Road trip to Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Recently, with the whole Covid situation being relatively calm and restriction easing, we decided to go on a little overnight pre-Christmas family road trip out to Dubbo to visit the Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

The Drive

Being a nice drive of some five hours with plenty of interesting places to see along the way. The story begins with the drive out to Dubbo. Starting on the wide three lane motorways of the city, the roads soon started to reduce in size as we moved out of the urban sprawl toward the clean country air. From three to two lanes then moving on to the single lane country roads complete with large lumps and bumps.

As with the changing roads, it was interesting to note the constantly changing scenery as well. The urban streetscape slowly giving way to trees and green of rural life. The gigantic scars on the landscape caused by the Upper Hunter coal mines giving way to green rolling hills with tightly packed vineyards. The vineyards in turn giving way to grazing land for horses before moving into larger areas of broad acre farming.

Along with the changes in scenery, there are also plenty of other things to stop and see. Wineries and towns with silo art dotted along the rail lines are great examples. The effects of the recent wild weather and fires were also on full display as well. Rivers with trees knocked down by flood water and whole forests burnt black and in various stages of recovery and regrowth. All up, there was plenty to see and do to make the five hour drive fly by.

The Zoo

Arriving at the zoo, we quickly checked in and settled into the accommodation. It was technically a tent I guess as it was made of canvas but let’s be honest, is it really camping if the tent comes with reverse cycle air conditioning and an ensuite bathroom? Anyway, we had a quick relax sitting out admiring the nature, we set off on the first of the tours.

Anyway, the highlight for me was the Giraffe feeding. The back of house feeding differs from the usual experience as you are stood on the ground rather than from a raised platform. This lets you get a feel for the true scale of just how tall they really are.

Other than the giraffes, we saw all sorts of other animals out in their huge enclosures. The good thing about this particular zoo is its scale. All up it covers literally hundreds of hectares so there is plenty of space for them to range around.

Road Trip Souvenirs

All in all, the zoo was great, the one disappointment was the souvenir shop which contained the usual selection of overpriced plastic crap. This doesn’t sit well with me so I decided to grab a couple of bits of dead branch on the way out that I used to make my own zoouvenir if you will.

So that’s it. The full rundown of our road trip. You can see how the chunky block wood necklace is made here.