Pilliga Forest

Santos has approval to drill 850 coal seam gas wells in the Pilliga State Forest, situated between Coonabarabran and Narrabri, and in the surrounding area in NSW. This is in the recharge area of the Great Artesian Basin.

During a self-drive Quick Gas Detour, see for yourself what an area looks like ten years after water brought up from the coal seam spilt onto the ground.

BOOKINGS are required for all camping in NSW National Parks.  Contact or visit the Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre, in Baradine.

Attractions in the Pilliga include Sandstone Caves, Sculptures in the Scrub, the Aloes, a Lookout Tower and Salt Cave. On private land surrounded by the forest is Pilliga Pottery, which has a cafe, camping and accommodation.

Click on Destinations for information on towns and surrounding attractions to visit. See below for important safety information on fuel, wet weather, safety, communications, packing, maps, books and leaflets and visitor information centres.

Safety Information

Maps, Books & Leaflets
As it is easy to get lost in The Pilliga it is highly recommended you purchase a map The Pilliga Forest, published by NSW National Parks and Wildlife, before entering the forest. It’s available from Visitor Information Centres in Baradine, Coonabarabran and Narrabri. Free maps, books and leaflets are also available but they do not have the detail of the large map. 

A book The Plundering of Pilliga & Leard Forests and the Surrounding Farmlands by Pat Schultz has maps and information. Purchase from Pat direct at Ph: 0428 725 852 Email: leardpilliga@gmail.com

Fuel is available 24 hours at Coonabarabran and Narrabri. Baradine Service Station is open business hours only and there is no fuel available at Pilliga township. Buy a full tank of petrol before entering the Pilliga Forest.

Wet Weather – Travelling around the forest in wet weather is not recommended. Unsealed roads may be impassable.

Safety – Drive slowly, particularly at dawn and dusk as kangaroos are more likely to be on the move at these times. When turning off the Newell Highway, watch out for heavy vehicles – they take a long time to slow down.

Communications – Some areas in the Pilliga have no mobile reception. Before travelling into the forest advise a friend where you are going and when you expect to be back in mobile range. Download:
Fires Near Me App 
Or ArcGIS NSW Fire Map 
Check the weather forecast including wind and direction
Check Pilliga National Park – current alerts 
ABC Emergency

Summers are very hot and the forest may be closed on high fire danger days. Winter nights are cold, mornings can be frosty but the days are usually warm. Autumn is an ideal time to visit as is spring when all the wildflowers and native orchids are in bloom.

Seasonal clothing for day and night – long pants and long sleeve shirts for sun and bite protection
Fully charged phone/camera/GPS
Walking shoes/boots
Insect repellent
Wet weather gear
Plenty of water
Non-perishable snacks
Camping gear if required
First aid kit

Public vs Private Land – Roads, roadsides and the Pilliga Forest are publicly owned and you have the right to drive and walk on this land. Fenced areas are either private land or where Santos’ gas infrastructure and or operations are located, and the company has permission from NSW Forestry Corp to close off part of the State Forest to the public. You could be charged for trespassing if you go onto this land.

However, gas company employees frequently film and intimidate anyone viewing their sites from public land. Wave, smile for the camera, take a photo of them to show your friends back home and do what you set out to do. Don’t be bullied into leaving. You have done nothing illegal.