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16 fantastic family outings in Dubbo and the Great Western Plains

Credit: Robert Gray

16 fantastic family outings in Dubbo and the Great Western Plains

16 fantastic family outings in Dubbo and the Great Western Plains

The upcoming summer school holidays are a great excuse to hit the road and explore the Great Western Plains. Here are a few suggestions for what to do with the family in and around Dubbo.

Dubbo and the Great Western Plains is one of regional NSW’s most popular family destinations, home to the world-class Taronga Western Plains Zoo, the heritage-listed Old Dubbo Gaol and lots of outdoor activities including Macquarie Marshes and Terramungamine Rock Grooves.

  1. Taronga Western Plains Zoo is home to more than 1,500 animals from around the world. Lions, black rhinoceros, Sumatran tigers, elephants and giraffe roam 300 hectares of wide open space. The best way to explore the 6km circuit around the plains is by bike or cart, and every day there are keeper talks, animal shows and close encounters to choose from including big cats, meerkats and giraffes.
  2. At the Old Dubbo Gaol, get a taste of what life was like for prisoners in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Step inside the tiny cells, watch a costumed re-enactment or take a spooky Twilight Tour.
  3. The Great Western Plains are perfect for exploring on two wheels. Cycling trails run through the centre of Dubbo, along the Tracker Cycleway out to Taronga Zoo, beside the Macquarie River or through rolling farmland on the 65km Rawsonville to Minore Loop.
  4. The Elston Park Water Park has an expansive lawn area, shelters, playground and toilets. A number of different water spraying equipment is provided to help cool off during the warmer months.
  5. Trike Adventures in Dubbo has been offering motorcycling tours in the Dubbo region since 2010. You can choose from a range of tours including a half-an-hour Dubbo highlights tour to a High Tea Safari or an Outback Pub Adventure.
  6. Pick up some fresh local produce at the Dubbo Farmers Market, held on the first and third Saturday of every month.
  7. Grab one of the best pies in the State at Dubbo’s Village Bakery Café, run by fourth generation bakers.
  8. Dubbo’s state-of-the-art Western Plains Cultural Centre is home to the city’s art gallery and museum, and features a range of frequently changing exhibitions and school holiday workshops.
  9. Macquarie Regional Library (Dubbo Branch) runs a school holiday program including Coding for Kids, Spy Challenge, Optical Illusions and How to be a Secret Agent.
  10. The vast Lake Burrendong is the Great Western Plains’ water playground. It’s a popular spot for fishing, boating, canoeing and swimming. The Kids Club at Lake Burrendong runs a school holiday program including kayaking, rock climbing and grass skiing. There are camping areas close to the shore or two holiday parks offering cabins and other amenities.
  11. The small town of Narromine has a storied aviation history dating back nearly 100 years. The Narromine Aviation Museum celebrates this legacy with a captivating display of historic aircraft, photographs and artefacts.
  12. The southern hemisphere’s first Dark Sky Park is in the Warrumbungle region of country NSW, renowned for its breathtaking starry nights. Camp under the stars and view the wonders of the galaxy from your own quiet corner of the park or visit the nearby Siding Springs Observatory, for guided tours, hands-on activities, multimedia and interactive presentations, and Australia’s largest optical telescope.
  13. Get up close to Australia’s largest flightless bird at Emu Logic Farm. Take a tour and meet some of the 900 emus that live on the farm, then pick up some emu oil, soap, wax or emu eggs to take home. Visit from mid-July to see newly-hatched chicks chasing after their parents.
  14. The Wellington Caves are about 8km south of Wellington in Country NSW and offer fascinating cave tours where you can observe stalagmites, stalactites, columns, flowstones and coral.
  15. To experience the serenity of nature and spot wildlife, families can take a kayak trail along the Macquarie River. Adventure Craft Hire in Dubbo has been providing safe equipment and river adventure ideas for families for a couple of years now.
  16. The Terramungamine Rock Grooves were created by the Tubbagah people and are located along the Macquarie River on a rocky outcrop. The site of ancient rocks is of historical significance and there’s a small sign with information on how the grooves were made and the fascinating Indigenous history.
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