Narrabri Visitors Centre

A photograph of the ATCA at night


The Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), at the Narrabri Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas used for radio astronomy. It is located about 25 km west of the town of Narrabri in rural NSW (about 500 km north-west of Sydney). It is operated as the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) by Space and Astronomy (S&A), a business unit of CSIRO.

Visiting the Observatory

Visits by the general public are always welcome!!

Associated with the Telescope is a Visitors Centre where you can view the telescope. There are also a number of displays, both internal and external plus an audiovisual presentation. The Visitors Centre is unstaffed but open from 8:00am to 5:00pm daily.

Admission is free. There is an electric barbeque area available for public use. The visitors centre is at the edge of a dry woodland environment. Kangaroos and galahs are plentiful. Occasionally emus, echidnas and (very occasionally) koalas can be seen.

A photograph of the ATCA at sunset


Group tours can be organised. For further information call (02) 6790 4000 or email the Narrabri staff. By ringing well in advance, we may be able to let you know times which would be best for a visit (e.g. when the Array is reconfigured, or in a more impressive configuration).

How to get there

When travelling from Narrabri town to the observatory, there are two paths to follow at first, depending on whether you are approaching from the town centre or from the southern outskirts of the town.

  • When travelling from the south: You reach the outskirts of Narrabri (either from Coonabarabran or Gunnedah) at a large roundabout. Continue on towards the town proper crossing a railway track and then arriving at another large roundabout. Here you turn left (away from Narrabri) into Mooloobar Street and on your right hand side the Narrabri Lake will come into view. Keep travelling along Mooloobar Street until you come to a T-Intersection and turn right into Baranbar Street (following the Australia Telescope sign). Turn left at the next T-intersection into Goobar Street.
  • When travelling from the town centre: Leaving the town centre heading south towards Sydney or Coonabarabran, you cross the main river flow (Narrabri Creek) and then the old dry riverbed of the Namoi River. Shortly afterwards follow the signs to "Australia Telescope" turning right (Ugoa St), left around the Narrabri Lake (Walowa St), and then right again at the Wilga Hotel (Goobar St)
  • Continue along Goobar St - which changes into Yarrie Lake Rd - keep going west, past the large Cargill cottonseed oil factory on your left, crossing a railway track and the usually dry Bohena Ck. About 20km from town there is a sign directing you right to the "Australia Telescope". Follow this tarred road 2km, and you are there. Continue straight through a five-way intersection to go to the Visitors Centre.

There are often kangaroos grazing on the site: please drive carefully. During and after rain there are a series of causeways/floodways which can become quite deep. Please slow down and cross with care.

A link to a map of the immediate vicinity of the ATCA is here.

Alternatively you may visit the main ATCA web site.