Opal Adventure September, 2012

On the 3rd September we are heading off from home and travel to Mendooran where we will stay at the free camp there for 3 nights. All going well, John & LIbby will join up with us on Tuesday 4th.

We hope to stay in Mendooran till about Thursday morning when we will head to Lightning Ridge.  We intend to stay at the Opal Caravan Park for about a week and check out the sights etc of Lightning Ridge.


Catch you out there,

PopPop & Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

Day 1 - Home to Mendooran

Left home at 10.40am and had an uneventful trip to Mendooran where we arrived at 3.30pm and have set up out in the beautiful sunshine. After setting up we just sat back this afternoon and enjoyed the sun's warmth etc.



The weather forecast is for possible frost overnight but another beautiful day again tomorrow.



We are here for 3 days and so will sit back and relax and await the arrival of John & Libby tomorrow.



Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.



Day 2 Mendooran

Sat around in Mendooran and relaxed and awaited the arrival of John & Libby who finally turned up about 2.30pm.


They then set up and we lit the choofer and then cooked a nice lamb roast in the camp oven over the fire and after a great night made our way to bed.


Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.

Day 3 Mendooran

Awoke to another glorious day and then the nasty wind picked up so we were unable to light the choofer etc and we decided on BBQ tea and as it got quite cold with the wind blowing we had an early night inside the van and off to bed.


Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.

Day 4 Mendooran to Lightning Ridge

John & Libby's van at lunch stop
Our van at lunch stop

Up bright an dearly and the wind had settled out so we decided to break camp and head for Lightning Ridge.


Headed off at 8.30am and had a nice leisurely drive to Gilgandra where we fueled up and then did a walk down the main street and bought some goodies at the local bakery and then finally headed off around 10am.


Drove through Coonamble and stopped about 53 K's out of Walgett at CAW 6 #1000 where we had a rest and also had lunch.


After lunch we plodded on through Walgett and arrived in Lightning Ridge around 2pm. We also met up with Doug Smith who is here as well for a couple of days with us. Went and booked into the Caravan Park and had a nice relaxing evening sitting outside chatting.


Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.

Day 5 Lightning Ridge

The 'Beer Can' house
Part of the 'Beer Can' House

One of the many "R.I.P. Unknown" gravesites

Grandma with her pink "BOSS" bash hat on before heading down the mine
Grandma, PopPop & Beau the Wonder Dog in the Walk in Mine





PopPop at Walk in Mine

Awoke to a great sunny morning. Decided to do some sight seeing today. The wind came up again and was blowing quite hard originally from the West and then turned to the South and was quite unpleasant.


Here they have some self-drive 'Car Door Tours' where you drive around marked roads following the directions of different coloured car doors. There are the Green, Blue, Red & Yellow Car Door Tours.


Today we did the Green and Blue Car Door Tours and also checked out the local cemetery and was amazed at how many graves were marked with just a white cross bearing R.I.P UNKNOWN upon them.


We 1st did the Green Car Door Tour and it was a real eye opener seeing all the different mining leases scattered throughout the scrub with some being abandoned and others still working. We then came across the 'Beer Can House' which is now falling down but another interesting place.


Grandma couldn’t help herself and had to go into the cemetery proper and check out some of the grave sites and came back laughing at some of the inscriptions on the headstones.


We then went and done the Blue Car Door Tour and ended up at the Walk In Mine. Grandma wanted to go in and have a look so I stayed in the car and looked after Beau the Wonder Dog, when Grandma came back out and said we can take Beau in with us as well.


So the three of us then went and done the self guided tour on this underground mine – and it was a real eye opener – something well worth seeing.


After seeing the mine and watching a video underground about the Lightning Ridge area we then completed the rest of the Blue Car Door tour and returned back to the Caravan Park sat back and relaxed for a while and then got ready and when John & Libby arrived we all went over to the Hotel which is right adjacent to our park and had dinner. We were even able to take Beau with us as we had asked earlier and they said “we can have him in the beer garden area, as long as he is on a leash and behaved it is OK as after all he is part of your family” !!!!


We had a great meal however with the southerly wind blowing the temp was quite cool so we ended up heading for the vans and inside in the warmth and watched the footy final between Bulldogs & Manly.


Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.


Day 6 Lightning Ridge

Part of 'Amigo's Castle'.

Grandma & Beau at Amigo's Castle
Another Castle
The Astronomer's Monument built by 'Polish Alex'
Corrugated Iron Church
One of the Miner's shaft access holes
Another of the many 'unusual' buildings up here
Working '3 mile' mine
Some of the many photos near the 3 mile mine overlooking the old open cut mine.

Up today and the wind had eased a bit compared to yesterday yet the sun was shining and it is a beautiful day.


Today we sat around for a while in the morning chatting with Doug and then we went and did the Red Car Door Tour and then the Yellow Car Door Tour and saw some interesting places etc.


We saw a very interesting house which is still in the throes of being built called Amigo's Castle. It is amazing what this guy has done with rocks and concrete. We also saw the Astronomer's Monument built by 'Polish Alex'. It too is an amazing structure.


All I can say about Lightning Ridge is it is “DIFFERENT !!!!!!!”


