The Elephant Outside my Door!

3 hours drive, or 1 hour flight from Sydney is Dubbo.
Surprising Dubbo, I stayed in a Zoofari Tent at Dubbo Zoo affiliated to Taronga Zoo in Sydney. A zoo like no other! Our tents were air-conditioned, ensuite and Eco. I fell asleep to the roar of the lions and awoke to the Kookaburras’ dawn chorus!

The setting of the zoo is like an African plain; the animals are up close and personal – with a dry moat between you (so you are safe!). Their main focus is the conservation of Rhinos – and everyone working at the zoo is dedicated to this cause.
Staying in a Zoofari tent gives you access to behind the scenes animal feeding and game drives after dark and at dawn. Meals are in the homestead, where the fayre is good home cooking, and afterwards enjoy a seat in a big overstuffed armchair or sit outside around an open fire
Just glorious!

At the top-most tip of New South Wales is Byron Bay. Byron Bay used to be known as a bit of a hippy place – peace, love and flower power…but it is somehow
transformed to a beautiful region of natural bays, wildlife and rainforests – so if you have a few days to spare at the start or end of your next Aussie adventure…and you find yourself in Brisbane, or its Gold Coast, come and enjoy some Aussie experiences!
For starters, Byron Bay and its famous lighthouse is Australia’s most Easterly point – this is the first place to catch the sunrise of a new day in Australia. Byron Bay is not short on beach cafes for lunch, or beach side casual accommodation. The walk from the lighthouse down to the bay is quite beautiful and the colours of the sea and the sky stretch out for miles. Paths are marked, signposted and safe. In the bay, dolphins and whales come close to shore and I got up close in a kayak early on a Sunday morning. The kayaking was effortless but I was glad of my hat and sunglasses!

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I stayed in the rainforest here, amongst the trees and birdsong at The Byron at Byron Resort – a beautiful place of board walks, hearty breakfasts and a cool pool!
Exploring ranged from a delicious meal at a Mavis’s – where they grow all their own vegetables and herbs, to a visit to Crystal Castle. Now, I’m not into crystals and their mysteries but I enjoyed the coffee, cake and the gardens! I walked the labyrinth here in an effort to meditate and reach an inner sanctum…but maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood!
But I was in the mood at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary! This is a lovely Wildlife Park, which is actually about caring for sick and injured wildlife, rescued from road accidents and brought to the hospital – an orphaned Joey, an echidna…brought back to health again.
Currumbin has koalas, kangaroos, dingos and reptiles and a little scenic train to visit them all. It was a lovely half-day visit and I learned so much:
Wildlife, adventure, good food and great accommodation…can I can tempt you to this Northern Rivers region of New South Wales?
If you’d like to know more email me: charmaine@hallmarktravel.com

Meet me in the gallery!