Emus. Sheep. Campfires. Eggs. Opals. Lots and lots of cider to help with the trauma of Week One.

That about sums up Week Two.

We left from Foxbar Falls (Amiens, QLD) a few days late, after the horror story of Week One, with our next destination being Lightning Ridge. Turns out the anticipated 6 hour trip ended up being more like 8, after we discovered we nearly lost the bikes off the back of the caravan and had to stop for some emergency repairs. From that day, we’ve been travelling with the bikes on our bed during transit which isn’t ideal, but at this stage I’m just thankful we still HAVE the bikes!

When we pulled into Lightning Ridge, we finally got to take our first “touristy” photo! Woohoo!

We stayed at Carinya Station, which I knew was a good choice from the moment we arrived and were greeted so kindly by the hosts, despite arriving after dark.

The following morning, one of the friendly neighbours asked how I was and if we had settled in, and I responded by bursting into tears, and telling her the saga that had been our life for the last week and a half. I did manage to laugh a bit through the tears, and a hug – they told me I should write a book!

Fresh air and sunshine was the agenda – after being stuck inside so much, we were ready to do some exploring! Rather than paying money for our stay, we were asked to contribute to jobs around the station, which was a wonderful opportunity for all of us, including the kids.

From checking water troughs (and watching HUNDREDS of sheep and emus “race” across the road!!), to feeding pigs and collecting and stamping eggs, the kids were so involved. And many of the grey nomads were happy to take the kids under their wing, which was so lovely, as we all miss the grandparents back home. The sense of community was just what we needed as we recovered.

Evenings were spent by the communal campfire, and I learned that many grey nomads are quite hilarious! So many stories to tell! And with a bit of cider in me, I ended the days feeling quite relaxed and happy – so THIS was how it was meant to be!

Then it was time for what we came here for – OPALS! We decided on going to Opal Mine Adventure, where we were able to go underground, followed by some fossicking. We didn’t make our millions, but we did have fun trying! And I did actually find a small (non-valuable) opal, which was a bit exciting! The guy who worked there also gave us a handful to take home with us, I was very impressed with how he explained things to the kids and made sure they left feeling happy and with an opal in hand!

The Red Car Door Tour (and Amigo’s Castle) was the agenda for the following day, and the castle that was built by hand by an old guy who is referred to as Amigo (who still lives in a little home behind the castle). I won’t ruin the story, but it was really interesting, and a bit sad that it was never finished. I really would have loved to meet Amigo, but it wasn’t to be – he sounds like such an eccentric old man, much the same as I imagine myself being an eccentric old woman one day, ha!

After all the drama of Week One, we went a bit crazy with touristy things in Lightning Ridge, to cheer ourselves up. But I absolutely don’t regret fitting in the Chambers of the Black Hand tour on our very last day – WOW! It was like another world down there, and we all loved it! From Tony Abbott to Wonder Woman, the dedication it took to create this (from a butter knife and fork!!!) is incredible. We got to see him at work, too – and Miss 4 even got to have a turn “helping” which made her feel very special. I suppose you’ve got to do something when your opal mine doesn’t really have much opal 😉

Luke then gifted me with a beautiful opal pendant, which I will forever adore! They really are such beautiful gems, and what a wonderful reminder of this time of our lives.

From there, it was SNOW TIME, and we began the journey to Jindabyne! Stay tuned for more on that!

In the meantime, there’s a few more photos – just in case that wasn’t already enough!

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