DUBBO:THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
Surround yourself with wineries, history and culture near the centre of NSW in the busy city of Dubbo. You’ll have the opportunity to go back in time, get close to exotic animals and relax as you take a break.
What to do
Take a safari the whole family can enjoy at Taronga Western Plains Zoo and see more than 1500 free-roaming animals from all corners of the globe. The zoo has been designed using moats rather than walls so the experience feels like you’re seeing animals in the wild, while maintaining a safe distance behind discreet barriers. Get around the 6km track by foot, bike or join the convoy of cars creeping along the road.
After the exhausting zoo-fari, head over to Red Earth Wine Estate. Not only can you sample wines, cheeses, fruits and nuts, but you can make the most of the fresh country air and enjoy gourmet treats on a manicured lawn.
For those with an appetite for the creeps, visit the Old Dubbo Gaol for a hair-raising experience. There you can see the cramped spaces prisoners once lived in and learn about the more well-known crims that once graced the gaol’s cells.
But if slowing down and relaxing is more your style, go to The Shoyoen Japanese Garden for a picturesque place to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Wander around and take in the positive energy.
Also worth a peak is Dundullimal, an old timber slab homestead built in the 1840s by European settlers. History buffs will love this local landmark and learning about the early European housing in NSW.
While you’re there, visit Aladdins’ Cave Bottlehouse for inspiration on your next recycling project. The building is made up of about 3000 toy-filled bottles, with 1000 hanging from the ceiling.
Where to stay
There are over 70 places to stay in Dubbo, each suiting different budgets and tastes. Among the better reviewed is the Australian Heritage Motor Inn, a four-star boutique style motel situated in the heart of the city. With all the usual mod cons and a restaurant, expect to pay at least $132 a night.
Closer to the zoo is BIG4 Dubbo Parklands, which offers cabins, caravans or camping options, as well as a swimming pool and barbecue facilities. Rated four stars, BIG4 has a family friendly environment that has something for all budgets.
When to travel
Dubbo is a great city to visit any time of the year, though winter gets very cold with low temperatures around 2°C. The warmer months are the best time to visit as summer temperatures reach a toasty 33°C.
Qantas and Regional Express fly into Dubbo airport from Sydney and Bourke. The airport is 6km from the city, so you can either get a rental car or jump in a taxi. Meanwhile Countrylink express trains run daily between Sydney and Dubbo ($194 return, www.countrylink.info).
Built according to an open range principle, Western Plains Zoo keeps its 1100-plus animals from all over the world apart using concealed moats rather than walls and fences. The effect is spellbinding: you drive down a road or walk along a track and can easily imagine you’re on an African plain, surrounded by wildlife in its natural habitat. Located in Dubbo in western NSW, the Zoo offers accommodation in a lodge, so you can wake up hearing the calls and screams of the assembled wildlife. The apes in particular are famed for putting golfers off their putts at nearby Dubbo...
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