25.10.2014 - 25.10.2014 40 °C
A slow getaway this morning after a very forgettable night of heat and serious wind gusts and noted that most of the free dust at the site had been blown away over night. Mary said there were supposed to be visitor sites in town to see but we couldn’t see anything of note as we drove out of town.
The Castlereagh ‘Highway’ proved to be a misnomer as we juddered along at low speed all 75 kilometres to Lightning Ridge. More large trees on a Savannah landscape and what grasses appeared all looked like they were already dead. Grey and lifeless grass and a lot of sheep or cattle stations along the road so I guess that farming is still happening here.
Just before entering the town we stopped to see Stanley, the 18 meter high ‘Big Bird’ sculpture set in a very visible spot beside the highway. A photo was a must – and so we did!
Arriving at Lightning Ridge we looked at one possible caravan park in town but decided on the Opal Top Tourist site that we had already booked. Everything looked new and well organised so we were well pleased. Setting up in the oppressive heat was not very pleasant but we were glad when completed.
Lightning Ridge is famous for the locality having the only known Black Opals in the world and, the piles of ‘rubble’ extracted from the opal mines gave a rather untidy appearance that was perhaps exaggerated by the arid aspect to the whole area. Apparently the name of Lightning Ridge has something to do with the ridge having sufficient metallic substance in the ground to attract lightning strikes, however, I have yet to verify this claim although it may well be true!
After a bite of lunch and lots of water to drink we had a bit of a look around LR – especially as Mary was keen on the opal shops! Spent most of her time admiring items priced over $5000 – not sure why! Not surprisingly did not buy anything at all and we ended up getting some info at the Info office to help our decisions on sightseeing. Finished off at the Bowls Club (in air conditioning and had a cold lemon squash) before returning to camp.
Had a late shower in their new ablution facility and was surprised at the up-market look (without up-market prices!).
The aircon has kept the van much cooler today so hope for a better night!