We travel north-west from Coonabarrabran to explore the expansive Pilliga Forest.
We read about the Pilliga while charging our car at the fast charger in Coonabarrabran (during our stay in the Warrumbungles) and were attracted to visit there. The Pilliga Forest includes over 5,000 km2 of semi-arid woodland. The native cypress pine (Callitris) growing there has been logged for over a century, for its termite-resistant timber. We first considered camping at one of the free campsites in the forest, but were uncertain about the roads and accessibility for our Kona EV with its relatively low clearance. Instead, we decided to stay in the small town of Baradine where the Pilliga Discovery Centre is located.
Baradine seemed to be a very friendly town – we enjoyed our stay at Camp Cypress at the town showgrounds. This was a convenient place from which to venture into the Pilliga Forest. We drove many kilometres of dirt roads in the forest, visiting an old tank, sawmill site, and a dam. We scraped the underside of the car on the sandy ridges in the middle of the road a couple of times, which reminded us that the Kona EV is not a 4WD!
We were really pleased that we managed to get to the Sculptures in the Scrub which are a 20 km drive into the Pilliga Scrub. The sculptures are along a walking track above the Dandry Gorge. The remoteness and the beautiful setting above the gorge make this a very special place.
The vegetation along the walk is also very diverse. This sign indicates there are at least 115 species found within 1 metre of the walking trail.
We enjoyed watching this Spotted Pardalote feeding, and marvelled at its agility!
Quite a few kilometres further, and across the Newell highway, are some weathered sandstone hills containing caves that are a special place for the Gamilaroi people. The shapes of the caves were quite amazing, especially in the setting sun.
Frustratingly, while we are trying to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, parts of the northern Pilliga are under threat of Coal Seam Gas extraction by SANTOS.
From here we travel east, heading towards the Waterfall Way. See our trips page for a map of our journey.