Looking for a short break? Dubbo zoo - the Western Plains Taronga, is an interesting option to enjoy a great day outdoors, take your kids to see cuddly animals or the big and less cuddly ones and then wind down with a fabulous dinner and a good night sleep.
So where is this wildlife park and how to get there?
It is in Dubbo. In the middle of New South Wales (NSW).
About 400 km from Sydney or 5 hours to drive. That is if you don't stop and visit some of the little treasures coming up your way.
You could fly from Sydney too. It will take a bit more than one hour. Plus all the time that it takes to get to the airport, do the check-in...Really? Driving works better and helps see more of the regional New South Wales.
You could take the train. Or the coach. Though you'll spend more time sitting than if you went by car. Travel time by train is over 6 hours. And you don't want to sit. You want to be able to stop and visit the interesting places before getting to Dubbo zoo.
Here's a quick sketch of your trip to Dubbo, where to stop and what to see.
If you drive it's quite an exciting journey.
You go through the Blue Mountains and have two options: via Katoomba or via Richmond. Both have majestic views. To see them all take option one, the Great Western Highway and stop at Echo Point near Katoomba to see the Three Sisters.
On your way back take option 2, the Bells Line road to see the Mount Tomah Botanical Gardens. And get a glimpse of Sydney's skyscrapers.
The road takes you through Bathurst. If you are a car enthusiast stop at Mount Panorama to see the race track.
If not continue to Orange, which is another picturesque regional town, known for its fresh produce and farmers' markets. You'll find lots of delicious berries and fruit.
But no oranges. Too cold for them. Where does the Orange name come from?
About 60 km before Dubbo stop to visit the Wellington caves.
The most interesting of all is the Cathedral cave whose stalagmites form a 15 metres high altar.
Don't forget to get around the Japanese Garden which is just across the entry to the caves complex.
When you return to the highway stop at the Wellington Gateway to see, a sculpture made by local artists, school students and members of the aboriginal community.
If you still have time and don't mind visiting the Dubbo zoo the next day, make a detour to the Burrendong lake, known to the locals as the jewel of the west.
They say it has three and a half times more water than the Sydney Harbour. And it's a good spot for camping, picnic and water sports.
Return to the main highway and drive another hour to Dubbo. By now, with so many stops you'll surely appreciate a good dinner. Check out these reviews of restaurants in Dubbo by other people who have tried them.
And after a nice glass of wine or two it's time to go to bed. Where? Click the image below to book your hotel.
You will find more about the Western Plains zoo, its programs and activities when you click on the images below.
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