing, and specialising in selling to the world one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces and top gem quality loose opals. You may also like to visit the John Murray Art Gallery. Wandering around the gallery, John’s artistic talent becomes apparent with his pieces filled with light and humour. Tonight, we are in for a treat at the Australian Opal Centre, beneath a vast night sky for SPARK. The cinematic experience is a celebration of the natural, cultural, and technological heritage of Lightning Ridges opal fields, their opal, and people. We return to our accommodation for dinner.

Day 3: (BLD)

Lightning Ridge

Wed 8 May 24

Today we have arranged a special tour with a local guide. We’ll get a glimpse into camp lifestyles and enjoy exclusive access inside Fred Bodel’s hut – the oldest miner’s camp in Lightning Ridge. We will see historic Three Mile Flat – site of the early opal miners’ settlement and the largest open cut opal mine in NSW – Lunatic Hill. Following lunch, we experience the atmosphere of an underground mine at Opal Mine Adventure. Here we’ll learn about opal mining through a video presentation and visit the showroom to view the opals of the local area.

Day 4: (BD)

Lightning Ridge Art and Opals

Thu 9 May 24

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. This afternoon, at Chambers of the Black Hand, we will be captivated by local artist Ron Canlin, who has created the most amazing paintings and sculptures 11.2 metres underground. There is the Last Supper, Archangel Gabriel and the Chinese Terracotta Warriors. The second level is a mine that has been worked for over 100 years, and all the old shafts and drivers that were used by the old miners are still there.

Day 5: (BD)

Lightning Ridge to St George

Fri 10 May 24

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!

Day 6: (BL)

St George to Brisbane

Sat 11 May 24

We have a travel day ahead as we make our way back to Brisbane, stopping for convenience breaks and to enjoy our packed lunches. We arrive home late afternoon from our fantastic Lightning Ridge holiday.