So many times we’ve driven the Newell Highway south, from Narrabri to Coonabarabran – through the desolate Pilliga Forest, totally oblivious that there was so much to discover here!
Pilliga means ‘Swamp Oak’ and the Pilliga Forest (or Pilliga Scrub) is an Aussie icon and includes Pilliga Nature Reserve, Timmallallie National Park, Pilliga West, and East State Conservation Areas. There is more than 500 000 hectares with 2000 km of trails.
Here’s some must see spots:
This town hosts the Pilliga Discovery Centre – with all the information you’ll need to plan your time here.
In the small town of Pilliga you can soak in the Artesian Bore Baths and camp right beside – for just $5 per night! Visit the Pilliga Lagoon and Wetlands Walk to the bore baths (2.7 km one way), perfect for birdwatchers. The Bore is closed for cleaning, 9am-11am on Fridays, but is open year round.
Known as the ‘Heart of the Pilliga’ you can see sleeper cutter camps and colonies of koalas. This small village once housed 12 sawmills!
Sculptures in the Scrub
Visit five sculptures inspired by the Aboriginal connection to the landscape. With views of Dandry Gorge you can also visit Dandry Creek below.
Check out the unique formations (pictured) – take a self guided 2 km walking track or a guided tour with an Aboriginal Discovery Ranger. Walk back through history and spot visible signs of habitation of the Gamilaroi people and ancient Aboriginal rock engravings.
With another camping and picnic area area here, you can hike up the escarpment to the Pilliga Forest lookout tower where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views across the vast Pilliga Forest with views to the Warrumbungles and Mount Kaputar Park. Or take the shorter 1km walk to Salt Caves Dam – another wildlife watching spot. The cave itself is an important Aboriginal site and is an excellent example of shelters used by the traditional Gamilaroi people.
Pilliga Pottery and Barkala Farm Stay
NSW site 920 in Camps 10 is a unique stop. Bakery, wood fired pizza, pottery lessons and shop are all onsite. Check out your free guide of this stay and 9 other farm or station stays in drought affected regions in NSW and QLD in our #GOWEST and #staywithafarmer. Download the free guide today.
As well as bird watching, spring wildflowers and being an important area for biodiversity, you may just spot a Yowie – as it is said to be the home of this Big Foot!
You can also camp (most are free or budget!) at many of these locations above – check out your CAMPS 10 book or the CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE App.
Do check national park alerts to check any closures during our extreme weather conditions. If you have photos of camp sites or attractions of The Pilliga – please send them in or add them to the App!