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Sandstone Caves Walking Track in the Pilliga National Park

Home > Coffs Harbour > Escape the City | Free | National Parks | Outdoor | Walks
by Meg Forbes (subscribe)
Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane. https://www.instagram.com/megforbesphotography/
Published May 29th 2020
Experience unique Australian natural and cultural heritage
The Sandstone Caves Walking Track in the Pilliga National Park provides an ideal break during road trips on the inland Newell Highway route from New South Wales to Queensland. Even if this were not the case, the caves, on Gamilaroi Country between Coonabarabran and Narrabri, are stunning enough to be worth a trip to this region in their own right.

The sign greeting visitors at the entrance to the Sandstone Caves Walking Track
The sign greeting visitors at the entrance to the Sandstone Caves Walking Track


The Grade 3, 1.7km track that leads around, and through, the Sandstone Caves highlights the natural and cultural heritage of this unique region. The track can be followed as a self-guided tour, or visitors can book a guided tour with an Aboriginal Discovery Ranger through the Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre.

The Sandstone Caves Walking Track is truly a walk like none other
The Sandstone Caves Walking Track is truly a walk like none other


The Sandstone Caves are a special cultural heritage place for the Gamilaroi Nation, and include rock art and carvings, so visitors are asked to be respectful when exploring the track and caves.

The Sandstone Caves are a special place to the Gamilaroi Nation. As in all national parks, visitors should take nothing but photographs, and leave nothing but footprints
The Sandstone Caves are a special place to the Gamilaroi Nation. As in all national parks, visitors should take nothing but photographs, and leave nothing but footprints


Much of the track is shaded, either by the forest or by the cave caverns themselves. These weathered sandstone caves are exceptionally beautiful, with gentle curves and lines that make them a photographer's paradise.

The natural weathering of the Sandstone Caves is akin to purposeful art
The natural weathering of the Sandstone Caves is akin to purposeful art


Looking outwards from many of the caverns, visitors are greeted by stunning views across the Pillaga Forest. Although the track is only 1.7km, visitors should allow for at least an hour to soak up the views and the beauty of these caves. The track itself is well maintained with some steps. Visitors should be aware that this location can be very hot in summer, and should bring more water than they anticipate needing.

Looking outwards from the caves provides visitors with stunning views across the Pilliga Forest
Looking outwards from the caves provides visitors with stunning views across the Pilliga Forest


The Sandstone Caves surrounds are also home to a wide variety of wildlife. Wedgetail eagles can be seen here, soaring above the forest, and occasionally visitors may hear the "thump, thump, thump" of a wallaby hopping away. There are also an interesting array of reptiles that call the caves home, some of whom seem quite unperturbed by visitors.

Coppertail skinks are just one of the wildlife species who call the Sandstone Caves home
Coppertail skinks are just one of the wildlife species who call the Sandstone Caves home


Facilities at the Sandstone Caves include public toilets and a large, well-formed car park. The track itself is well signposted, and there are some interpretive signs with information on the environment, formation of the caves, and local wildlife.

The caverns dwarf the well maintained track at times
The caverns dwarf the well maintained track at times


For additional information, visitors can refer to the Piliga Forest Visitor Guide Brochure that is published and updated on the New South Wales National Parks website.

The beautiful weathering of the Sandstone Caves - when will you visit?
The beautiful weathering of the Sandstone Caves - when will you visit?
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Why? Stunning, weathered sandstone caves highlight the natural and cultural heritage of this country New South Wales region
When: 7am to 7pm daily
Phone: 02 6843 4011
Where: On the Newell Highway, about 34km north of Coonabarabran
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Incredible photos, Meg!
by Elaine (score: 3|7422) 68 days ago
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