Experiencing the best of Dubbo won’t cost you a cent.
When travelling through the iconic New South Wales city of Dubbo, there is an endless list of things to see and do. Holidays can be expensive, but rest assured, there are plenty of fantastic attractions that are free of charge and guaranteed to provide an authentic Dubbo experience.
Here are six of the best ways to explore all that Dubbo has to offer, without spending a cent.
DUBBO FARMERS MARKET
Enjoy the freshest and tastiest produce that this iconic central New South Wales town has to offer, while mixing with locals and admiring the beautiful surroundings.
Located behind the Visitors Information Centre on the corner of the Newell Highway and Macquarie Street, the famous Dubbo Farmers Market attracts around 2000 visitors, locals and tourists alike.
On the first and third Saturday of every month, local farmers and growers proudly sell their fresh seasonal produce, including ripe fruit and vegetables, aromatic herbs, a selection of meats, freshly baked breads, award winning milk, olive oils, honey, nuts and much more.
People are drawn to the Dubbo Markets not only for the fresh, locally grown produce but also to experience the tight knit community atmosphere. It makes for the perfect family outing, with fresh breakfast and coffee options available to start the day.
The markets are run by Macquarie Valley Food & Wine Inc., which is a volunteer, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting high quality produce and supporting local farmers. They are also supported by local entertainers including Sing Australia.
DUBBO HERITAGE WALK
Discover a history rich in intrigue by taking a walk in the footsteps of pioneers along the Dubbo Heritage Walk. There is truly no better way to become acquainted with your surroundings than by enjoying a historical tour of the township with people who know its past better than anyone.
Beginning at the Visitors Information Centre on the corner of the Newell Highway and Macquarie Street, participants are taken on a comprehensive tour that is both enlightening and engaging. Questions and comments are strongly encouraged, while the tour visits 37 locations that have all contributed to the exciting history of this central New South Wales city.
Some of the tour highlights include the elaborate Court House, the haunting walls of the Old Dubbo Gaol and the intricate architecture of St Brigid’s Catholic Church. Each site has its own story to tell, and visitors are sure to leave the tour with a deepened understanding of Dubbo’s history and the characters who call it home.
DUBBO REGIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN
The Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden displays an exquisite collection of flowers and plants that together express unique cultures through landscaping perfection.
The development of the garden began in 1999, with this beautiful and relaxing are currently consisting of four distinctive spaces; Shoyoen (Japanese Garden), the Sensory Garden, the Biodiversity Garden and the Oasis Valley.
Hiding behind a traditional Japanese gate is the highly stylised miniature landscape of Shoyoen, which was a gift for Dubbo from its sister city, Minokamo, in Japan. With a name meaning ‘refreshing garden’, the elements of Shoyoen are a token to simplicity. The waterfall, stream and lake symbolise human existence, Japanese Koi fish are ‘living flowers’ and the Tea Hut means ‘happiness and long life house’.
Vibrant colours and sweet scents from the 1300 plants within the Sensory Garden create a stimulating and pleasurable experience, while the Biodiversity Garden is a haven for local plants and native birds.
A 65 metre boardwalk leads to Oasis Valley, a tribute to the survival of the threatened plants of the ‘dry rainforests’ of Australia. Over 40 different species are on display, and are grouped together according to their families.
In the Biodiversity Garden, take the boardwalk trails through grassy white box woodlands, past wetlands and climbs up a rocky, volcanic slope the to see the major vegetation communities that thrived in this region before European settlement.
SAVANNAH VISITOR PLAZA, TARONGA WESTERN PLAINS ZOO
Catering for adults, children or groups and with enough space to hold functions and events, the Savannah Visitor Plaza in the Taronga Western Plains Zoo is the perfect spot for families to spend some quality down time.
This tranquil area overlooks the lake and islands that are home to numerous spider monkeys and ring-tailed lemurs, who provide entertainment free of charge! Open from 9am to 4pm, the plaza also houses information and ticketing, Bakhita's Cafe, Zoo Shop, Savannah Function and Events Centre and the Safari Park Adventure Playground.
Children will have a ball exploring the Safari Park Adventure Playground, while adults can relax and enjoy a coffee. There is also an expansive, green picnic ground with free barbeque area for when the troops get hungry.
WESTERN PLAINS CULTURAL CENTRE
Stunning Aboriginal artworks, early- settler artefacts, and modern masterpieces combine at the Western Plains Cultural Centre. This contemporary, light-filled space is comprised of an art gallery and museum, and provides an in-depth history of the region.
The Dubbo Regional Gallery, which makes up half of the cultural centre, was established in 1989. The well-designed exhibition space is comprised of four galleries and a space dedicated to the moving image. The artwork is engaging and innovative, with a mix between contemporary and historical works on display. The gallery acquires its art work from generous donations and active collecting, and specialises in the Animal in Art theme, collecting works in a broad range of media and styles by artists from all areas of the New South Wales region.
Dubbo Regional Museum was set up as a pioneer museum, displaying a collection of items - including Australia’s largest and best preserved wool wagon - that piece together to tell the story of the city and its people. The museum also houses a carved tree, an object of great cultural significance to the local Aboriginal population rarely displayed in Australia. The exhibitions frequently change, however a permanent space is devoted to the story of Dubbo, aptly named People Places Possessions. A photographic streetscape shows the progression of the city in a visually stimulating display, and a White Box tree stands in the centre of the exhibition, a stately token to the rustic Australian bush.
TERRAMUNGAMINE ROCK GROOVES
Rich in Aboriginal history, the sacred land within the Terramungamine Reserve provides a fascinating display of ancient carvings and groove markings belonging to the original custodians of the land, the Wiradjurri Tribe and the Kamilaroi people.
Caused by spear making, sharpening and seed grinding, the Terramungamine rock grooves are still prominent despite the harsh conditions of the Australian landscape and erosion caused by wind, water and soil. Over 150 markings can be seen on the rocks that stretch along the upper bank of the Macquarie River for about 100 metres.
The Terramungamine Reserve also served as a meeting place for the Aboriginal people, a place to discuss important matters and catch up on any news of the tribe. A place for reflection, the presence of the Aboriginal people who walked the earth hundreds of years ago can still be felt. A trip to the Terramungamine Rock Grooves is both enlightening and memorable, and is a reminder of the intense connection between the Aboriginal people and their land.