Photo bar long2cA rare opportunity to join the search for fossils from the Age of Dinosaurs at Lightning Ridge!

110 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the land around a great Australian inland sea. Giant long-necked sauropods, ferocious theropods and diminutive plant-eating ornithopods shared this world with everything from crocodiles and turtles to tiny mammals, yabbies and snails. Lightning Ridge was a forested floodplain at the edge of this ancient sea. Today, the Ridge is famous for its opal and its fossils, and is the most prolific dinosaur fossil site in NSW.

Searching for opalised fossils is a privilege usually available only to opal miners and scientists. Now, you can share incredible moments of discovery as the Australian Opal Centre and the Australian Geographic Society invite you to join the search for fossils on the opal fields.

Six days packed with discovery
Guided by leading experts, you’ll go to special locations on the opal fields of Lightning Ridge, seeking new specimens for the Australian Opal Centre’s collection of opalised fossils. Your discoveries will further establish this collection as a world-class scientific and cultural resource. You will enjoy diverse activities and opportunities, including the extraordinary sights, sounds and hospitality of the opal fields. Download the registration form for more information on activities.

ELIGIBILITY and DATES: Anyone 18 years and over is eligible; no experience is required. In 2017 we will be taking 2 separate groups of 20 volunteers, on Monday 7 August to Saturday 12 August 2017 then Monday 14 to Saturday 19 August 2017.

YOU WILL BE LED AND GUIDED BY: Dr Phil Bell, a palaeontologist and dinosaur specialist at the University of New England. Phil has uncovered and studied dinosaurs around the globe including Argentina, Canada, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan.  Dr Elizabeth Smith, a palaeontologist, artist, author and world authority on Lightning Ridge’s fossils. Jenni Brammall, manager of the Australian Opal Centre and a palaeontologist, gemmologist, designer and opal addict. And other brilliant team members!

COST: $2,200 per person (incl. GST); return digger $1,980. Includes all activities and most meals; excludes accommodation and transport. This is a scientific and fundraising venture for the Australian Opal Centre and Australian Geographic Society.

Participants are welcome to pay in instalments – a great option for students and anyone on a tight budget. Talk to us and we’ll help arrange a payment plan that suits you.

TO SECURE YOUR PLACE: Complete and send in your Registration Form and deposit; participants will be selected on a first comes, first served basis. Click HERE to download a registration form.

Want more information?

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Email