Zoofari Lodge, Toronga Western Plains Zoo
What an adventure! I know you have been following along on my IG account and I am so thrilled to be able to share what we got up to on our little weekend get away. If you are looking at what you can do while travelling with kids, this is a must do on your bucket list.
early Sunday morning we loaded up the car and hit the road heading west to Dubbo. A North West City towards Western NSW. Laying West of the Great Dividing range. Its name thought to have derived from the Wiradjuri language with the theory of its meaning "red earth", consistent with the local landscape.
For us its was only a 4 hour drive. A road trip tolerable enough with a 23 month old. He slept most of the way and were able to entertain him with toys and food the rest of the way. His patience waning towards the end of the trip.
We stopped in at The Big 4 in Dubbo to stay over night before our big adventure planned at Toronga Zoo. It was my first experience at a Big 4 and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. It such a family orientated place that is so affordable. We spent the afternoon playing at the waterpark and expelled all that energy from being cooped up in the car all day.
First thing the next morning we packed up and grabbed some coffee at The Village Bakery Cafe and headed to Toronga Zoo and start our day. What I loved about the zoo is the fact its so big an open they have roads to drive around to all the enclosures. You have the option of driving your own car, walking or hiring a buggy or bikes. We opted for the buggy knowing too well that the kids would tire quickly.
We surprised Abby our eldest (7) with a Sumatran Tiger encounter. We were allowed to go behind the scenes to get up close with the tigers and feed one. Its one thing to see these beautiful animals on tv or out in their enclosure but to see one up close and in the flesh was just other worldly. His energy and presence was consuming. Huge respect for these predatory creatures and loved hearing about the work being done to conserve these impotent animals on our eco system. It was noted that tigers may potentially on ever exist in stories within 2-3 generations. Our great grandchildren may never grow in a world where tigers exist along with many others. We can only imagine the consequences on the ecosystem.
Before we knew it, it was time to check into the Zoofari Lodge. The zoofari accomodation comprises of 15 African inspired safari lodges privately nestled away over looking a paddock of giraffes and antelope. There are other accomodation options such as larger cabins and the billabong camping ground. I loved that there were surprisingly many families booked in too and not just couples. Abby made friends and we were able to get to know other parents during our meals in the Zoofari guest house. We all had access to the pool and luxurious banquet dinner where families were placed along huge banquet tables for the ultimate dining experience.
Part of our stay included a night tour in the zoo's safari bus. It was excruciatingly cold, so if you go pack warm clothes! It was quite exciting though to be able to go round to the night pens and see some of the animal up close. Especially the lions who are much more active at night. It was early to start to the day, up at 6am for out morning tour which included feeding the giraffes carrots and watching an elephant being bathed.
Over all it was such a fantastic experience. It was jam packed with activities. We left a little exhausted actually. I would recommend staying an extra night or heading back to the Big 4 to wind down from all the adventure before heading back home.