A family holiday works best when every member is catered for, and Dubbo is a destination that manages to do exactly that!

With its wonderful Western Plains Zoo, pioneering history, and good old-fashioned country hospitality, this bustling regional city in the Central West of New South Wales will appeal to all ages and interests.

Here are some of the top things to do in Dubbo. Book your stay with Choice Hotels.

1. Take a walk on the wild side

Dubbo’s main attraction is, of course, Taronga Western Plains Zoo. This renowned wildlife facility is enormous and weather permitting, the best way to see it is on a bike. They can be hired on arrival (including child seats and cabooses). The zoo is home to hundreds of native and exotic animal species, and offers a range of special animal encounters. Get up close to a Sumatran tiger, meet the meerkats, or say ‘hey’ to a hippo! An additional cost applies for these experiences.

Top things to do in Dubbo
Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Image: Destination NSW

2. Splash down at Elston Park

Dubbo has a great selection of free recreational parks, including Elston Park – a water park with dancing water jets, water cannons and more. It’s a top spot to cool off in the heat of an outback summer day. Livvi’s Place Playground, an award winning playground with interactive equipment that caters for all ages and abilities, is also well worth checking out if you have littlies in tow.

3. Go for a ride

If that bike ride at the zoo has you hankering for another pedal-powered adventure, give the 13-kilometre Tracker Riley Cycleway a go. It extends from the CBD to historic Dundullimal Homestead, via the outer perimeter of the zoo.

Related: Eight amazing things to do in Dubbo

4. Visit the Old Dubbo Gaol

Experience the harsh realities of life in a colonial prison at the Old Dubbo Gaol. This perennial attraction has long spooked visitors with its set of gallows, hangman’s tools of trade, and pitch-black solitary confinement cells.

Top things to do in Dubbo
Old Dubbo Gaol. Image: Destination NSW

5. Shop at the markets

Dubbo hosts a number of fabulous regular markets. The Dubbo Farmers Market sets up in Macquarie Lions Park on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month, and showcases local produce, meats, baked goods, honeys and jams. It operates from 8am to noon and is a great way to meet the locals while enjoying a delicious breakfast from one of the on-site food vendors. On the 4th Sunday of the month, the Dubbo Rotunda Market offers unique vintage art, décor items, clothing and jewellery. The sound of live music from buskers and smells of fresh coffee and baked goods fill the air. This is not to be missed.

 Taronga Western Plains Zoo
Hit the markets. Image: City of Dubbo

6. Attend the Dream Festival

The Dream Festival is an annual celebration of Dubbo’s creative side. The week-long event features live entertainment, art exhibitions and workshops, and caters for all ages. The festival kicks off with Pianos on the Pavement, where local pianists share their love of music – and their keys – with anyone who wants to join in. The Lantern Parade is another highlight of the program, and features lanterns created by local community groups.

Top things to do in Dubbo
Dream Festival, Dubbo. Image: Destination NSW/R Hinton

Need a place to stay?

Comfort Inn Dubbo City offers a well-appointed stay within easy walking distance of the CBD and its many parks and attractions. The hotel’s outdoor pool is the perfect way to cool off in the heat of summer.

Comfort Inn Blue Lagoon also has a pool, along with comfortably furnished rooms. Sails Restaurant is located onsite and serves breakfast Tuesday to Sunday, and dinner seven nights a week.

Quality Inn Dubbo International is situated just minutes from Taronga Western Plains Zoo and is the ideal spot to base yourself for a family visit to this world-class attraction. Hotel amenities include an outdoor spa, pool and poolside bar. The hotel also features two restaurants – the Royal Dubbo Golf Club and Reflections. Room service is available.

Cover image: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

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