You might come for the Taronga Western Plains Zoo and its 4,000 lovable residents, but there are plenty of reasons you’ll want to linger longer in the Dubbo region. Like the world-class stargazing, the stunning caves, the watery wonderland that is Lake Burrendong – or just the old-fashioned country welcome you’ll receive in the ‘City of Smiles’.
Visit the Taronga Western Plains Zoo and admire some of the 4,000 resident animals from over 350 species. You can walk, drive or ride around the zoo's 5km circuit on hired bikes or carts and enjoy daily keeper activities and special animal tours.
Warrumbungle National Park is Australia’s first Dark Sky Park. By day explore the striking volcanic landscape and at night experience the wonder of the starry Universe. On the edge of the park is the nation’s largest optical telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory.
In the famous Wellington Caves and Phosphate Mine the limestone is hundreds of millions of years old. Take the kids on a guided tour to see the marvellous formations in the caves. Megafauna fossils uncovered here in 1830 fascinated Charles Darwin and influenced his ideas in his book On the Origin of the Species.
Wellington Caves and Phosphate Mines, Wellington
Adventure & sport
Near the caves is shimmering Lake Burrendong, a popular destination on the Macquarie River for water sports such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and waterskiing. The fishing is great, too, with redfin, golden perch and Murray cod all biting. This is a lovely spot for a camping adventure.
You can enjoy spectacular natural beauty mountain biking or bushwalking at Mount Arthur Reserve, just outside the township of Wellington.
You’ll find Aboriginal heritage created over many thousands of years in the Terramungamine Reserve by the meandering river just north of the city centre. There are 150 grinding grooves the Tubbagah Aboriginal people made by shaping their tools and sharpening their spears on the rock for millennia.
The heritage-listed Old Dubbo Gaol in the centre of Dubbo has Australia’s largest collection of hangman’s knots. From here you can stroll to the wonderful Western Plains Cultural Centre for high quality exhibitions and a heritage museum.
There are plenty tasty places to eat, from hearty country pubs to great cafes and restaurants. In Dubbo, try the beautifully restored Milestone Hotel, built in 1882. The Village Café Bakery makes gourmet pies that have won awards in Sydney and Melbourne.
Dubbo is a 5hr drive northwest of Sydney. You can also fly to Dubbo or take a scenic train trip.
Flying into Dubbo City Regional Airport
Dubbo Airport is only 5km from the city centre. Use the taxi services available at the front of the terminal for the short trip to the city centre. Alternatively, rent a car from the hire services at the airport and explore the Great Western Plains region at your own pace.
Choose from around 200 scheduled flights a week. QantasLink operates daily direct flights between Dubbo and Sydney. Regional Express flies direct from Sydney five days a week between Dubbo and Broken Hill five days a week. Link Airways operates direct flights from Dubbo to Brisbane six days a week and Dubbo Melbourne four days a week. Fly Pelican flies to Newcastle four times a week.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.