It was a perfect season to watch the Milky Way in New South Wales (NSW). As I was obsessed with stargazing and capturing the Milky Way with my camera Canon 7D Mark II, I wanted to visit a place where the stars were easily seen. So what better place than to visit the darkest place in New South Wales. After discussing the plan with my friends, we decided to head to Warrumbungle National Park.
For fun big things to see along the way on the road trip, read 11 big things to see in NSW.
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About Warrumbungle National Park
Warrumbungle National Park is located near Coonabarabran in New South Wales (NSW) and is a heritage-listed national park. The national park is famous for its mountain ranges that are said to be created about 13 to 17 million years ago from the activity of volcanoes.
It is said that the Warrumbungles are the remnants of a large heavily-eroded active shield volcano. The volcano is estimated to have been around 1000 metres high and 50 kilometres wide.
The best time to visit the national park is during the spring season (between September and November) as the park is covered with the wildflowers and every walk is prettier in the park. But as I said in the beginning, I visited the national park during the winter season (between June and August) as I wanted to see the Milky Way.
If you visit the park in the winter season, be prepared that the park is extremely cold and during the summer season, the park is extremely hot.
How to get to Warrumbungle?
The Warrumbungle National Park is located about 550 kilometres (5 hours’ drive) from Sydney. One can either drive from Sydney or fly into Dubbo and drive from Dubbo, which is about 2 hours’ drive. There are three entry points to the national park:
- Gunneemooroo Entrance,
- Warrumbungle National Park Eastern and
- Western accesses.
Note: There are some unsealed roads.
The longest and a complicated way to get to Warrumbungle is by public transport. The journey takes around 19 hours. And one needs to take a train, a coach and a taxi to reach the national park.
- A train takes you from Central train station to Lithgow train station.
- A coach then takes you from Lithgow station to Coonabarabran (bus stop).
- A taxi will finally take you from Coonabarabran to Warrumbungle (a distance of around 35 kilometres and this will definitely cost a lot).
More details and up-to-date information can be found on the Transport for NSW website.
Where to stay?
There are plenty of hotels and camping sites in the National Park. As we were 8 of us, my friends and I hired a dorm room at Warrumbungles Mountain Motel in Coonabarabran. The room was clean and tidy. Even though I would not rate it as an excellent stay but it surely was a comfortable place to stay and an economical one.
Ensure to check if the rooms have heaters, especially during winter season as it is extremely cold.
Things to do
- Stargazing & Milky Way – As I mentioned before, Warrumbungle is the darkest place in New South Wales (NSW), which means that this is great for astrophotography. It is designed as the Dark Sky Park, which is perfect for the stargazers and astro-photographers.
Warrumbungle national park in one of the places in NSW to see the Milky Way.
- Largest Optical Telescope – The national park is famous for the nation’s largest optical telescope in Siding Spring Observatory. Unfortunately, my friends and I could not visit this place.
- Milroy Observatory – The Milroy Observatory is another great spot to stargaze near Coonabarabran. Visiting one of the observatories is definitely a must-visit when in Warrambungle.
- Watch Sunrise & Sunset – There are many mountains within the national park and they make an amazing place to see the sunrise and the sunset. It is absolutely spectacular to watch the sunrises and sunsets from the mountains during the winter season.
- Bushwalking – It is well known for bushwalking too as there are many mountains in the national park. As we were there only for a weekend, it was not possible for us to explore all the walks. We did just one short walk called the Burbie Canyon Walk. Even though it was a short walk, the walk provided beautiful paths into the forest and undoubtedly it was breathtaking.
- The other walk which is famous in Warrumbungle is the Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk. It is a 14.5 kilometres circuit walk and takes around 4 to 5 hours. The walk supposedly provides amazing views from the summit.
- I would definitely want to explore more and do more walks the next time I visit the national park.
- Spot kangaroos & other wildlife – The national park has a lot of kangaroos so definitely watch out for the hopping kangaroos.
Along with its starry nights, Warrumbungle is also famous for its bird watching, camping and bush walking.
Burbie Canyon Walk
A very short easy 2 kilometres walk but a beautiful walk is the Burbie Canyon Walk. The walking trail is in the Warrumbungle National Park and through a sandstone gorge. The views of the forest and the gorge is very beautiful.
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- 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 safe for solo female travelers?
Yes, Warrumbungle is definitely safe for solo female travelers. Even though I traveled with my friends, I can vouch for this place and I can assure you that it is definitely one of the safest places in NSW. We did not have any issues or concerns while we traveled in the park.
However, like any other place, I would suggest being cautious especially at nights as it is the darkest place in NSW and trusting your instinct. Also, it is always advisable to have a trekking/hiking buddy when hiking in a national park for unforeseeable and unexpected situations.
Warrumbungle National Park must definitely be on the list of places to visit in NSW. It is very remote and it is definitely a great place to see the beautiful nights with lots of glittering stars.
Have you visited Warrumbungle? If yes, I would love to hear what you thought about the place. Please drop a comment or send me an email on Solopassport@gmail.com.