We were looking forward to arriving in Dubbo as we had heard that the Western Plains Zoo was a must-do visit. We stayed at the lovely Dubbo City Caravan Park, which would have to be one of the best we have stayed at and they have a ‘buy zoo tickets get a discount on your stay’ deal which we took advantage of.
Arriving as the gates opened on our first day of the 2 day pass we decided to splash out on two animal encounters – Carolyne got one for the Meerkats (she is so brave going in with those wild animals) and got me a tiger feeding encounter. As the tiger encounter group was quite small we were all able to feed two of the big cats a few times each and had a real behind the scenes tour of the facility. Dubbo has an excellent breeding program to attempt to preserve the species which is very endangered with less than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild and the money from the encounters all go to Indonesia to try to stop the poaching.
Carolyne loved the Meerkats as they sat on her shoulders or her head as they were hoping for some of their special treat of meal worms which they fell upon hungrily when they were given some!
The park is well laid out with roomy, beautifully designed enclosures so that you can get amazingly close to many of the animals without bars. We were impressed with the number of animals of each species there – for example the 10 or 12 giraffes including some very young ones and the rhinos (of which the three major species were all there, the White, Black and Single-horned Asian variety). We were impressed with the Siamangs that were on an island but very close to the viewing area when the female started her ‘this is our island stay away’ call that was then picked up by the male and even their little young male infant who was learning the calls chimed in too. It was deafening! The zoo keeper talks were well worth going to as we learnt so much more than just reading the information boards. We were especially lucky with the otters as their enclosure had a plumbing problem so we waited until it was fixed then had a ringside seat on our own as they were let back in to find their treat of fish which they devoured in a flash.
Back in town we visited the Old Dubbo Gaol where prisoners had been hung until 1901 with sometimes dubious evidence. I’m sure Carolyne would have quite happily left me in the stocks…
Edit: Added photos to the gallery of where we went after Dubbo. We spent Easter at Goolongong, a small town near Cowra then after passing through Cowra and Parkes to see ‘The Dish’ made famous in the movie of the same name and used during the moon landings and the charming town of Cootamundra we headed to Young to spend the night overlooking the harness racing track. Next morning we headed for the Tumut region and looked forward to much cooler weather than we have experienced in the trip so far.