According to legend the Salt Caves were once thirty metres deep, and salt hung in columns like stalactites from the roof. Wild horses, wild cattle and kangaroos were often seen and local women collected the salt to cure their meat.
The Salt Caves picnic area is located within Timallallie National Park in the central part of the Pilliga Forest. The area received a facelift in late 2008, making it an ideal family picnic spot. The area now contains a picnic area with free gas barbecues, toilets and several picnic shelters. Due to the remote location of the Salt Caves there are no rubbish bins so please take all your rubbish away with you to keep this area a pleasant place to visit.
A fire observation tower is situated on top of the caves, which is used by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to monitor conditions. It is possible to climb only to the base of this tower, where you will be rewarded with spectacular views over the Pilliga Forest.
An easy 1 kilometre stroll takes you to the Salt Caves Dam which when full of water attracts many species of birds and wildlife. Please note all plants, animals and rock features are protected.
The Aloes is a lovely picnic area on the site of an historic homestead that contains several relics including early pioneers graves. It is one of a number of areas within the Pilliga Forest that has koala colonies, so keep your eyes peeled and you may be lucky enough to spot a few. Adjacent to the Aloes is a wide, sandy creek in which native trees abound.
Schwagers Bore is a cold water bore in the Pilliga Forest. Unlike most of the other bores in the area the water does not have a high mineral content, making it theoretically safe to drink. However this is not advisable. There are no facilities at Schwagers Bore.
Please find below instructions for reaching the Salt Caves and Aloes from either Narrabri, Wee Waa or Australia Telescope to help you formulate a driving itinerary.
During the dry this area easily accessible by car, but please do not attempt it during the wet.
Ensure you have plenty of fuel and water etc before setting off into the Pilliga Forest.
It is advisable to let someone know of your travel plans.
Driving Instructions from Narrabri:
- Drive south on the Newell Highway towards Coonabarabran approximately 31kms.
- Turn right onto the Pilliga Forest Way to Lucky Flat approximately 15kms.
- Continue on the Pilliga Forest Way until you arrive at Schwagers Bore.
- Follow the Pilliga Forest Way approximately 8kms and turn left into line road where the road will take you to the Salt Caves.
- To continue onto the Aloes follow the Wellyard Rd to Coxes Crossing.
- Turn onto the Aloes Rd follow through to the Aloes.
- From the Aloes you can continue on to Kenebri on the Pilliga Forest Way Rd or follow the Cumbil Road onto Baradine.
Driving Instructions from Australia Telescope:
- From CSIRO Australia Telescope continue towards Wee Waa until you reach the Cross Roads.
- Turn left onto the Wee Waa Road and follow through onto Twenty Foot Road then onto The Pilliga Forest Way to Schwagers Bore.
- From here continue as per "Driving Instructions from Narrabri" directions.
Driving Instructions from Wee Waa:
- From Wee Waa Follow the Pilliga Road to Cuttabri.
- Take the Cuttabri Road and turn into Cumbil Road and follow the Aloes.
- Continue to the Salt Caves by following the Aloes Road to Coxes Crossing.
- Join Wellyard Road, which follows through to the Salt Caves.
- To return to Narrabri follow Llne Road to the Pilliga Forest Way, Schwagers Bore and Lucky Flat to the Newell Highway.