FAM­ILY VA­CA­TION WITH TEENS

Bella Tip­ping Kidz­ca­tionz.com - Aus­tralia

DREAM TEEN Magazine - - Contents -

Iget lots of re­quests from peo­ple want­ing me to share a lit­tle about where I live and some of the wildlife found in Aus­tralia. I live in an in­land city called Dubbo; lo­cated in the heart of New South Wales, Aus­tralia. Many peo­ple think of Syd­ney or Mel­bourne when they think of Aus­tralia, but a trip over the Blue Moun­tains will open your world to all kinds of cul­ture, chang­ing land­scapes and good old-fash­ioned coun­try hos­pi­tal­ity. Like most peo­ple, I some­times take my home­town for granted, but I love liv­ing here. Dubbo is a 5-hour drive from Syd­ney and for peo­ple trav­el­ing from Mel­bourne to Bris­bane; Dubbo is con­sid­ered the half­way point and a pop­u­lar stopover. There are loads of ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions in Dubbo from 5 Star glamp­ing, ho­tels and self-con­tained ac­com­mo­da­tion to B&B, cab­ins and camp­sites. We may be ru­ral, but Dubbo has ev­ery com­fort you will need. It gets hot in this part of NSW, but it is a dry heat so it isn’t too bad. I re­mem­ber a re­cent sum­mer where the ther­mome­ter reached 47 de­grees Cel­sius (which in the US is about 116 de­grees Fahren­heit). How­ever, there are all sorts of places to cool down; from the lo­cal river to the wa­ter park and the pools and wa­ter-slides at the Dubbo Aquatic Cen­tre. With­out a doubt, Dubbo’s ma­jor at­trac­tion is the Taronga West­ern Plains Zoo. This is an open style zoo with large ex­hibits of an­i­mals from all around the world. The zoo has a 6 km cir­cuit; you can drive your own car, walk, hire a bike, or my fa­vorite thing is to hire one of the ze­bra striped elec­tric sa­fari carts. I re­ally rec­om­mend feed­ing the gi­raffe and the adorable meerkats. Kids are amazed when a gi­raffe bends right down to take a carrot straight out of your hand and the slob­ber they leave be­hind! Well that’s just them say­ing thank you! There are lots of other an­i­mal en­counter op­tions, so make sure you check the board for de­tails and feed­ing times at the in­for­ma­tion counter. There is so much to see at the zoo. There are restau­rant din­ing op­tions avail­able, or you can also take ad­van­tage of the BBQ ar­eas all around the zoo. Watch the birds though, they have been known to sam­ple food from the un­sus­pect­ing. The kid’s play­ground is re­ally fun and caters to all ages. It even has a fly­ing fox! If you feel like do­ing a Roar and Snore, there are 3 dif­fer­ent ones to chose from. The Bil­l­abong camp is lo­cated near the Aus­tralian An­i­mal en­clo­sure and is a camp­site with per­ma­nent tents; great for peo­ple want­ing a night un­der the stars. At the Bil­l­abong camp, ev­ery­one comes to­gether for din­ner, then it’s off for a night­time an­i­mal en­counter by torch­light. So much fun… and a lit­tle spooky! There are also the self con­tained Sa­van­nah Cab­ins at the top of the range is the amaz­ing Zoo­fari Lodge which is glamp­ing at its very best. Din­ing at Main House at the Zoo­fari Lodge, is a real treat. You are served all kinds of ex­otic dishes in an African style ban­quet. The Zoo­fari Lodge is just like be­ing in Africa. I sat on my ve­ran­dah and watched the sun set over the Sa­vanna. It was so peace­ful and the gi­raffe and ze­bra came right up to me. It’s amaz­ing! Dubbo is also a blend of cul­tures. You can sit back and en­joy a pic­nic at the tran­quil Shoy­oen Gar­den in the Dubbo Botanic Gar­dens or take in a cul­tural tour with a tra­di­tional owner of the land and hear the story of the Tubba-gah peo­ple of the Wi­rad­juri na­tion. The Un­cles are very pa­tient with kids and want you to learn as much as you can about their cul­ture - so make sure you ask lots of ques­tions.

When peo­ple come to the coun­try, they of­ten re­mark that the sky seems so big and full of stars. This is be­cause we have such open plains. The Dubbo Ob­ser­va­tory can take you one step closer and make you re­al­ize just how small our world is. The Old Dubbo Goal is lo­cated in the heart of town and it is so amaz­ing to walk through the huge gates and step back in time. You will hear the sto­ries of the con­demned men and learn more about the harsh penal­ties paid for crimes that we now would con­sider quite mi­nor. Kids will love the in­ter­ac­tive dis­plays and some of them come on when you least ex­pect it and creep you right out! You can see the gal­lows and have a go at the stock­ade, and for the re­ally brave..., come back at night and do the Ghost Tour! The Dubbo Cul­tural Cen­tre mu­seum will take you back to the days of the early set­tlers and show­cases ar­ti­facts and memorabilia from decades past. Welling­ton is lo­cated just south­east of Dubbo and is home to the Bur­ren­dong Dam - a pop­u­lar spot for year-round fish­ing, wa­ter­ski­ing, bush­walk­ing and camp­ing. The kids can have fun on the wa­ter-slide or the park and there is even a Skate Park to keep you en­ter­tained. Ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions at Bur­ren­dong Dam in­clude cab­ins and camp­sites and you can bring your pet with you! Welling­ton also has the most amaz­ing caves full of sta­lag­mites, sta­lac­tites, columns and beau­ti­ful co­ral, and even has mega fauna bones! My fa­vorite cave is the Cathe­dral cave with its 15-me­tre­tall “Al­tar.” Walk­ing in the caves is amaz­ing - they are huge and the guides are so in­for­ma­tive. The caves were first ex­plored by can­dle­light and when you see them with the lux­ury of elec­tric­ity, you can only imag­ine how scary and dan­ger­ous it was for the early ex­plor­ers. A word of ad­vice - If you are do­ing a cave tour, wear comfy shoes and take a long-sleeved top be­cause it gets cold un­der ground. I know when we travel over­seas, my dad likes to find out as much as he can about the area he is driv­ing, so he knows the risks. So just to help out fu­ture vis­i­tors to our area, when you are driv­ing on coun­try roads, avoid early morn­ing and late af­ter­noon if you can; these are the times when kan­ga­roos are most ac­tive and are of­ten found graz­ing near the roads. If you are head­ing out west, you will see lots of kan­ga­roos and the odd emu. In the drier months, you may also see drovers herd­ing their sheep and cat­tle along the road. If you are trav­el­ing by car, stop at the road­side stalls sell­ing fresh lo­cal fruit and veg­eta­bles - noth­ing tastes as good as fresh lo­cally grown prod­ucts. Out west you will find all kinds of na­tive wildlife; kook­abur­ras, white cock­a­toos, galahs, kan­ga­roos, emu’s and even a wom­bat if you’re lucky, so bring your cam­era. If you head fur­ther west to the Mac­quarie Marshes, the bird life and sun­set shots will take your breath away! I re­ally hope you get the time to visit my back­yard and ex­plpore all the amaz­ing places Dubbo and the Cen­tral West has to of­fer. So when you visit Aus­tralia, en­joy all the cities and try to make time to ex­pe­ri­ence the hid­den gems found in ru­ral and re­gional NSW; you won’t be dis­ap­pointed. DTM

These are amaz­ing flower gelato cones from I-Creamy in Syd­ney

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