DubboOctober 15 in Australia
350km - 5h away from Sydney —> ☀️ ☀️☀️☀️☀️
350km - 5h away from Sydney —> ☀️ ☀️☀️☀️☀️
CUNNAMULLA TO DUBBO – 22/6/16 to 29/6/16
On our drive south from Cunnamulla we saw dozens of caravans heading in the opposite direction – towards a warmer climate. The countryside was still mostly flat and scrubby in places with lots of water lying beside the road due to overnight rain. We checked into Kidman Caravan Park in North Bourke with rain still falling intermittently. The Darling River flows near the camp and the paddle boat PV Jandra stops at the small wharf there. The next day we went in to the centre of Bourke to the Info Centre and Back O’Bourke exhibition where we spent a couple of hours absorbing more information and watching an outback show with horses, camels, cattle dogs and a bullock team which was very entertaining. We drove around and looked at some of Bourke’s historic buildings and the old wharf and that night enjoyed dinner at the Port of Bourke pub.
We continued our journey down the Kidman Way to Cobar through lots of Mulga countryside and after setting up camp, went for a walk around the streets past some old buildings and on to the site of one of Cobar’s old copper mines where we saw some of the old equipment and poppet head. Cobar’s main street has beautifully paved footpaths and looks really neat and well cared for. Obviously some of the mining wealth has been put to good use. The weather was cold with icy winds. The next morning, before leaving, we visited the Cobar Heritage Centre and looked through the two storey museum which housed lots of mining information and relics. We went on to see the very deep open cut gold mine which is still in operation. We then drove on to Nyngan where we camped for the night.
The next day we headed off to Dubbo through mostly grain producing and grazing countryside. We’ve left the outback behind! The weather still freezing with some rain. Our friend Bev Meyer met us at the Info Centre in town and we followed her to their new home on 10 acres just out of Dubbo where we spent an enjoyable afternoon and evening with them. Because of the rain and recent building work there was lots of mud everywhere but we enjoyed our first night indoors since we left Melb. We spent the next couple of nights at a caravan park in Dubbo and on one day we drove to Wellington where we went on a couple of tours of the caves, one of which was mined in the early 1900’s for phosphate. It contained lots of bone fragments of mega-fauna which were tens of thousands of years old. The second cave contained huge limestone stalagmites. Returning to Dubbo, we visited the Western Plains Cultural Centre, Museum and Gallery.
The road to Bourke was flat and straight (great for caravaners) with lots and lots of road kill again. Bourke itself was interesting as it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought it would be more an outback town the likes of Birdsville etc.
Nothing more to add from me except that Heather failed to mention the major disincentive to visiting Duddo, the SUB zero overnight temperatures. Our little fan heater must have clocked up 100,000hrs by now on this trip.Read more
Drove to Dubbo, stayed at Terramungamine Reserve, An OK site, on the banks of the Macquarie River.
Broke in the Maddock Pot - old 20L motor oil tin with a few holes works a treat as a fire pot and grill. After smoking out the grey nomads and alarming some with the size of our flames, we had beautiful coals for cooking lamb chops. The charred outside and tender middle were delicious. Some slight modifications to the pot are required, as our pan fits perfectly on top, thus denying the fire from much needed oxygen. Next time we will hang the pan on the fire spike.
Tried our luck fishing again, this time on the Macquarie River. No fish for tea yet.
After our frenetic start to travelling, we are spending the day tomorrow not driving huge distances. Spending the day at the zoo, then moving 1/2 hour north of Dubbo (this site has a 1 night limit, and it will get us 1/2 an hour further into our journey in preparation for the next long travelling day).
Macquarie River, Terramungamine Reserve campsite
Maddock PotRead more
I'm not a huge fan of zoos if they aren't set up with the animals' best interests as their core aim.
I'm a big fan of Dubbo Zoo.
Having done some field work here whilst studying and having been on previous trips, I know this zoo is worth a visit. Rarely do you have to peer at lonely, bored animals through cages; you more feel like you have been invited into their environment, to admire and observe in an as natural a setting as is possible in captivity. You don'tfeel they are there just for human viewing pleasure. The information provided is interesting and educational, and allows you to gain an insight into the breeding programs, conservation and other behind-the-scenes work the zoo does.
The kids had a great time and are each choosing an animal to do a project on - school work - tick!
Erin has chosen African Elephants (I suspect because of the young baby on display); Ben the Sumatran Tiger.
Staying at our first 'paid' accommodation tonight - $5!
The video here is of us setting our camper up - we can arrive and be set up to sleep in 15 mins if we need too! We are working well as a team, and all know our little jobs to do, sometimes happily, sometimes grumpily if it's well past feeding time at our zoo!Read more
HP Baxxter in Sydney getroffen, lol
We caught an overnight train at 8.50pm from Grafton to Strathfield. This time we lashed out and got a sleeping cabin, which came complete with a toiletries bag, snacks, breakfast, fresh linen, fresh towels and a shower! It was very comfortable for me, and quite spacious. In comparison to trains in Asia, it was marginally cleaner and the room was bigger however the beds were smaller.
We listened to music and talked for the first two hours, then pressed the attendant button to go to bed. A lady came and folded the beds down, we got in and said goodnight. I woke up a few times due to stations but overall had a good sleep from around 11pm to 5.30am, when I got up to have a shower with the sunrise. I had cereal and raisin toast for breakfast with tea and fruit juice (Riagan substituted the cereal for a croissant). Upon arriving at Strathfield at 6.50am we got off the train and waited 40 minutes for our train to Dubbo which was another XPT. I zoned in and out of sleep until 1.30pm when we arrived (we had been travelling for over 16 hours by train, with an 8 hour drive before that!).
