So many times our family has planned a holiday which involves visiting Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. Unfortunately something has always presented a road block! So when my husband suggested we “Go West” for the school holidays, we designed our itinerary to include Dubbo Zoo.
Our children are 9 and 11 years old so we knew they would be the ideal age to bike ride around Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Before leaving home I checked with the ticketing office that bikes and helmet are available for all ages. The zoo confirmed the availability of bikes, and reassured me that there was no need for us to bring our own. This information was vital as I noticed whilst packing our space was at a premium.
I also found that by pre-purchasing our tickets online we were able to save 10% off the regular price. A family of 2 adults and 2 children was just $116. Tickets must be printed at home and shown at the zoo gates on arrival. I would really recommend purchasing tickets this way as it made for a much faster admission to the zoo.
If you want to purchase tickets to any of the extra attractions such as feeding the Giraffes or the “Big Cat Encounters” you simply call Taronga zoo on Ph 02 6881 1425 and reserve a ticket for the day of your choice.
The Dubbo Zoo opens from 9.00am to 4.00pm everyday but in school holidays it’s open from 8.30! We arrived bright and early as we had been advised that the animals tend to be out and about early for feeding, and then disappear when it gets too hot! Also I figure that if the animals didn’t want to be out in the heat of the day, bike riding might also be a chore if we arrived when the sun was blazing.
Collecting our bikes was quick and efficient. I had been worried that there might not be enough but I honestly don’t think I have ever seen so many bikes! No need to worry about missing out. The bike hire was just $15 per bike per day and they even had tag along bikes and Bike and caboose set-ups. I wanted to get a tag along bike so that Brett could do the peddling for me but he wouldn’t be my chauffeur.
The Rhino’s were first on our list. Throughout Taronga Zoo there are talks given at specific times. We had arrived in time to learn more about the various species of Rhino’s and the breeding programs in place. Watching the Rhino with it’s little baby was pretty amazing. It was so disappointing to realise these great animals will soon no longer exist in the wild. It seems inconceivable!
After a short bike ride from the Rhino’s enclosure we arrived at the giraffes. Here we found that Brett is the same size as a baby giraffe! Interesting fact. In the giraffe enclosure there were some babies that were only three months old, so cute!
I would have loved to have fed the giraffes but alas, we tried to pre-book only 3 days ahead and tickets were sold out 🙁
One of my favourite animals is the Zebra. I just love how majestic they look. They seem so much more beautiful than horses. The black and white hide is just gorgeous. For wild animals their temperement seems a lot more demure than other African animals.
Riding bikes through Dubbo Zoo is by far the best way to see all the animals. Cars are permitted in the zoo and they’re are quite a lot of carparks. However by riding bikes we were able to be alongside of each of the enclosures we past.
The bikes also gave us a good opportunity to get some exercise. Taronga Zoo is relatively flat. Even for me who rarely gets on a bike it was an easy ride. The following day I did feel I may have bruised my bottom a little but other than that I was fine.
We took a ride past the lions. As we did they all looked up at us suspiciously. Although we were at least 100 metres away I felt they were not as excited to see us as we were to see them.
The Tiger was making no secret of the fact that he wasn’t happy. Right behind the bamboo there were some zoo staff working on an enclosure. The Tiger was pacing and looked like he would have like to have taken a look behind the bamboo.
The Australian Native animal section was a favourite with the families. In this enclosure people were able to join the animals.
I guess it’s not quite true that everything in Australia is trying to kill you. I think our Australian animals were the most friendly at Taronga Western Plain Zoo.
This beautiful Emu was giving me the eye. I think it was my lens that interested him. I’m not sure what kept making him look my way but I got some fabulous photos!
The Kaola’s were sleeping as usually, some of them were so small I expected that they should have still been attached to their mums back.
The last animal we visited was the huge Galapagos Tortoise. It was such an odd creature, so big and old looking. The kids are Kung-Fu Panda fans so they named one of the tortoises Master Oogway. Master Oogway may have looked old and slow, but it seems he still has the “love Mojo” going on! Like it or not we were treated to an exhibition of just how clunky and noisy tortoise sex actually is!
I wouldn’t say that this was a highlight, but it’s something that’s now burned in our collective brains.
Dubbo Zoo is unique in that the grounds are so open and accessible.I was able to get beautiful images of the animals without the interference or appearance of cages.
I asked the children what their favourite parts of Taronga Zoo were and their answers were surprising. Lachlan loves animals and is a caring and compassionate boy so he loved the Australian Native enclosure. In this section he was able to just sit and have the animals approach him. He is so gentle they would actually wander up to where he was sitting on the grass.
The funny thing was, that anytime another child approached Lachlan and the animals, the animals would retreat quickly. Once the child had left the wallabies would join Lachlan once again.
If you’re planning a visit and are wondering where to stay I would suggest you take a look at some of the Roar and Snore packages at the zoo. These packages provide different levels of “Glamping” comfort inside Taronga Western Plains Zoo.