Visiting Taronga Western Plains Zoo
Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo – Sleeping inside the Zoo
We spent the best 24hours at the Taronga- Western Plains Zoo Dubbo. The Zoo experience is one of the most wonderful family experiences we have had. We were spoilt with animal encounters, feeding giraffes, hearing and watching lions roar and staying in the most luxurious tents.
The afternoon began with our Behind the Scenes Tours.
The tour starts in the afternoon when you board the Zoo Tour Safari Bus ready for a behind the scenes private tour with the other guests of the Lodges. The group is small and the access to the animal enclosures is unbelievable. We started with the lemurs who were having their dinner. We watched the keepers feed them and we had the chance to ask any questions. Next stop was the Black Rhino. Our guide fed the Rhino and we were behind a fence about one metre from the rhino. Lots of rhino information was shared and my kids were absorbing it all. The sun started to drop and we needed the blankets provided in our open safari bus as it was getting colder. We then went to give Burma the Asian elephant her dinner and we had an elephant chat with her. The most interesting and confronting stop was next. The lions!! We were so close with only a fence separating our group from 8 lions. We watched the cubs interact with their mum and then heard the lions roar at each other. The lions were so close and we spent at least half an hour watching them and there were lots of questions by the guests and our guide was able to answer them all.
Even though we were sleeping in glamorous tents (glamping) we ate like royalty. Once we had finished the afternoon tour we were invited to the Guest House for wine tasting and canapés. Alongside the restaurant is a large room with a fire and games that the children happily entertained themselves with, chess, dominoes and puppets. There were other families there that we met and the children enjoyed meeting new friends. Dinner was then served at 6.30pm. We sat at our assigned seat on the long tables. Dinner is included in the price of the overnight accommodation but the drinks needed to be purchased from the bar. We enjoyed local beer and wine from Mudgee. The dinner was an African inspired meal. Many platters of food were brought out and shared amongst the table. There was an abundance of salad, salmon, meatballs, lamb and chicken. The meal was delicious. The chef did check on the children to see if they would prefer to eat a simpler meal such as chicken nuggets. After the main course the children were quickly fed ice-cream and topping then the adults had chocolate tart and apple pie. We left feeling very contented and ready for bed.
The Zoofari Lodges are situated around the open plains of the ‘savannah’. Each luxury tent caters for families. Having 5 people we had a larger tent which had a king bed, two singles and a double pull out sofa. The bathroom was large and modern with heat lamps as it was winter and an overnight temperature of zero degrees. We also had a reverse cycle air conditioner that we kept on all night. We were not cold at all and had an excellent night sleep. Our room also had a mini bar that had many items to purchase and free hot chocolate and coffee which we had to watch the sunrise.
At the Guest House there is a large fire pit which can be enjoyed by all guests with a glass of wine from the bar. In the summertime there is a large pool to be utilised.
Early Morning Tour
With a coffee and hot chocolate for the kids, in hand, we watched the sunrise over the savannah!! Well over the zoo enclosures. We went and had another barista made coffee from the guest house before our 7am tour.
A chilly start to the morning did not stop our pure excitement for this morning tour. With beanies and jackets on we were off on our safari bus, blankets on laps.
The first stop was the majestic giraffes where we gave them their breakfast. The giraffes were very eager and took all that was offered. There was lots of opportunities for the kids to feed the giraffes many times. Lots of photos opportunities, it was a surreal experience. We then headed to the hippos to wake them up and watch them eat their breakfast. Our morning guide was very knowledgeable and answered all the questions thrown at her. The hippos ate lettuce for breakfast and there was even a gorgeous baby hippo. We went to the white rhino and fed him his morning hay, again we were so close it was tempting to reach out and feel his horn, but this zoo experience is strictly hands off.
Our final morning stop was another wonderful experience. We headed to the elephants to give them their morning hay and watch them have a bath. The elephants were given a check by the keeper during the morning bath. The elephant showed off its tricks which the children loved to watch. The elephants did their morning yoga for use to watch while the keepers checked the elephants feet and toes.
We finished the morning tour and headed straight to the Guest House for breakfast. We were hungry by then as the morning tour is close to 2 hours long. The children did grab a few pieces of fruit to eat before the tour so they were happy and they could have had cereal before he had left also to tire them over.
Breakfast was another delicious meal. We sat back at our seats after we had helped ourselves to bacon, eggs, pancakes and mushrooms. The kids loved the pancakes and also had cereal. We had more cappuccinos which were included in our stay. During breakfast we reserved our electric cart for day at a cost of $89 and we highly recommend seeing the zoo this way.
Inside the Zoo
Once breakfast was over it was time to check out of the lodges. We decided to make use of the 2 day access pass that is included in our stay. We spent the rest of the day at the zoo with our electric cart as a way of getting around. Guests of the Lodges have bike hire included in their stay but we decided the cart was the way to go. Make sure to book this in early as when we picked our pre-ordered cart up at 9.30am there was none left. The cart made the day inside the zoo an easy visit as the kids were tired from getting up early for the sunrise. We had our map in hand and visited each enclosure. It was definitely more interactive on our private behind the scenes tour but we saw many animals that we hadn’t visited the previous day. The favourite animals of the day were definitely the lovable meerkats!
To book this amazing experience click here. You will not be disappoint with this amazing bucket list experience.
Disclosure: We were guests of the Zoo experiences. All our opinions are honest and our own.