Lightning Ridge
Coach, 7 days fully inclusive

2024 $1,590 per person twin share / single supplement +$289

Inclusions:

  • Luxurious return coach travel & 6 nights quality accommodation at the Wallangulla Motel at Lightning Ridge with overnight on the way at Tamworth and the North Parkes Motel on the return
  • Hearty breakfasts & delicious evening meals in the Hotel’s Restaurant & lunches every day on the tour.
  • Fascinating day tours and entry to all attractions as per itinerary below

TOUR DATES

Sunday, 12th May 2024

TOUR DESCRIPTION & ITINERARY

Day One- Sydney to Tamworth
Board your luxurious Coach at your designated departure location this morning. A morning tea break at the M1 Service centre with time to purchase a coffee & a snack followed by lunch provided in Muswellbrook. It is an easy journey with an afternoon comfort stop mid-way to Tamworth. Accommodation in Tamworth is subject to availability. Normally we stay at the Best Western All Settlers Motor Inn where we base our 5-night stays in Tamworth. Please call Coach Holidays on your return if you would like to review our Tamworth itinerary. If Tamworth accommodation is not available alternative quality accommodation will be provided on night one.

Day Two: Tamworth to Lightning Ridge
It is an interesting journey today to Lightning Ridge. From Tamworth your route today takes you through some great NSW countryside to Gunnedah for a morning tea break & then on through Narrabri. Lunch will be provided before joining the Castlereagh Highway heading north to Lightning Ridge with an afternoon comfort stop along the way. Check in to the Wallangulla Motel for your next 4 nights in Lightning Ridge. The Motel is owned by the Bowling Club & ideally located in the centre of town, opposite the Club.  Dinners will be provided at the Club & breakfast each morning at the Motel. Your contact number at the Motel will be 02 6829 0542. Sometimes the order of the visits to the attractions in Lightning Ridge will vary subject to the local venues & weather. Your time in Lightning Ridge will include the following venues: a local town tour with our local guide on board, a visit to Bevans Cactus Nursery, the Black Opal Heritage shed just out of town, a visit to a fascinating Opal mine with the opportunity to take the brief guided tour underground. If you are not keen to go underground, there is plenty to see up top, A morning to The Grawin Opal Fields to see the miners hard at work & of course the opportunity to not only explore the local Opal stores & the John Murray Art Gallery but also your coach driver will offer to drop off & pick up in the afternoons at the local outdoor hot Artesian Spa Pool in Lightning Ridge. The waters from the artesian wells are known for their healing & therapeutic properties & are also extremely relaxing. The benefits of natural Artesian mineral waters were discovered thousands of years ago and have been used for their curative powers since ancient times.

Day Three: Explore Lightning Ridge
This morning gain some insight into the town with our local guide, John Bevan on board the coach. John Bevan is our locally born & bred tour guide in Lightning Ridge. Charles Nettleton, a prospector uncovered the opal-mining potential of the area in 1902 & the town has been attracting opal-lovers ever since The Ridge is famous for Black Opals and is recognised worldwide as the largest source of quality opals. The name Lightning Ridge is said to have originated when in the 1870s some passersby found the bodies of a farmer, his dog and 200 sheep which had been struck by lightning. A notable past resident was Paul Hogan, born in Lightning Ridge on October 8,1939. A visit will be included to Bevan’s Cactus Nursery. Started in 1966, and now encompassing two passionate generations, Bevan’s host one of the largest cactus nurseries in the southern hemisphere with approximately 2,500 young and aged varieties. Grown from seeds collected from around the world, many plants are now well over 100 years old, with the oldest being nearly 150. Bevan’s also display their black opal collection ranging from the rare black gem opal, crystal opal, grey opal and white opal to the finest quality of doublets, triplets and mosaics available in Lightning Ridge. Lunch will be provided at the Bowling Club in town. This afternoon, time permitting you will be offered the opportunity of going to the local outdoor Artesian Bore Baths. At the end of a hard day exploring, there is nothing quite as therapeutic as a long soak in the naturally heated thermal baths. The Coach driver will advise departure time from the Motel around mid-afternoon & return to pick up at the pool at about 5.00pm or as advised so you are back for dinner across at the Bowling Club by 6pm. The water supplying the Baths is rich in potassium salts & is apparently about 2 million years old & comes from over a kilometre underground maintaining a constant temperature of 41.5C which reportedly assists with pain associated with arthritis.

