NSW Top Tourism Town Finalist

Welcome to

Lightning Ridge

Tiny Town: population under 1,500 residents

09:00 Fri 28 April - till - 17:00 Fri 12 May.
Members of the public may lodge only one vote for one town in each category. See Terms & Conditions.

Unique and captivating

Located in Outback New South Wales, Lightning Ridge is a unique and captivating destination that offers travellers a one-of-a-kind experience. From its renowned opal mines to its striking landscapes, vibrant culture, and friendly locals, the tiny town of Lightning Ridge delights visitors from all over Australia and leaves a lasting impression in their hearts.

Lightning Ridge lies 64km from the Queensland border and will take an approximate 8-hours to drive from Sydney's CBD. There are various ways to get to “The Ridge”, as it’s known by locals. You can drive through Dubbo, Mudgee or travel along the Kamilaroi Highway via Narrabri.

If you are driving from Brisbane, it is also an 8-hour drive. Be sure to stop at Hebel Hotel for a cold soft drink or a home-made pie across the road at the General Store, which is almost a rite of passage as you cross into New South Wales.

The custodians of our land, the Yuwaalaraay people, have welcomed a collective mix of over 50 nationalities (including Serbian, German, Swedish, Dutch and Croatian) that have found their way west, discovering a town with a strong sense of community.




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Over 80% of our community have come from outside of The Ridge, their reasons for coming here differ. Some are seeking an inclusive community, others escaping busy cities, and many in search of the elusive Black Opal.

We all have our own stories to tell on how we made this town our home. One example is opal miner Pete Cooke from the original television series “The Outback Opal Hunters”.  He explains, “I first heard about Lightning Ridge from friends and decided to stop and take a look whilst on a road trip with my Dad, and fell in love with the town straight away”.

Miner Pete smiles when quoting two of his favourite sayings:

      1. “When you find opal underground the hair stands up on your arms”

      2. “Being on opal* is the most fun you can have with your clothes on!”

* On opal is the local term for finding opal underground.

In addition to accommodation, there been more creative attractions and artwork adding to the regions colourful landscape.

You’ll find a fabulous shopping trail of Opal shops, home décor and various artworks to reflect the towns uniqueness.

It’s evident that you are now on “Ridge Time” in this town, with its friendly, colourful locals and laid back pace. What a breath of fresh air!


Two days in Lightning Ridge

"Waking up in this tranquil setting, listening to the bird song, overlooking the dam with my morning cuppa was a refreshing change to the start of the day."


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