If your planning a trip Down under to Australia you might want to visit some of the annual opal shows.March to July are the mild months in the opal fields so it is a very pleasant time to visit Australia.If you plan to visit the South Australian opal fields you can drive from Adelaide up through opal mining towns to visit Ayers Rock (Uluru).
Many opal dealers visit the Gold Coast Opal show and then they exhibit at the Lightning Ridge and Yowah opal festivals from Mid July to August.
Lightning Ridge is Home of the Black Opal. The opal show runs annually at the end of July. Each year the dates are slightly different so check out there official page for details -http://www.lightningridgeopalfestival.com.au/
Every second year the Opal jewelry awards are held during the opal show. This promises to bring lot more opal wholesalers to the show and the entire town gets involved in the show.
There is also an Opal queen Ball for ladies over 18 to enter.
The whole town supports this opal festival and The Opal jewelry competition. It usually runs just before the Lightning Ridge opal show around the middle of July.
Opals from the Koroit opal fields are present as well as many types of Boulder opal from Queensland. This is a truly unique festival that is a must do for opal lovers.
General run at the beginning of August, this exhibition is held in Australia’s play ground, the Gold Coast.It is different atmosphere compared to beauty of the Outback. The beautiful beaches, theme parks and restaurants make it a fun filled event for everyone.
This is Trade show held in Winton which is in central Queensland.
This show has all Gemstones of Australia from Opals, Sapphires, Emeralds and Gold nuggets. It usually runs early to mid August.
March is Good time to visit the opal fields of Coober Pedy as temperature is mild but in summer it is too hot to visit.
There are also other opal fields close by that you can visit including Mintabie, Andamooka, and drive up from Adelaide to Alice springs and view Australia famous Ayers Rock.
Before you start on a Fossicking trip in Queensland, you need to purchase a Fossickers permit.Permits available in Winton and Quilpie from Tourist centre.
As of July 2012 the fossickers fees are only $6.85 for 1 month or $43.25 for 6 months
Preparation is essential before you start a trip as the Queensland outback can be harsh.
First prepare your vehicle so it is in good condition and check spare tires and add extra tires if you have space. Additional water carrying tanks are essential even in the mild months.
Personnel items must include, insect repellent,sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, boots, gloves and first aid kit.
Camping gear to be double checked and cooking utensils.
Even in the mild months fires can be a problem so clear an area around your camp fire just in case the winds blow fire onto vegetation.
Fossickers can go on private land but you need owners permission.
Fossicking in National Parks or conservation parks is not allowed.
The Boulder opal fields lie within a 300 km-wide belt of deeply weathered Cretaceous sedimentary rocks known as the Winton Formation. This extends north-north-west from Hungerford on the New South Wales border, west of the townships of Cunnamulla, Quilpie, Longreach and Winton, to Kynuna, a distance of about 1000 km.
Declared fossicking areas include:
Ideal to speck for opal fragments or the Yowah nut
Boulder opal can be specked in opal dumps and old workings in shallow ground
A camping permit is required if staying overnight.
These old opal mining areas have been worked out but best time to speck is after rains a s the rain will wash dust away and make opal colour visible.
So when it rains even the locals do specking sit doesn’t last long as soon as wind s blow dust it is hard to see opal colours.
Opal tunneling is not permitted ,that is you cannot dig tunnels as it is also dangerous
Safety first and enjoy the experience of finding your own opal.
Link to Fossicking in Queensland.
For the first time, in September 2014 a company has organized opal tour of Australian opal fields.
This trip is titled Opal Air safari.
The tour will start from Sydney and fly to Broken Hill
Two nights at the home of Black opal Lightning Ridge in new South wales
Two nights at Winton in Queensland.
Two nights in Coober Pedy with famous underground Holmes.
And one night each at White Cliffs, Ayres Rock, Quilpie,Yowah
September is an ideal month to visit before the hot dry summer temperatures
To travel by road would take months to visit these areas as it is thousands of miles apart plus many roads are four wheel drive and not that comfortable to drive in.
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