Now the ‘cotton centre’ of Australia, since an American tested and proved the crop out to the west of Narrabri in 1961, Wee Waa is set on the banks of the Namoi River in the valley of the same name. It was the first town established out this way, with the first development starting in 1837.
The town is a gateway to the far north-west of the state and towns such as Collaranebri, Walgett and Lightning Ridge with its famed, black opal fields.
In the cotton season between April and July there are tours of the cotton fields and processing gins. On the verge of the harvest, the mature cotton presents a magnificent, 'snowfield' vista for as far as the eye can see.
A couple of courageous winemakers continue to defy the harsh climate to produce eminently quaffable local wines, while the CSIRO operates the most powerful radio telescope in the southern hemisphere about 40km south-east of the town to the west of Narrabri.
The name Wee Waa apparently derives from an Aboriginal dialect and means ‘fire and roasting’, which might just as aptly apply to the weather as to culinary pursuits.