Coonabarabran - Baradine - Warrumbungle drive

Pilliga National Park

Overview

This country drive takes in the spectacular landscapes, historic towns, picnicking, and walking available in the Coonabarabran-Baradine area of NSW.

Where
Pilliga National Park
Distance
140km loop
Time suggested
5hrs
Please note

Looking for a country drive that takes in spectacular landscapes, historic towns, birdwatching, walking and more? Look no further than Coonabarabran-Baradine-Warrumbungle National Park drive, a 130km trip where you can choose your own pace.

Setting out from Coonabarabran, known as the ‘Astronomy Capital of Australia’ and also as ‘Coona’ the first stop is Baradine. Here a visit to the Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre is a must, then find out more about the Aboriginal history of the area at the Baradine Local Land Council Building. There are lots of Aboriginal artefacts, like emu callers, rain sticks, clapsticks, and didgeridoos to name a few. A meal at the historic Tattersalls Hotel might be on the cards, and afterwards you could take a detour to the award winning Sculptures in the Scrub walking track in the Pilliga Forest.

Last stop on the driving tour is Warrumbungle National Park, where your adventure has really just begun. Make sure you check out the Siding Spring Observatory.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/driving-routes/coonabarabran-baradine-warrumbungle-drive/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Coonabarabran - Baradine - Warrumbungle drive.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Coonabarabran - Baradine - Warrumbungle NP drive is in Warrumbungle National Park. To get there:

    • From Coonabarabran, follow the signs to Baradine and The Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre (45km).
    • From Baradine, follow the signs south west along Gulargambone Road towards Warrumbungle National Park (45km). There are 20km of unsealed roads during this section of the drive.
    • Turn left onto John Renshaw Parkway and follow the signs east through Warrumbungle National Park to Coonabarabran (47km).

    Park entry points

    • Warrumbungle National Park Eastern access See on map
    • Warrumbungle National Park Western access See on map

    Road quality

    • Mixture of sealed and unsealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • 4WD required in wet weather

    Parking

    Parking is available at various sites along the drive.

    Best times to visit

    You may experience a great range of temperatures on any day in the park. In summer it's generally hot in the daytime and temperatures often exceed 30C. In contrast, winter can be very cold and the temperature drops below freezing at night. Rainfall is also highly variable, ranging from drought to prolonged wet periods. Less rain falls on the western side of the park than on the eastern side. It rains most from December to February and the annual average rainfall is 720mm. Thunderstorms are common in mid to late summer.

    Spring

    During early spring wildflowers are in bloom, including a huge variety of golden wattle flowers With a more moderate climate, spring is a great time to get out and camp under the stars .

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    15°C and 30°C

    Highest recorded

    42.6°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    0°C and 15°C

    Lowest recorded

    -9°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    January

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    176.3mm

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    River and lake safety

    The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

    Prohibited

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Visitor centre

    Nearby towns

    Coonabarabran

    Coonabarabran is the closest town to the craggy peaks and spires of the Warrumbungle Ranges. Warrumbungle National Park is popular for bushwalking, camping and encountering wildlife amid breathtaking scenery.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Coonamble

    Coonamble is a delightful country town, the gateway to the wetlands of the Macquarie Marshes and the rugged scenery of Warrumbungle National Park. Nearby are opal fields to the north, and the Pilliga State Forest, with its stands of eucalypts.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Gilgandra

    Just a 50-minute drive north of Gilgandra are the majestic Warrumbungles - an area of forested ridges, barren spires, deep gorges and walking tracks. Warrumbungle National Park has some excellent day walks, such as the Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Coonabarabran - Baradine - Warrumbungle drive is in Pilliga National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    A bird watcher’s paradise

    Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre, Pilliga Nature Reserve. Photo: Rob Cleary

    Pilliga Forest is a mixture of eastern and western climates, making it very attractive to birds – more than 230 species have been recorded. You’re bound to see some of that range during your time at the park, and if you keep a close eye out and bring some binoculars, you’re definitely see even more. Pilliga is one of the few places left in NSW where you can catch sight of the grey-crowned babbler. It’s a bird that lives in family groups and roost together in domed nests of sticks. Other birds you may see include glossy black cockatoos, brown treecreepers, regent honeyeaters, barking owls, and red-capped robins. For more information about great bird watching opportunities in Pilliga, be sure to pick up a copy of Bird Routes of Baradine from Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre.

    • Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre The Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre is the best place for visitors and tourists to collect information about the Pilliga Forest before setting off on their adventure.
    • Sculptures in the Scrub walking track Take a short walk around the Sculptures in the Scrub in Timmallallie National Park – award-winning sculptures that celebrate Aboriginal culture and history.

    Aboriginal culture

    Sculpture in the Scrub, Pilliga Nature Reserve. Photo: Rob Cleary

    Pilliga is traditional Country of the Gamilaroi People and much evidence of their ancient connection to the land exists in the park today. On your exploration of the park, you may see stone tools, grinding grooves, modified trees, and rock art. Find out more about the Gamilaroi People and their ancient culture on a guided tour of Sandstone Caves, a place containing Aboriginal rock art and engravings.

    • Sandstone Caves walking track Take a self-guided tour along the Sandstone Caves walking track to see ancient Aboriginal rock art. For more of an insight into Aboriginal history, book a guided tour.
    • Sculptures in the Scrub walking track Take a short walk around the Sculptures in the Scrub in Timmallallie National Park – award-winning sculptures that celebrate Aboriginal culture and history.

    Koala territory

    A forest view in Pilliga Nature Reserve. Photo: Rob Cleary

    Pilliga Forest supports a vast number of mammals, including swamp wallabies, eastern grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies, and eastern pygmy possums. Pilliga also has the largest koala population in NSW to the west of the Great Dividing Range – look for them in the forest’s red gums and the Pilliga box. If you are lucky enough to spot a koala, please report your sighting to the Baradine NPWS office.

    • Salt Caves picnic area and Pilliga lookout tower Pause at Salt Caves picnic area on your exploration of Pilliga Forest and Timmallallie National Park. After a barbecue lunch, take a short walk to look for birds, or a longer hike up to Pilliga Forest lookout tower.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Koala. Photo: Lucy Morrell

      Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

      One of the most renowned Australian animals, the tree-dwelling marsupial koala can be found in gum tree forests and woodlands across eastern NSW, Victoria and Queensland, as well as in isolated regions in South Australia. With a vice-like grip, this perhaps most iconic but endangered Australian animal lives in tall eucalypts within a home range of several hectares.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    View from Fan's Horizon lookout, Warrumbungle National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary