Time to catch up with old friends and make new ones...
Tour prices include: door to door pick ups (where practical), meals, accommodation and tours/entries*
Phone us for a full intinerary. Deposit required on booking.
*unless otherwise indicated. Minimum seat reservation must be reached for tour to proceed as scheduled. Tours that require a deposit include a non-refundable booking fee on cancellation.
Lightning Ridge Tour 2016
Extended Tour - 6 Days
Tuesday 17 May - Sunday 22 May 2016
deposit on booking $500.00
$1,690.00 twin share (single supp $300.00)
Day 1 Tuesday 17 May Gympie to St George (m/t, dinner)
Welcome to our 6 day coach tour to Lightning Ridge, the only place in Australia (and one of the few places in the world) where the precious and highly prized Black Opal is found. The black opal has carbon & iron oxide trace elements in it producing a very dark stone with hints of blue, green and red.
Completing our early morning pickups, you have time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Stopping for morning tea along the way, we head out to Dalby where you can purchase your own lunch. This afternoon we continue along Adventure Way to St George, and to our accommodation for the night.
Merino Motor Inn, St George.
Day 2 Wednesday 18 May St George to Lightning Ridge (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Following a hearty breakfast we make our way along the Gwydir Highway through to Lightning Ridge. 10kms out from ‘The Ridge’, watch out for the newly erected Stanley, The Big Bird. Created by local artist John Murray, Stanley is an 18 metre tall emu made from scrap metal, old Volkswagen bodies and the odd discarded satellite dish. In classic waste to art fashion, everything has been scavenged. The bulk of the materials were sourced by Stan Single, who donated the massive steel legs from the demolished Dubbo Police Station, as well as finding most of the VW bodies and parts. Upon arrival we have lunch at the Outback Resort then collect our local guide for a tour of town. With its stark and scarred landscape this town has a peculiar fascination for visitors. During our tour we’ll view an open cut mine, see Amigos Castle, (a huge Italian Style Castle built by one man), the Bore Baths, the Astronomers Monument and Coopers Cottage. This authentic miner’s camp was built in 1916 and is a genuine historical display of early pioneer living. After our wonderful day we check into our accommodation, (home base for 2 nights).
The Outback Resort, Lightning Ridge.
Day 3 Thursday 19 May Lightning Ridge (breakfast, dinner)
This morning we head across to the Walk-In-Mine to experience the atmosphere of an underground mine. We also have a tour including a video presentation and explanation about opal mining. We then visit the showroom to view the opals that came from the mines in this area with the opportunity to purchase an opal from the showroom. Next is a visit to the John Murray Art Gallery, well worth a visit. John has been kept busy adding to his mural on the outside wall of the Gallery, affectionately named "Billygoat Lane" (in reference to its original name). We now have some free time for lunch (at own expense) and shopping before an afternoon visit to the Chambers of the Black Hand. Opened in April, 2007, this is a unique tourist mine. At 11.2m underground, local artist Ron Canlin has created the most amazing paintings and sculptures. There is The Last Supper, Archangel Gabriel and the Chinese Terracotta Warriors. Ron is constantly carving new work, such as a samurai warrior so there are changes every day. 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. On this level a geology tour will give us the different strata’s opal formation - an experience not be missed. Overall, it is a very unique visit. Our last stop for the day is to meet our local opal expert at the Opal Cave. He will show us how the opal is cut and polished. Completing our fascinating day, we return to our motel with time to relax before our dinner. The Outback Resort, Lightning Ridge.
The Outback Resort, Lightning Ridge
Day 4 Friday 20 May Lightning Ridge to Inverell (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
We depart Lightning Ridge this morning and drive through to our morning tea stop in Collarenebri, a small town located near a shallow rocky ford on the Barwon River. In 1860 the Squatters Arms was established to capitalise on the increasing traffic through the area and later became famous for having been held up by Bushranger Captain Thunderbolt. We continue on to Moree where we have a picnic lunch and can take advantage of the hot springs found at the Moree Artesian Spa Baths. The hot waters are drawn from the Great Artesian Basin which underlies an extensive area of north western NSW. The Artesian Bore was constructed in 1895 for the purpose of supplying irrigation water. The water had too high mineral and sodium content, hence the public bathing area! Not only are the waters good for health problems but also for those seeking relief from the normal aches and pains. From here we drive through to our destination of Inverell and our accommodation for the next 2 nights. On arrival we settle into our motel and freshen up for dinner.
Top of the Town Motel
Day 5 Saturday 21 May Inverell (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Inverell sits on the Macintyre River and is the centre of a rich grazing, grain growing and mining area covering close to 8500 square kilometres of beautiful rural scenery. The town’s history is reflected in their buildings, an example being the Courthouse. Built in 1886, it has an impressive clock tower - a landmark seen from all approaches to the town. We head to the local Visitors Centre where our local guide joins us on the coach for a tour of the area. Following our tour we visit the Inverell Pioneer Village. This is a unique village as all the buildings featured have been collected from Inverell and the surrounding districts and represent the lifestyle and pioneering spirit of bygone days. It also has a mining display showing the district's proud mining history. Not only are local gems on display but beautiful specimens from around the world. We take some time to explore the village and enjoy a light lunch in the café. This afternoon we visit the National Transport Museum, considered one of the best museums in NSW. It hs one of Australia’s largest collections of transport memorabilia including cars, trucks, fire engines, motorcycles, tractors, bicycles, pedal cars, scooter, aircraft and other transport related items. It also boasts some of the world’s rarest motor vehicles, such as the Reliable Dayton, Moon, Diana, Turcat Mery, Bristol, Chenard Walcker and unique special purpose vehicles. Our final stop for the day is to Olives of Beaulieu where we will have a tasting and talk about the property and enjoy the garden surroundings. Back to our motel, for dinner and the night.
Top of the Town Motel,
Day 6 Sunday 21 May Inverell to Home (breakfast, lunch)
Our tour has come to an end. Today after a hearty breakfast we re-board the coach & travel to Glen Innes to pick up the New England Highway through to Warwick & enjoy a break for picnic lunches. From here we continue heading north via Ipswich & home to complete our wonderful 6 day tour of Lightning Ridge.
All itineraries are subject to change due to occasional restrictions in opening times/days of some attractions, e.g. churches, wineries etc. We cannot be held responsible for any changes due to closures, inclement weather etc.