The Eastern States opal festival season kicks off in Winton this year with the WINTON OPAL FESTIVAL from Friday July 8 to Saturday July 9.
Winton is a historical town located in Central Western Queensland and can be accessed by car, air, train, or bicycle. All roads into Winton are sealed so a conventional vehicle will get you there without any problems.
Accommodation is limited, so if you are looking for a motel room it’s a good idea to book ahead. There are plenty of camping grounds (free or otherwise) but it’s a good idea to make a reservation beforehand just to be on the safe side.
What you can expect to see when you attend the WINTON OPAL FESTIVAL.
The show opens with a carnival atmosphere on Friday July 8 with exhibitors, from all facets of the Australian opal industry, trading from tables, or the back of their cars, along both sides of the main street, Elderslie Street.
The show is a retail event so everyone is welcome to browse the stalls and talk to the miners, cutters, and merchants. Having so many opal dealers in one place at the same time is a unique opportunity to learn about opal and find that special piece if you’re in the market to buy Australian opal.
The weather is good in Winton at this time of the year, and while the days are fine the nights can be cool so pack a jacket and extra blankets just in case.
There are often social events around the WINTON OPAL FESTIVAL, such as the judging and presentation of the Queen of Gems Jewellery Awards which in the past has been held at the beautiful Waltzing Matilda Centre (also in Elderslie Street).
The Queensland Boulder Opal Association Inc. (QBOA) runs the WINTON OPAL SHOW so for more information visit their website at: https://qboa.com.au/
THE QUEEN OF GEMS JEWELLERY DESIGN AWARDS
With prize money totalling $11,000, The Queen of Gems Jewellery Design Awards attracts entrants from all over the world.
For more information on the Queen of Gems Jewellery Design Awards go to: https://qboa.com.au/design-awards/
OPALTON BUSH PARK
The QBOA also runs the OPALTON BUSH PARK.
The OPALTON BUSH PARK is located 123 kilometres from Winton. The road is unsealed so it’s a good idea to check on conditions before setting out.
There is camping available at the OPALTON BUSH PARK with showers, toilets and a sheltered BBQ area at a cost is $2.50 per night.
For more information on the OPALTON BUSH PARK go to: https://qboa.com.au/bushpark/
Next year, 2023, Winton will host the NATIONAL OPAL SYMPOSIUM, so if you can’t make it to the OPAL FESTIVAL this year, make sure you pencil it into your diary for next year.
The WINTON OPAL FESTIVAL is followed by the YOWAH OPAL FESTIVAL the next weekend, July 15 to July 17.
YOWAH OPAL FESTIVAL
Camping is the order of the day in YOWAH. If you’re not set up for camping you can find motel accommodation in Quilpie and attend the show from there. Quilpie is 190 kilometres from Yowah. Quilpie and Eromanga are both interesting historical Australian opal towns with plenty to see. The road from Quilpie to Yowah is suitable for conventional vehicles.
There is a caravan park in Yowah where you can get information as well as accommodation: https://yowahcaravanpark.com/
For more information on Yowah visit: https://www.paroo.qld.gov.au/visit-paroo/visitor-information-centre
LIGHTNING RIDGE OPAL FESTIVAL
The Lightning Ridge Opal Festival is held from Wednesday July 27 to Saturday July 30.
Lightning Ridge can be accessed from the coast and inland. It is a good day drive from Brisbane, or Sydney if you’re thinking about hiring a car to drive out and attend the festival.
Accommodation is hard to find in Lightning Ridge during the festival so it’s a good idea to consider that before arranging your trip. Last time we went to this show we stayed the night in BOLLEN and drove to Lightning Ridge the next day. WALGETT is another town nearby that may offer accommodation. Alternatively, camping is always a good option. It’s worth staying at the Ridge for the whole festival to take part in all the festivities surrounding the trade show.
When it comes to the Trade Show there is an outdoor and indoor venue where traders set up to sell their wares behind the Lightning Ridge Bowls Club.
For an overview of the LIGHTNING RIDGE OPAL FESTIVAL PROGRAM go to: https://lightningridgeopalfestival.com.au/
THE AUSTRALIAN OPAL EXHIBITION
The final event on the EASTERN STATES OPAL FESTIVAL PROGRAM for 2022 is the AUSTRALIAN OPAL EXHIBITION held Thursday 3/8/2022 (9am to 5pm) to Friday 5/8/2022 (9am to 4pm) on the Gold Coast.
The AUSTRALIAN OPAL EXHIBITION is held at the prestigious QT Gold Coast located at 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise.
The AUSTRALIAN OPAL EXHIBITION is a trade only event and attendees are required to register.
What to expect:
- Black Opal
- Boulder Opal
- Light Opal
- Opal Jewellery
- Collector's pieces and specimens
- Rough and rubs
For more information visit: https://austopalexpo.com.au/
The OPAL FESTIVALS provide a great opportunity to meet miners, cutters, jewellers, and enthusiasts firsthand to talk opal and share your passion for this truly unique gemstone.
TRAVEL SAFE and HAVE A GOOD TIME!