Pilliga Forest

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

Working gas wells, flares, spill sites and other infrastructure can all be seen during a self-drive Quick Gas Tour.

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

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

Maps, Books & Leaflets

Maps books and leaflets are available from Visitor Information Centres in Baradine, Coonabarabran and Narrabri.

Pats bookA book The Plundering of Pilliga & Leard Forests and the Surrounding Farmlands by Pat Schultz gives detailed maps and good information on these areas and on self-guided tours. Purchase from Pat direct at Ph: 0428 725 852 Email: leardpilliga@gmail.com

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.

A free visitor guide leaflet, Pilliga forest National Parks & other reserves is also available but the map does not include the roads where gas mining infrastructure is built.


Fuel available 24 hours at Coonabarabran and Narrabri. Baradine Service Station is open business hours only and there is no fuel available from 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.


Drive slowly at dawn and dusk as kangaroos are more likely to be on the move at these times. Watch out for heavy vehicles on the Newell Highway – they can take a long time to slow down.


Some areas in the Pilliga have no mobile reception.


Winter – very cold frosty mornings with usually warm days
Summer – very hot days and nights


Appropriate seasonal clothing for day and night.
Walking shoes/boots
Insect repellent
Wet weather gear
Plenty of water
Camping gear if required

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 private land and 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.