Coonabarabran is known as the “Astronomy Capital of Australia”, thanks to its world-class observatories, dark-sky parks and the Warrumbungle Festival of Stars held there each year. A scenic town surrounded by mountains and forest, it’s home to an array of top-quality wineries and restaurants.
Things to do in Coonabarabran
Start at Warrumbungle Observatory, where you can see planets and galaxies through four telescopes and learn how to navigate the night sky. You can also visit the Siding Spring Observatory, the largest optical observatory in Australia, for a behind-the-scenes tour and a drink in the on-site cafe.
Kids will love the Crystal Kingdom Museum with its colourful collection of crystals and locally-discovered fossils. The Diprotodon Exhibition at the Visitor Center is a fascinating sight, displaying the skeleton of a Diprotodon, the largest marsupial ever to live.
Warrumbungle National Park has all the outdoor activities you could wish for, including camping, birdwatching and rock climbing. Hike up to The Breadknife or Crater Bluff for some of the best views of the mountains. Don’t miss the sandstone caves in Pilliga Nature Reserve, which have scenic surrounding forest and ancient Aboriginal rock engravings.
Visit Wattagan Estate Winery to stroll around the estate and taste locally-made wines. You can also have a glass of wine with home-style cooking at Amber Court Restaurant. Take a break from sightseeing for some excellent coffee at Feathers Cafe and try one of their mouth-watering cakes.
Getting around Coonabarabran
Coonabarabran is seven hours’ drive from Sydney or eight hours on the train. Although Public transport is sparse, buses travel between towns and to Warrumbungle National Park. Cars can be hired in town or at Dubbo Airport, but the town is small enough to easily walk between attractions.