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Published January 1st 2013
Camp under the stars with free hot springs
In the middle of the Australian outback you will find Lightning Ridge made famous for the discovery of the black opal and in middle of Lightning ridge - the Opal Caravan Park.
Opal caravan park
To be honest we chose this caravan park and as we had recently taken out membership at the top 10 tourist park and decided that it would give us a discount to stay here.
We read some reviews and they were all glowing, however we were somewhat sceptical about anything in Lightning Ridge which could be a fantastic tourist park.
Our RV in the distance at the opal caravan park
We looked up Google maps and it appeared to be a dry desolate place to park with a set of toilet blocks on red dirt. Perhaps it was because we weren't expecting anything special at all that we were so pleasantly surprised.
Grassy areas amongst the desert
Upon arrival we realised that the red dirt that we had seen on Google maps was in fact lovely smooth pebbles. All of the sites were perfectly flat making for really simple arrival in a campervan or RV.
In the centre, there is a lovely grassy area around the communal kitchen which is very well planned and prepared for, including a microwave, refrigerator toaster and kitchen sink.
The toilet block was spotlessly clean and beautifully modern.
Mark met us upon our arrival and could not have been more friendly offering advice about things to see and do and even booked us in the next morning to go on a mine tour with a free courtesy bus to collect us.
Grassy communal kitchen area
We settled in and to our delight discovered that they even had a small swimming pool with outdoor Balinese gazebo, perfect for mum and dad to have a drink on the comfortable armchair and table whilst watching the children.
Pleasantly coolled off we decided to explore a little and discovered that there is a fossicking patch down the back with Opal. Armed with hats, buckets (a quick trip up town to buy a rock pick) we found quite a selection of potch and a few pieces with nice colour in them. The kids loved the sign as we left that announced "you have been noodling".
Sitting back at night, the weather was beautiful and we could watch the stars over dinner outside sharing stories with other fellow travelers and the occasional kangaroo that hopped by.
Well stocked kitchen area
Later at night and just across the road about 200 m up is the hot artesian bores. This became a nightly ritual for our family; departing the caravan park at around 10 PM walking to the hot springs, bathing and then a lovely midnight stroll back under the full moon. What could be more idyllic.
You'll find the Opal Caravan Park on Pandora road on the outskirts of Lightning Ridge, New South Wales