With apologies to Harold Arlen & E.Y Harburg, another instalment in my ‘There’s more to Australia than Sydney’ series.
So you have been in Australia a while and have seen all the ‘money shot’ locations. Are you now ready to travel a little further afield?
No doubt you are going to take a look at the Blue Mountains at some stage, so why don’t you keep going and visit some of western NSW?
It also happens to be where my home town of Dubbo is located. Known as the ‘Hub of the West’, it is exactly half way between Melbourne and Brisbane. From Sydney, it takes about 5 hours by car and about 6.5 hours by train/coach. You can also fly from Sydney; it’s about an hour, but you will miss a lot of scenery along the way.
Whilst I haven’t lived in Dubbo for most of my adult life, it will always be my home town. It has, of course, changed and grown enormously since my childhood, and, as a major regional centre, it has a lot to offer the traveller. The Western Plains Zoo is probably its best known attraction, and I highly recommend paying it a visit. But you can also wine and dine very well — there are great cafes, restaurants and, of course, great Aussie pubs, to suit any budget. It’s also a lot cheaper than Sydney.
You can time your trip to coincide with its Jazz Festival, running festival (the aptly named Dubbo Stampede) or the travelling Sydney Comedy Festival. Whatever takes your fancy (and budget).
There is also a wide variety of accommodation, from hostels, caravan parks, camping grounds, motels, pubs, B&Bs, farm stays or you can even stay at the zoo (I did this, and it was brilliant).
Now a word about the weather: it can get very cold in the winter (not for those from snowy climes, though) and very hot in the summer. I know a lot of you reading this will want to chase the hot weather, but it can get very hot for extended periods of time (40C+). It is dry heat (Sydney is humid), so you will need to be aware and be prepared. I think it is particularly lovely in the autumn and spring. But that’s just my preference. I grew up in that heat, and I have softened up a lot since living in Sydney! And I haven’t even mentioned the flies!
There are, of course, a lot of towns you could visit on the Western Slopes and Plains, and I urge you to take a look around. You might just be surprised at what you discover!
Written by Manda Milling, people2people Director.