About Lightning Ridge
Lightning Ridge was born due to the discovery of the Black Opal in the region. Some may consider Lightning Ridge an interesting place to build a town with its isolated pebbly location and a variety of weather conditions throughout the year. But those that know Lightning Ridge know the uniqueness of this town is what makes it one of the must see destinations of Outback NSW.
Lightning Ridge has a worldwide reputation for being fascinating, friendly and a whole lot of fun. A majority of the unusually high proportion of residents first visited as holiday makers – then either never left, or couldn’t stay away. It’s the lifestyle that makes them stay and some locals claim it’s the weather as well. Winter is perfect at the Ridge where you can escape the cold to fine, warm days with an average temperature of 18 degrees.
There are visual experiences that can’t be had anywhere else; the opal fields, the varied and ingenious miners’ camps, fabulous arid-adapted plants and animals, spectacular skies and an exciting range of quality attractions, some with a whimsical, even eccentric local flavour.
Of course, a visit to the Ridge would not be complete without experiencing Lightning Ridge’s opal industry. Spend some time in our opal showroom, where friendly staff will share their treasurers and knowledge and perhaps help you purchase the opal that is perfect for you.
It took a while for black opal to achieve the worldwide acclaim it enjoys today because nobody in the overseas market had ever seen the dark, brilliant form of opal mined at Lightning Ridge. Determined efforts won a valuable market for black opal, which is today recognised as the most rare and valuable form of opal in the world.
Mining in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was incredibly hard work, as miners used hand picks and shovels. Miners dug square-sided shafts, which they climbed with their backs and legs braced against the walls. Today, miners use steel ladders to descend to their work and return to the surface, and mechanical pulleys are able to take the excess earth from the mine to the surface. As you drive around town, these are visible appearing from the tops of mine shafts all around town.