The Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo just turned 35 years old and I was a lucky to experience what the zoo had to offer to the public. Now before I went, I mentioned I was going to quite a few people, and every single response I got was ‘Oh man, your gunna love it, it’s awesome….’. And oh man – I did love it- and it was awesome!! So much in fact I’m going to take the hubby, kids and parents next year some time year.
Let me tell you why.
The Western Plains Zoo is located on the outskirts of Dubbo and to date more than 8 million visitors have passed through the gates. The zoo allows you to drive through the zoo circuit with your own vehicle or hire buggies or bikes direct from the zoo. It’s way too far to walk unless your fit and very motivated!
Nearly all the fences are cleverly hidden beneath your level of sight – so the animals are literally – right there!!! The animals are amazing and look so well cared for, in fact many a joke was made about the size of the zebra’s buttocks. The range of animals was amazing – elephants, giraffes, rhino’s – more than enough to keep you occupied for days. On top of that the Zoo has recently made a ‘free for all’ area at the front for locals and travelers to enjoy barbecues and play equipment and a new function center (there was a wedding on when I went – was just beautiful!).
The Staff were all very knowledgeable and genuinely seemed to love their jobs.
My mind always goes straight to food, but I thought it would be rude to mention it before the animals. The Chef at the Zoofari Lodge has cooked for the likes of Kerry Packer and the Queen – so I had high expectations. I was not disappointed. The Sea Scallops in a brandy cream sauce with apple had me mopping up the sauce with bread – it was delicious. There is a three course meal included in the Zoofari lodge ‘savannah experience’ if your travelling all that way – save your pennies and do the experience – cheaper than flying to Africa – and it is amazing!
The Western Plains Zoo have a very private ‘compound’ you could call it near the Zoofari lodge – filled with tents. Now I loathe camping – but these tents were truly 5 star. Tiled floors, ensuite, ceiling fan – plus the room contained a Queen size bed plus two singles and a couch with loads of room to swing a cat. Best of all – no television! Lying in bed at night – you could hear the animals. They also have a ‘Roar and Snore’ which is a separate camping area for schools and groups – all the tents are there already – just bring your own bed linen.
In addition to wandering the zoo at your leisure – there are guided tours via a mini coach. Our tour guide John was knowledgeable and took us motley crue on a night tour and early morning tour. The highlight of the visit was certainly the Night time Tiger ‘encounter’. With torches in hand we walk up the cage and John told us to turn off the torches. Pitch black. Not a sound. John then asked us if we heard anything ‘nah’ we said…… we turn the lights back on and the tiger is RIGHT THERE!!!! It was truly incredible (and very scary!).
Seeing behind the scenes was incredible too – the Elephant enclosure had to be seen to be believed.
All in all – its a great place to visit regardless of your age. There is so much to do and see and I had an absolute ball! Happy 35th Birthday Western Plains Zoo – see you next year!
PS: SAHM was not paid for this!