5 Day Lightning Ridge Opals and History Tour
“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.
Monday 22 March - Friday 26 March 2021
Brisbane - Goondiwindi
Mon 22 Mar 21 (D)
Welcome to our Lightning Ridge adventure. We express to Goondiwindi for an interesting afternoon. We discover the region’s agricultural links to the land at a Cotton Farm and then onto a Gin to discover the process of ginning. After a fantastic introduction to the town, we head back to our hotel for our welcome dinner (lunch at own expense / dinner at hotel)
Goondiwindi - Lightning Ridge
Tue 23 Mar 21 (BLD)
We travel across the border into New South Wales and 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. You may want to visit the town’s many opal stores where you can marvel at these local wonders. We will be 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 miners camp. We finish our touring at Bevans Cactus Farm, the largest cactus nursery in the Southern Hemisphere. Grown from seeds collected from around the world, many plants in this nursery are now over 100 years old (breakfast & dinner in hotel / lunch included).
Wed 24 Mar 21 (BLD)
Today, 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 that came from the mine in this 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. The second level is a mine that has been worked for over 100 years, and all the old shafts and drives that were dug by the old timers are still there. We finish our day at the Opal Cave, to discover how the opal is cut and polished with a local opal expert (breakfast & dinner at hotel / lunch included).
Lightning Ridge - St George
Thu 25 Mar 21 (BD)
This morning we venture to the township of St George. Perched on the banks of the Balonne River, it is the perfect place to discover the local produce and stunningly fragile art. We enjoy the artistry of Kevin Taylor as you behold the Cotton and Transport Murals before having free time in town. 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, the genuinely impressive collection is the world’s only display and works have been gifted as far as the White House! This evening we discover the river on a tranquil sunset cruise, taking in the beautiful river gums, birdlife and landscape (breakfast & dinner in hotel / lunch at own expense).
St George - Brisbane
Fri 26 Mar 21 (BL)
We have a travel day ahead as we make our way back to Brisbane via Dalby where we enjoy lunch at the local club. We arrive home late afternoon from our fantastic Lightning Ridge holiday (breakfast in hotel / lunch included).