Explore Gundabooka National Park this winter


Park Ranger Jessica Ellis enjoying the peace and beauty of Gundabooka National Park. PHOTO Layton Holley

“I came out here two and a half years ago and stayed because I fell in love with the National Parks,” Park Ranger Jessica Ellis said, perched on a rock and listening to the slow trickle of water flow down the creek.

“The red dirt, I think, captured me.

I am from a coastal town (Tweed Heads), so I never saw this kind of environment back home, but the red dirt, rugged cliffs and rock pools, the lush vegetation that we see now, I found to be truly beautiful, and I have no plans of leaving it soon.

As the weather cools down and the rainwater flows down the creeks, filling the rockpools, there is no better time to check out our local National Parks and explore their natural beauty.

Gundabooka is located approximately 50 kilometres southwest of Bourke and 110 kilometres north of Cobar.

Made up of a National Park and a State Conservation Area, Gundabooka stretches from the Darling River in the north to the Gundabooka range in the south and covers an area of 89,103 hectares.

The Gundabooka Range is the centrepiece of Gundabooka National Park, as it rises dramatically 350 metres above the surrounding plains to a height of 495 metres above sea level.

Geologically, the range is a 385-million-year-old eroded syncline (fold in rock layers) of quartzite sandstones that form a horseshoe shape.

Mulareenya Creek drains the eastern portion of the Gundabooka Range and will lead you to the Aboriginal art site.

The Gundabooka area was traditionally a meeting place for the Ngemba ‘stone country’ people from the Cobar Peneplain and the Baakindji ‘river people’ who lived along the Darling River.

Large ceremonial gatherings took place in some regions of the Gundabooka Range, and groups travelled from as far away as the area that is now Broken Hill for these gatherings.

Gundabooka is still important to Aboriginal people, particularly people in Bourke and Brewarrina, and the art sites still have great cultural significance today.

This track will take you to Mulareenya Creek, which only flows after rain.

Beside the creek, protected under rocky ledges, are paintings of human figures, emus, hand and tool stencils, and paintings of the Brewarrina fish traps – one of the oldest human-made structures in the world.

“Depending on what time of the day it is,” Ranger Ellis said, “or where the sun shines in the sky, different parts of the rock art light up and become visible, so you will pick up on different things every time you visit the site.”


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White Breasted Wood Swallows are closely related to Butcherbirds, Currawongs and the Australian Magpie. Photo Noel Fisher