Saturday 27th March I'm on my way to Lightning Ridge. YIPPEE First stop Murrurundi where I meet up with Rob & Pam, Col & Deb. But first as I arrive at Caravan park I notice silver item behind my hubcap on the caravan.......Ooohhh No....Don't
tell me I won't be going any further. I keep calm (as much as I can) & mention to Peter from the park. Hubcap comes off & it's the cover for the wheel bearing. Ok just put it on again & all good. THANK GOODNESS. (It did come off again next day,
so gaff tape came out & no more problems for rest trip.)
Rest of trip stayed at Gunnedah & Burren Junction ( another place I can cross off my bucket list.) From Burren Junction to Walgett there was some water over the road, not deep or
dangerous. Throughout the day 7 vans & a tenter arrived. Happy hour was had with places of interest discussed.
On Thursday 5 members boarded a Tour Bus out to the real outback of Lightning Ridge. Others decided to drive themselves. Peter was
our driver, 1st stop Cumborah where he explained what the fruit growing along railway lines are. They are called "Camel Melons" and were bought out here for camels to eat as other food was scarce. Corella's eat them too. He said they have terrible taste &
these are the only 2 animals that eat them.
Sheepyard Inn was our morning tea stop. Absolutely beautiful scones, jam & cream were had by all. I could not get over the mounds of white dirt everywhere. Heaps old trucks & machinery, we were told
most still works. There was a bra tree & so many funny signs....eg..If have brakes Giveway.. at an intersection. Next stop was their Community War Memorial, this is run by volunteers & had so much memorbillia in it. Peter was saying Anzac Day 2015
there was 900 people there.
Lunch was to the Glengarry Hilton. Must say glad I wasn't driving.. 2 reason's. Roads very very rough & I would have gotten lost. Chicken Snitzel & Fish & Chips were excellent. Our next stop was to a Mullock Heap
where we had a fossick. Yes we all found a piece of opal, which was exciting. Also saw a shaft working. When bucket was full came to top & emptied into a truck. Never know he might be sitting on a fortune.
Last stop was to The Club in the Scrub
where we all had a drink & Dug....YES correct spelling....put on a video of water over the road near the club in the 2011 floods. Heaps & heaps of carp were swimming in it. Water came down from Queensland & because the land is so flat took 2 years
for it to all subside. A couple of our members were mesmerized with it. Peter then dropped us back to camp & we all agreed it was a fabulous day. Peter was a wealth of information & most of his jokes were funny. He said Lightning Ridge had had nearly
years worth of rain already....hence so many mozzies & no long happy hours due to it.
Next day we opted to do the boring jobs, laundry, wash floor then morning tea followed by a Blue Door Explorer Tour. I had to wash my floor due to when I
opened my door last night a green frog jumped in & wasn't house trained so everytime I went to pick him up he wee'd. On the tour was Bevan's Cactus Nursery - there was very vicious ones & also ones with colourful flowers. That afternoon a few of us
went for a swim. Water was cold but Riley, grandson of Kimberley & Phil who's 12year old stayed in for hours. That night the rodeo was on. Heats for kids, amateur & the pro's.Was enjoyed by most.
Saturday saw the start of the Easter Festival.
It was easy walking to. They had the BIGGEST Bakery Truck I have ever seen. Nice food too. Stalls selling opals, they are an expensive jewel. Men were also shovelling dirt & filling a bin 20 metres away, some were not fit. Went to the John Murphy gallery.
He does brillant work. That afternoon a drive to Nettleton's First Shaft Lookout. There is a Stone Labyrinith which you can walk around, Beer Can House & an Opal Tree, which was made by, let's say he is a typical character of Lightning Ridge. That night
the Karooke at the Pub near us could be heard till late & we are all hoping it's not on tomorrow night. I could even sing better. Also the Fireworks were on & we all had a front row seat from the Caravan Park.....excellent.
Sunday morning saw
Mel & Suzie ( Bush Poet's) entertaining us with kids doing thong throwing, egg & spoon races (fresh not cooked eggs) funny. Even had an egg throwing competition. Float parade was small with one young girl, 16 years, dressed up in a Dinosaur outfit.
Trevor was brave enough to say hi. Sunset we went to the Lookout again for happy hour & watch sunset. There was heaps people there, sunset average but company good.
Monday saw 8 members drive out to Glengary Hotel to meet up with Peter a friend
of Mick & Stella's who owns a working opal mine. After lunch next stop was his camp. It's a huge shed with mod cons thanks to solar, a generator & gas. He even has his floor covered with rugs to give impression of carpet. He mentioned to us that when
he arrived the mice had been everywhere, even eaten 3 cakes of soap. We then ventured to his mine where he explained how everything worked. Mick & Phil were brave enough to venture down the vertical metal ladder, 24 feet down (no thank you) Upon surfacing
they had big smiles & lots of little treasures. Riley especially was "Stoked." A great day...Thank you Peter.
Others visited the Bore Baths....extremely hot & no I didn't go in. Swimming complex was closed, which was disappointing. They have
an olympic size pool, diving pool & a massive theme water park. Great for the kids & young at heart. Then a visit to Amigo's Castle. The Italian born did not have any luck finding opal. Instead he skilled himself in construction & single handedly
lifted every stone into place with the aid of 44 gallon drums & wooden planks.
For our last day at Lightning Ridge 8 went to the Chambers of the Black Hand. After decending 12 metres ( 85 stairs ) we were in this big cavity where a shop was
set up. Our guide then explained that Ron Canlin was not successful in finding opal (seems to happen a lot ) & one day started carving into the rock with a butter knife. As you wander through the many chambers you see The Last Supper, Batman, Shreik, Polutitions
& Sport Personalities. Riley was kept busy finding all the "Where's Wally " figures.
That night we all went to the RSL for tea. A great meal & company. In the morning we all said our good byes with some heading south, some west & rest
east. A great week had at lightning Ridge Easter Festival.
Kimberly said what a wonderful experience a trip to Lightning Ridge was. We were lucky to share our trip with our grandson Riley. A couple of stand outs "Chambers of the Black Hand &
rodeo. Phil loved going underground in Peter's mine. Riley's only disappointment was....He thought there would be heaps of Lightning at Lightning Ridge.
Report by Bev.......I made it, I made it, I actually visited Lightning Ridge.