“Birds of The Ridge”
The further west we travelled into the heart of NSW, the more emus appeared, as we approached our first destination I was excited to see a large mob of a few dozen. I immediately pulled over and jumped out and ran over to the fence, the whole mob was staring at me and some ran in the opposite direction as I started firing off a few snaps. After a while I decided to lie on the ground for a different perspective, to my surprise the curious characters started to come towards me, it was hilarious to see them flee when I stood back up. They are so full of character, I love them, they must be one of the closest things to a living dinosaur on Earth, with their primitive looking feathers and three clawed toes.
It was the perfect introduction to Lightning Ridge which was only 40km down the track. Emus are iconic there and on the way into town we were greeted by the 18 metre-high emu sculpture named Stanley (Check out my FB page to see a photo of it). The following day we visited the artists gallery; John Murray, we were awed by seeing his unique photo realistic, yet playful styled paintings in person. He had just opened his new gallery the week prior and it was like stepping into another world, very impressive, I would totally recommend stopping by if you’re ever in that neck of the outback.
We only spend two nights at The Ridge, which was enough time to fall in love with the place & start talking about what we will do when we go back. It was easy to see why it is home to many artists, full of history, character and characters from all walks of life that have come to town to stake a claim and try their luck at mining for the precious Black Opal. Having an interest in fossicking and fossils, I was in my element, being in one of the only places on our planet that opalised fossils are found. I would also recommend seeing the fossils at Australian Opal Centre, doing a tour with Outback Opal Tours, looking for Amigo at his castle, watching the sun set at Nettleton's Lookout, bathing in the 42 degree Artesian natural spring baths (so hot!) & fossicking on the public mullock heap. Upon reflection I’m not sure how we fitted all that into 1.5 days.