Doin’ the Dubbo Zoo

Day 11, Tuesday March 26th Moree to Dubbo

We’re greeted by an almost cloudless sky, the temperature is pleasant. Moree has a lovely town centre. Balo Street has wide paved footpaths lined with hedges and shaded by grapevines and olive trees. The parks are invitingly green and grassy.

Back on the Newell highway the plains stretch away to the far distant hills. The paddocks are ploughed and there are wild sunflowers lining the roads (I guess they’re the ones that got away). We scoot through Narrabri and almost instantly we plunge into eucalypt scrub all the way to Coonabarabran only sighting one emu to break the monotony. Coonabarabran is jumping with lunchtime traffic and like Narrabri it is an older-style country town. The scenery changes and we pass through grazing land all the way to Dubbo. We are passing lots of vintage Austin’s that are heading south to Bendigo for an Easter rally and hot rods that are going somewhere north.

On the Newell Highway

After having travelled this highway many times back in the eighties and with never enough time to stop and see the sights, we promise ourselves that we will go to the Dubbo Zoo this time. We arrive at 2:00pm with a scant two hours to see everything before the 4:00pm closing time. Normally it takes about 3 hours to see the zoo and you can drive (without a caravan), cycle, walk or take a golf cart, thus our only option is to hire the golf cart. Woody has left his licence in the car so much to his disappointment I’m the registered driver. As soon as we’re out of sight we switch drivers and he goes into Fangio mode while I hang on tight (my seatbelt is broken). At the speed that we have to travel to get around the place, the colourful map is near useless, as each animal ‘paddock’ is marked with an icon that one must match against a descriptive chart. Ok elephants and giraffes are obvious, but we soon start calling them ‘some sort of cow’, ‘some sort of horse’ etc. There are signposts but these are faded and even harder to read. We rush, run, leap and drive quickly from one enclosure to another trying to spot animals that are usually hiding at the farthest point from the viewing platform. Thank God for the zoom lens on the camera. All in all, we probably only miss seeing the meerkats. The setting and the gardens are well landscaped and even though we lost the useless map we managed to switch drivers again just before the last bend so that I could drive sedately back to the office with two minutes to spare. I wonder if we could have squeezed in those meerkats?

At least this bloke couldn’t run away from us
Dubbo Zoo

Bucket list ticked, we drive back into Dubbo and check into the Dubbo City Caravan Park. It’s a nice park with lots of lawn and shade trees, a pool, flower beds and, a herb garden. I think we’re on an adrenalin rush after the zoo because we get out the bikes and do a few laps of the park to stretch our thighs (we can’t go on the road because our helmets are waiting at home in the shed). We then throw ourselves into the pool for a refreshing couple of laps. Our fridge has gone on the blink, Woody turns it off, then restarts it, by morning it is back going strong. We’ve decided that it may be best to turn it off whilst travelling rather than running it on 12volt power.

Towing Kms: 364Kms

2022 Note: We later learn that the ‘eucalypt scrub’ is the Pilliga Forest and it always gives us a spooky feeling. It doesn’t help that our travelling mate VeeWee shudders and mutters whenever the Pilliga is even mentioned.

We also learn that stressing about the fridge is just another aspect of caravanning.

Cruising down the Newell to Dubbo (Map Source: WikiCamps)

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