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AUSTRALIA | Friday, 16 October 2009 | Views [592]

Driving from Gilgandra to Lightning Ridge through this stunningly beautiful country with its ever changing vista of colour and wildlife was truly amazing.

We passed emus and their young.. see photos, lizards and kangaroos(which are in abundance on the side of the road) Noticing all the fantastic colours of so many different wild flowers.

Lightning Ridge is a lot bigger town than we expected. It is an old opal mining town which in its hay day was a thriving business. Back in 1988 for about ten years one of the opal fields Coocoran was actually a multi billion dollar industry. We haven't found an opal to add to our wealth.

All around town they have different car door tours ie red,blue,yellow and green.You follow whichever colour tour your driving on, where a car door painted in that colour with a number on that corresponds with your running sheet telling you what the site is.

Believe me when I tell you there are some wonderful wacky things to see.

One is Amigo's Castle which is a private home single-handily built from ironstone. It was started in 1981 and is still in progress. There are underground tunnels and dungeons leading to Amigo's mine. see photo.

Also there is Astronomers Monument which appears to be someones concrete folly and no other reason for being. Very strange indeed. see photo.

Spent quite a bit of time at the Artesian Bore Pool where the water is a consent 40 degrees. The rich mineral waters are said to have therapeutic benefits. Judging by the clientele it appears most are there after hip and knee replacements. It was a very relaxing way to start or end the day.

Drove out to Garwin which is known for its "Club in the Scrub". Dusty old town with a club/pub/golf course. There is not a blade of grass on the golf course.. see photo. Interesting little place which is getting ready for its big day Cup Day with all the fashions on the field..would love to be there for that!

Also had a drive over the border to Queensland which is only 70ks from here. Visited a small town called Hebel mainly just so we could say we have been to Queensland on this trip.

Visited a few Art Galleries and my favourite one which was John Murray he does catoonish..is that even a word..landscape out back paintings. www.johnmurrayart.com.au  

The caravan park we are staying at has an amazing turnover of tourists every couple of days vans and campers come and go. We have met so many people of all ages young and old.Our next door neighbours are even ex Mornington people now living in Canberra. It makes you wonder just how many people are transient at any one time,getting out and seeing this wonderful country we are so lucky to live in.

There are so many different caravans and campers and some huge big motor homes that are worth more than some houses. One of the more interesting ones we have seen was last night. A couple in their 60's pulled up in a dual cab four wheel drive ute. Then they threw out onto the ground a double size swag and that was it. Very cosy, but not for me thank you.

Tomorrow we are heading off down the Darling River somewhere probably around Bourke. So not sure what the coverage will be like for any updates.

more will follow.. 

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