Adventure and Sports

Kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and cycling are just a few of the many fun adventures in Dubbo and the Great Western Plains, a wonderful family holiday destination in NSW. You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities, including mountain bike trails in beautiful nature reserves and national parks.

The majestic Macquarie River meanders through Dubbo, home to the acclaimed Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Walking and cycling tracks are on both sides of the tranquil river, and there are pretty riverside parklands with picnic tables, free barbecues, kids’ playgrounds and other amenities.

Family meeting meerkats at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo

You can hire kayaks and SUPs from Adventure Craft Hire at Ollie Robbins Oval, next to the river and a short walk from the must-see Old Dubbo Gaol. The river is one of the main inland rivers in Australia and is named after Lachlan Macquarie, a colonial governor of NSW from 1810 to 1821.

Want to cycle by the river to the zoo? Well, the Tracker Riley Cycleway is part of a delightful 12.5km loop of the city centre, zoo and 1840s-built Dundullimal Homestead, Australia’s oldest timber slab homestead. The visitor information centre on Macquarie Street has bike hire options and maps.

Family kayaking along the Macquarie River and Lake Burrendong, near Dubbo

Cool off on the cycleway with a dip at Sandy Beach, in the heart of Dubbo. The beach is a short ride from the marvellous gallery and museum at the Western Plains Cultural Centre. Or take the kids for a free splash about at Elston Park Water Park or to the Aquatic Leisure Centre for the water slides.

A scenic drive southeast is Wellington and Lake Burrendong, a picturesque waterway perfect for water sports such as kayaking, SUP, fishing and waterskiing. Camping and caravan sites are by the lake, created by the Burrendong Dam on the Macquarie River and surrounded by natural bushland.

Family exploring limestone formations in the Cathedral Cave, Wellington Caves

Near the lake are the famous Wellington Caves, where megafauna fossils were uncovered. Just north are mountain bike trails and walking tracks in the Mount Arthur Reserve. For more mountain biking and bushwalking, visit spectacular national parks such as the Coolah Tops, a day trip east of Dubbo.

The Macquarie River snakes northwest from Dubbo past the towns of Narromine and Warren into the Macquarie Marshes, wetlands internationally recognised under the Ramsar Convention. There are kayak tours in the sanctuary where herons, cormorants, spoonbills and other waterbirds breed. 

For stunning aerial views of the river and beyond, joy flights are available in Dubbo and Narromine. With Warrior Warbirds in Dubbo, fly in a vintage aircraft over the magnificent Macquarie Valley. At the historic aerodrome next to the Narromine Aviation Museum, experience the thrill of soaring above the valley in a sailplane.

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