Will be watching the Footy Games on TV again tonight and then tomorrow we will head off and make our way to Dirranbandi, St. George and then Nindigully Pub where we hope to spend the night before making our way back towards home again.


Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.

Day 7 Lightning Ridge to Nindigully Pub

Stopped for lunch at St George alongside Balonne River
Warning sign re fishing
Camp at Nindigully Pub alongside river
Another view of our campsite
View from the river to our campsite
Other campers alongside the river
Photo of the pub
Fireworks mortar they use on New Years Eve

The famous Nindigully Road Train Burger - costs $60 and feeds 1 to 4 people

Woke up to a beautiful morning, packed everything away and headed off at 9.15am towards St George.


The road is pretty rough in patches and we had to go over a cattle grid that was super rough and as a result John & Libby broke the main leaf spring on one of their axles on their van. It is still able to be towed OK and they are just taking it steady and will see if they can get it fixed tomorrow in Moree.


Made it to St George around midday and we stopped and had lunch alongside the Balonne River. What a beautiful spot this is.


After lunch we made our way 45K's south to the Nindigully Pub where we struggled to find a spot as there was a camp draft competition on in the adjoining sporting fields as well as about 50 vans parked here as well.


We were finally able to find a spot down near the river and after setting up for the night went up and checked the pub out.


Very interesting place – classed as Queensland's Oldest Pub – Est 1864. Country singer Adam Kilpatrick was performing at the pub as well.  Their menu is to be seen to be believed - they have the famous Nindigully Road Train Burger which is ROAD TRAIN BURGER– which has French fries, onion rings & a selection of sauces.1.2Kg's of beef and a HUGE bun - costs $50 and will feed between 1 & 4 people. Also have the 1.5Kg 2" thick Caveman Cutlet which costs $60.00.


They also have a huge fireworks display every New Years and have a 16" mortar casing standing in the main bar - this thing is HUGE.


We had a good look around the place, took some pics and then went back to camp and had dinner and settled in for the night.


I think we will head to Narrabri and stay at a free camp there tomorrow night before making our way back to Mendooran where we will just sit back and relax for a few days before heading for home.


Catch you out there,


PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.

Day 8 Nindigully to Narrabri

Our camp at Beelera Hill Lookout

View towards Narrabri

Had a sleep in this morning and then took out time and packed up and finally left at 10am and just took our time travelling down the highway to Mungindi and then Moree where we stopped and had lunch and then said our goodbyes to John & Libby and headed on to Narrabri where we are now camped at Beelera Hill Lookout which is a lovely spot. Not marked in the CAW books etc and we are up here on our own.


Will head to Mendooran tomorrow where we will relax for the rest of the week.


Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.



Day 9 Narrabri to Mendooran

Woke to a beautiful morning with a great sunrise and a terrific view.

Had breakfast, packed up and finally headed off around 8.30am back into town, which is only a bout 5 mins away, and stopped at Woolies so Grandma could do some shopping etc.

After she finally finished her marathon shopping trip LOL we then headed off via Coonabarabran towards Mendooran.

When we arrived in Coonabarabran we stopped at the local bakery and bought some treats etc for lunch and finally arrived at Mendooran at 11.35am and the place was pretty well packed with vans motorhomes and campers, there would be about 20 of them here at present and no doubt more will come in this evening, so we set up again in the same spot we were in last week as no-one was camped there.

We will stay here for 3 nights and just chill out and relax and enjoy the place.

Had the choofer fire going last night but it got a bit too cold as the night air settled right in so we ventured inside to the warmth.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.



Mendooran Days 10 & 11

Beautiful clear cloudless skies and wonderful weather here at present

Have had a relaxing 2 days here already just chilling out, reading books and have a really laid back time.

We have one more day here, Thursday and then on Friday we intend to leave here early in the morning and head back over to Newcastle and then go to our old stamping ground at Clarence Town for the weekend where we will meet up with our other friends Phil & Ann and spend the weekend there before heading for home on Sunday.

Catch you out there,
PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

Day 12 - Mendooran to Clarence Town

Ann sitting at our campsite at Clarence Town

A different view of our campsite

Up bright and early to a cold and frosty morning, (thank heavens for the Webasto again). 

Packed up and headed off at 7.50am to Dunedoo where we bought some bread etc from the Dunedoo Bakery and also filled up with fuel at the local servo and then headed off to Clarence Town.


We travelled to Muswellbrook and took the shortcut through the Industrial Area via Thomas Mitchell Drive, and then down the New England Highway to Singleton and turned off just over the bridge and headed out through Glendonbrook Rd to Gresford, East Gresford, Vacy, Wallarobba - Brookfield Rd to Clarence Town Rd  arriving at Clarence Town around 12.30pm.


Had 2 terrific days, waking up to foggy mornings and the fog eventually lifted and we had fantastic days just sitting around and relaxing with our friends Phil & Ann and then headed for home around 10.20am on Sunday morning arriving home safely. 


We will now ready ourselves for our trip to Mendooran for the October long weeekend at the end of this month.  This will be our last trip for this year before we can head off again next year.


Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog