Dubbo is one of the most popular holiday destinations in country NSW. About a five hour drive from Sydney, it’s close enough for a long weekend trip or else visit the city on a road trip around the state. Find out what to do when visiting Dubbo with your dog, plus tips on where to dine out and where to stay.
Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Dubbo
Unfortunately, the most popular attraction in Dubbo, Taronga Western Plains Zoo, is off limits for pets. If you’re wanting to visit this excellent zoo (which I highly recommend from my own visits) you’ll need to find a pet sitter or leave it until a visit without your dog.
When visiting Dubbo with your dog, instead check out these pet-friendly attractions in Dubbo…
#1 Visit Old Dubbo Gaol
On my first childhood visit to Dubbo, as well visiting the open-air zoo, I also have vivid memories of visiting Old Dubbo Gaol, which is surprisingly dog-friendly.
This 19th-century gaol in the centre of the city is open daily, with a mixture of permanent displays and talks. Try to time your visit for one of the costumed talks on weekends and during school holidays.
As a child, I was rather terrified by the talking mannequins at the gaol. While it probably is not as scary for adults, it’s a relief that I when I visit again I can be joined by my very protective dog! Friendly dogs are welcome to join you on your visit, either on a leash or in a carrier.
#2 Stroll Through the Botanic Gardens
Dubbo is home an an excellent botanic garden, the Dubbo Regional Botanic Gardens. First developed in 1999, the gardens have free entry and leashed dogs are welcome to join you.
There are multiple precincts to the gardens, with the Shoyoen Japanese Garden being particularly picturesque, especially during spring and autumn thanks to its cherry trees. There is even a traditional ceremonial tea house.
The Japanese Garden, Sensory Garden, Biodiversity Garden and Oasis Valley Garden are open daily from 7am to 5pm on weekdays, 9:30am to 5pm on weekends. The Wiradjuri Garden is open from sunset to sunrise.
#3 Uncover its History
Dubbo was first proclaimed a village in 1849. Over the years it has been home to bushrangers and ornate buildings. Find out more about the early pioneers of the region by following the Dubbo Heritage Walk. Pick up a brochure from the Dubbo Visitors Information Centre and follow the self-guided walk.
You can visit a 1840s homestead just outside of Dubbo, Dundullimah Homestead. Operated by the National Trust, well-behaved leashed dogs are allowed to join you in the dog-friendly gardens, although not inside the house. An entry fee applies, plus the Devonshire Teas from the onsite cafe are highly praised.
Dubbo also has a long and proud Aboriginal history, that you can still explore around town. Head to the Terramungamine Reserve a short drive out of town, where you can follow a short walk to 150 rock groves created by the Tubbagah people.
#4 Sample the Local Wines
While not an official wine region, Dubbo is home to one commercial winery, Red Earth Estate. Located on the southern side of Dubbo past the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, it’s a great spot to head for a relaxed wine tasting.
Expect to taste recent vintages of riesling, verdelho, grenache and shiraz. The winery is also famous for its dumplings, which receive a lot of praise. Plus they offer cheap powered and unpowered sites for fully self-contained vehicles to stay the night. Note that the cellar door and restaurant is closed on Wednesdays.
Dog-Friendly Parks in Dubbo
There are three fenced dog parks at Douglas Mawson Park (Off Wheelers Lane, search for “Leash free area for dogs” on Google Maps), South Dubbo Dog Park and Delroy Oval. At least the former two have agility equipment, although there is room for improvement.
Dogs are also allowed off-leash at Joira Road, Bourke Hill Park, Devil’s Hole (next to the lower end of Brisbane Street), Caroline Reserve, Mountbatten Drive Easement and Joan Flint Park.
Dog-Friendly Cafes & Pubs in Dubbo
One of the top spots to visit with your pup by your side for breakfast or lunch in Dubbo is Press. Open daily, although with reduced hours on Sunday, there’s plenty of room to dine outside with your dog, with water bowls provided. The focus is on fresh homemade food.
If you’re looking for somewhere to head in the evening, dogs are welcome in the front courtyard at the Commercial Hotel Dubbo. The oldest pub in Dubbo, the bistro is open daily for lunch and dinner, serving up pub classics and seasonal specials, with weekday meal specials. Specify the courtyard when making a booking online, with walk-ins also welcome.
I’ve also heard reports that The Monkey Bar is dog-friendly. As well as a nano brewery, they also offer other independent brews, unique cocktails and a menu of tasty bites.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Dubbo
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One of the most pet-friendly places to stay around Dubbo is the NRMA Dubbo Holiday Park. Pets are welcome in the park year-round, both on a variety of sites, plus in multiple pet-friendly cabins. There’s even a fenced off-leash dog park onsite, plus they can recommend local doggy daycare options. The latest addition to the park are fenced sites – a very popular option for dog owners travelling in caravans and campervans.
The pet-friendly cabins range in size from studios to a two-bedroom cabin. Each comes with its own small fenced yard and a small kennel. An additional fee applies for stays with a pet. Direct bookings are required (also when staying on sites with pets). Enquire directly about the maximum number of pets.
Another pet-friendly option right in Dubbo is the Tallarook Motor Inn, located on the banks of the Macquarie River and just a short walk from the Gaol. Pets are permitted in three rooms for an additional fee – a queen room, a queen plus two singles room, and a family apartment. Make sure you double check before booking.
There are also another four caravan parks around Dubbo, of which three also allow pet dogs. The one exception is Discovery Parks – Dubbo. Enquire directly for their full pet polices.
You can also camp a little way out of town at the Terramungamine Reserve, on the banks of the Macquarie River. Stays of up to 24 hours are permitted, with toilets, picnic tables and wood BBQs provided.
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About the Author
Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.