Hot Soak

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Fri 7 Nov 2014 23:57
Lightning Ridge - Hot Soak
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Lightning Ridge is not for the fainthearted, there are a few tarmac roads, pubs, shops and opal retailers but for the most part it is the land of the opal miner; dry, hot, barren and in many ways what comes to mind is a lunar landscape with the odd ‘once carefully owned’ tree. So it was quite a surprise to be taken to a hot pool.
Lightning Ridge Hot Pool 
The sign reads: At the end of a hard day fossicking and exploring, there is nothing quite as therapeutic as along soak in the naturally heated thermal baths. Allow the water to soothe your aches while you gaze at the starry night sky and enjoy the serenity.
The water found in bore baths such as Lightning Ridge, Burren Junction and Walgett comes from the Great Artesian Basin and is approximately two million years old. Natural pressures sends the water to the surface through an artesian bore and it maintains a constant temperature of forty one and a half degrees centigrade. The bore supplying these baths are only a few of hundreds being rehabilitated throughout the Great Artesian Basin conserving this precious natural resources for future generations.
The Lightning Ridge open air Artesian Baths were opened in 1962 are free of charge and open 24 hours a day 7 days a week – closed for cleaning Monday, Wednesday and Friday between ten and midday. The Bore Baths are a popular meeting place for locals and visitors to bathe, relax and socialise.
The artesian water flowing from the bore contain reputedly therapeutic qualities that relieve aching muscles. The water flows at nine litres per second.
The Colonel shows us the way. But how and why...... in the middle of nowhere.......... 
The first of the Information Boards around the pool, then a cropped map with yellow arrow – We are here.
The Great Artesian Basin, located within Australia, is the largest and deepest artesian basin in the world, stretching over 660,000 square miles, with measured temperatures ranging from 30–100°C. The basin provides the only reliable source of fresh water through much of inland Australia.

The Basin underlies 23% of the continent, including the states and territories of Queensland (most of), the Northern Territory (the south-east corner of), South Australia (the north-east part of), and New South Wales (northern part of). The basin is 9,800 feet deep in places and is estimated to contain 15,600 cubic miles of groundwater or approximately 8,700 million megalitres of water, supporting 200,000 people and underpins $3.5 billion of production annually. The Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee (GABCC) coordinates activity between the various levels of government and community organisations.





What are the problems? 

  • Flows from bores and artesian pressure have declined drastically.
  • Nearly half of NSW’s 1,400 artesian bores no longer flow
  • There are 7,000 km of open bore drains in NSW.
  • Up to 95% of water from open bore drains is wasted through evaporation, seepage and breakouts.
  • Approximately 150,000 tonnes of salt enters the landscape annually.
What’s being done?
  • Artesian bores are being capped to control the water flow.
  • Bore drains are being replaced by underground pipelines.
  • The NSW and Commonwealth Governments’ Cap and Pipe the Bores Program provides technical and financial assistance for landholders to install piping systems.
  • An allocation of $20 million over five years has been provided to offset landholders costs.
Capping and Piping Artesian Bores.
  • Saves water and reverses the decline in artesian pressure.
  • Reduces soil salinity.
  • Conserves biodiversity and helps control feral animals.
  • Enables better land and stock management.
  • Improves the Great Artesian Basin’s sustainability. 


The second Information Board.
The water comes from the Great Artesian Basin and is approximately two million years old! Natural pressure sends the water to the surface through an artesian bore and it maintains a constant temperature of 41.5 degrees Centigrade.




  • Water flowed continuously at twenty litres per second.
  • It passed through the pool and combined with water from another bore to flow along one hundred kilometres of open drains, supplying water to properties in the area.
  • Four hundred and fifty million litres was wasted annually through evaporation and seepage.
  • Water outflow meant four hundred tonnes of salt entered the landscape each year.
In 1997 local landholders, the Lightning Ridge Miners Association and the community, Walgett Shire Council and the NSW and Commonwealth Governments worked together to find a solution.
  • The bores are capped and no longer flow continuously.
  • 170 kilometres of underground pipes now replace open drains.
  • Water is not wasted through evaporation and seepage.
  • Water flow at the bore baths has been reduced, saving 11 litres per second.
  • The equivalent of 450 Olympic pools is saved annually.
  • Used water from the bore baths is piped to opal fields to separate opal from waste rock – saving even more water!





Our third Board

The Great Artesian Drive is a destination route of discovery embracing seven distinctive and unique Hot Artesian Spa facilities amidst the tranquil settings of North New South Wales. Explore the Great Artesian Drive and experience the warm and friendly country hospitality along with a multitude of attractions and therapeutic hot artesian pools which are dappled throughout the North West.
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The Artesian pools showcase the diversity within the region so why not savour the difference between each town, you could relax in the peaceful simplicity of the Pilliga Baths or soak up the opal skies of Lightning Ridge; perhaps a unique visit to the friendly country towns of Boomi and Mungindi and a must-see is the state-of-the-art $7 million dollar Health &Wellness Centre at the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre.
A different way of saying the same thing: Ancient in its creation, the Great Artesian Basin is one of the largest artesian freshwater basins in the world. Covering an area of over 1.7 million square kilometres the basin lies underneath approximately one-fifth of the Australian continent, extending from Cape York to Dubbo. Artesian water is underground water confined and pressurised within a porous and permeable geological formation and here in the North West the waters are generally thirty eight degrees Centigrade – great to soak away those aches and pains and rejuvenate your body!
Kamilaroi Aboriginal people used the natural springs from the Great Artesian Basin as a source of water in times of drought and European settlers realised the potential of accessing flowing waters when bores were drilled into the basin, near Bourke in 1878. The ensuing reliable water supply paved the way for developing rural communities, a valuable stock industry and enhancing the prosperity of agricultural production within the rich black soils of the North West NSW.
The sign said: Immerse yourself in the flowing, hot, mineral-rich Artesian waters and seek the many reputed advantages of taking the waters: Rejuvenate and re-hydrate your skin; Assist with detoxifying your body’s lymphatic system; Replenish the body’s cells; Relax muscles and ease joint pains – renowned benefits for those with muscular and arthritic problems; Provide weightlessness and ease rheumatic complaints; Assist in the management of sciatica and nerve troubles; Provide analgesic and sedative effects – great for those who have trouble sleeping; and provide relief of symptoms of psoriasis, eczema and other common skin complaints. Need any more reasons to journey our way?
Travel the great Artesian Drive and be pleasantly surprised as you discover the jewelled havens of the North West!
Nothing for it then but to immerse and come out a new woman........
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Very hot and very relaxing but no nymph came out, nice to watch the butterflies though.











                     INCREDIBLY HOT