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Pilliga Sandstone Caves in the Pilliga Nature Reserve banner

Pilliga Sandstone Caves in the Pilliga Nature Reserve
Note various occurrences of thin wafers of rock which have been left by the weathering process. This is caused by penetration of harder minerals into the wafer areas when the rock was whole. As the rock weathers the harder minerals resist the weathering leaving the wafers
Pilliga Sandstone Caves
Bands of ferugginous deposits (dark colour) resistant to weathering remain twisted through the soft sandstone

Pilliga Sandstone Caves in the Pilliga Nature Reserve

Latitude -31.011362, Longitude,149.416144

Located in the North West Region of NSW, nearest large town Coonabarabran

Source: National Parks and Wildlife Service

Link to Detailed Map

Pilliga Sandstone

The Pilliga sandstone is the foundational layer for the entire Pilliga Forest area. Around 150 million years ago (the Jurassic Age), vast horizontal layers of sediment were laid down in a series of lakes. The resulting rock formation was later intruded by the volcanic eruptions that formed the Warrumbungle and Nandewar ranges. Today, the sandstone is up to 300 metres thick and stretches from close to Dubbo, NSW, up into Queensland.

Pilliga Sandstone Caves

Situated around a large sandstone outcrop, the Sandstone Caves are a series of cathedral type caves and overhangs displaying an array of interesting colours and shapes. They have been formed over many thousands of years through the weathering of the fragile sandstone.

Note the weathering effect on the extremely fragile sandstone. The rock has bands of more resistant material rich in quartz layered in the sandstone and this has been left behind as the softer sandstone succumbs to the wear and tear of wind, rain, heat and cold.

The Sandstone Caves are an Aboriginal site for the local Gamilaraay people. The Gamilaraay people are proud of their cultural heritage, including their powerful connection to the Pilliga landscape and the native plants and animals within it. Grinding grooves, rock art and other Aboriginal sites provide a strong link with traditional times. The use of bush tucker and other natural resources remain an important part of the local community. Please respect the Gamilaraay culture and this special place by leaving the area as you found it.

Getting There

The Sandstone Caves are located in the Pilliga Nature Reserve which is north of Coonabarabran. Directions to the Sandstone Caves are required as the area is not sign posted (at the request of Aboriginal Elders). The best way to experience the Sandstone Caves is on an Aboriginal Discovery guided tour. For more information on the Sandstone Caves please contact the National Parks and Wild Life Service Narrabri Office: 6799 7300 or Baradine Office: 6843 4000.

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