Lightning Ridge - "A wonderfully crazy place to visit". This is the caption on the Brochure and it certainly did not disappoint us.
|At the turn off into Lightning Ridge you see one of many old cement truck barrels - these agitators are used to wash and tumble opal dirt.|
|Ma & Pa a couple of local miners!!|
|This is the start of the RED door tour|
|Ridge Castle a private home|
|The Black Queen is a private home made from recycled materials|
|Amigo's Castle single-handedly built of ironstone. Started in 1981 and inspired by Roman ruins in northern Italy, near Amigo's birthplace.|
|Astronomers' Monument - curious to say the least! Began in 1983 by 'Polish Alex' - every surface has a message.|
|A random private dwelling|
|Bottle house, originally a miners camp|
|An old FJ Holden remains in the main street.|
|Coopers Cottage built 1916|
|Lunatic Lookout - this picture says it all!!!!|
|The Fun Bus, another miners camp|
|This Church was purposely built for the movie "Goddess of 1967" a weird art house film.|
|A few slabs of VB went into this house - on the Green tour|
|Interesting way to build.|
There are a large number of mine tours and we selected to do the "Chambers of the Black Hand" tour as this offered not only a tour of an underground Opal Mine but also over 500 sandstone sculptures which has been one man's passion for over 40 years. The carvings include dinosaurs, Buddha, jungle cats, super heroes and Egyptian chambers. After the tour you have the opportunity to admire and purchase some of the local opal in the underground shop. Even though the opal was magnificent, Hels could not be coaxed into buying one - thank goodness cause that would have blown the budget for the next 2 years!!!
|This is all you see on top of the mine which has been worked for over 100 years.|
|84 or 83 stairs lead down into the chambers - you'll need to go and count.|
|Paul was our guide, he also has his own lease|
|Typical supports used in mining operations|
|Hels favouite - Go the mighty Crows|
|At this level the walls are lined with carvings.|
|There are different sections, some painted.|
|Hels likes to rub Buddha's belly|
|Even meerkats in the African section|
|A statue of the invisible man??|
|The display area with lots of lovely opal which you pass thru on the way out.|
Hels is a fan of John Murray's artwork which we have previously seen in Birdsville and Bourke so she was excited to visit his Gallery in Lightning Ridge. We certainly we not disappointed as there was a fantastic display of his paintings and I am also pleased we do not have wall space in the caravan so Hels had to contain her purchases!!
|This was John Murray's original van which he started to tour Australia before he stopped in Lightning Ridge. He made this structure and has his artwork on the sides.|
On our last night in Lightning Ridge we ventured down to the Artesian Baths where the average water temperature is 39 degrees. The water is reputed to give relief to aching bodies and this old body certainly can do with a lot of relief!!
|The Artesian Baths|
We certainly enjoyed our visit to Lightning Ridge and will definitely come back again to explore more of the area and enjoy its quirkiness.