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Home / Town Profiles / Coonabarabran

Western NSW

Coonabarabran is known as the astronomy capital of Australia due to its proximity to observatories including Siding Spring, home to Australia’s largest telescope.

A Grouping


The town sits on the divide between the Central West and North West Slopes regions about 460 kilometres (nearly 6 hr drive) from Sydney. Less than 2 hr drive from Dubbo, Coonabarabran is approximately halfway between Melbourne and Brisbane, on the main inland route.

Coonanbarabran, known as ‘Coona’, is located on the banks of the Castlereagh River, and the edge of Warrumbungle National Park – the first dark sky park in Australia.

How to get there

The closest regional domestic airport is Dubbo, approximately 2 hr drive from Coonabarabran, it offers regular flights to Sydney and other destinations with Qantas, Regional Express (REX), Link Airways or FlyPelican. There are also regular flights to Sydney from Tamworth, just more than two hours drive from Coonabarabran.

Countrylink provides services from Sydney stopping at Coonabarabran. Trains depart Central Station in Sydney and connect with a coach service at Lithgow Station which travels to Coonabarabran.


The population of Coonabarabran is just over 3,000 people, the median age of residents is 47 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 14% of the population.

Coonabarabran is located within the Western NSW Primary Health Network this fact sheet provides an overview of community health.

Healthcare facilities

Coonabarabran Health Service is a small rural public hospital of less than 50 beds, and health service that provides a range of services.

The hospital provides emergency care and general sub-acute care admissions. Services provided are heart, drug and alcohol, gastroenterology, general medicine, general surgery and respiratory care. Transfers of more acutely unwell patients are to the larger tertiary facilities at Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth and Sydney.

There is an Ambulance Service of NSW station in Coonabarabran

Accredited GP practices

  • Coonabarabran Area Medical Centre
  • Warrumbungle Medical Centre

  • Industry

The major industry sectors that residents within the Warrumbungle Shire work are: local government administration, primary education, aged care residential services, supermarket and grocery stores, and secondary education.
  • Education

Coonabarabran has two primary schools and one high school: TAFE New England has a campus in Coonabarabran, that has a Connected Learning Centre providing a range of digital courses.
  • Childcare

Coonabarabran offers young families options for family day care, preschool and long day care, after school hours and vacation care.
  • Shopping

Coonabarabran is a small country town with a Woolworths and IGA supermarkets. There are small cafe restaurants, take away food stores, hotels and licensed sporting clubs as well as a newsagent, hardware store, bakery and catering service.
  • Places of worship

Churches in Coonabarabran include St. Lawrence's Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Presbyterian Church, Uniting Church and Seventh Day Adventist Church.
  • Points of interest

The Siding Spring Observatory is home to the Anglo-Australian Telescope, the largest optical telescope in Australia. StarFest and other astronomy events are held locally. Warrumbungle and Pilliga National Parks are a must for bushwalking, camping and exploring the Pilliga Forest sandstone caves.
  • Sporting activities

Coonabarabran has a range of sporting clubs including junior rugby, netball, golf, yabbie racing, motocross and enduro racing, basketball, pony riding, physical culture, and cycling. More details about each are available on their Facebook pages or websites.
  • Community groups and activities

Warrumbungle Shire Council provides a listing of service groups and community groups in their community directory.
  • Social media groups

There are many social media pages and groups dedicated to life and sport in Coonabarabran. Good places to start are the Facebook pages Coonabarabran and Coonabarabran Times.