The outback Australian opal mining town of Lightning Ridge is unlike any other place on Earth.
Lightning Ridge is most famous for its spectacular black opal - but 'the Ridge' (as locals call it) also has a worldwide reputation for being fascinating, friendly and a whole lot of fun.
For a start, there are the people. An unusually high proportion of residents first visited as holiday-makers - then either never left, or couldn't stay away.
It's the lifestyle that gets people. The weather's not bad either - you can escape to fine and warm days at the Ridge when it's cold elsewhere. Many residents escape from the coast, the mountains or from 'down south' to spend winter at Lightning Ridge.
There are visual experiences that can't be had anywhere else: the opal fields, the varied and ingenious miners' camps, fabulous arid-adapted Australian plants and animals, spectacular skies and an exciting range of attractions, some with a whimsical (even eccentric) local flavour.
Interested in our natural history? Click the links in blue to download information about sites where you can observe Lightning Ridge's plants, birds and geology while you're here.
And yes - it's true that in Lightning Ridge, the guy with the seat out of his pants could be the richest opal miner in town; and that if you're lucky, someone at the pub might just show you the glittering prize from their day's mining.
The Ridge is a great place to visit or to stay - come and see for yourself!
For more information about Lightning Ridge and its attractions, see the web site of Lightning Ridge Tourism Association. You'll find all you need to know, including contact information for Lightning Ridge Visitor Information Centre, which is the best source of information and advice about how to get to Lightning Ridge, planning for your trip, where to stay and what to do once you're here.