Dubbo is all about adventure and great experiences. Fancy coming face-to-face with a cute meerkat or feeding a black rhino, or immersing yourself in water sports or an underground cave exploration? It’s all possible in this vibrant Central West New South Wales city.
It’s easy to fall under Dubbo’s spell – there’s just so much to do!
Visitors can get up close and personal with animals at the internationally acclaimed Taronga Western Plains Zoo, which sprawls over 300 hectares. Australia’s first open-range zoo, it is home to hundreds of rare and endangered species.
Located in the geographical heart of New South Wales with the Macquarie River running through it, Dubbo itself has many attractions, including the Old Dubbo Gaol which conceals many dark secrets.
Step back in time with a visit to Dundullimal Homestead, which is the oldest slab house in Australia built in the 1840s, then take a wander through the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden and savour the perfume of the Sensory Gardens.
Best hotels: Dubbo
Choose to stay in a luxurious African-style retreat at Zoofari Lodge overlooking the savannah exhibition, which is home to giraffes, zebras and elands.
There are also stylish self-contained Savannah Cabins set on natural grassland near the zoo that sleep up to six.
Billabong Camp in the heart of the zoo is a permanent camping area by a billabong near Lion Pride Lands, where you can expect to hear the lions roaring at night.
This bed and breakfast is located 12 kilometres from the city, offering luxury rooms with spa ensuites in the main house and a self-contained garden studio for those with pets.
This stylish motel offers a variety of 140 well-appointed motel-style rooms and apartments, and has an indoor heated pool and two outdoor pools. The restaurant serves a great steak and other Aussie favourites.
Love camping? This family-friendly holiday park, complete with pool, jumping pillow and playground, is great – you can bring your own camping gear or caravan, or choose to stay in one of the comfortable cabins.
Best restaurants: Dubbo
Fresh local produce from the Macquarie Valley stars on the menus of Dubbo’s excellent restaurants, which range from trendy cafes to chic eateries.
Head to this restaurant for fancy and seasonal Italian favourites and an extensive wine list – the mango panna cotta is delicious.
Located in the heart of the CBD, Veldt Restaurant is another popular option featuring fresh tastes and contemporary dishes. Specialties include the slow-cooked lamb shoulder for two with truffled potato purée, vegetables, petit peas with bacon, caramelised onion puree, glazed baby carrots, onion textures and red wine.
This award-winning restaurant and cocktail bar located within Dubbo’s RSL Club has a reputation for great food and service. Start your night with drinks on the balcony before enjoying an excellent dinner.
Known as CSC by locals, it serves fresh, seasonal produce for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including tasty pizzas and tapas plates. One of the most popular dishes is the pan-seared scallops with black pudding, green pea purée and crispy prosciutto.
Asian food fans will enjoy dinner at this bed and breakfast on Wingewarra Street, serving up authentic Thai in a historic 1915 building built for a local doctor. The soft-shell crab with chilli jam is a standout.
Best bars & cafés: Dubbo
Dubbo’s café culture is keeping pace with the country’s best city brews, and there are plenty of places to enjoy great coffee.
Alister Dyson-Holland and Cristina Gomez opened this café, restaurant and coffee roaster a few years backk in an old heritage building that was the former office of The Land newspaper. Beans are roasted onsite.
Located at 1/107 Brisbane Street is this popular coffee haunt. It’s also a great place for breakfast, lunch and house made treats, which can be enjoyed either dine in or takeaway.
Serving excellent coffee with a loyal following, this small family business at 124 Brisbane Street sells high-quality coffee beans, provides barista classes and serves excellent espressos.
Dubbo is home to some great wineries like the Red Earth Estate, where premium wines are made onsite. Winemaker Ken Borchardt produces award-winning, hand-crafted wines, including riesling, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. Head to the cellar door for a tasting, where you can order a platter, sit back and enjoy the views.
This restaurant and bar offer more than 80 craft beers and a foot-tapping music scene – be sure to check out the decor featuring the guitars of AC/DC and Buddy Guy. It’s located in a charming 1870s heritage building with six dining areas.
Boasting an extensive wine list, this wine and tapas bar is located in one of Dubbo’s most notable historic sandstone buildings.