Warrumbungle National Park

Last year when Daniel and myself travelled north between Gilgandra and Coonamble on our way to Lightning Ridge, I noticed the mountain peaks to the east, sticking out of an otherwise flat landscape. I wrote about that in a post back then – read that one here.

I clearly remember thinking that I had to look up those dramatic looking mountains and add them to our list of places to visit.  Well, this year – again on our way to Lightning Ridge – we made a dedicated trip to the Warrumbungle National Park.

Warrumbungle National Park

The word warrumbungle means crooked mountain in the local indigenous Gamilaraay language. And that’s exactly what you see here. Even from some distance the craggy peaks and weird spires dominate the landscape. All thanks to the region’s past volcanic activity that has produced some unusual lava formations.

The park is definitely home to some spectacular mountains.  It was named as a national park in 1957 and was added to the country’s National Heritage list in 2007.

Clear evidence of extinct volcanos is everywhere to see…

We stayed to the east of the park in the closest (small) town of Coonabarabran. A mouthful in itself. Try saying that after a few beers. But this is the town to live in if you are interested in astronomy.

One of the telescope domes at over 1100m as seen from the visitor’s centre.

This area is also known as the Astronomy Capital of Australia. The Siding Spring Observatory lies at the eastern edge of the park at an elevation of 1160 metres. The site was chosen due to an average 70% clear nights. Perfect for astronomers.

The park is also home to a 22-metre radio telescope owned and operated by the CSIRO but operated remotely from Narrabri. We visited that Narrabri radio telescope site last year – see here for that post.

Up to now, I would rank this place as joint best I have visited in New South Wales – along with the equally spectacular (but quite different) Mungo National Park (See posts on Mungo National Park here and here)

Let’s Dance by David Bowie – That Classic Video.

Back in 1983 a music video was made in Australia for David Bowie’s latest song Let’s Dance.  Those were the days when the music video was as important as the song. Or even a bigger deal. In this case the video became something of a classic and every bit as famous as the song. The three main locations were the Carinda Hotel bar, Sydney and the Warrumbungle National Park. You can easily find the video on youtube and other sites.

Scene from the Let’s Dance video when the girl puts on the red shoes
The same scene now, almost 40 years on.
Dani with the classic video backdrop

The bar in that video…?

The plan was to visit Carinda – taking a 100km detour on our way to Lightning Ridge – and take in the famous Hotel there. Location of the opening scene of the music video and also setting for an annual David Bowie Festival to honour the music of the ‘Thin White Duke’ himself. However, the weather put a stop to those plans. Would you believe it? Heavy rainfall had closed roads into Carinda. Not the last time on this trip that the weather would thwart us.

Another trip for another day…

Volcanic Landscape

Here are some more photos of the fantastic views in Warrmbungle National Park.

Another volcanic looking peak
“Split Rock”. The exploded remains of a volcano

That famous backdrop to the David Bowie video again

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