Lightning Ridge is an absolute must visit for any trip around Australia.
We went out of our way to make sure we included it on our itinerary and are so glad we did! There is fun to be had for the whole family – here are some of the highlights of our visit.
Lightning Ridge Water Theme Park
We discovered this place by accident and what a great surprise! It’s only open during the Summer months so check before you visit. What better than a water park for the kids when you’re hot and dusty after a day in the gem fields! We visited in October and during the week it was open from 3pm (after school) until 6pm – weekends and school holidays are extended hours. Check before visiting – their number is 02 6829 0150.
They have slides, swings, a wave pool and water spraying cannons!
Lightning Ridge Olympic Pool
HEATED! I’m a terrible wimp when it comes to cold water – so it was lovely that this indoor pool is heated all year round. There is also a spa bath next to the main pool where you can relax in the bubbles and watch the kids swim – or do dramatic leaps from the diving boards. The spring boards were an absolute hit with the kids (and us!) and we did some great acrobatic moves into the water! Make sure you hear the incredible story of how the pool came to be built – a true tale of Aussie battlers!
Outback Opal Tours
There are a few ways to see the Ridge – a lot of them self drive – but after one look at some of the local ‘roads’ and we had no trouble choosing to do a guided tour for the day!
We are so glad we did – it was great value (at time of writing adults cost is $50 and kids under 5 are free) and we got to hear so many stories of the town and it’s people and history that we would have missed had we done a self drive.
Read all about our Lightning Ridge Tour here
Our kids love nothing more than rocks, digging and tools – so taking them to the fossicking piles outside the visitor centre was a whole morning activity! There is also a lovely fenced playpark next door – and the staff in the centre are a mine of information (pun intended!) on what to do around town. They also sell cold drinks and ice creams for a refreshing treat. We found lots of little souvenir opal pieces to take home and heard stories on our tour of people who had struck it rich there!
Artesian Bore Baths
Free to enter and open 24 hours a day – what better way to refresh and rejuvenate after a day digging in the dust! We visited during the late afternoon – but apparently a trip after dark is a magical experience under the stars!
Lightning Ridge Library
It rained a bit during our stay so we popped in to the local library to pass the time one morning – what a kids’ delight! They had one of the best children’s sections we’ve seen in a library with books galore, craft, a dolls’ house and rocking horse as well as super comfy chairs and bean bags. We did some Halloween mask making and had a great few hours there! Next door is a beautiful craft gallery to explore too – full of handmade local designs.
Where to stay
We loved our stay at the Lightning Ridge Outback Resort and Caravan park – centrally located for all the attractions. Check out our full review of this child and pet friendly accommodation in Lightning Ridge.
Check out our video for all the highlights – be sure to add Lightning Ridge to your Aussie bucket list plans!