This beautiful stretch of Outback NSW is home to ancient Aboriginal rock art, fascinating museums, gorgeous wetlands and historic architecture. Learn about Cobar’s rich mining history and the sheep shearing heritage of Nyngan, and cool off with a drink at a classic outback pub.
Since copper was discovered here in 1871, Cobar has been known as ‘Copper City’. Today you can marvel at vast open cut mines and learn about the area’s history at the Great Cobar Heritage Centre. Take a dip in the Great Cobar Open Cut, an old quarry and popular swim spot with locals.
On the Cobar Heritage Walk you can explore many of the town’s early colonial buildings, such as the Cobar Courthouse and the majestic Great Western Hotel. For a look at modern mining operations and a spectacular view of town, drive up to the Fort Bourke Hill Lookout above the New Cobar Gold Mine.
Visit Mount Grenfell Historic Site, 71km northwest of Cobar, and you’ll be rewarded with incredible examples of Ngiyampaa Aboriginal rock art. Found in three main rock shelters, marvel at images of human figures, animals and Dreaming Stories painted in red, yellow and ochre pigment.
The beautiful rural town of Nyngan lies between the Outback and the green pastoral region to the east, on the banks of the Bogan River. At Nyngan Museum, see an exhibit tracing the 1835 journey of explorer Major Thomas Mitchell. The Mid-State Shearing Shed is a proud monument to Nyngan’s shearing industry.
North of Nyngan, the Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve is one of the largest inland semi-permanent wetlands in southeast Australia, and a major breeding area for waterbirds. Access is restricted to researchers, but at certain times the National Parks and Wildlife Service runs guided tours.
Eat & drink
In Nyngan, try Mart’s Café for breakfast, coffee and lunch, located close to the Big Bogan statue. For dinner enjoy pizza at the Australian Hotel or try Gold Medal Chinese Restaurant in the Nyngan Bowling Club. Be sure to visit the historic Great Western Hotel for dinner in Cobar.
Getting there & where to stay
It takes 7-8hr to drive from Sydney to the Cobar area and around 9hr from Melbourne. Alternatively, you can fly to Dubbo, which is a three-hour drive from Cobar and two hours from Nyngan. 4WD vehicles are recommended for unsealed roads and many of the national parks. There are a number of places to stay, from motels to caravan parks.