Yes, you heard us correctly: we went on a safari in Australia! Seeing as our real African safaris had been put on the back burner, we put an alternative safari on the cards.
A five-hour drive north-west of Sydney brought us to a town called Dubbo.
Dubbo is home to Taronga Western Plain Zoo where the wildlife roam freely on the wide open plains. But not entirely without enclosures. There are moats or fences separating visitors from the animals but not to the point where we felt we were visiting a typical zoo.
We had booked a 2-day zoofari package, staying at the Zoofari Lodge.
What we got with the zoofari?
- 1-night accomodation: in canvas lodges (more glamping than camping)
- 2-day zoo admission
- an African-inspired banquet on the first night and breakfast on the following morning: both unbelievably scrumptious
- 3 exclusive guided tours
- complimentary bicycle hire
The 3 exclusive tours included a sunset tour, night tour and a sunrise tour. We were transported around via a mini bus with tours lasting about 1 hour each with approximately 20 people on board. On all three tours, we got relatively close to the animals and for some, we were able to feed them. It was unreal to see a hippo so active at night, a cheetah stalking and who would’ve thought we would’ve met a bongo from Congo! (And no, it wasn’t a drum…)
The tour guides were very informative and provided reminders as to the importance of conservation. Incredible hearing how many rhinos in the wild were being killed in a day and how habitat destruction and mining are affecting the numbers of animals in the wild!
We highly recommend if anyone is to head out to Dubbo, the zoofari overnight stay is worth it. After checking out of the lodge, we still had admission to the zoo itself. Hiring bikes is complimentary with the package but get there early for the golf buggies. They get snapped up very quickly. The other way to get around is to drive your own car through the zoo. There are parking spots along the way where you can stop and walk to see the animals.
Dubbo Zoo has been on our family’s to-do for so many years and finally this was the year to tick it off our list 🙂
How much did it cost?
It’s calculated based on how many people per cabin. So for us, two monkeys, it cost us $658 for the package, which when we itemised what we were getting, it actually works out quite reasonable for 2 people.
There is more to see than just the zoo at Dubbo but we didn’t have the time as we only had a weekend here. Next time, we will be sure to make it a leisurely drive out and back with a few stops to explore things along the way.
Kenya, Tanzania and Dubai are officially creeping up on us! And we know what that means…. that we need to lock in the holiday after that.
We have a travel philosophy, that we NEED to have our following holiday booked before we go on the next one. Why? Purely because then it gives us something to look forward to when we get back. People return from a holiday and get withdrawals and dread the fact that they are back to the “daily grind” (maybe not everyone but we know we did). So to fill the void of the holiday euphoria, we overcame that by living by our travel philosophy. And sure enough, we land in Sydney with the excitement of knowing our next destination is in sight. And it works!
So back to the fact that Africa is creeping up on us, we need to start getting our act together and book something. There is Tasmania in January (where we’ve been – but this time with the extended family). Then there is talk of Hong Kong in April. And then dreams of possibly something bigger in July to escape the winter – Europe is beckoning us once more!