Cobar Railway Station, Australian Geographic

Population 4127

Cobar got its name from the Aboriginal word 'kubbur', meaning 'burnt earth'. The story goes that three European settlers were camping at Kubbur watering hole near where Cobar is today when they noticed the unusual colour of the water. They took samples and showed them to the publicans at the Gilgunnia Pub who identified them as copper ore. From this discovery, the Cobar mining industry was born. The mines made Cobar so prosperous that at one point the town had a population of 10 000 and its own stock exchange. Mines still operate, including the CSA Copper Mine which is the deepest in Australia. Today Cobar is a surprisingly green and picturesque outback town.

Visitor Information

Cobar Visitor Information Centre, cnr Barrier Hwy and Twelfthh St; (02) 6836 2448

Nearby national parks

  • Willandra National Park

    Scrubby red sand plains stretch to the horizon in Willandra National Park, in the state’s remote west. In its heyday Willandra was one...more

Nearby towns

  • Nyngan

    Nyngan is a pleasant country town on the Bogan River, on the edge of the outback. It was largely unknown to the rest of the country until...more

  • Bourke

    The saying 'back o' Bourke' has come to mean the middle of nowhere, which is why Bourke is known as the gateway to the real outback. Bourke...more

  • Brewarrina

    This charming outback town on the banks of the Barwon River is affectionately known as Bre. It was developed in the 1860s as a river...more

In Town

Great Cobar Outback Heritage Centre This centre has displays on the local mining of copper, gold and silver-lead-zinc, an authentic re-creation of a local woolshed and displays on Aboriginal culture. Learn about the chronic water shortages in the early days of European settlement and the bush skills the settlers needed to survive the harsh environment. The Centenary of Federation Walking Track begins here and is a 2 hr scenic walk past mines and a slag dump. Barrier Hwy; (02) 6836 2448.

Commonwealth Meteorological Station: visitors can view the radar tracking process and the launching of weather balloons at 9.15am and 3.15pm daily (Eastern Standard Time); Louth Rd; inquiries (02) 6836 2149.

Golden Walk: tour the operating Peak Gold Mine or view from observation deck; Kidman Way; (02) 6830 2265.

Self-guided heritage walks and heritage bus tours: historic buildings including the courthouse and the Great Western Hotel (with the longest iron-lace verandah in NSW), and mining and agricultural sites around town; brochure from visitor centre.


Mt Grenfell Historic Site The 5 km Ngiyambaa Walkabout leads visitors on a scenic tour with breathtaking views of the Cobar area. There are hundreds of Aboriginal stencils and paintings of great cultural significance in spectacular reds, yellows and ochres on rock overhangs along the trail. Picnic and barbecue facilities are available. Off Barrier Hwy; 67 km NW.

The Old Reservoir and Devil's Rock: Devil's Rock was a site for ceremonial rites for the Ngemba people. Good swimming and watersports at the reservoir; 3 km N.

Mount Drysdale: deserted mining town where visitors can investigate old mine shafts and remains of the town. Features historic Aboriginal sites including rock wells; permission required (02) 6836 3462; 34 km N.

Cafes & restaurants around town


Located at the entrance to Cobar, this friendly restaurant has a menu bursting with flavour. The rack of lamb with sweet balsamic and honey sauce is highly recommended, as is the entrée of grilled scallops with... Find out more

Empire Hotel

Sit at the bar with locals unwinding with an after-work drink, then head out to the restaurant for a meal. The dining area is conveniently separated into family-friendly and ‘grown up’ areas, with the... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Cobar Caravan Park 2 km

This park appeals to us each time we stay here. The neat, well-maintained place is located on the Barrier Highway about 1 km west of the shopping centre. There are good amenities and it is an ideal overnight stop for... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Cobar rest area 2 km

At Cobar

Just off the highway. On the south side of town.

Florida rest area 49 km

82km W of Nyngan (R) or 50km E of Cobar (L)

Well off the highway surrounded by scrub.

Meadow Glen rest area 63 km

63km W of Cobar (R) or 197km E of Wilcannia (L)

Well off the highway among some shady trees.

Bahloo rest area 100 km

27km NW of Coolabah (L) or 24km SE of Byrock (R)

Just off the highway among a few trees.


What's on around town

Festival of the Miner's Ghost: Oct.

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