Narrabri is a scenic seven hour drive from Sydney or Brisbane and is also accessible by train and plane. The Narrabri Shire covers an area of some 13,065 square kilometres and is the heart of the rich Namoi Valley in North West New South Wales.
Narrabri is set against the backdrop of the Nandewar Range on the very fringe of the western plains and is a vibrant rural centre with the distinction of being recently voted the most sporting town in Australia. Narrabri offers a host of recreational facilities, including an Olympic pool and indoor heated pool, 18-hole golf course, bowling club, tennis courts, camping and aquatic retreats. There are three primary schools & one high school and numerous child care centres.
The town itself offers riverside parks, great shopping and plenty of accommodation, but the real attractions are a short drive into the countryside. The Australia Telescope is located 25 kilometres from Narrabri. There are 6 gleaming white 22 metre dishes that are the most powerful radio telescopes in the Southern Hemisphere. Ten minutes further will on have you at Yarrie Lake that provides all facilities for the camper or day tripper. Water skiers are most welcome here but a permit is required
The majestic skyline of Mount Kaputar National Park peeps through the trees just south of Narrabri. The park features grass and trees clinging to rocky outcrops, vibrant rosellas and parrots flitting through the shimmering emerald haze and wedgetailed eagles gracefully soaring against the backdrop of rocky outcrops and deep gorges. From the mountains highest point of 1511 metres there are 360-degree views encompassing one tenth of NSW.
New residents in Narrabri? Check out these websites for more information:
Australia Telescope National Facility
The Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), at the Narrabri Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas used for radio astronomy. It is located about 25 km west of Narrabri and is operated by the Australia Telescope National Facility, a division of CSIRO. The ``Compact Array'' is the premier instrument of its kind in the southern hemisphere. It operates 365-days per year, 24-hours per day. Its business is pure science. It is not used for any military activities. These antennas work together using a technique called ``interferometry'' which allows the antennas to mimic a much larger antenna. This gives the telescope the ability to see very fine detail. Effectively ``radio interferometry'' works by replacing the lens of a conventional imaging system with sophisticated electronics, supercomputer-like hardware and complex software. Using this technique, an image of a small section of the sky can be formed in a 12-hour period. Whereas the Array uses six antennas spread over 6km, the same interferometry principles can be applied to antennas spread over a continent. For example, several times a year, the Array is used together with other radio telescopes spread across Australia (such as the Parkes antenna) to make images with extremely fine detail. Associated with the Telescope is a Visitors Centre where you can view the telescope. Admission is free and there is a barbeque area available for public use. The visitors centre is at the edge of a dry woodland environment where kangaroos and galahs are plentiful. Occasionally emus, echidnas and (very occasionally) koalas can be seen.
Narrabri Old Gaol Museum
Narrabri's old gaol is part of an impressive complex of colonial government buildings which also includes the office of the court of petty sessions and the court house. The architect for this complex, James Barnet, also designed the Sydney General Post Office. The gaol opened in September 1882 and operated as such for exactly 100 years. It now provides an interesting insight to how things were in the past. Members of the Narrabri Historical Society who run the Old Gaol Heritage Centre, have indexed over 30,000 entries in its family history section. The centre also contains artefacts of historical, archival and cultural significance to the area.
Mount Kaputar National Park
Mount Kaputar National Park is located 56Kms east of Narrabri and is part of a volcanic skeleton of a once active volcano, which rises to the Nandewar Ranges. The Nandewar Volcano is only one in a diminishing chain of volcanic centres formed as the Australian plate moved over a hot spot in the earth's mantle. The others, forming afterwards, have left an intriguing arc-like trail extending from the Nandewars through the Warrumbungles and Mt Canabolas. There are many spectacular bushwalks, look outs, camping areas and cabin accommodation and from the summit of Mt Kaputar, an impressive one tenth of New South Wales is visible.
Sawn Rocks is without doubt one of the most spectacular remnants of our nation's volcanic history. An all weather walking track through giant Moreton Bay figs, tall eucalypts and dainty maiden hair ferns, gives way to an elevated walkway leading to a platform that leads to the rocks. The pillars jut starkly from the bed of Bobbiwaa Creek below. The forty (40) metre high cliff face is the sheered off remains of a basalt lava flow from the Nandewar Volcano which dominated the area 21 million years ago. When the molten rock within the basalt lava flow cooled slowly and, importantly, evenly, this enabled the individual crystals within the molten rock to align perfectly with each other. While this type of five-sided (pentagonal) "organ piping" is not rare to lava flows it is exceptionally rare to find them so perfectly formed and preserved and is recognised as being one of the best examples of columnar jointing in Australia.
Waa Gorge is approximately 73 kms from Narrabri and is extremely impressive with breathtaking scenery, the likes of which can only be seen in some of Australia's most unique and remote areas. Waa Gorge is a deeply cut gorge that soars up to 70 metres high. Towering above the gorge is Mt Waa, which is a volcanic-plug formed from the core of one of the earliest vents of the Nandewar Volcano. The volcano became inactive 17 million years ago and the area around Mt Waa contained enormous cracks and fault lines in the volcanic rock. Weathering of these cracks and faults over millions of years has left behind deeply etched gullies and gorges. Waa Gorge and its side gorges are the result of the weathering process, formed mainly by water flowing down from Mt Waa itself. The walk is a botanical delight and there are many moist, sheltered areas displaying remnants of the ancient rainforests that stood in the area including Moreton Bay Figs, Lilly Pilly and a variety of ferns and other enchanting species.
Yarrie Lake is a natural phenomenon that has baffled locals and visitors for years. The perfectly circular "dish shaped" body of water is 3 km in diameter, about 2 metres deep in the centre when full and is believed to have been formed by a meteor falling to earth millions of years ago.Set on the very edge of the Pilliga Scrub, it is a favourite spot for bird watchers and a watering hole for over 70 species of birds, many of them coming each year to rear their young in the quiet southern reach of the lake. Of interest is the unusual milky colour of the water. It's thought that the colour comes from the sandy bases of the creeks and the soil from the Pilliga scrub, the water from which the lake fills. The lake is used for swimming and other water activities and there are several powered sites and unlimited camping spots amongst the shady gum trees around the lake.
Narrabri Fish Farm
The Namoi Valley Aquafarm is the largest freshwater aquafarm in New South Wales. This is the ideal spot for fishing, relaxation or organising a group tour. There are 31 registered culture ponds of various sizes and all are stocked with Murray Cod, Golden Perch, Silver Perch and Crayfish.
Narrabri Creek Town Walk
The Narrabri Creek Town Walk gives you the opportunity to take a stroll along one of the most important elements of Narrabri Shire's survival – the Narrabri Creek.The walk meanders through Narrabri's sporting mile, shady park lands and along the main street. The complete walk is 4 kilometres and takes approximately 2 hours to complete.