Explore the spectacular, semi-desert of the state’s northwest, an area famous for fiery opals, ancient land formations and fascinating heritage. Browse the opal stores of Lightning Ridge where you can marvel at local wonders and admire the stirring inner fire that has attracted visitors since the 19th century.
About the Lightning Ridge Area
Discover rare and luminous gems, fabulous underground art caves and natural heated springs in the majestic surrounds of historic Lightning Ridge. You’ll also find plenty of activities around Walgett, from exploring heritage trails to great fishing on the beautiful Darling River.
Visit the Opal Bin in Lightning Ridge, where raw opals are polished into shimmering gemstones and rare and precious stones are on display. At The Big Opal you can venture into the mine site where opal was once mined. Use your new-found mining expertise to try your hand at fossicking.
Held in July each year, the Lightning Ridge Opal Festival is the town’s premier event, bringing jewellers, buyers, lapidary enthusiasts and visitors together for the best Lightning Ridge has to offer. This festival boasts over 150 stalls with a huge range of products including gemstones, lapidary supplies. There are also free activities and social events.
Stay and relax at the Bore Baths, where water springs from the Great Artesian Basin. Visit the Black Hand Opal Mine Art Cave for fabulous engravings carved in an underground mine. The Bottle House Museum is a former home made entirely out of bottles, a fascinating legacy of a time when building materials were in short supply.
Situated near the junction of the Namoi River and Barwon River, Walgett is a former paddle steamer port, established on the Gemini’s pioneering river trip of 1861. Follow local heritage trails and learn the history of this area. You will find more Bore Baths here, where water springs at a naturally heated temperature of 41.5 degrees.
The Darling River Run follows the course of the Darling from Walgett to Wentworth, a journey brimming with memories of Australia’s pioneering days. Walgett is the northern gateway to this journey of enthralling history, wonderful scenery and rolling agricultural lands.