Sydney’s Taronga Zoo is famous not just for its animals but its spectacular views of the harbour. Its offshoot in Dubbo, the Western Plains Zoo, lacks the views. It attempts to make up for it with a spacious environment for its many large and endangered species on display.
It is my turn to drive today and Google Maps sends me off on an odd route, up Obley Road instead of the Mitchell Highway. Despite the poor state of the road at times I prefer it due to the lack of traffic, especially trucks.
After we arrived at the zoo there is a lot of debate over whether we hire bikes or walk. We didn’t realise that we could have driven around the zoo, otherwise we wouldn’t have hired the orange bikes.
Maybe we would have enjoyed the visit more. There were some interesting animals, a hippopotamus playing in mud, white, black and single horn rhinoceroses, elephants and giraffes. We could barely see the famous lions.
But cycling around in the heat was tiring and the surrounding environment was basically Australian scrub and not particularly attractive or exotic. I enjoyed it a lot less than a number of other zoos we have visited.
We were utterly hot and exhausted by the time we pulled up at the Dubbo Palms Motel, whose exterior has all the appeal of a warehouse lot. The rooms are okay, but I can hear the main road out the front.
Decades ago I stayed in Dubbo and visited the zoo with my family and I’m afraid that they were not the best of memories. I’m hoping that Dubbo’s other attractions will impress more tomorrow.