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Top 12 Things To Do in Dubbo, NSW Australia (with local Hidden Gems)

14/08/2023
11 mins read
Dubbo
Source: Destination NSW

Dubbo, NSW Australia, is a vibrant city that seamlessly blends the charm of rural Australian life with rich Victorian colonial history and the excitement of an African safari. Nestled in the heart of New South Wales, Dubbo offers a unique and captivating experience for visitors from all walks of life.

Join us as we uncover the hidden gems and reveal the top things to do in Dubbo, NSW. From thrilling encounters with wildlife at Taronga Western Plains Zoo to stepping back in time at the Old Dubbo Gaol, this list will take you on an extraordinary journey through the wonders of Dubbo.

Things To Do In Dubbo, NSW

1. Taronga Western Plains Zoo – An Open-Range Adventure

Embark on an unforgettable journey at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, a sprawling open-range sanctuary that is home to hundreds of animal species from around the world. The zoo’s unique design allows visitors to get up close and personal with the animals, as they roam freely in their spacious habitats. Hop on a bike, rent an electric cart, or simply stroll along the 6-kilometer circuit to encounter majestic creatures such as elephants, giraffes, and rhinoceroses.

The Taronga Western Plains Zoo offers a variety of immersive experiences that will delight animal lovers of all ages. Participate in a behind-the-scenes tour, where you can learn about the zoo’s conservation efforts and even feed some of the animals. For a truly memorable experience, book a stay at the Zoofari Lodge or the Savannah Cabins, where you can wake up to the sounds of the wild and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding savannah.

  • Best time of the year: The zoo is open year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and more comfortable conditions for exploring.
  • Address: Obley Road, Dubbo, NSW 2830
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9 am to 4 pm
  • Distance from town: Approximately 4 km from Dubbo city center

2. Old Dubbo Gaol – A Step Back in Time

Travel back in time and experience the captivating history of the Old Dubbo Gaol, a well-preserved 19th-century prison located in the heart of Dubbo. Wander through the original sandstone buildings, explore the eerie solitary confinement cells, and learn about the lives of the inmates who once called this place home. Interactive exhibits and guided tours bring the stories of the gaol to life, providing a fascinating glimpse into Australia’s penal history.

The Old Dubbo Gaol offers a variety of unique experiences that cater to different interests. For those seeking a spine-chilling adventure, join the night tour and explore the gaol by lantern light, as you listen to tales of ghostly encounters and unexplained occurrences. Families can enjoy the “Escape the Gaol” experience, where participants must solve puzzles and decipher clues to break free from the prison walls.

  • Address: 90 Macquarie Street, Dubbo, NSW 2830
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9 am to 4 pm
  • Distance from town: Located in the heart of Dubbo city center

3. Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Experience – A Lifesaving Legacy

Gain a deeper understanding of Australia’s iconic Royal Flying Doctor Service at their Visitor Experience center in Dubbo. This interactive exhibit showcases the history, operations, and lifesaving work of this essential medical service, which has been providing healthcare to remote and rural communities for over 90 years. Through engaging displays, multimedia presentations, and hands-on activities, visitors can learn about the challenges faced by the RFDS and the vital role they play in Australia’s healthcare system.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Experience also offers guided tours of their working hangar, allowing guests to see the aircraft and medical equipment up close. Hear inspiring stories of courage and resilience from the pilots, doctors, and nurses who dedicate their lives to helping those in need. This educational and eye-opening experience is a must-visit for anyone interested in aviation, medicine, or the unique challenges faced by rural Australians.

  • Address: 21 Judy Jakins Drive, Dubbo, NSW 2830
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 am to 4 pm, Sunday 10 am to 2 pm
  • Distance from town: Approximately 5 km from Dubbo city center

4. Western Plains Cultural Centre – A Celebration of Art and History

Immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant art scene of Dubbo at the Western Plains Cultural Centre. This modern facility houses a museum, art gallery, and community space, showcasing a diverse range of exhibits that reflect the region’s heritage, culture, and artistic talent. Explore the fascinating displays that delve into Dubbo’s past, from its Indigenous roots to its development as a thriving regional center.

