Sandwiched between the rugged, blue mountain country of the Mt Kaputar National Park and the signature Pilliga Scrub of NSW’s north-west plains, Narrabri is at the centre of a major cotton-growing district. The park mountains, which are snow gum draped basalt plugs thrown up by volcanic action about 20 million years ago, were first described by explorer John Oxley in 1818 : 'lofty and majestic range of hills lifting their blue heads above the horizon.' You can also take a look into the distant past by dropping in at the visitors’ centre at the CSIRO Telescope Centre 25km out of town or get a handle on the district’s lifeblood on guided tours of the cotton fields and gins. Once exclusive to the resident and migratory black swans, pelicans and ibis, the waterfowl have learnt to share their domain with anglers, sail-boarders and kayakers. The older buildings and churches are a time capsule of the late 19th century when Narrabri took substance, while much of the local family history is preserved in documents and artefacts housed in the Heritage Centre which occupies the town's old lock-up.