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Blue Snoopy is a 2018 Adria Altea 402PH Sports Caravan pulled by a 2012 Nissan Navara ST Dual Cab Ute.

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10 October 2017 – Lightning Ridge NSW

As expected, it was hot overnight but the air conditioning fan made the night comfortable.  We were awake well before 7:00am.

When we ventured out of our door, it was a little cooler outside than inside the caravan.

We had attempted to book a tour to The Grawin Opal Fields with a local tour operator, Outback Opal Tours but they would not run the tour unless they had six starters.  When we phoned them on Sunday, we were the second couple to express interest but unfortunately, no one else did.  Whilst the tour was our first option, we were always prepared to drive there ourselves.

The local visitor information centre had provided us with maps so just after 9:15am, we departed.  The round trip today was expected to be around the 150k mark with the majority on the black stuff.

Heading into a remote area of the outback, we made sure that our emergency equipment was in the car.  Turning south on the Castlereagh Highway, we headed south until arriving at the turnoff for a destination on the map called Cumborah.  There was little traffic on the road but we had to share the road with kangaroo, emu, sheep, goats and cattle.  Sadly, a calf had been hit earlier in the day and lay dead on the side of the road.  There was a lot of kangaroo roadkill with the majority of the roadkill being close to where the cattle were grazing.

Passing through Cumborah (just a few houses), we headed north until arriving at a gravel road and a sign pointing to The Grawin, Glengarry & Sheepyard.  This was the home of the Grawin & Glengarry opal fields.

We left the main road and after crossing a grid, we found ourselves of a heavily rutted road.

At this stage, we had some trepidation in continuing but soon we found ourselves turning into “The Club in the Scrub – Grawin”.  This is a licenced club built and owned by the miners.  We signed in and headed to the bar where we were greeted by a lovely staff member.  Soon we had been given another map (a local one) and had been directed to their café where we ordered coffee.  We also had the opportunity to talk to some friendly locals.

Armed with the map, we decided to continue.  The road was shocking but we continued.  We stopped at a dump of opal dirt and “He” walked to the top of a road to take pictures.  The dump was massive and reminded us of the Line of Lode at Broken Hill.  There were several stopped there looking for opal.  With the temperature well over 30 degrees, we decided to move on.  Next stop was at a War Memorial that had been built by miners.  The site also had a thriving pine that had been grown for Lone Pine in Turkey.

Moving on we then stopped at the Sheepyard Inn where we stopped for home-made meat pies, a cold beer and a lemon squash.  Next stop was at the Glengarry “Hilton” hotel.  We didn’t go in.

The entire trip around this area was never far from acting mining leases.  The road runs through the middle of several opal fields and it is at these fields where black opals are found.  We were told that once you cross the grid at the start of the gravel road, you are on private land.  That probably accounts for the number of vehicles moving about with number plates and also trucks without brakes due to their age.

We loved our visit to this area and have a number of photographs to bring the memories back in the future.

Returning to Lightning Ridge, we stopped to take a picture of “Stanley The Emu”, a large sculpture built from VW car parts.  Next, we refuelled.  We estimate that with lunch, coffee and fuel, it cost us about $60 to go to The Grawin.  Had we gone on the tour, it would have cost $200 but we may have seen more and “He” would not have had to drive.  We were satisfied overall with our decision.

We did a little shopping in town (managed to buy another windmill for our garden) before returning to our caravan and more air conditioning.

Later in the afternoon, “He” setup our satellite dish.

We cooked our evening meal outside and then spent the remainder of the evening in doors with the air conditioning running.  The last couple of weeks have been quite remarkable for us with temperature as a few weeks ago we were looking at snow with the temperature around -4 degrees and now we are experiencing temperatures around the 35 degree mark.  What a change!

With the satellite dish connected, we were able to catch up on news and we were also able to watch one of our favourite television shows, “800 Words”.  “He” also got to watch most of the soccer match between Australia and Syria.

Lights out were around 11:00pm.  We left the air conditioning running until about 4:00am.

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