The Exploratory visitor centre and café features an informative exhibition, multimedia presentations and augmented reality displays. There is also a gift shop and picnic area.

Visitors can also access a viewing gallery inside the large dome to see the 3.9 m Anglo Australian Telescope, the largest optical telescope in Australia and one of the finest research instruments in the world.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the Solar System drive as you head towards Coonabarabran and the observatory:

The 37 m high dome of the AAT represents the Sun, and the planets are modelled and signposted to scale along the five highways that lead into town. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter all appear along on the drive between the observatory and Coonabarabran. Pluto is just 5 cm in diameter and is located 200 km away in Dubbo, Tamworth, Merriwa, Birriwa and Bellata.

Opening hours

Open 7 days during NSW school holidays except Good Friday, and 25-26 December.

During school term the visitor centre is open 9:30 am to 4.00 pm Tuesday to Friday, 10.00 am to 4.00 pm Saturday and public holidays and it is closed on Sunday and Monday.

The Observatory site is closed to the public after 4.00 pm.

Admission to the centre is free and paid guided tours are available (bookings required).

Photo: Tim Connors (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).