Danny Yee >> Bushwalking & Travel >> Touring Central NSW

Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo

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an ibis stretches its wings
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Persian Onager
We arrived at the zoo around 2.30pm, but fortunately discovered that tickets are valid for two days. We drove around the zoo, thinking that would be faster, but in retrospect walking would have been just as fast - if you want to see all the exhibits, you'll be covering that distance anyway. Cycling would be an even better option if you have bikes.

The layout is basically a big loop road, with pens both inside and outside. Most of the primates are on islands in lakes. African animals make up a large part of the population -- there are tigers, lions, elephants, rhino, giraffes and many ungulates. There are also many Australian animals -- notably a wide variety of wallabies and kangaroos.

There's one small aviary with Australian birds, but the uncaged birds were also an attraction for us - we saw our first Apostle birds here (another "west of the divide" species), and had fun identifying other smaller birds.

We stayed in a Formule 1 chain motel overnight and had dinner in a pub in the centre of Dubbo.

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small-clawed otters
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a guanaco nibbles a tapir's ear
The Asian small-clawed otters were one highlight of the second day: there were five of them, and they looked and behaved very much like ferrets. Then there was the guanaco nibbling the ear of a tapir (presumably encouraged because it was eating parasites).

Another highlight was the wombat: Camilla hadn't seen a (live) one before even in a zoo, and this one was very tame, running around outside at midday and jumping up to the top of the fence so we could pat it.

Western Plains Zoo is run by the NSW Zoological Parks Board, along with Sydney's Taronga Zoo. For more information see the official web site.

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