Must See and Do on a Lightning Ridge road trip in New South Wales

Lightning Ridge, New South Wales - image Keith Halford
Lightning Ridge, New South Wales - image Keith Halford

Most people have heard of Lightning Ridge and know it is THE destination for NSW opals. But did you know there are other attractions around here for a roadtrip? Also that Opals are Australia’s national gemstone? 

The Lightning Ridge area has plenty of free camps and bore baths, too. Even a free camp with a bore bath!

Keith Halford from our Facebook Group, I Love Camping Australia Wide said he “Loved our stay in Lightning Ridge! So many things to see and do here.” 

Here’s his list:

The Chambers Of The Black Hand

A must-see, says Keith. The underground carvings forty feet underground in a claim. They have been worked on since early days of mining in town.

Created by local opal miner Ron Canlin – you’ll see native animals, dinosaurs, even references from the Bible and Lord of the Rings! You’ll view this on the Yellow Car Door Explorer Tour.

The Coloured Car Door Tours

Another great thing to do are four self drive car door tours exploring the sights of Lightning Ridge. Painted and numbered doors from wrecked vehicles mark your way on the roadside. Stop into the Lightning Ridge or Walgett Visitor Information Centres for the brochure.

For instance on the Green Car Door Explorer Tour you’ll see the Stone Labyrinth (pictured below) and Nettleton’s First Shaft Lookout as well as Nebia Hill, Wild Orange Tree, Opal Tree and the Beer Can House.

The Clubs In The Scrub, Grawin NSW

Take the Orange Car Door Tour to see three Clubs in the Scrub. Grawin is where the opal mining all started in 1905.

The Grawin Opal Miner’s Club (The Club in the Scrub) has sporting events, raffles, good food, community events, cold beer AND a golf course! They say the greens aren’t the colour green, but the course is well designed and maintained. Best of all it is a free camp.

(From CAMPS: Also visit the classic Glengarry Hilton for dinner, another pub about 3 km away. Pre-ordering your meals is recommended. You can free camp here, too.)

Also located in Grawin, you can camp opposite The Sheepyard Inn. This pub has cooked meals, groceries, gas, tourist information and a pool! There is even fresh bread.

The Bottle House

Innovation plus built this interesting miner’s camp in the 1960s. The bottles are from the tiny border town of Hebel, in Queensland. The Hebel Hotel is another free camping spot and there’s a caravan park in town, also. The Bottle House is now a museum. 

Amigo’s Castle

You’ll find an interesting site on the Red Car Door Explorer Tour. Amigo’s Castle was built by one man, starting in 1982. You can be king and queen for a day or take a personalised tour with Amigo. (It is also pet friendly.)

The Cactus Nursery

One of the largest cactus nurseries in the southern hemisphere, and home to the world’s only opal mining cactus farmers. Two generations have worked the must see and do since it began in1966. They say they are grown from seeds collected from around the world, many plants are now well over 100 years old, with the oldest being nearly 150!

And check out opals

The Blue Car Door Explorer Tour takes you on The Opal Mine Adventure. Finally fossick, take an opal mine tour, visit the shops, soak in Hot Baths and more!

Where else can you camp?

Keith said, “We stayed at the Opal Caravan Park, which was great!” All together there are four caravan parks in Lightning Ridge. You can also free camp and soak in healing artesian waters, open 24 hours at Goodooga Bore Baths. Lorne Station is budget priced, and not far from The Ridge.

Find all these free and budget campsites and caravan parks in the CAMPS guide booksnew CAMPS Pendium boxed set and CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE App.

A BIG thanks to Keith Halford for his tips and amazing photos! 

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