After spending some time in Wellington, we made it to Dubbo by about 2pm. A ticket to the zoo covers you for two days- there is no option for a one day pass. Even with only a few hours left of opening hours, we figured we may as well see what we could in the afternoon, and then come back for a full day the next day. That plan actually worked out reasonably well.
After checking into our hotel, we got to the zoo around 3pm, and had around two hours to explore and get a feel for our surroundings. Even though the zoo advertises a closing time of 4pm, that’s not actually the case. New visitors aren’t allowed in after 4, but people already inside are certainly not booted out for at least another hour.
Our first real meeting was with the giraffes, which are superb to see. Over that first afternoon we got to the entire circuit of the zoo. Some animals had already been retired back to their enclosures for the evening, but we did get to see a fair bit at a glance, knowing we were coming back the next day for a more in-depth encounter.
We’re usually not that into zoos, but the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo is different, being that no animals are caged. All the animals are ‘open range’ and are in fields and paddocks. There are a few zoos like this around the place, with the one closest to us being at Werribee, just outside of Melbourne. We’ll definitely be hitting that up sometime soon after seeing the awesomeness of this one!
I remember coming through here as a kid in our old Nissan Urvan. That was over 30 years ago, but the place hasn’t seemed to have changed too much from what I remember. As a child, I thought we were right in the fields with the animals. It wasn’t until this trip that I noticed that there are large valleys in the ground around each animals exhibit, with a fence as high as the valley is deep. Probably around 5 or 6 feet. That successfully keeps the animals in, and us out. Pretty ingenious really. Some are bigger than others for obvious reasons.
It’s a fantastic illusion, as from only a few steps back it really can feel like there’s nothing between you and an amazing animal.
The educational aspect of the two days was excellent too. Learning more about the plight of the Black Rhino, and other species was sobering, but important to know. We really should be doing more.
We had an exceptionally good time, and highly recommend a visit. If you’re travelling from the south to the north of Australia, it mightn’t be that far out of your way to go through Dubbo – it might even be on your way.
The Taronga Western Plains Zoo is open every day from 9am until 4pm.
For our trip, tickets were just shy of $50 each for the two days. Check current prices here.
Have a look what others are saying about The Dubbo Zoo on TripAdvisor