In the heart of the beautiful Macquarie Valley, Dubbo is a vibrant regional city on the banks the majestic Macquarie River. Talk to the animals at the award-winning Taronga Western Plains Zoo, go back in time at the Old Dubbo Gaol, step inside a Royal Flying Doctor plane and explore nearby natural wonders.
Fun for the family
Home to over 5,000 animals from 350 different species, Taronga Western Plains Zoo is one of the largest in Australia. Its unique open plains design puts no walls between you and the animals (they are separated by moats instead), completely immersing you in their world. Get up close to giraffes, zebras and rhinos on a Savannah Safari, meet the lions in the Pride Lands, look for kangaroos snoozing under trees, and see conservation at work in the new Animal Hospital. You can even stay overnight in safari tents, cabins or the lodge.
In the city centre is the heritage-listed Old Dubbo Gaol, which dates back to 1847. The displays, performances and interactive exhibits will give you a taste of what life was like for a century of criminals. Step inside the cells, put your head in the stocks and be spooked by the gallows. If you’re feeling brave, take an After Dark tour to explore by torchlight.
Get a first-hand look at the resilience and resourcefulness of the famed Royal Flying Doctor Service at the fascinating Visitor Experience Centre. Hear the stories of the medical staff and the remote communities they serve, and witness their aircraft and technology in action. Go stargazing at Dubbo Observatory and see the constellations through powerful telescopes. You can also join an astrophotography session and take beautiful pictures of the stars.
Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Experience, Dubbo
Explore the town
Follow the Dubbo Heritage Walk to admire the town’s ornate architecture and learn the legends of pioneers and bushrangers. You can pick up a brochure from the Visitor Information Centre. The pretty Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden showcases native plants and dry rainforest species, as well as a Japanese garden and sensory garden to smell, touch and taste. Victoria Park is a lovely green space in the centre of the city.
The magnificent Western Plains Cultural Centre is both a gallery and a museum. It tells the history of the region, showcases emerging local artists, and has a busy calendar of events and exhibitions. Discover the region’s Indigenous heritage at the Terramungamine Rock Grooves, where the Tubbagah people used rocks to shape their weapons and tools. More than 150 ancient grooves can still be seen in the stones.
Explore Dubbo on two wheels along the 13km Tracker Riley Cycleway. Named after a famous Aboriginal tracker, the path runs from the city centre past Taronga Western Plains Zoo and to the historic Dundullimal Homestead. You can also cycle along the river along the pretty Macquarie River Trail. The Powter Park BMX Track is a competition-grade circuit with rhythms, strutters, berms and table top jumps.
The Warrumbungle National Park is less than two hours north of Dubbo and offers exceptional hiking, camping and stargazing. The dramatic Breadknife and Grand High Tops Walk is a must-do for bushwalkers who like a challenge. The 14.5km loop climbs up several rugged peaks and has stunning views of the surrounding scenery. In spring, the trail is carpeted with wildflowers. The Warrumbungles are also home to Australia’s first International Dark Sky Park, recognised for its incredible celestial viewing. Set up a tent and soak up the night sky.
Stop by one of Dubbo’s many classic country pubs for refreshments. Try the oldest pub in town, The Commercial, or the 1881-built Milestone Hotel. There are quality restaurants like One 7 Eight, upstairs at the Dubbo RSL, and charming cafes – try the gourmet pies at the Village Bakehouse, family-operated since 1918. Pick up fresh local produce at the Dubbo Farmers Market on the first and third Saturday of every month. You can also enjoy wine tasting at the Red Earth Estate, the only commercial vineyard in the area. For cocktails, head to the 1930s-inspired Establishment Bar.
Dubbo is located where the Newell, Mitchell and Golden highways meet in the Great Western Plains region of NSW. The drive northwest from Sydney is around five hours. You can also fly into Dubbo Regional Airport or take a scenic train trip from Sydney, which takes around 6.5 hours and arrives at the town’s heritage-listed station, which opened in 1881.
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.