Narrabri in the NW region of NSW is a great spot with some hidden treasures nearby. A bustling city that is home to wheat, cotton and cattle growers where two major highways intersect the town. Great cafes, wineries and touring routes it’s not a bad place to spend some time at. Normally I drive straight through in the past, but now its my first overnight stop heading west. If you’re not keen to camp in town there are other options where you can base yourself for a few days. A hidden gem is Yarrie Lake, 30km west of Narrabri on the edges of the Pilliga forest. This 3km circular lake was reported to of been made by a falling meteor thousands of years ago, and now its a water haven for many birds. When full water skiing is popular here so keep that in mind if your camped there around the holidays. The eastern side of the lake has free camping with no facilities but on the western side its a little more civilised with hot showers, shelters and proper toilets. A full time caretaker looks after these facilities and with a small fee there are plenty of waterside camps available. Kayaking and throwing a pot in for yabbies is great for the kids and there are several walks around the lake for birdwatching and photography.
Getting away from camp for a day you can head 10km away to the Narrabri CSIRO Observatory. This place is amazing !!!…..as soon as you enter their property there are skeletor remains of old satellite dish’s through the scrub. The central viewing area has some great hands on displays for the kids outside and interesting displays inside the visitors centre. Just outside the building it’s a bit hard to miss the 6 massive satellite dish’s that tower above. While you can’t get up close and personal they are pretty impressive as they point towards the sky.
Heading back through Narrabri some 50km to the NE on the outer edges of the Mount Kaputar NP you can explore the stunning Sawn Rocks. An easy walk to the viewing platform and down to the creek to look at these tube like blocks of rock that reach to the sky are a must, and if you look closely down at the creek you can see where they left their shape imbedding marks in the creek rock.
If your after more rocky action, head straight into the Mount Kaputar NP from Narrabri. This volcanic area was formed some 20 million years ago and after weathering we are left with some absolutely stunning rock formations. There are several camping options here but there are restrictions on the size van you can tow in. The whole area is scattered with amazing walks to various formations, stunning viewing points, cliff edges and range from 100 metre sections to full day walks. To fully appreciate this park a few days are needed to full grasp what there is to offer. Dont be put off by the scale of this area and your fitness level, as there are walks for everyone and there are several platform walks right beside the road even with wheel chair access. I’ve found best time to visit is spring. One winter we camped at the top area ( Dawsons ) and it dropped down to -6……although there are hot coin operated showers it was still cold. Summers can reach towards 40 so be prepared.