Coonabarabran countryside, Tourism New South Wales

Population 2605

Coonabarabran is located on the Castlereagh River and is nestled in the foothills of the stunning Warrumbungle Mountain Range. It is known as the 'Astronomy Capital of Australia' as it has some of the clearest skies in the country, and is the gateway to the striking scenery of the Warrumbungles.

Visitor Information

Cnr Newell Hwy and George St; (02) 6849 2144 or 1800 242 881

Nearby national parks

  • Warrumbungle National Park

    At Warrumbungle National Park rocky spires emerge from the heavily forested valleys and peaks, and gorges slice deep into the landscape....more

  • Goulburn River National Park

    At the heart of this national park is the Goulburn River, flanked by a deep gorge of sandstone cliffs honeycombed with caves. Wide sandy...more

  • Wollemi National Park

    Wollemi National Park, the second largest national park in the state and its largest wilderness area, is a primeval landscape of precipitous...more

Nearby towns

  • Gilgandra

    A historic town at the junction of three highways, 'Gil' is the centre for the surrounding wool and farming country. The 1915 Coo-ee March...more

  • Coonamble

    Coonamble owes its existence to the discovery of artesian water in the area in the 1890s. On the Great Inland Way, the route via Coonamble...more

  • Gunnedah

    At the heart of the Namoi Valley, Gunnedah is instantly recognisable by the grain silos that tower over the town. The area is abundant with...more

In Town

Information centre The Australian Museum worked with Warrumbungle Shire Council to produce the unique Diprotodon and Megafauna Exhibition. The diprotodon is the largest marsupial that ever lived and the skeleton on show was found in a creek bed 40 km east of town in 1979; daily 9am–5pm; Newell Hwy.

Crystal Kingdom: unique collection of minerals, including zeolite crystals and fossils, from the Warrumbungle Range; 8am–5pm Oct–Apr, 9am–5pm May–Sep; Newell Hwy; (02) 6842 1927. 

Newcastle Hats: hat factory outlet store; 8am–4.30pm Mon–Fri; Ulan St; (02) 6842 5864.



Warrumbungle National Park Forested ridges, rocky spires and deep gorges coupled with excellent camping and visitor facilities have made this one of the state's most popular parks. Highlights include the Breadknife, a 90 m high rock wall, and the Grand High Tops walking trail with fabulous views of ancient volcanic remains. The park is outstanding for rock climbing, but climbing is prohibited on the Breadknife and permits are required for other areas (contact visitor centre). The Crooked Mountain Open Air Concert takes place here in Nov. Guided nature walks are conducted during school holidays or by appt. 35 km W. There were major bushfires in this region in 2012, so check with park rangers to find out what is open before visiting.

Warrumbungle Observatory: night-sky viewing of the stars through computerised telescopes; 841 Timor Rd; 0488 425 112; 10 km W.

Siding Spring Observatory: Australia's largest optical telescope, with a hands-on exhibition, science shop and cafe. No night viewing but open during the day; 9.30am–4pm Mon–Fri, 10am–4pm Sat–Sun; Timor Rd; (02) 6842 6255; 27 km W.

Goanna Tracks Motocross and Enduro Complex: a range of tough motocross courses; Kurrajong Rd; 18 km NW.

Pilliga Pottery: terracotta pottery, showrooms and tearooms in an attractive bushland setting, pottery workshops, horseriding and guided birdwatching tours; Dandry Rd; (02) 6842 2239; 34 km NW.

Sandstone caves: formed by natural erosion of sandstone, these impressive caves are not signposted, so visitors are advised to seek directions from the visitor centre; 35 km N.

Pilliga Forest: 450 000 ha of white cypress and ironbark trees, with plains of dense heath and scrub. It is an excellent habitat for koalas, which can be spotted from signposted viewing areas. Also scenic forest drives and walking trails; maps available from the visitor centre; 44 km NW.

Sculptures in the Scrub: 4 magnificent sculptures that overlook Dandry Gorge, with picnic and camping facilities and a walking track; via Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre, Wellington St Barradine; (02) 6843 4011; 50 km NE.

Local wineries: open for tastings and cellar-door sales; contact visitor centre for details.

Eco-friendly activities around town

Star-gazing - Coonabarabran 20 km

Because of its combination of clear skies, altitude and distance from city lights, Coonabarabran is the astronomy capital of Australia. There are various ways to explore space here, from simply gazing skyward with a pair... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Amber Court Restaurant

Located at the Amber Court Motor Inn, this restaurant offers homestyle country dinners to satiate big appetites.... Find out more

Blue Wren Cafe

After you have finished browsing the wares at the pottery, pop into the cafe for a morning or afternoon Devonshire tea, served on homemade pottery and featuring homemade jams. If the wood-fired oven has been fired up,... Find out more

Campsites around town

Hurleys Camp (walk-in and bush camping) 27 km

Sleep beneath the imposing monolith of Belougery Spire at this walk-in campsite, accessible from Pincham carpark. Named for famous Australian photographer Frank Hurley, this is a popular spot for walkers and climbers.... Find out more

