Dubbo Zoofari

27 May 2021 / Words by Ian Bottcher. Photos by Robyn Bottcher and Stephen Yong

Friday 14 May 2021 - Sunday 16 May 2021

Leaving Hall with 8 MXs’, onto the Barton Highway and heading toward Murrumbateman where James and Giulia joined the congo line. It wasn’t long thereafter we slipped into Boorowa for morning tea at the local bakery, at which time Ian and Carmel (RPM Chapter) joined us to complete our procession of 10 MXs.

Next stop for lunch was at the 174 years old, hot air balloon capital of Australia, full of colonial history, Canowindra. A ‘light’ lunch at Finn’s Store and a quick stroll of the main street (and a couple of the traditional purchases) before heading to Dubbo via the Mitchell Highway with a ‘pit stop’ at Cameron Park, Wellington. While some were ‘concerned’ about the media generated mice plague stories, thankfully only a couple of lifeless mice were seen over the entire weekend. They must have been further afield. 

Arriving at Dubbo in the latter part of the day, settling into the Cattleman’s Motor Inn, Friday evening was ‘free time’. Some found a pleasant Thai restaurant across the road while others wandered a little further to a local watering hole for some very good pub food and the occasional drink.

Saturday saw all 20 of us spend the day at the Western Plains Zoo. Some drove the circuit while others strolled around. Entertaining us (among others) were some of the old favourites, namely hippos, rhinos, lions, apes, monkeys, elephants and of course the meerkats.  Steve volunteered as tour guide, doing a great job in only seeing the followers disorientated twice.

Saturday evening saw all 20 enjoy a great A La Carte dinner at the Cattleman’s Restaurant. The restaurant also served as a great vantage point to watch the Dubbo Show fireworks – a great piece of planning or fluke?

Sunday morning saw us all visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitors Centre (RFDS) and become immersed in the RFDS live operations across Australia on giant control screens. We were also fortunate enough to watch and listen to some extraordinary stories told by those who lived them plus also be entertained with some very interesting touchscreen interactions. Many thanks to Michelle who gave us a passionate and thorough overview. The RFDS experience is well worth it and certainly cements just how necessary the RFDS is to communities throughout Australia.

After RFDS all safely found their way back to Canberra albeit on varying roads, some back over the same track, some via Yeoval and others detouring via Orange. 

A round trip of approximately 900 kilometres, mostly with tops down, most enjoyable.