We should all get the chance to experience a road trip at least once in our lives. Children especially will remember the quirky roadside attractions or singing along to their favourite road trip playlist more than an expensive flight or a boring train journey. After all, when the trip is about spending time together, the memories will be even more special.
One fantastic way to get a road trip going is to head out to Dubbo. 4.5 hours from Sydney, its scenic nature and abundance of outdoor activities are popular with families throughout New South Wales and beyond and at The Palms Motel Dubbo, we love having families stay at our family-friendly Dubbo accommodation.
Check out some of our favourite places for your family road trip from Sydney to Dubbo. We include tips on where to go, things to do, what to eat and much more, so you can get even more out of your family road trip.
Preparing for Your Sydney to Dubbo Family Road Trip
If you’re planning a road trip with the kids, you’ll need to plan some activities in advance. While you might enjoy taking in the beautiful scenery along the way, the kids might not be so appreciative of New South Wales’ natural wonders after the first hour or so!
Before you set off, it’s a good idea to prepare some activities, rest stops and in-car entertainment, so you don’t have to hear “I’m bored” and “Are we there, yet?” the whole way…
Pack lots of snacks
Road trips can get expensive if you don’t plan ahead and pack plenty of drinks and snacks. It’s tempting to buy snacks at every service station or make unplanned stops at fast-food restaurants, but the expenses will add up. Bringing your own food is a great way to save money and time while keeping the kids happy. Some snacks that are perfect for family road trips include:
- Granola bars
- Pre-made sandwiches
- Veggies with hummus
- Cold pizza
- Pasta salad
Make Sure Devices Are Charged
You are ready to set off on your road trip to Dubbo, but have you made sure to charge your electronic devices? If you’re packing up for a road trip, you’re going to want to make sure your devices are fully charged so the kids don’t have a meltdown on the road.
Tablets, portable games consoles and phones are a great way to keep the kids occupied en-route to Dubbo when you’ve run out of things to talk about.
Switch Devices Off Every Now and Then
Devices are a part of road trip fun, but so are more traditional past times, such as travel sized board games (magnetic ones are best), maybe a treasure hunt type game where the kids have a list of things they need to spot on the way.
Whatever you choose, quality time with the kids and quiet time for the kids should not rely on technology.
Create a playlist with the kids’ favourite songs
Road trips don’t need to be boring. A sing-along to some great songs can distract your kids from the long drive and ensure everyone has a good time by building a playlist with music for each family member.
After a couple of hours of singing along to your favourite songs, we guarantee that you’ll be happy and full of energy.
If you’re not a music buff, Spotify has some great family road trip playlists. Here are some of the most popular:
- The Family Road Trip Playlist
- Sing-along Kids Family Road Trip Playlist
- Family Road Trip Songs for Kids
Getting to Dubbo from Sydney
Dubbo is located in the Central West and Orana area of New South Wales. A family road trip from Sydney to Dubbo is 390 kilometres and can be done in about five hours (don’t forget to leave at least 30 minutes for a break along the way), or a few days, depending on if you want to stop for some overnight rests. It starts in Sydney and runs North West along the Castlereagh Highway to Dubbo.
Sights to See on Your Road Trip
Some of the most popular stop-off points on your way from Sydney to Dubbo include:
The Wellington Caves are a group of limestone caves located 8 kilometres away from Wellington. The mine at Wellington Caves dates back to 1914 and had 6000 tons of phosphate mined during its four years of operation. While there, you can take one of three different guided tours including the Cathedral Cave, the Garden Cave and the Fossil and Phosphate Mine.
Mudgee is located 3 and a half hours away from Sydney and is another great option for a mid-way stopover during your road trip to Dubbo.
Even taking a short stroll through Mudgee’s streets will help you to get a sense of the town’s colonial history with many original facades from early settlement still remaining. The Old Bank and the railway station make for the perfect backdrops for fun family photos.
Lake Windamere is a popular sport and recreation destination and is located roughly 35km south of Mudgee. The lake is the perfect place for fishing, swimming, kayaking, water skiing or just relaxing with a picnic and has many scenic locations for picnics, barbeques and camping. Visitors to Lake Windamere can walk across the dam wall to take in the scenic views of the lake and Cudgegong Valley.
Hassan’s Wall Lookout in the Blue Mountains
Hassan’s Wall is the highest lookout in the Blue Mountains range and stretches approximately 1,100 metres above sea level. The lookout provides spectacular views of Mount Wilson, Mount York, Mount Blaxland, Mount Tarana and the Hartley Valley below.
Activities for families in Dubbo
Take in the History of Dubbo
Dubbo is home to many historical places and has dedicated many sites and museums to celebrate Dubbo’s rich past. You can pique your kids’ interest in NSW history while getting the chance to explore the area.
There is a lot for history lovers to see and do while in Dubbo but Old Dubbo Gaol is a must. The heritage-listed building housed some of the country’s most infamous thieves, bushrangers and seasoned criminals for 119 years until it shut its doors in 1966.
Immerse Yourself in Dubbo’s Aboriginal heritage
Western Plains Cultural Centre is a state-of-the-art facility that has a gallery, museum and café. The Centre offers regular changing exhibitions and is home to Australia’s largest and best-preserved wool wagon as well as a carved tree, which is of great cultural significance to Dubbo’s local Aboriginal people.
Explore Nature at Taronga Western Plains Zoo
No family road trip to Dubbo would be complete without getting up close to giraffes, zebras, hippos and meerkats at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. This safari-style park has many family-friendly exhibitions and keeper talks to entertain the kids.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo spans out over 5 kilometres and can be explored on foot, car, bike or an electric cart that can be hired at the entrance of the zoo.
Family Accommodation in Dubbo
Gather your family and plan one of the most unique and exciting road trips from Sydney to Dubbo. Whether you go stargazing at Dubbo Observatory or take a stroll through our streets to discover Dubbo’s heritage, it’s important that you book family-friendly accommodation in Dubbo.
The Palms Motel Dubbo offers both economical and premium rooms across seven room types for families travelling to Dubbo, offering a relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for unwinding after a day of sightseeing with your kids.
Wellington Caves: https://wellingtoncaves.worldsecuresystems.com/The-Caves/The-Caves
Old Dubbo Gaol: http://www.olddubbogaol.com.au/
Western Plains Cultural Centre: https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/country-nsw/dubbo-area/dubbo/attractions/western-plains-cultural-centre
Taronga Western Plains Zoo: https://taronga.org.au/dubbo-zoo