Camp Blackman camping area 27 km

This is the big, main camping area in the national park, with 70 sites (32 with power), hot showers, gas/electric BBQs and a public telephone. Many of the park’s walking tracks start a short drive away, and there... Find out more

Camp Walaay camping area 27 km

It’s not far from popular Camp Walaay to the many amenities of Camp Blackman. There are 5 spacious camping areas here that can fit up to 200 people; however, the road isn’t suitable for camper trailers or... Find out more

Camp Pincham camping area 27 km

It’s 200 m from the Pincham carpark to the camping area, one of the original Warrumbungle campgrounds. It’s a good place to use as a base for walking to the Breadknife and Grand High Tops. There’s a... Find out more

Balor Hut camping area (walk-in camping) 27 km

This old walkers’ hut is at the base of the Breadknife and Grand High Tops, and is accessible via a fairly strenuous 6 km walk from Pincham carpark. The hut sleeps 8, but you’ll need to bring everything with... Find out more

Camp Wambelong camping area 29 km

Camp Wambelong is about 1 km past the visitor centre, and is close to the Split Rock, Grand High Tops and Mt Exmouth walking tracks. There are 30 sites here – if you’re in a large group you’ll need to... Find out more

Dows Camp (walk-in and bush camping) 29 km

Dows Camp is situated between the Grand High Tops and Mt Exmouth, at the junction of Bluff Mountain Trail and Western High Tops. It’s a long walk from Pincham carpark – campers will need to be self-sufficient... Find out more

Ogma Camp (walk-in and bush camping) 29 km

Ogma Camp is at the junction of the West Spirey Creek Trail and Western High Tops, between the Grand High Tops and Mt Exmouth. It’s a walk-in campsite, accessed via the Pincham Trail and the Grand High Tops or West... Find out more

Bush camping walk-in sites 29 km

Find out more

Danu Camp (walk-in and bush camping) 30 km

It’s a long walk to Danu Camp from either Pincham, Split Rock or Burbie Canyon carparks. The camp is between the Grand High Tops and Mt Exmouth, on the Western High Tops. Campers must be self-sufficient with food... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

John Oxley Caravan Park 1 km

A large council park with good facilities, this place is conveniently located on the Newell Highway close to the town centre. It is ideal for an overnight stay.... Find out more

Gilgandra Caravan Park 75 km

Located alongside the highway on the northern side of the Castlereagh River, this budget-priced park is set on an impressive expanse of lawn with large shady trees. Enjoy the pool, cook a barbecue or take your dog for a... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Acacia Motor Lodge

Modern, spacious four-star accommodation is available in 18 units of various sizes, from spa units through to two-bedroom family units. There is a good licensed à la carte restaurant at the lodge, or guests can... Find out more

Amber Court

Situated on leafy surrounds, Amber Court is a popular choice and an excellent base for exploring the Warrumbungle National Park. There are 21 ground-floor units, each sleeping a maximum of six guests, with a licensed... Find out more

El Paso Motel

Located a short walk from the centre of town and close to the racecourse, astronomy centre and showground, El Paso Motel offers convenient accommodation in a range of ground-floor suites (with parking at the door, even... Find out more

Pilliga Pottery Old Schoolhouse

This old schoolhouse has been renovated with an architect’s eye, creating a novel retreat surrounded by 11 old gum trees. Light infused, spacious and appointed with fabulous timber details and features –... Find out more

Rest areas around town

North Gowan Rest Area 8 km

8 km N of Coonabarabran (L) or 110 km S of Narrabri (R)

Large area adjacent to the highway. Limited shade.

Hickey Falls rest area 26 km

55km NE of Gilgandra (L) or 39km SW of Coonabarabran (R)

Just off the highway among some large trees.

Oxleys Crossing rest area 30 km

75km SW of Gunnedah (R) or 31km NE of Coonabarabran (L)

Just off the highway in the scrub behind the parking bay.

Tooraweenah rest area 40 km

39km NE of Gilgandra (L) or 55km SW of Coonabarabran (R)

Adjacent to the highway at the turn-off into town.

Yaminba rest area 50 km

52km N of Coonabarabran (R) or 66km S of Narrabri (L)

Adjacent to the highway among a few trees.

Pilliga rest area 66 km

66km N of Coonabarabran (R) or 52km S of Narrabri (L)

Just off the highway surrounded by scrub.

Meridian rest area 73 km

27km SW of Gunnedah (R) or 79km NE of Coonabarabran (L)

Just off the highway among a few trees.

Red Bank rest area 76 km

63km W of Tamworth (R) or 13km E of Gunnedah (L)

Among a few trees adjacent to the highway on the banks of a creek.

Gilgandra park area 77 km

At Gilgandra

Under shady trees at the oval on the west side of town via Bundy St.

Collie East rest area 90 km

22km W of Gilgandra (R) or 63km E of Warren (L)

Adjacent to the highway among a couple of trees.

Pilliga No. 2 rest area 93 km

95km N of Coonabarabran (R) or 23km S of Narrabri (L)

Secluded among trees just off the highway.

What's on around town

Market: Dalgamo St; fourth Sun each month, 9am–2pm.

Bunny Bazaar: includes markets; Easter Sat.

Festival of the Stars: includes Coona Cup Racing Carnival; Oct.

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