We know lions, tigers, and sun bears aren’t exactly something you would normally equate with many rural Australian cities but Dubbo doesn’t play by the rules. Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been inspiring visitors for over 40 years, showcasing hoards of elephants, cheetahs, zebras and even Sumatran tigers along wide expansive enclosures that feel as close to their natural habitat as possible. What makes it so special though is that it’s also been designed for maximum close contact (as safely and humanely as possible, of course), fulfilling guest’s wildest safari dreams without ever needing to leave the country.
Looking to linger longer? Book a Zoofari Lodge experience to really up the wild factor with a choice of 15 luxurious tent-style accommodations offering animal and bushland views.
Getting to the heart of Australian history doesn’t get quite as affecting (and sometimes spooky) as it does at Old Dubbo Gaol. This heritage-listed structure once housed some of the country’s most notorious male and female prisoners but now stands as a monument to a bygone early settler era. Twilight Tours introduce the harsh and dark moments of life in the 19th century with an added immersive theatrical twist. Meanwhile, those with a soft spot for the supernatural are invited to join a Beyond The Grave Tour (for 16 year-olds and over), using EMF readers to communicate with spirits of condemned prisoners.
To shake off some of the goal’s eerie energy, visit to Dundullimal Homestead, one of the oldest and best-preserved homes from the mid-1800s. The formerly isolated property is open to the public and provides an insight into rustic Australian life, complete with blacksmithing forge, sunken ‘cool room’ and sandstone stables.