We walked to the hotel in Dubbo (Tower's Lodge) then I rested for a few hours while Riagan did the washing. We then went for a walk to get food and snacks for dinner, breakfast and lunch. Tonight we had Mexican beans on bread with lots of coleslaw and tomato relish. We may even get a pizza later if we are really hungry.
KM Travelled: 1050 / Steps taken: 9500Read more
We woke up at around 6am to the sounds of zoo animals (ok – mainly cicadas). When we walked over to the mess shade there was a huge amount of pancakes, cereals, toasts, fruits and condiments. I had lots of pancakes and they were delicious! At breakfast, the other families were talking about what they heard overnight – apparently they heard lions, tigers and birds. Those of you who know me well would know that nothing like that will wake me up so unfortunately I did not hear them. We had a quick shower to prepare for the morning activities and had packed the car by 7.15am which was our starting time. We found out what we were doing: an encounter with a Sumatran Tiger, Otters and Apes.
Firstly the guide took us on a walk into the ‘Asian Forest’ and through a restricted access gate to the ‘dens’ where tigers sleep overnight. During the day the tigers are let out into ‘exhibits’ where the public is able to see them. The Sumatran Tiger saw being fed was a young male that had been rejected by his family – when he was an adolescent he had a medical issue so was sent to Sydney for surgery and when he got back they didn’t want to know him at all. Apparently he is quite chilled out and happy to be alone which is good as tigers are solitary animals. The keeper fed him chicken necks which was good to watch, and he climbed up the fence with his front paws as he was very excited and knew what he was going to get.
After seeing the tiger we went to the rear of the otter enclosure, where we learnt about ‘enrichment’ for animals. The otters were sleeping so we didn’t get to see them here. A large 40-gallon drum with holes in it was used like a kong for dogs (elephants), old fire hose like a kong (monkeys), and many others things. The idea is supposed to be that in the wild animals have to think about their food, so they should think about it in the zoo to keep their minds healthy. Afterwards we went to see some apes – we could hear screeching in the distance so the keeper thought it would be a good idea for us to see them next. The Siamang Apes were on an island as they cannot swim – there was an older couple and their younger son. The couple were doing a call which is designed to ward away predators – the female did a fast chant which increased in speed and volume, and the male did the final call by screaming ‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAH’ then doing a pose similar to a gymnast. It was fascinating to watch because they sounded so much like people!
After the walk we said our goodbyes and got in the car for our drive. We weren’t sure if it is possible to drive the car around Dubbo zoo, so went to ask: we could which made life a lot easier! We saw a lot of keeper talks/feedings: Meerkats, Hippos, Otters and Ring-Tailed Lemur & Spider Monkey feeding. The Hippo talk was fascinating because they have actually trained the alpha male hippo, who has overgrown teeth digging into his upper gums, to open his mouth on command to have his teeth filed down! We also got to see the alpha spray poo everywhere. The otters were ganging up on one particular otter, chasing him around the enclosure – it was sad to see that he couldn’t really escape. Hopefully they can help him to enjoy his life! We also went for a walk up to the ‘African Savannah’ and got on the safari bus, the giraffes came very very close to the bus which was quite amusing – the bus driver had to keep speeding away. It was quite a nice little side detour. We saw: Addax, African Lion, African Wild Dog, Asian Elephant, Barbary Sheep, Black Rhinos, Ring-Tailed Lemur, Bongo, Cheetah, Dingo, Eland, Emu, Galapagos Tortise, Giraffe, Greater One-Horned Rhino, Quokka, Hippo, Koala, Meerkat, Small-Clawed Otter, Ostrich, Oryx, Przewalski's Horse, Siamang Ape, Spider Monkey, Sumatran Tiger, White-Handed Gibbon, White Rhino & Zebra. After making our way around the zoo circuit, we drove the car to Hertz ready for the next part of our journey.
Side note: While at the zoo I did a lot of reading about the function of zoos. While Taronga Zoo is not-for-profit on the surface, each individual employee profits from its existence. I think that some of the conservation activities it does are good, but that these activities are a minority compared to the focus on exhibiting the animals for patron pleasure. Thus, overall, zoos do profit off animal suffering even though they are not-for-profit on the surface. I think that the conservation work they do is great, but that it could be done without exhibiting so many non-endangered species. I saw some stereotypic animal behaviour – especially from the larger animals, including pacing and hiding (there were signs of scratching all over the pens) but most of them seemed quite relaxed which is good. Overall, while the zoo was a nice experience, I felt quite sad there and really shouldn’t visit any more zoos in the future – this is likely to be my last one for a long time. In the words of Matilda: If you always take it on the chin and wear it nothing will change…If you sit around … you might as well be saying you think that it’s okay – and that’s not right! Attending a zoo is similar to saying that it’s okay – which I do not believe – so I should not be supporting them by supporting them financially. I would feel much better if they had less non-endangered exhibits and focused more on conservation but perhaps it is not a viable business model.
KM Travelled: A few / Steps Taken: 17,000 / Temperature: 38*CRead more
We had a cool night and the kitchen has changed at the bowling club and the food was not as good as it was, got away from Lightning Ridge at 8:30 heading south on the Castlereagh Hwy heading to Walgett and then onto Coonamble for a cuppa beside the river and got a great photo of a painted silo. Gilgandra was the next town we passed through and then we stopped just out of Dubbo at a truck stop for lunch, pulled in at the midway caravan park in Dubbo for the night not a bad park and the weather is ok at 17 degrees. Checked out the town centre which is big, pretty much a small city and then we went out to the shopping centre just like a mini Westfield, super busy here much prefer the outback.Read more
You might also know this place by the following names: