Discover the incredible Warrumbungle region, home to Australia’s first dark sky park and the iconic Warrumbungle mountain range. This is a spectacular destination for bushwalking and stargazing, where you’ll find charming country towns, fascinating museums and an exciting annual rodeo.
Warrumbungle National Park
Created over millions of years from an extinct shield volcano, the jagged volcanic silhouette of the Warrumbungles rises sharply from eucalypt-dotted ridges amid surrounding plains. Free from artificial light, the national park offer fantastic star gazing opportunities.
Things to do
The town closest to the wilderness is Coonabarabran, known as the astronomy capital of Australia. Visit the Siding Spring Observatory to see to Australia’s largest optical telescopes or gaze at the stars at the Milroy Observatory and the Warrumbungle Observatory.
Head to the Australian Museum Diprotodon Exhibition to see the skeleton of the largest marsupial to have ever lived. A short drive northeast of here is the vast Pilliga Forest. Pop into Pilliga Pottery for lovely gifts or a master class.
Coonamble, northwest of Coonabarabran, is known as the nickname capital. Billboards on the main street are adorned with portraits of local characters with their nicknames – the unconventional Nickname Hall of Fame. The town also hosts Australia’s biggest combined rodeo and campdraft every June long weekend.
On the other side of the national park is the historic town of Gilgandra and the tiny village of Tooraweenah, which is the southern gateway to the Warrumbungles. Gilgandra is famous for its windmills and its significant WWI history. Take a scenic drive through the region and into the national park.
Getting there are where to stay
The Warrumbungles is around two hours' drive northeast of Dubbo, which is five hours’ drive from Sydney. You can also fly to Dubbo and rent a car at the airport. Alternatively, drive to Coonabarabran via the Blue Mountains or Hunter Valley.
Accommodation ranges from camping and caravan parks to motels, B&Bs and pubs such as the Hotel Dunedoo in Dunedoo, 65 minutes’ drive from Dubbo. Nearby is Coolah, a popular stop on the way to the Coolah Tops National Park’s mountain bike trails.