Dark Sky Park
John Renshaw Parkway
Coonabarabran, New South Wales
Warrumbungle National Park is a 23,312-hectare park in the Orana region of New South Wales, Australia. In addition to its spectacular daytime vistas of the Warrumbungle Mountain Range, the Park has long been known for the quality of its dark night skies. In the 1950s, seeking relief from the light pollution of Canberra that negatively impacted its Mount Stromlo Observatory, the Australian government relocated major operations to a new observatory at Siding Spring. Now operated by the Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the Australian National University, Siding Spring Observatory is home to the 4-meter Anglo-Australian Telescope, the largest in Australia. Lessons learned at Mount Stromlo encouraged early conservation of dark skies in the area, including at Warrumbungle, to protect the national investment in Australia’s professional astronomy infrastructure.
Warrumbungle’s status as the first IDA Dark Sky Park in Australia is a natural extension of the work it has done for years to contain threats to the observatory site through outdoor lighting policy and regional planning. The National Park has increased opportunities for all visitors to take in remarkably dark night skies, whether or not they visit the observatory.