The art gallery at the Western Plains Cultural Centre features a rotating selection of exhibitions, highlighting both local and national artists. From traditional paintings to contemporary installations, the gallery offers a dynamic and engaging experience for art enthusiasts of all ages. The center also hosts a variety of workshops, talks, and events throughout the year, providing opportunities for visitors to connect with the local community and learn more about Dubbo’s unique cultural landscape.

  • Address: 76 Wingewarra Street, Dubbo, NSW 2830
  • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 4 pm
  • Distance from town: Located in the heart of Dubbo city center

5. Shoyoen Japanese Garden – A Tranquil Oasis

Discover a serene haven in the heart of Dubbo at the Shoyoen Japanese Garden, a beautifully designed space that showcases traditional Japanese landscaping and architecture. Wander along the winding pathways, cross the charming wooden bridges, and admire the meticulously maintained plants and trees that create a peaceful atmosphere. The garden’s tranquil pond, complete with koi fish, adds to the sense of calm and harmony.

The Shoyoen Japanese Garden is an ideal spot for relaxation, reflection, and romantic strolls. Take a moment to appreciate the craftsmanship of the traditional tea house, or simply sit on one of the many benches and soak in the beauty of your surroundings. The garden is also a popular location for photography, with its vibrant foliage and picturesque scenes providing the perfect backdrop for memorable snapshots.

  • Address: 137 Cobra Street, Dubbo, NSW 2830
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9 am to 4 pm
  • Distance from town: Approximately 2 km from Dubbo city center

6. Dubbo Observatory – A Journey Through the Stars

Gaze into the cosmos and unlock the mysteries of the universe at the Dubbo Observatory. This popular attraction offers guided tours and stargazing sessions, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore the night sky through powerful telescopes. Learn about constellations, planets, and celestial phenomena from knowledgeable astronomers, who will guide you on a captivating journey through the stars.

The Dubbo Observatory also offers astrophotography workshops for those interested in capturing the beauty of the night sky through the lens of a camera. With its dark skies and minimal light pollution, Dubbo is an ideal location for stargazing and astronomy enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned stargazer or simply curious about the wonders of the universe, the Dubbo Observatory promises an unforgettable experience under the stars.

  • Address: 17L Camp Road, Dubbo, NSW 2830
  • Opening Hours: Night sky tours are available, check their website for specific times and bookings
  • Distance from town: Approximately 9 km from Dubbo city center
  • Best time of the year: Clear nights throughout the year offer great stargazing opportunities, but cooler months may provide clearer skies.

7. Tracker Riley Cycleway – A Scenic Riverside Journey

Experience the natural beauty of Dubbo’s river foreshore along the Tracker Riley Cycleway, a 13-kilometer cycling and walking path that follows the picturesque Macquarie River. The well-maintained track offers a leisurely and enjoyable way to explore the city’s scenic landscapes, passing through parks, wetlands, and riverside reserves. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, including waterbirds and kangaroos, as you meander along the winding path.

The Tracker Riley Cycleway is suitable for all fitness levels and is a popular choice for families, couples, and solo adventurers. The path is mostly flat and well-shaded, providing a comfortable and enjoyable experience for cyclists and walkers alike. With numerous access points and rest areas along the route, the cycleway offers a flexible and customizable experience that can be tailored to suit your interests and schedule.

  • Distance from town: The cycleway starts at the Dubbo Visitor Information Centre and follows the Macquarie River
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn offer milder temperatures for cycling and walking.

8. Red Earth Estate – A Taste of Dubbo’s Wine Country

Indulge your senses at the Red Earth Estate, a local winery that offers a delightful selection of wines and a picturesque setting just a short drive from Dubbo’s city center. Sample a variety of handcrafted wines, from crisp whites to full-bodied reds, as you learn about the winemaking process and the unique characteristics of each vintage. Visitors recommend the dumplings and friendly service, making this a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts and foodies alike.

