The road trip then continued to Burren Junction where Tiny and Leighanne ‘s caravan shredded a tyre, we were so close to Burren Junction we could taste our first wine/beer. Tiny had a unique way of changing his tyre, which I will remember. The second night camping for the group was behind the Burren Junction pub where we all had a great meal and three meats trays were won, two by Ross and one by Eddie.
When we arrived back to the camp site it was time for a camp fire, should I say looking at a yellow camp light – you had to be there. That night the temperature got down to 8 deg, great snuggling weather. The next day was a 9am departure, for a quick trip into Lightning Ridge. There was a stop at the information centre to get maps for our next adventure. We arrived at the Out-Back Resort and Caravan Park around 11am to set up camp. After everyone was set up we headed off for some quick trips. Lightning Ridge's answer to 'self-drive' tours are a great way to start your visit to The Ridge. The four tours are demarcated by colour coded numbered car doors. Along the way of the Red door tour we came across the Amigo’s Castle A life's passion... this amazing hand-built castle was a labour of love from 1981 to 2001. Amigo's was single handily built by an Italian born man who skilled himself in construction and lifted every stone into place with the aid of 44 gallon drums and wooden planks. The castle also features an art gallery by self taught artist Anita, who also took the time to tell Amigo's story to us. The next tour was the Yellow door where we visited the Chambers of the Black Hand. This involved a steep climb down many stairs to 40 feet underground to see an Egyptian chamber that has humorous hieroglyphics and is a replica of an Egyptian tomb. Atlas holds the world while Adam supports the roof of the entrance to the working mine - another feature of the tour. The Last Supper which took six months to complete and the pondering Nostradamus, which took five hours to carve, are depicted in magnificent detail and is testimony to the razor-sharp skill and patience of Ron. As the sun set on day 2, some of the group decided to go on the Green car door tour (sunset). I stayed in camp to prepare the lamb roast with corn, mushrooms, potatoes, pumpkin and fresh garlic gloves. This was cooked in the camp oven on the fantastic fire Ross had lit. It was a pleasure to have Ross join Tracey and myself for the roast dinner and a few wines. The next day we all headed in different directions around Lightning Ridge to see what the town had to offer. Coopers Cottage is an authentic abode of the early miner, built in 1916. Its historical setting embraces the living conditions of the mining pioneer. A trip to the Ridge would not be complete without a visit to the free Artesian Bore Baths. At the end of a hard day looking at the art gallery and exploring, there is nothing quite as therapeutic as a long soak in the naturally heated thermal baths. Allow the water to soothe your aches while you gaze at the starry night sky and enjoy the serenity. Bliss! After the visit to the thermal pool, Tracey had time for a trip back to the Chambers of the Black Hand where she decided to buy the earrings she like the day before. What’s a trip to an opal mine if you don’t buy some opals. I must say they do look magnificent and well worth the climb back down and up all those stairs.
We left Lightning Ridge at about 12 pm on our way to Nindigully, we stopped at the famous pie shop in the town of Hebel. I had one of the best “Pepper Steak Pie”. It lived up to the repuation of the best pies around. Then despair happened again for Tiny and Leighanne, another flat tyre on their van about half an hour from Dirranbandi. We all arrived at the free camp at the Nindigully Pub where there was a lot of grey nomads. This was the best camp fire of the trip and the saddest as it was the last night. On Monday we headed for home We had an early morning tea/lunch sitting peacefully on the banks of the Macintyre River at the junction of five major highways at Goondiwindi. It is a well-established border town. Its name was derived from an Aboriginal word Goonawinna meaning "the resting place of the birds" - and it's just the place to relax and rest a while. This is where we parted ways, and we headed off to Toowoomba and down the range back to Kallangur. As this is our 2nd trip with the club, it has been a wonderful experience making new friends and sitting around the camp fire drinking a glass or 2 of wine. We would like to thank Simon the trip leader for organising this trip and telling the longest joke I have heard about a goat. Ha ha . Till next time.