NSW Trip: Day 3: Dubbo

27 10 2009

The whole reason for going to Dubbo was to visit the Western Plains Zoo (now part of Taronga Zoo). We’d always said that we should do this trip ‘one day’ — especially after we visited the San Diego Wildlife Park at Escondido some years back — and now that day had arrived.

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The zoo is just on the outskirts of Dubbo, so is really easy to get to (once you’re in Dubbo, of course!). But it’s pricey. It costs $45 per adult for entry to the zoo. This is for a two-day pass, but there’s no option to purchase a single day ticket — you can only purchase a two-day pass. On top of that are charges for bike hire (min. $15 per bike; $21 each for a bike with 3 gears; $69 for a golf cart-style buggy), and all hire charges are for a minimum of 4 hours, so no option to hire for an hour.

You can drive around the zoo in your own car (about a 5 km loop) and get out and walk to the exhibits, or walk the entire loop, or hire a bike or buggy. We hired bikes, but because the sun was out and had some heat, we had to purchase peaked caps and sunscreen too (another almost $50). All up our trip to the Dubbo zoo cost us around $200… And we were only there for about two hours.

Why two hours? Well, to be honest, that’s all it took. We drove around slowly on the first pass, stopping for me to get out and take some pictures. Then we bought the caps and sunscreen, filled in all the paperwork for the bike hire, then rode around the loop and some of the inner trails, again stopping to take photos etc. It really only took two hours. And we’re not at all fit. A fit rider would so it in much less, even allowing for stopping and taking photos. (Pictures are here)

We considered our expenses for those two hours our charitable contribution to the zoo…

So, what to do for the rest of the day? It was around lunchtime, and we’d booked a room for two nights, so we couldn’t check out. The bike hire attendant had suggested we go to the Hunter Valley and do a ‘slight detour’ via Dunedoo to see Gulgong and Mudgee, so we decided to do that drive this afternoon.

Gulgong is a very historic town, famed for its connection to Henry Lawson (famous Australian poet), and is know to most older Australians as ‘the town on the $10 note’… that’s until they redesigned the notes back in the 1980s and took it off the $10 note! Gulgong has narrow streets, massively high kerbs, and a so-so bakery where we bought pies for lunch.

Next stop was Mudgee, where the streets were much wider. Pretty town, though we didn’t stop for any length of time. If we’re out that way again, we’d stop there and perhaps check out some wineries in the region.

From Mudgee, we headed in a loop back to Dubbo via Ulan (a dot on the map and nothing more when you get there!), then towards Wellington, then took the Goolma road direct to Dubbo.

A comment about the roads out here in western NSW — they are narrow, have narrow shoulders, have a LOT of truck traffic, and are really potholed, patchy and rough in many places. They need serious work. I thought some of the country roads in Western Australia were bad — they’re far better than the NSW roads we travelled on.

We had an early dinner when we got back into Dubbo, at a place we’d spotted earlier — SSS BBQ Barns. My husband had the full rack of BBQ pork ribs ($28.95), and I had a half rack (more than enough; $12.95). They were delicious! The meat melted right off the bones and you really didn’t have to handle the bones at all. Bonus points for the country music they played too!


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8 11 2009
NSW Trip: Day 2: Getting to Dubbo « At Random

[…] stop: Dubbo’s Western Plains Zoo (the reason for going to […]

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