Imagine a city boasting the charm of rural Australian life mixed with rich textured Victorian colonial history… and the expansive wonder of an African safari.
Dubbo is a place that refuses to be boxed in so it’s no surprise it’s one of the country’s fastest-growing inland cities.
It also plays host to over half a million travellers per year, each coming from across the globe to enjoy the easily accessible family entertainment, tantalising farm-to-table restaurants and awe-inspiring nature.
So, next time you’re in the area, here’s how to fill your itinerary…
1. Old Dubbo Gaol
State heritage listed, this historic gaol, located on the main street of Dubbo, operated for over 119 years from 1847 until 1966 and now houses grim artefacts – check out the hangman’s kit and gallows – and hosts tours during school holiday periods.
Address: 90 Macquarie St, Dubbo
2. Dubbo Farmers’ Market
Taking place on the corner of Macquarie Street and the Newell Highway on the first and third Saturday of the month, rain, hail or shine, Dubbo Farmers’ Market boasts 60 stall holders selling locally grown produce and a convivial village atmosphere.
Address: Cnr Macquarie St & Newell Hwy, Dubbo
3. Western Plains Cultural Centre
Housing the Dubbo Regional Gallery, Dubbo Museum and a community arts centre, the Western Plains Cultural Centre features touring exhibitions and pieces from the rich history of Dubbo and its surrounds.
Address: 76 Wingewarra St, Dubbo
4. Taronga Western Plains Zoo
With its large open plains, the Dubbo landscape echoes many of the hallmarks of an African savannah, which is why it’s an ideal home for zebras, giraffes, lions and the like, and the closest you’ll come to an African safari in Australia.
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.
Address: Obley Rd, Dubbo
5. Lazy River Estate
Located on the banks of the Macquarie River on the outskirts of town, the Lazy River estate winery hosts events and offers up lovely accommodation in the form of the Boat House Villa, from where you can stroll through the vines, picnic under 300-year-old gum trees and throw a line into the river. In the early morning you can hear the sound of the animals at Taronga Western Plains Zoo across the river.
Address: 29R Old Dubbo Rd, Dubbo
The Press, a cafe, restaurant and coffee roaster in one, is located in a heritage building that once housed The Land newspaper (hence the name), It strives to serve up dishes made with ingredients as local as possible including free-range or pastured meat and eggs, and crafted coffee that packs a punch.
Address: 33 Bultje St, Dubbo
Dubbo is located 392 kilometres from Sydney; it takes roughly five hours to drive direct via the Great Western and Castlereagh highways.