For many, a quick getaway to the country is a much-needed dose of relaxation amid a fast-paced life. Sitting on Wiradjuri land, Dubbo is an inland city with a thriving food, and culture scene that you need to add to your weekend-away list.
Less than 400 kilometres West from Sydney, you can take on the drive to Dubbo, or book a seat on the daily Central West XPT. We recommend spending at least two nights in Dubbo, because there is plenty to do here. We’ve put together some suggestions.
When it comes to coffee, Dubbo is well in the game. We love Press, Black Tambourine, Cacao House, and The Auctioneer. Each of these cafés brings a trendy atmosphere centred around enjoying good coffee and food together.
Because these cafes are in the centre of town, we recommend taking a walk down the main street, Macquarie Street. If you love fashion or gift boutiques, don’t miss Klou, Ruby Maine, and Harriet + Kay. The city centre is often buzzing with locals going about their lives, take your time as you say hello to the hard-working business owners who keep this town vibrant.
Be sure to also check out the colourful Wiradjuri mural on the side of Dubbo Library called “The Tree of Knowledge”.
Further up Macquarie Street you’ll also find Old Dubbo Gaol which is a museum dedicated to the building’s history as a prison from 1847 until 1966. Explore the exercise yards, gallows, and cells which once held prisoners. The museum curators have ensured this to be a highly interactive and engaging experience for all ages.
For more exploration and culture, head to the Dubbo Regional Botanic Gardens. The gardens contain five distinct precincts for the public to wander around and enjoy.
The Shoyoen Japanese Garden is one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens in Australia and was gifted to Dubbo by sister city Minokamo in Japan. It is a beautifully designed space centring around a large pond. Jurian is the name of a ceremonial tea house featured in the garden, which was designed in Japan and specially shipped to Dubbo. This tranquil and well-kept garden is perfect for a springtime stroll.
The Wiradjuri Garden was opened in June 2021 and was worked on by Indigenous community groups. Designed to represent the three large rivers of the area and the rainbow serpent, this garden is a beautiful place of cultural significance.
Spend as much time as you need exploring the rest of the gardens, they each have their own stories to tell.
Dubbo has a great array of dinner options sure to suit any group. If you enjoy craft beer, Devil’s Hollow Brewery in East Dubbo serves their local brews on tap each named after something out of Dubbo’s folklore. They also serve great pub food, to satisfy any schnitty hankering you may have. If you can’t get enough of their beer, try a brewery tour and tasting, for the full craft experience.
A local institution, The Royal India Restobar is regal styled restaurant known for its authentic Indian food. It’s a favourite among locals, and with its impressively golden interior and exterior, there’s no way you’ll miss it on the street.
Dubbo is well known for Taronga Western Plains Zoo, and we’ve saved this great attraction for the second day. Of course, there’s so much other than the zoo to see and do in Dubbo, but if you’ve never been before, you don’t want to miss it.
The best thing about the zoo is that you can do the 5km loop on foot, in your car, in a buggy or on a bike. This means, no matter what, you see the animals at your own pace. Enjoy the huge enclosures with many African animals and get up close in their safari truck experience. You could easily spend half a day here at the zoo.
A ten-minute drive away is the Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Experience. Opened in 2019, this state-of-the-art centre is decked out with high quality augmented reality technology, interactive maps, and a full-sized plane previously used by the RFDS. Learn all about the incredible work the service does to provide for the health needs of remote communities.
Not only is the experience centre incredible, but the Outback Trek Café is also outstanding, with all the profits donated back into the RFDS. Enjoy lunch, and a rummage through their extensive gift store – knowing that all your contributions go towards enabling this important service.
Although tickets can be purchased individually, if you’re interested in visiting the three attractions we mentioned, we recommend the Great Big Adventure Pass, which gives you unlimited access to the Zoo, RFDS, Gaol, and Wellington Caves.
Enjoy your time in Dubbo, and because there’s so much to do, you’ll find yourself planning your next trip back!