The Red Earth Estate also offers guided vineyard tours, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the cultivation and production of their award-winning wines. Stroll through the lush vineyards, learn about the different grape varieties, and gain a deeper appreciation for the art of winemaking. With its stunning views and relaxed atmosphere, the Red Earth Estate is the perfect place to unwind and savor the flavors of Dubbo’s wine country.

  • Address: 18L Camp Road, Dubbo, NSW 2830
  • Opening Hours: Thursday to Monday 11 am to 5 pm
  • Distance from town: Approximately 9 km from Dubbo city center

9. Devil’s Hollow Brewery – A Craft Beer Haven

Quench your thirst and satisfy your taste buds at Devil’s Hollow Brewery, a family-friendly craft brewery located just a short drive from Dubbo’s city center. Sample a range of locally brewed beers, from refreshing pale ales to robust stouts, all crafted with passion and dedication to quality. The brewery is highly recommended for its amazing food, including wood-fired pizzas and modern cuisine that perfectly complements the selection of beers.

The laid-back atmosphere and welcoming staff make Devil’s Hollow Brewery a popular destination for both locals and visitors alike. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon or evening in the brewery’s spacious beer garden, where you can relax with friends and family while sipping on your favorite brew. With its enticing combination of delicious food, craft beer, and friendly service, Devil’s Hollow Brewery is a must-visit for any beer enthusiast.

  • Address: 6L Blueridge Drive, Dubbo, NSW 2830
  • Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 11:30 am to 9 pm
  • Distance from town: Approximately 6 km from Dubbo city center

10. Warrumbungle National Park – A Hiker’s Paradise

Embrace the great outdoors at Warrumbungle National Park, a stunning natural wonderland located approximately 120 km from Dubbo. The park is renowned for its unique rock formations, diverse flora and fauna, and a network of hiking trails that cater to all fitness levels. Some popular hikes include the Breadknife and Grand High Tops Walk (14.5 km return, 5 hours) and the Macha Tor & Febar Tor (Goulds Circuit) (8 km loop, 3 hours, Grade 3).

Warrumbungle National Park also offers excellent camping facilities, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Australian bush. Spend your days exploring the park’s many trails and your nights stargazing beneath the clear, dark skies. With its rugged landscapes, abundant wildlife, and awe-inspiring vistas, Warrumbungle National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers.

  • Address: John Renshaw Parkway, Warrumbungle, NSW 2828
  • Distance from town: Approximately 120 km from Dubbo city center
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn offer milder temperatures for hiking and camping.

11. Wellington Caves – A Subterranean Wonderland

Delve into the depths of the earth at Wellington Caves, a series of limestone caves located approximately 50 km from Dubbo. Join a guided tour to explore the fascinating cave formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstones, all created over millions of years. The caves also feature a historic phosphate mine, providing a unique insight into the region’s mining heritage.

Wellington Caves are suitable for visitors of all ages, with tours catering to different interests and abilities. The constant temperature within the caves makes them an ideal attraction to visit year-round. Whether you’re an avid spelunker or simply curious about the wonders hidden beneath the earth’s surface, Wellington Caves promise an unforgettable subterranean adventure.

  • Address: 18L Camp Road, Dubbo, NSW 2830
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9 am to 4 pm
  • Distance from town: Approximately 50 km from Dubbo city center
  • Best time of the year: The caves maintain a constant temperature year-round, making them suitable for visiting any time.

12. Goobang National Park – A Bushland Escape

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Goobang National Park, located approximately 130 km from Dubbo. The park offers a range of outdoor activities, including picnics, bush walks, and free camping near Parkes. The Burrabadine walking track (4 km return) is a popular bushwalk that takes you to the top of Burrabadine Peak for scenic views.

Goobang National Park is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers. The park’s landscapes vary from woodlands to heathlands, providing a range of habitats for the many species that call it home. With its peaceful atmosphere and natural beauty, Goobang National Park is a perfect getaway for those seeking a true Australian bush experience.

