Bourke On the banks of the Darling River almost 800km north-west of Sydney, the once thriving river port of Bourke was the highest town on the Darling from which barges filled with cargos of wool could be shipped downstream. Although surrounded by dry plains the town is surprisingly green owing to the irrigation for citrus orchards and cotton crops. Founded by explorer Thomas Mitchell, who in 1835 built Fort Bourke, a wooden stockade, where a cairn now stands, was laid out 25 years later and became a coach centre. The Carriers Arms was once a Cobb & Co Inn and temporary home to Henry Lawson in 1892. There are some fine examples of 19th century architecture including the old wharf, Manston lodge and St Ignatuis Church. Cobar is Located 700km west of Sydney Cobar sits on the edge of the outback and is headquarters for a shire covering 44 065 square km. A copper mining town founded in the early 1870's started as a mining camp of tents and huts and quickly reached its peak population of 10 000. Several buildings remain as reminder of it heyday, such as the Great Western Hotel which claims its verandah, over 100m long is the longest in Australia and the mining company's office which is now the Pastoral, Mining and Technological Museum. The town has been brought back to life with the building of a 135km pipeline from Nyngan bringing water to the once dusty town. Lightning Ridge. Famous for Black opals Lightning Ridge is the principle opal mining town in NSW. There are many old mines to visit and cutting demonstrations to watch. Amateur fossikers are welcome to try their luck. Artesian bore waters supply a minerals-rich bathing pool to relax in, and there are many local displays from arts and crafts to opals and jewellery. Brewarrinna. The small town of Brewarrina lies 100km east of Bourke on the Barwon River. The river was a natural fishery for the Aboriginal people and their fish traps, consisting of a complex pattern of partly submerged stone boulders, can still be seen. The Aboriginal Cultural Museum operates special walkabout tours which give an incredible insight into Aboriginal culture. Moree. Situated on the Gwydir River, Moree is famous for its Artesian Spa Baths which attract thousands of sufferers of rheumatism, arthritis and other disorders each year. The Moree Art Gallery houses an extensive collection of Aboriginal art. Narrabri. The cotton capital of Australia, Narrabri sits on a branch of the Namoi River and if visited in April-June the fields are covered with the "snow" of ripe cotton plants. Some attractions in the area include the Australia Telescope at Culgoora, just west of town, which is linked with other telescopes in western NSW and Mt Kaputar National Park to the east Orange, a town of leafy parks and trees is the center of a huge apple and pear growing industry.
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