in ,

ON THE ROAD: Go west for a zooriffic experience in Dubbo

Yee-har folks, it’s that time of the week again and we’re back after hitting the road once again. This series is all about broadening our horizons and wondering where we can spend that next extended weekend away, turning off and tuning out from the mundane of our day to day.

This particular instalment is a little special, and kind of well times especially with the school holidays coming up. I am of course, talking about Dubbo.

Dubbo is not really the first destination you think of when the words weekend getaway come up but here me out. Sure it is a little further out than other places we’ve previously mentioned, but the attractions, and the drive make it all worth it.

I’ll get to the zoo in a second, which is obviously why you’re all here but let’s talk about the drive for a second. I’m sure there are a million and one ways to make the trip out west, but my suggestion would be to make sure you include the Bylong Valley Way when plotting your course.

The mountains, ranges and miles of sky are worth a trip by themselves, and like they say it’s all about the journey although this particular road feels more like a destination.

Back to Dubbo. We drove out West for a number of reasons, but the biggest one for us, was Western Plains Zoo.

For a starters, this zoo in particular, as well as the crew of amazing staff that work there, singlehandedly changed my perception about zoos. Conservation really is key, and the zoo itself is built around the animals.

The environment is taken into consideration and the only animals who call Dubbo home, are those who are not only used to, but thrive in the climate. But… let’s talk accommodation and experiences shall we?

If you’ve ever perused the zoo website you might have noticed the accommodation options the zoo offer onsite.

Maybe you were intrigued, curious or maybe a little confused. I’m here to tell you that regardless of whatever misconceptions you may be carrying, you need to log on, and book the zoofari experience immediately.

It sounds cliché but I’m a writer so I guess that’s ok, but what I experienced at the Zoofari lodge was truly a once in a lifetime thing. The zoofari package includes one night’s accommodation, two days entry to the zoo (trust me you want those two days), discounts on bike/cart hire, two private tours, African style banquet dinner (using all sustainable and local produce) and buffet breakfast, wine and cheese tasting and some of the best hospitality you will ever experience. Period.

Each tour is different but as a reference, by night we were up close and personal with lions and rhinos (thank you hectic strong Perspex), and at sunrise we were feeding giraffes, watching an elephant have a bath (amazing) and having one on one chats with zookepers (also amazing). These experiences are worth the price alone but, of course, I can hear you asking where did you actually sleep?

Well, hear this. Your luxury tent (I am the queen of glamping now) is complete with four-poster king bed, bath tub, shower, storage space (make sure you look for the robes) mini bar and tea and coffee facilities. Oh and did I mention that your doorstep is literally 10m from ‘The Savannah’, where giraffes, rhinoceroses, ostriches, and other African animals freely roam, feed, play, hang out and do as animals do.

It’s a very surreal experience to be sitting on your own private deck, sipping champagne, and watching the world and giant African animals go by. It’s almost impossible to describe but hopefully you get the picture.