Friday, May 30, 2014

Lightning ridge – part 1



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Graham and I have just returned from a trip to Lighting Ridge with the car club.
We took the Cortina.
Now, the reason that there is a question mark for the population of the Ridge is that the population is constantly fluctuating. It can be anywhere from 2000 to 10000 residents depending on the time of year.
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and below is the reason that Lightning Ridge is so named… believe what you like!

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I have scanned our our program for each day which should enlarge if clicked on.

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off we go - Day one – Armidale to Moree

Thursday morning we departed Armidale after dropping the dogs at the kennel.

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7 cars on this trip and 13 people.
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Lunch today was at Captain Cook park in Warialda
and we arrived at Moree mid afternoon.
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Enough time for a wander around town before dinner at the RSL.
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Go west - day two – Moree to lightning ridge

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Second morning, we start from the caravan park in Moree.
A bit late getting going as some of the group had to wait for the office to open at 9am to pay their bill. So time for a second cup of tea!
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Morning tea stop today ended up being on the road due to our late start.
But, THE Flies ! They nearly carried away the biscuits and food, so this turned into a very quick stop, and it was miles before we got all the flies out of the car.
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We continued our journey turning onto the Castlereagh highway.
This is the furthest west that I have ever been in NSW and here are some of my observations!
  • it got drier and more in drought for every mile we travelled.
  • Who on earth thinks its a good idea to have sheep out west where there is no feed. They looked like poor pathetic skinny things.
  • Dead kangaroos …. hundreds of them on the side of the road. no shortage of wildlife We saw lots of alive kangaroos and emus too.
  • Littering – the roadsides where sparkly with brown glass and plastic bottles. It seems to be a tradition that you finish your drink/beer and then just lob the empty bottle out of the window!
We arrived in Lighnening Ridge at lunch time.
Met John our guide for the next few days and we started to explore the area.
Of course the Ridge is most well known for its opals. (I controlled myself and didn’t buy any). But our first stop was Bevans Cactus Garden.
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Some of the plants have been there for years.
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and my friend below was kind enough to pose while eating the fruit of the cactus..
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Our next stop was the Walk in Mine – and here is Graham in the photo below kitted out for our tour.

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The evening ended with a alfresco meal at Bruno's back in Lightning ridge.

don’t fall down a mine shaft! - day three- Lightning ridge

 

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So day three starts with a bus trip around the ridge to look at some of the claims and wonder at the way some folks live.. and those that live in the Ridge seem to love it!

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Its a very barren landscape… and the pull of the opal is as addictive as drugs or alcohol.
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Yes – you don’t have to be mad , but it helps!
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Our next stop was a visit to Amigos Castle. Which some fella has been building for years and now can’t finish because the building regulations have changed in the meantime.
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Oh and there are car doors everywhere – they use them as signs so others can find the claims. Also, the residents of the Ridge are hard to locate, therefore they don’t have a normal mail delivery. Everyone in town has to have a PO box in town.
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After our tour we took a drive north and crossed the Queensland border to visit Hebal.
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We had a drink in the Hotel, but we had lunch across the road at the general store.
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The exterior of the Hotel has been decorated by the local artist John Murray.
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Above:- The interior of the Hotel. Peter can always find someone to talk to.
and below- of course old cars always have issues….
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Our next stop was a mile off the highway at the small border town of Angledool.
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Below- is the inside of the old theatre, now in ruins.
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And while the others were dealing with another car issue (5 heads under a bonnet is better than one) – a few of us wandered through the abandoned church.
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The Anglican Diocese apparently wants to sell this off , but the townsfolk are against it. However they don’t use it and it will just rot away if someone doesn’t save it.
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Someone has left us a message in the church!

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Tonight's meal was a buffet at the Bowling club with some of the local Rotarians.

END OF PART ONE!

TO BE CONTINUed

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