Cobar is a wonderful small town in outback NSW. Located about 300 kilometres west of Dubbo, it has a population of around 5000 people. It has a rich mining heritage and is best known for its gold and copper mining operations. It is definitely worth spending a couple of days exploring the area as there is lots to see and do.
FORT BOURKE LOOK OUT
Fort Bourke Look Out is the historical site of the first gold mine in Cobar – the New Cobar Gold Mine. Peak Gold Mines now operate an underground mine at Fort Bourke. I could not believe the enormity of the open cut section of the mine.
The underground entrance was about 150 metres below the viewing platform. We were lucky enough to see a dump truck come out of the mine and make its way up the winding track to go and unload its precious cargo.
Since mining operations first commenced in 1870, there have been approximately 3 million ounces of gold produced and around 200,000 tonnes of copper.
The Peak Gold Mine is also worth a visit as you can walk along the Golden Walk, past mining equipment from days gone by, to a viewing area. There you are able to view some of the external mine workings.
***The Heritage Centre is currently (April, 2021) closed for major preservation work***
Perhaps the best place to visit in Cobar is the Great Cobar Heritage Centre which incorporates the Visitors Information Centre and a Museum. Originally built in 1912 as the Administration Building for the Great Cobar Copper Mine, this beautiful old building now houses an interesting and informative collection covering the mining, farming and Aboriginal history of Cobar. There is also plenty to see outside of the building including what was once an open cut mine.
There is plenty of parking, a dump point and picnic tables if you are wanting to stop for a break. Across the road is the lovely Mining Heritage Park, established to commemorate miners who lost their lives in Cobar mines.
THE OLD RESERVOIR
The Old Reservoir was Cobar’s first main water supply. Interestingly, Cobar still does not have its own water supply. It all comes from Burrendong Dam 400 kilometres away. The water is pumped to Cobar via a network of pipelines and then held in storage tanks at the top of Fort Bourke. Free camping is available here and it is a lovely, peaceful spot for a night or two. It can however be difficult to get into if there has been a lot of rain.
The main street of Cobar offers a couple of coffee shops, two supermarkets and a couple of pubs. There are also some lovely gift shops to browse in and we found a bakery that had great pies.
Close to town is the New Tank Recreation and Water Sports Area. This is a man made dam just big enough to water-ski on and a nice spot for a picnic with plenty of trees and green grass.
We really enjoyed our stay in Cobar. It’s a lovely, friendly town and well worth a visit when you are travelling through outback NSW.