"Once a booming tourist destination" Coonabarabran by iandsmith

Coonabarabran Travel Guide: 41 reviews and 134 photos

This place doesn't need a plug

If you're at Coonabarabran and you're a tourist, then it's a fair bet that you've come to see the Warrumbungle. You're definitely not alone.
There are other attractions, particularly Skywatch, the Crystal Kingdom and Siding Spring Observatory, but the Warrumbungle is the main drawcard.
Briefly, they are a series of ancient volcanic plugs set amidst the slopes and plains of the central west of N.S.W. The majority is protected by a 21,534 hectare national park and the highest peak is Mt Exmouth at 1,206 metres. Strangely, it's one of the least dramatic.
There are over 30 kilometres of developed tracks in the park, some with wheelchair access.
Rock climbers also frequent here with only the Breadknife and Chalkers Mountain excluded.
There are four campsites with vehicular access plus others for the truly dedicated.
The weather is mostly crystal clear. In fact, I have only been there once when it's been raining and I've probably visited at least 15 times.
This particular photo incidentally was taken from a place you'll probably never go to, Bress Peak, and it looks back to the Breadknife.
However, since I wrote all the above, the bushfires of 2013 raged through and destroyed not only much of the vegetation in the park but also the tourist information centre and all the walks. At the time of writing (June 2013), four walks had been re-opened and you could drive through the park. It will be some months, and, in some cases, years before others will be fully restored. See my tips for pics after the bushfire.

More details about The Warrumbungle

The Park covers an area of 21,534 hectares. Visitors share the Park with the hundreds of native animals and a picnic could introduce you to kangaroos, koalas, emus and an abundance of birdlife, or not.
The Visitors Centre in the Warrumbungle is staffed each day and provides walking maps, camping information and the usual souvenirs. The staff are there to help you enjoy your visit. The peace and tranquillity in the Park is as reassuring to the fauna as it is to the visitors.
Walking tracks in the National Park are clearly marked and a map will give details of the terrain, time and features. The Grand Hightops, the most famous of the tracks, is an unforgettable experience and, although suggested as taking 4-6 hours, it is accessible even with children. The trail has been mostly laid with pavers but it is fairly steep in places.
The White Gum Lookout and Gurianawa walks are sealed and suitable for prams and wheelchairs, or for those who do not want to walk far - each walk is only about a kilometre.
There is one caravan park with powered sites in the National Park with amenities blocks and cleared sites provided for camping; electric barbecues save the problem when it comes to meal times, but if you really want a great camping experience with a campfire, you will have to bring your own wood. Apart from peak holiday times such as Easter and school holidays, you shouldn't have to book ahead.

The far side and pedants

If you're feeling a little inventive and the right conditions come along, you may choose to experiment a little with your camera and create a little atmosphere.
This is the result of one such experiment while I was scaling Bress Peak.
You may have noticed "Warrumbungle" spelt without an "s" on the end. For decades it used to be spelt with one but someone found out that that's not the way it sould have been spelt (along with several others scattered across Australia that have dropped the "s"), hence the new spelling. I have no doubt that quite a few mis-spellings still occur in my pages but don't bother to remind me, I'll get around to it one day.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Interesting scenery, good bushwalking, other attractions as well, good weather
  • Cons:Involves travelling to get there
  • In a nutshell:Excellent destination to spend a few days
  • Last visit to Coonabarabran: Jun 2013
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (29)

Comments (12)

  • zadunajska8's Profile Photo
    Aug 20, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    What a great page, Ian, and some fantastic photos. It must be an amazing experience to go walking in this countryside, but I think most of it looks a little challenging for me!

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    This is one of the more colorful and exhausting places to hike-after seeing your pictures hanging on and wanting the agony over with. YOU did an excellent job and this area rivals some I saw in our USA out west.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Aug 28, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    I had to come and check out your page! I see what you mean about different views, you did a far lot more walking than I did, good on you to reach those peaks! Camp Blackman we enjoyed and will probably be back another time. Love the peace & quiet of the bush there.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2006 at 1:31 PM

    At first, I came to this page because of the amazing name of the location. Then, I stuck to your very interesting page and hope that, may be, one day, I will do it!

  • freya_heaven's Profile Photo
    Jul 24, 2005 at 4:01 PM

    Not suprised you were shattered Ian! Worth it though, such a stunning park. Found the info about the breadknife fascinating, very enjoyable page, thanks (~_~)

  • easyoar's Profile Photo
    Jun 25, 2005 at 3:49 AM

    I don't know about the kids, that photo frightened me! Textually, not bad, not bad at all for an Aussie - are you sure you didn't plagiarise it off a Brit???

  • unravelau's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2005 at 8:42 PM

    Thank you Ian, I have often wondered and now realise that this is the only way that I will see these sights. Surprised that you got bleeped on a bird name -- . Excellent photos and very informative pages thank you.

  • msydney's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2005 at 3:07 AM

    Many thanks for the great effort!

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Oct 19, 2004 at 6:52 PM

    Wow! A geological wonderland. This looks like a place we would thoroughly enjoy exploring.

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Sep 30, 2004 at 3:53 PM

    what an interesting mountain-scenery & great pics !


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