Get sneezed on by a giraffe, get licked by a rhino and get stalked by a cheetah. If you come to visit NSW and have a bit of time to see the place, definitely take the 5 hour trek out to Dubbo. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, Dubbo is a thriving and vibrant in-land city. One of the oldest in-land settlements, it is thoughfully located at the crossroads of two major rivers, making it important for trade.
After driving through tiny little towns and endless rural and pastoral scenes, stumbling into the thriving heart of Dubbo is almost a shock to the system. One of the primary attractions is their Zoo. Partners with the Sydney Zoo, The Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo started out as the extra storage space for animals that didn’t fit at Taronga or that they were trying to breed. Boasting plenty of room and rolling grasslands, their breeding programs for endangered species such as the Black Rhino and the Cheetah have exceeded anyones wildest dreams and are world class. The zoo itself is also world class- it is one of the few “cageless” zoos in the world. The animals are given plenty of space to roam while being behind natural barriers that do not obstruct the patrons view.
The big surprise is that nearly two thirds of the zoo is not even on display! The zoo runs special programs through their Zoofari Lodge that allow adults, school groups, families, and animal lovers in general to spend the night in the zoo! I did this awhile back. Completely spoilt by the friendly staff, it is worth every penny. Not just for families with children, accomodation is top notch with safari tents– which are nicer than local hotels, a viewing deck, restaurant, bar, swimming pool, and of course, the special behind the scenes guided tours. Get a little wild while getting personal with the elephants, get an introduction to the tigers, and get to know the Lions. Did you know cheetahs are the largest purring cat , can be domesticated and …they meow just like a household cat! Utterly astounding.