Walgett Shire covers an area of 22,000 square kilometres on the black soil plains of north-west NSW and is best known for its agriculture, opal mining and tourism industries. The township of Walgett on the Namoi River is the administrative centre of the shire and has a population of 2148. Approximately an hour’s drive away, Lightning Ridge is famous for its opal fields and boasts 2282 residents. Nearby Collarenabri has a population of 654 and is a farming and fossicking district on the banks of the Barwon River. Burren Junction, population 276, is popular with tourists for its hot mineral springs. Other villages in the area include Carinda, Rowena, Cumborah, Cryon, Come by Chance, Grawin, Glengarry, Pokataroo and Sheepyards.
Walgett is located 277 km, or a three-hour drive from Dubbo. Return daily flights to Sydney are available along with bus and rail options. Flights are also available from Sydney to Moree, 214km east of Walgett.
Walgett Shire is accessible by road and is intersected by the Castlereagh and Kamilaroi Highways.
Summer 35 degrees
Winter 3 degrees
Walgett Shire has all the ingredients for a great country lifestyle – the community is friendly and relaxed, there is minimal traffic and a range of recreational and sporting activities is on offer. It is also very multicultural and there are more 50 nationalities around the Lightning Ridge area.
Many residents take advantage of Narran Lakes near Walgett and Coocoran Lake near Lightning Ridge as areas of relaxation and abundant birdlife. The Burren bore bath is also popular with locals and tourists.
The average house price in Walgett is $100,000 for a basic three-bedroom property.
There are primarily single storey timber homes in the town, with plenty of yard space for families and pets. In Lightning Ridge, the average home price is $265,000 with a range of different property types on the market. Rental properties and farmland is also available.
With the Walgett LGA located on the productive black soil plains of NSW, agriculture is the primary industry in the region with a heavy reliance on dryland farming and grazing.
Real estate, education and training, public administration, retail and health care are also dominant in the Walgett area, along with tourism and opal mining.
The Walgett area has been heavily impacted by drought in recent years. This has resulted in large changes to the total population and structure of the community, and challenging social and economic conditions overall.
There is an abundance of education options in the Walgett area, particularly options for early childhood and primary schooling. Vocational education is also available through TAFE Western.
Early education opportunities exist at Burren Junction Preschool, Collarenabri Preschool, Coolibah Kids, Koolyangara Aboriginal Preschool, Lightning Ridge Preschool, Little Diggers Preschool and Childcare Centre, Rowena Preschool and Walgett Primary Preschool (Birralegal).
Primary education includes Walgett Community College, St Joseph’s Primary School Walgett, Lightning Ridge Central School, Collarenabri Central School, Burren Junction Public School, Carinda Public School and Rowena Public School.
There is also the Bourke-Walgett School of Distance Education and TAFE Western campuses at Walgett and Lightning Ridge.
The Walgett Shire has a wide range of services and facilities including:
- Hospitals, medical centres, pharmacies and multi-purpose services in Walgett, Lightning Ridge and Collarenebri
- Dental and vet surgeries, banking facilities in Lightning Ridge and Walgett
- Libraries in Lightning Ridge and Walgett, with book exchanges at Burren Junction, Carinda and Collarenebri
- Youth centres in the three main towns, and PCYC in Walgett
- Churches in Walgett, Lightning Ridge, Collarenebri, Burren Junction, Carinda, Cryon, Rowena, and Cumborah
- An accountant in Walgett
Any services not available in the Walgett Shire are available in either Narrabri (183km / 2 hours), Moree (214km / 2.5 hours) or Dubbo (277km / 3 hours).
- Lightning Ridge Easter Festival – March/April
- Walgett District Show – May
- PJ O’Brien Memorial Race Meeting – June
- Walgett Bulldust to Bitumen Festival – August
- Walgett Charity Bushman’s Carnival – August
- Rowena Cracker Night – June
- Come By Chance Picnic Races – September
The Walgett Shire offers beautiful scenery, relaxation, recreation and revitalisation. There is an abundance of wildlife and flora on display, not to mention the spectacular sunrises and brilliant sunsets.
Places to visit include:
- Swimming pools at Burren Junction, Carinda, Collarenebri, Lightning Ridge and Walgett
- Hot Artesian bore baths in Burren Junction, Lightning Ridge and Walgett
- Aboriginal art gallery in Walgett
- John Murray art gallery in Lightning Ridge
- Opal shopping direct from the miner to the buyer in Lightning Ridge
- A range of sports including rugby league, rugby union, cricket, netball, soccer and Little Athletics
- A range of clubs and restaurants including Chinese and bistro style
For a full list of local attractions, visit: www.walgett.nsw.gov.au/tourism/things-to-see-and-do