Embark on an adventure in Warrumbungle National Park, where nature’s wonders unfold in breathtaking landscapes. Discover rugged trails, stargazing marvels, and captivating flora and fauna. This guide unveils the delights of this Australian outdoor haven, offering a gateway to hiking, stargazing, and awe-inspiring views.
For fun big things to see along the way on the road trip, read 11 big things to see in NSW.
The season was ideal for witnessing the beauty of the Milky Way in New South Wales (NSW). Fueled by my passion for stargazing and capturing celestial wonders with my trusty Canon 7D Mark II camera, I yearned for a location where the stars would shine brightly. The obvious choice was to explore the darkest corners of New South Wales. After thoughtful discussions with friends, we set our sights on the unparalleled stargazing haven of Warrumbungle National Park.
PIN for later reference – Warrumbungle National Park
About Warrumbungle National Park
Situated near Coonabarabran in New South Wales (NSW), Warrumbungle National Park is a heritage-listed national park. Renowned for its mountain ranges, these geological wonders were formed approximately 13 to 17 million years ago through volcanic activity, adding to the park’s rich and captivating natural history.
The Warrumbungles are believed to be remnants of a once towering shield volcano, now extensively eroded. This colossal geological formation was estimated to have stood approximately 1000 meters in height and stretched 50 kilometers.
For an optimal visit, spring (between September and November) unveils the park adorned with vibrant wildflowers, enhancing the allure of every trail. However, my exploration occurred during winter (June to August) when the crisp air and clear skies provided an ideal backdrop for Milky Way observation.
Another place to see the Milky Way in NSW is Lake Lyell.
Remember that the park experiences extreme cold during winter and scorching heat in summer, making weather preparation crucial for a comfortable visit.
How to Get to Warrumbungle National Park?
Warrumbungle National Park is approximately 550 kilometers (a 5-hour drive) from Sydney. Travelers can opt for a direct drive from Sydney or fly into Dubbo and then embark on a 2-hour drive to the park. The national park has three entry points:
- Gunneemooroo Entrance,
- Warrumbungle National Park Eastern and
- Western accesses.
Remember that while exploring the park, some sections have unsealed roads, so being prepared for varying road conditions is advisable.
By Public Transport
The lengthiest and relatively complex route to reach Warrumbungle involves public transport, with a journey spanning around 19 hours. This entails a combination of train, coach, and taxi services.
- Commencing from Central train station, a train transports you to Lithgow train station.
- Following this, a coach journey takes you from Lithgow station to Coonabarabran (bus stop).
- The final leg involves a taxi ride covering the approximately 35-kilometer distance from Coonabarabran to Warrumbungle, a choice that may incur substantial costs.
For comprehensive details and current information, it’s recommended to consult the Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) website.
Where to Stay at Warrumbungle National Park?
Within the National Park, numerous accommodations, including hotels and camping sites, offer diverse options for visitors. During our trip with a group of eight friends, we opted for a dorm room at Warrumbungles Mountain Motel in Coonabarabran. While not reaching the pinnacle of excellence, the room was clean, tidy, and notably comfortable—a budget-friendly choice that suited our needs.
A valuable tip for winter visits is to ensure that the chosen accommodations have heaters, considering the extreme cold during this season. This precaution guarantees a more comfortable and cozy stay amidst the chilly temperatures.
Things To Do at Warrumbungle National Park
- Stargazing and Milky Way – As previously mentioned, Warrumbungle is the darkest location in New South Wales (NSW), making it an optimal destination for astrophotography. Recognized as a Dark Sky Park, this designation caters perfectly to stargazers and astrophotographers seeking an ideal environment to capture the celestial wonders above.
- Largest Optical Telescope – The national park is renowned for housing the largest optical telescope in the country at the Siding Spring Observatory. Regrettably, my friends and I could not explore this fascinating site during our visit.
- Milroy Observatory – The Milroy Observatory, situated near Coonabarabran, offers another fantastic spot for stargazing. Exploring one of the observatories is undoubtedly a must during your visit to Warrumbungle.
- Watch Sunrise and Sunset – Numerous mountains within the national park provide a fantastic vantage point for witnessing both sunrise and sunset. Watching the sun ascend and descend from these elevated peaks, particularly during the winter, is spectacular.
- Bushwalking – Warrumbungle National Park is renowned for its bushwalking opportunities, with numerous mountains to explore. We couldn’t cover all the trails during our weekend visit, but we did embark on the Burbie Canyon Walk. Despite being a short trek, it led us through beautiful forest paths, offering a truly breathtaking experience.
- Another prominent trail is the Breadknife and Grand High Tops Walk, a 14.5-kilometer circuit taking approximately 4 to 5 hours. This walk is reputed for providing incredible summit views.
- Eager to delve deeper into the park’s trails, I look forward to exploring more walks on my next visit.
- Spot kangaroos and other wildlife – The national park is home to a significant population of kangaroos, so stay alert for these hopping marsupials.
In addition to its enchanting starry nights, Warrumbungle is renowned for birdwatching, camping, and bushwalking adventures.
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Burbie Canyon Walk
Embark on the picturesque Burbie Canyon Walk, a short and leisurely 2-kilometer stroll within Warrumbungle National Park. This charming trail winds through a captivating sandstone gorge, offering stunning views of the surrounding forest and the gorge itself.
Logistics of Burbie Canyon Walk
- Starting and finishing point: Burbie Canyon Car Park.
- Distance: 2 kilometers return.
- Grade: Easy, flat.
- Path: well-defined with signboards.
- Public transport: Unfortunately, there is no public transport. The only way to go to this national park is by car.
- Park entry fee: AUD 8 per vehicle per day.
- Distance between Warrumbungle and Sydney: approx. 550 kilometers.
Is Warrumbungle National Park Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
Certainly, Warrumbungle is a secure destination for solo female travelers. While I personally explored the area with friends, I can confidently attest to its safety, emphasizing that it stands as one of the securest places in NSW. Throughout our journey within the park, we encountered no issues or concerns, making it a reliable choice for solo exploration.
Nevertheless, as with any location, exercising caution, especially during the night, is advisable due to the park’s darkness. Trusting your instincts and being aware of your surroundings is key. Additionally, it’s always recommended to have a trekking or hiking buddy when exploring a national park to enhance safety in the face of unforeseen or unexpected situations.
Warrumbungle National Park is a must-visit destination in NSW, particularly for those seeking a remote and enchanting experience amidst glittering starry nights (reminds me of Van Gogh’s painting).
If you’ve had the opportunity to explore Warrumbungle, I’d love to hear about your thoughts on the place. Feel free to share your experiences by sending an email to Solopassport@gmail.com.
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