  • Address: Parkes – Peak Hill Road, Goobang, NSW 2870
  • Distance from town: Approximately 130 km from Dubbo city center
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn offer milder temperatures for bushwalking and camping.

Towns Nearby Dubbo, NSW

Here are some nearby towns/suburbs around Dubbo, NSW Australia, along with their highlights, attractions, distance from Dubbo, and reasons why they are worth visiting:

  1. Brocklehurst, NSW (5 km from Dubbo): A small town located on the banks of the Macquarie River, Brocklehurst is known for its scenic beauty and outdoor activities. It’s a great destination for fishing, kayaking, and birdwatching.
  2. Wellington, NSW (50 km from Dubbo): A historic town located on the banks of the Macquarie River, Wellington is home to the Wellington Caves, where you can explore the underground wonders of the region. The town also offers a range of cafes, restaurants, and shops to explore.
  3. Mudgee, NSW (150 km from Dubbo): A charming town known for its wineries, Mudgee is a great destination for wine enthusiasts. Enjoy wine tasting at the local wineries, known for their fruit wines and grape wines. The town also offers a range of cafes, restaurants, and shops to explore.
  4. Orange, NSW (200 km from Dubbo): A picturesque town located in the heart of the Central West region, Orange is known for its beautiful parks, gardens, and vineyards. The town also offers a range of cafes, restaurants, and shops to explore.
  5. Cowra, NSW (200 km from Dubbo): A historic town located on the banks of the Lachlan River, Cowra is home to the Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, where you can experience the beauty and tranquility of a traditional Japanese garden. The town also offers a range of cafes, restaurants, and shops to explore.
  6. Bathurst, NSW (200 km from Dubbo): A vibrant university town located in the Central Tablelands region, Bathurst is known for its rich history, cultural attractions, and natural beauty. The town also offers a range of cafes, restaurants, and shops to explore.
  7. Lithgow, NSW (200 km from Dubbo): A historic town located in the Blue Mountains region, Lithgow is known for its natural beauty, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities. The town also offers a range of cafes, restaurants, and shops to explore.

Dubbo, NSW Australia, is surrounded by a range of charming towns and suburbs that offer a unique and captivating experience for visitors from all walks of life. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, family-friendly activities, or a taste of the local cuisine, these nearby destinations have something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the hidden treasures of Dubbo and its surrounding areas.

Getting To Dubbo, NSW

To get to Dubbo, NSW from common destinations or origins as a local tourist, you have several options for both public transport and driving.

From Sydney CBD:

  • By train: Take the NSW TrainLink XPT service from Sydney Central Station to Dubbo Station. The journey takes approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes.
  • By car: Drive west on the M4 Western Motorway, which becomes the Great Western Highway (A32). Continue on the A32 until you reach Dubbo. The drive takes approximately 5 hours, depending on traffic.

From other nearby towns:

  • From Orange: Drive east on the Mitchell Highway (A32) for about 1 hour and 45 minutes or 145 km.
  • From Mudgee: Drive north on the Castlereagh Highway (A15) for about 1 hour and 40 minutes or 120 km.
  • From Parkes: Drive east on the Newell Highway (A39) for about 1 hour or 100 km.

For public transport options from other nearby towns, use the Transport for NSW website (https://transportnsw.info) or app to plan your journey, as it provides detailed information on train and bus routes, schedules, and ticketing.

Hafiz Kashif

Kashif, our associate writer at HumbleTrail, brings stories from across the globe to our readers. Originating from Pakistan, his journey has taken him through the vibrant cityscape of Dubai and now to the diverse and cultural melting pot of Melbourne, Australia.

His writing is a reflection of his own journey - rich in diverse experiences and filled with the excitement of discovering new places. Melbourne, with its unique blend of cultures and bustling energy, has captured Kashif's heart, a sentiment that deeply resonates in his work.

Kashif's articles for HumbleTrail are more than just travel logs; they are narratives that weave together the beauty of diverse cultures and the thrill of exploration, inviting readers to see the world through his eyes.

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