The Warrumbungles is a great place to look at the stars. Astronomers agree, so much so that they installed a group of telescopes on one of the highest mountains called ‘Siding Spring’.
The Warrumbungles were chosen because there are no big towns nearby to create light pollution and the number of cloudless winter nights is relatively high.
The Siding Spring telescopes are used by scientists but there is a tourist observatory for the public closer to Coonabarabran called ‘Warrumbungle Observatory’. Visit the website: www.tenbyobservatory.com for more information. However, the skies are so clear here, viewing with the naked eye or assisted with only a pair of binoculars is a great way to stargaze.
If you want to make stargazing part of your visit, here are a few tips to help.
Winter nights may be cold (be sure to bring warm clothes) but they are long and start early. This makes times outside daylight savings days most suitable. The brighness of the moon may also be so great as to make the stars look less bright. Viewing of the stars two to three days after full moon will give the best results.
The Sydney Observatory provides monthly star charts that can be downloaded and printed off along with a detailed description of what’s on offer in the sky for that month. You can get there by going to
If you are wanting to use the charts while stargazing you will need a torch and the tip is to cover it with red cellophane using a rubberband, as white light adversely affects your adaptation to the dark.
The Warrumbungle Environmental Education Centre has binoculars and a telescope that school groups can use if staying in the Warrumbungle National Park overnight.