The Taronga Western Plains Zoo is just outside Dubbo, a 5-hour drive west from Sydney. Whenever I mentioned I was going to Dubbo for the weekend, the first question people asked me was “Where is Dubbo?” followed by, “Why are you going? What’s there?” To which I can now respond, oh just one of the best zoos ever! I went with my host family and 5 other families as well. There was 25 of us in total, so we were a big group!
To break up the drive a little, we stopped in Orange for lunch. We ate at The Agrestic Grocer, a cute little cafe. They were able to handle all 25 of us plus their other customers effortlessly. I had the pork belly burger, and it was NOM. There was also a small little farmer’s market type shop attached to it with fresh produce and goods.
We finally arrived at our accommodation for the weekend, The Savannah Cabins which were actually inside the zoo (so cool!). They are perfect for families, especially groups of families going on holiday together. Each cabin has two bedrooms, two baths, a full kitchen, a living room with a pull out couch, a porch with a big dining table, and full-size grill! The kids were loving it because they could easily run back and forth to each other’s “houses.”
It was really cool being able to see the giraffes on the Savannah off in the distance. And there were tons of wild kangaroos (cool for a non-Aussie). We had a big BBQ that night and the full moon was putting on quite a show:
The next morning I was lucky enough to wake up with the sun. I watched the sunrise out on the porch while drinking my coffee — well worth the 6 am wake up!
One of the families we were with is good friends with the zoo director, so we had the opportunity to do the Wild Africa Encounter free of charge, and boy, was it incredible! Well worth the $29 per person ticket price. You first board the bus and it takes you right out on the savannah with the giraffes, addaxes, and other iconic African animals.
How funny is it to see wild kangaroos in with giraffes?! The zookeeper said they can’t really keep them out and they don’t bother the other animals so the zoo just leaves them be.
After the drive on the Savannah, the tour took us behind the scenes with black and white rhinos. We were close enough to almost touch, it was so cool!
Following the Wild Africa Encounter, we headed to the main part of the zoo to rent bikes — yes, you read that right, we rode bikes through the zoo! The whole “path” of the zoo was 6 km long, so bikes were kind of necessary. They also had electric golf carts available for rent if biking is still too much. You are able to drive your car through, but it would probably be a bit of a hassle. And seriously, how cool is it to ride your bike through the zoo?!
Even the flowers are beautiful at this zoo!
If you’re visiting or live in New South Wales, a weekend holiday to Dubbo to see the zoo is definitely worth it!