Day Four: The Grawin Opal Fields
If you think the “Ridge” is unique, wait until you see Grawin & the opal fields where it all began. Full of unique characters, a landscape that often resembles a moonscape, the “Grawin” is a not to be missed experience. The Grawin, located about 40 km south-west of Lightning Ridge, refers to the group of opal fields made up of Grawin, Glengarry, Sheep yard, and Mulga Rush. On the way a brief stop will be included at the Sheep yard & Community War Memorial. The memorial is a group of natural, unpolished ironstone rocks from the local environment, arranged in a roughly circular formation. Numerous dedication plaques for individuals, groups, and conflicts are attached to the rocks. There are also three flagpoles, including one for the Aboriginal flag, one for the Australian flag and one for the New South Wales state flag. Lunch will be provided at the Club in the Scrub, the Opal Miners Club. Black Opal is exceptionally rare not being found anywhere else in Australia & in only a handful of locations on the planet.  Remember this is a working mine area and as such, be careful about walking around the mining areas as open shafts and mining operations can be dangerous and, it can be viewed as trespassing. Under no circumstances dig or pickup material from the mining area without permission of the mine owner/operator as some are very protective of their sites.

Day Five: Lightning Ridge
This morning experience more of the history of Opal Mining in Lightning Ridge with a visit to a fascinating Opal mine with the opportunity to take the brief guided tour underground. If you are not keen to go underground, there is plenty to see up top. From the Mine it is only a short drive to the Black Opal Field Heritage Shed at the 3-mile Opal Field just out of town before returning to the Bowling Club where a light lunch will be provided. During your time in Lightning Ridge the Coach driver will offer the option to drive any passengers that have heard of & are keen to visit, the Chambers of the Black Hand Opal Mine Carvings located 40 feet underground in an old Opal Mine. This is not included in the itinerary of Lightning Ridge as it involves 84 steps down into the mine & 84 steps return so it is only suitable for the most mobile passengers. Be aware that some find it claustrophobic on the narrow stairs & down in the mine. The current cost in 2022 is $45 per person which is not included in the tour so payable by each passenger upon arrival at the mine that elects to visit. For others enjoy the free time this afternoon to make any last purchases from the local stores & to enjoy a soak in the Hot Artesian Pool.

Day Six: Lightning Ridge to Parkes
Today your route takes you to Walgett for a morning tea break & on through Coonamble, which is the regional hub for wheat growing and sheep and wool. A brief stop will be made next to the 25 metre painted water tower. The water tower was painted by John Murray of Lightning Ridge & Sooty Welsh in 2017 featuring Australian Pink & Grey Galahs. Lunch will be provided later in Gilgandra. The historic rural town of Gilgandra is situated along the banks of the Castlereagh River in the beautiful Great Western Plains region of NSW. Gilgandra claims to have a historical connection with the iconic bush call ”Coo-ee” when in 1915, a group of 35 men set out from Gilgandra for Sydney on the first recruiting march of World War I and called ‘Coo-ee’ at each town they passed to attract men to join them. You will appreciate the contrast from the rugged Outback country this morning around Lightning Ridge to the picturesque countryside of the Golden West of NSW as you approach Parkes & the North Parkes Motel for a relaxing overnight stay. If the Parkes Motel is not available this week, as we do base our Parkes regional tours here, then equivalent accommodation will be provided in Dubbo. If you would like to review our 5 night 6 day tour based in  Parkes please call Coach Holidays on your return for an itinerary.

Day Seven: Parkes to Sydney
A relaxed start this morning after your days of exploring. A morning tea break provided along the way normally in Orange, before lunch provided in Lithgow. Continue home via the scenic Blue Mountains & weather and time permitting a small detour via the 3 Sisters & Cliff Drive in Leura. We hope you are taking with you many happy memories of your holiday. We look forward to you joining our other coach tours in the future & we would welcome your call for further information. Thank you for choosing this holiday.

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