"Once a booming tourist destination" Coonabarabran by iandsmith
Coonabarabran Travel Guide: 41 reviews and 134 photos
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.
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.
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: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
After the fires, the landscape has changed. Yes, the hills are still there but the view of them is different. Charred... more travel advice
Though it's a little distance from Coonabarabran, Mount Kaputar is often overlooked by those visiting the Warrumbungle... more travel advice
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