Top 8 Must-Do Activities when staying in Dubbo, NSW
Dubbo is located in the Central Western region of New South Wales, approximately 400kms North West of Sydney, and is a vibrant city brimming with a rich history, captivating wildlife, and engaging cultural experiences. From its iconic Taronga Western Plains Zoo to its heritage-listed landmarks and natural wonders, Dubbo offers an array of exciting activities for visitors of all ages.
If you’re planning a trip to this enchanting city, here are the top 10 things to do when visiting Dubbo.
- Visit Taronga Western Plains Zoo:
Dubbo is famous for the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, where you can embark on an unforgettable wildlife adventure. Established in 1977 and spread over 300 hectares (740 acres), this renowned zoo is one of the largest zoos in Australia. The zoo allows you to observe over 4,000 animals (more than 350 species), including lions, giraffes, rhinos, monkeys, hippos, and meercats. Enjoy interactive encounters, behind-the-scenes experiences, keeper talks and even go on guided safari tours.
The zoo participates in various breeding programs and also conducts research to help protect endangered wildlife. There is an on-site café, picnic areas, souvenir shops and kids playgrounds to enhance the visitor experience. The zoo is also designed to be accessible to people of all ages and abilities. There are paths and facilities in place to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers/prams.
Image via Destination NSW
- Immerse yourself in history at the Old Dubbo Gaol:
Step back in time and experience life as a prisoner at the Old Dubbo Gaol. This fascinating heritage site offers guided tours that delve into the history of the Australian penal system. Explore the cells, gallows, and the Gaol Museum, and gain insights into the lives of convicts from the 1800s. The Gaol offers tours, performances and daily theatrical displays, bringing history to life as you wander through the historic grounds and exhibitions.
After dark tours provide an atmosphere filled with facts and frights for those game enough to book a tour a night and explore the cells by torchlight. The Gaol is open 7 days a week (except Christmas day) from 9am – 5pm.
- View the night sky at the Dubbo Observatory
Escape the city lights and venture into the night sky at the Dubbo Observatory, located approx. 20kms West of Dubbo. The Observatory offers stargazing experiences for both individuals and groups where you can learn about astronomy and space exploration through exhibits, shows and hands-on activities. These events typically include guided tours of the night sky, telescope viewing sessions, and educational presentations about astronomy.
Marvel at distant galaxies, witness meteor showers, and deepen your understanding of our vast cosmos. The Observatory offers night tours, daytime solar viewings and astrophotography workshops, using their 20 inch telescope. Don’t miss the fascinating displays of space artifacts and the chance to touch a piece of the moon.
- Explore Dubbo’s Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Centre
The Dubbo’s Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Centre enables travellers to gain a unique perspective on Australia’s outback medical service. Learn about the vital role this organization plays in providing emergency healthcare to remote areas. Explore the interactive displays, watch informative videos, and see a replica of the iconic Flying Doctor aircraft.
Get hands-on with the ‘operations control’ screens, experience the work of medical, engineering and aviation teams and explore an actual emergency aircraft in Augmented Reality (AR) as doctors treat a patient in the cabin of an aeromedical aircraft.
- Visit the Dubbo Regional Gallery
Discover Dubbo’s Art Scene at the Dubbo Regional Gallery. Delve into an array of contemporary and traditional artworks where you will find a platform for local and national artists. Marvel at exhibitions, attend and engage in interactive workshops, or simply browse through the diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and multimedia art.
The gallery has a unique theme – “the animal in art” – to reflect its rural identity and association with the Dubbo Western Plains Zoo. Officially opened in 1989, the gallery offers guided tours (by appointment only), educational and outreach programs, as well as a gift shop.
- Take a walk around the Dubbo Regional Botanical Gardens
The Dubbo Regional Botanical Gardens was development in 1999 and currently comprises of one adventure playground, one cafe and five distinctive garden spaces; Shoyoen Japanese Garden, the Sensory Garden, the Biodiversity Garden, the Oasis Valley and the Wiradjuri Garden.
The Shoyoen Japanese Garden offers an escape from the bustling city. This meticulously crafted garden features traditional Japanese architecture, tranquil ponds, Zen gardens, and vibrant foliage. Take a moment to meditate, practice mindfulness, or simply appreciate the beauty of this cultural gem.
Image via Destination NSW
The sensory garden offers many elements for visitors, including over 1,300 plants, interactive and accessible water features, a striking sculpture of the Barking Gecko, enticing stepping stones which cross the lake and a herb garden and potting bench.
The Oasis Valley in the botanical gardens officially opened in April 2013 and provides a living link to Australia’s biogeographical history and promotes the conservation of the threatened ‘dry rainforests’. Significant elements within Oasis Valley include a 65m boardwalk that follows a flowing creek, over 40 different dry rainforest species representing 16 families and 27 genera and plantings which have been grouped together according to their families to make it easier for students of biology and botany to compare their characteristics.
- Learn about Aboriginal Culture
Dubbo is the perfect place to learn about Aboriginal culture. Experience a traditional Aboriginal tour with First Lesson Cultural Tours who offer incredibly authentic and educational informational tours around the area. Discover ancient Aboriginal rock art in our national parks, hear stories from traditional landowners, try some Aussie bush tucker and walk the tracks of ancestors from hundreds of years ago.
Image via Destination NSW
Experience the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay Country in the beautiful Central West and North West of New South Wales by visiting a scarred canoe tree, an axe grinding site and discovering bush tucker and medicine plants with traditional land-owner Peter Peckham. The tours cater to groups of 14 to 25 people, including elderly, retirees, business groups and school groups.
- Have fun at the Dubbo Adventure Playground
Let the kids burn off some energy and enjoy a day of outdoor fun at the Dubbo Adventure Playground. Featuring climbing equipment, slides, water play areas, and picnic spots, this expansive playground guarantees hours of entertainment for children and families.
Watch the kids soar on the flying fox, speed down the giant slide and fly high on the basket swing! With BBQs, toilets and accessible elements including a wheelchair friendly liberty swing, plus a senior’s fitness area, this is the ultimate playground for all ages and abilities. The playground is open daily from 7.30am – 6.00pm, except some public holidays. Entry is free.
Dubbo presents a wide tapestry of experiences, from wildlife encounters and historical sites to cultural immersion and serene gardens to explore. With its unique attractions and diverse range of activities, Dubbo offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or art lover, this captivating city promises an unforgettable adventure.
Pack your bags and book your stay in Dubbo at The Aberdeen Motel to discover all that this fantastic regional area has to offer. Our motel offers a range of facilities including a swimming pool, BBQ area, restaurant chargebacks and is centrally located. We have a range of 32 spacious rooms to make your stay comfortable.