Since copper was discovered here in 1870, COBAR, just under 160km south of Bourke and the first real stop on the Barrier Highway between Nyngan and Broken Hill, has experienced three mining booms. Today, this town of around 7000 people is home to the vast CSA Copper Mine, which extracts well over half a million tonnes of copper ore every year, and smaller gold and silver mines. Earlier booms resulted in a number of impressive public buildings, among them the 1882 courthouse and the police station, as well as the Great Western Hotel on Marshall Street, whose iron-lace verandas are among the longest in the state. Most people only stop here to refuel before the monotonous 260-kilometre stretch to Wilcannia; there is, however, a lovely picnic spot in Drummond Park, just off the highway on Linsley Street.
For more about the town, head for the excellent visitor centre (Mon– Fri 8.30am–5pm, Sat & Sun 9am–5pm; Tel:02/6836 2448, Web:www.cobar.nsw.gov.au) on Marshall Street. Staff at the visitor centre can provide a mud map showing places of interest around Cobar, including the platform giving views down into the open-cast gold mine. They can also advise on Outback bush-stays.