Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Just love meerkats!

4 October 2016

Today we visited Taronga Western Plains Zoo for the first time.  In the late 1960s, plans to develop a large plains zoo to complement Sydney’s Taronga Zoo were established. The new zoo would provide breeding facilities particularly suited to the large plains dwelling animals and to fulfil a need for an open range facility for the display of mainly grazing animals. After considerable planning and preparation, a site on the outskirts of Dubbo in central West New South Wales was chosen. Formerly an army camp during World War Two, the site was transformed into a 300 hectare zoo of woodland and irrigated grasslands.


Western Plains Zoo opened to the public on 28 February 1977. When the zoo opened, it contained 35 different animals from six countries. The zoo is an open-range design, with walls and fences replaced by concealed moats which divide the animals from the visitors. This creates the impression of actually being with the animals in the wild. It was also the first zoo to be built in Australia in 60 years.


The zoo changed its name to Taronga Western Plains Zoo on 21 January 2008, citing the need to draw attention to the work of the Taronga Conservation Society Australia.There are many modes of transport around the zoo, being school holidays there were lots of families on bicycles which is an excellent way to get around if you have that sort of energy!  Many of them brought their own bicycles, but there are also bikes and buggies for hire.  You can drive your own car all around the well-ordered and signposted grounds, lots of areas to park, and walk to see the different animals.  Some of the animals are a fair way away, so a little difficult to take photographs, but others such as the Billabong Camp you can get up close to the wallabies, kangaroos and koalas, always favourites with the kids.


We did the entire circle of the zoo, and enjoyed every minute of the variety of the different areas, and the range of animals, from the giant elephants, giraffes, hippos and rhinos, down to the small otters and the different types of monkeys.




On the way out of the zoo driving through the wetlands area, the trees were festooned with ibis and looked spectacular (right).  Needless to say it was a fairly tiring day, a beautiful sunny day but a nippy breeze, and it was nice to get back to the motel for an afternoon catnap.  I’m noticing a big difference in my energy levels on this trip, and wish I had left the ’flu bug back in Newcastle, as it has been slowing me down and making me quite tired!




Tonight we will have dinner at the motel (Matilda Motel) and will plan our visit to Narromine tomorrow.  Delicious dessert!

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