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Dubbo And The Western Plains Zoo
giraffe dubboThe outback city of Dubbo is a thriving metropolis that is undoubtedly most famous for its zoo, which is home to everyoneís favourite animals from Africa, Australia, Asia, North America and many other locations. It is a fantastic base to visit many of the other towns in the central west tablelands making it an ideal destination for your next outback campervan adventure. You will find Dubbo almost smack bang in the heart of New South Wales, just off the Mitchell Highway, which means that is easily accessible for you and your campervan.

Over the years, the tourist industry has been growing rapidly as word has quickly spread about all that this city has to offer. Dubbo is nestled on the banks of the Macquarie River, which is one of the main inland rivers in New South Wales. This river is home to a great walk, which takes you through the Dubbo parklands. Alternatively you can find your own fishing spot and just enjoy the peace of the outback. Along the banks you also will find the Dundullimal Homestead. Donít be put off by the name. It is the oldest, still standing, timber slab house in Australia.

There are plenty of caravan parks to choose from in this region, but the best of these would have to be the award winning Dubbo City Caravan Park which is central to most of the Dubbo attractions, shops and restaurants. The Westview Caravan Park is another popular place to stay and is set on 10 km of grass and shady trees. Itís a great option if you need a quiet place to unwind after a full day of sightseeing.

Embarking on a journey along the Heritage Walk will give you a closer look at the historic buildings with are found throughout Dubbo. Highlights of the walk include the Courthouse, some of the older churches and the Dubbo Military Museum. The Old Dubbo Gaol is a must-see, as it uses holograms to bring you a fascinating account of the history of the prison system in the 1800ís. The Western Plains Zoo is the main reason why many tourists visit Dubbo. Over 800 different animals habituate the 300 hectare zoo, in pleasant, home-like surrondings. It is almost a relief to visit a zoo where native animals have been given enough space to feel as though they are free. To circumnavigate the 6km track to see all the animals, you have the option of walking (which will take a while), hiring a mini-moke, driving your vehicle or cycling, which is a popular option for those wanting to closely interact with the animals.

So, what animals will you find here in the open range? Well, of course there are your African favourites such as zebras, giraffes, elephants, hippos, lions and cheetahs. Then there are the endangered species such as the white rhinoceros, Galapagos turtle and the Bengal tiger. The ring tailed lemurs, which were made famous by Madagascar, and the antelopes and echidnas are also regularly visited. The whole family will be delighted to see and sometimes pat wildlife they normally would never get to see in a lifetime. Itís a great zoo not just for the animals but also for the conservation of some of the world's most precious animals to take place.

There is something about visiting an outback city that you just canít put into words. The sky out here is so clear that you can see a billion stars lining the sky. The best place to do this is at the Dubbo Observatory. The whole family will love the slide show of the universe and the giant telescope to see the galaxy at its best. This is a unique experience that can best be enjoyed in the outback.

Getting to know the locals and browsing through the shops is also an enjoyable experience. This is the best way to discover travel tips from those who know the city best. The best thing about Dubbo is that you don't have to stick to the city centre to enjoy its perks. Venture out a bit and you will come across the beautiful Macquarie Valley which is known for its wine making and natural attractions such as Wellington Caves. There are also a number of surrounding cities that are worth a visit, such as Orange, Bathurst, Gilgandra, Parkes and Forbes.

Your visit to Dubbo, its zoo and the surrounding districts will never be forgotten because this area truly is unique to any other part of Australia. It is the perfect place to unwind and be captivated at the same time by the beauty and wonder of the attractions and scenery of Australia's great outback.

Christine Barton

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