Things to do and find at the ridge
Many people come to Lightning Ridge for weeks at a time on holiday to fossick through the dumped material where valuable opals are sometimes missed by the miners. Fossicking for overlooked opal on abandoned mining claims is a popular activity. If you are lucky, and work hard at it, there is every chance you will find valuable opal.
Lightning Ridge is an important paleontological site, with fossils dating back to the Cretaceous period, 110 million years ago. The sandstone rock once formed the bottom of a shallow inland sea where the remains of aquatic plants and animals were preserved. The site is especially important as a source of fossils of ancient mammals which, at that time, were small creatures living in a world dominated by dinosaurs. The fossils are sometimes opalised and discovered by opal miners. Important discoveries at Lightning Ridge include the ancestral monotremes Kollikodon ritchiei and Steropodon galmani.
Plentiful crops of wheat are grown in the dry lakes surrounding the opal bearing ridges.
After a long day, you can relax in the artesian thermal pool- it is free!