Our African Adventure - Dubbo Zoo

13th December 2022
By Ross Hetherington
Our TOCA Adventurers braved the elements and dangers of the African savannah to stay with the most vicious of animals...at Taronga Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo. 
A great time was had by all. Brilliant food, wine, and of course the star attractions, the animals.

TOCA ACT/NSW/VIC embarked on an adventure on 10-11 December 2022 with a Zoofari at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, NSW.  Braving the harsh elements of an African Savannah, our intrepid travellers converged on the Zoo Lodges with military precision.  What was our Zoofari Adventure like?  Well, read on, fellow TOCA Members, for there is a tale to be told.


It started with our Victorian colleagues starting their trip early on Friday 9 December and staying the extra night.  The Canberra Crew met at Piallago Superchargers near Costco departing at 7.15 hrs destined for their pre-arranged meet with their Sydney TOCA compatriots at Bathurst.  While estimated journey time was based on reasonable roads, the reality was a slower pace due to road conditions.  Pot holes would have been fine, but what we found were from another dimension.  Potholes were canyons and road edges were cliffs.  Using dodgem car skills, the Canberra Crew zig zagged and swerved skilfully around the craters to arrive safely at the Bathurst Superchargers.


Our Sydney TOCA Team arrived shortly afterwards, and after refuelling both cars and bodies, we headed out in a traditional Tesla convoy.  Powering along the highway towards Orange, the Tesla snake weaved its way through the myriad of slow moving and less responsive ICE vehicles, often surprising them with the swarm of Teslas overtaking them.


We arrived at Dubbo Zoo where we met up with Richard Ivey, Deputy Mayor of Dubbo, and also a new Tesla Model Y owner.  The TOCA crowd enjoyed a friendly chat with Richard, and discussed everything from road markings in preparation for autonomous driving to joining TOCA.  I think we have recruited another member.  Also received some ideas for future rural NSW events!!  We parted company with Richard and enjoyed a swim and cocktails at the Zoofari lodgings.  This was followed by a feeding of the giraffes who enjoyed their favourite cuisine - carrots.  Even our smallest TOCA family members fed our very gentle and friendly giraffe.


Dinner was next...and wow!  Wild Boar in sauce with red beans, salmon in a marinade, and duck in an African style salad.  This was followed by a strawberry dessert and another African sweet that was sensational.  Add to this the starters of cold meats (including crocodile), fruit and cheeses, and drinks afterwards, we were settled in for the night.  But no, there was more installed for our TOCA trekkers.  A night tour.


We viewed the lions and their cubs, heard his roar, and red spotlighted our happy hippos.  We visited our Black Rhino, before heading back to our lodgings to bed down for the night.  Lock your doors, as we were in the savannah where lions and tigers roam...well, almost anyway!!  While many retired, some decided to hit the Dubbo night-life and party.


We started Sunday at sunrise from our porch and watched the beautiful orange glow welcome the Savannah and its animals to the day.  The giraffes were already feeding, the White Rhinos resting, the Addax watching, the ostrich scratching, the Zebras grazing, the Blackbucks monitoring, and the Guineafowl...well, pecking I suppose.


Our 6.45 am tour took us into the Savannah for an up close and personal, around to the King Leopard ... now, Miss "Hallah" needs a special mention.  She is an elderly lady who waited patiently for the keeper to throw her the chicken thigh he had.  But she was a little impatient, crying at times and asking him ever so politely if he could hurry up and throw her the food.  He complied, she was happy, last seen toddling off with her catch.  She is 12 years old - old for a King Leopard.


Final stop was to watch the elephants get their morning tub (so well trained) which they thoroughly enjoyed, and we headed back for a magnificent breakfast.  Check out and we sadly said our good byes.  Many headed back to their home cities individually, while others toured the rest of the zoo before heading home.


A magnificent trip and highly recommended to all.  On a side note, the zoo is a non profit organisation and 100% of the profits go back into feeding and caring for our beloved animals.  And don't they deserve it!!

Watch out for more TOCA Zoofari events coming soon.  Photos can be found on the TOCA Photos page.

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