The past weekend, in my part of the world, was a long weekend to celebrate the Queen's birthday. Apparently it wasn't even her birthday, but hey? Who am I to question a public holiday?
We decided to take the opportunity (and make the most of our Zoo Friends membership) to head to the Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo. We packed our car full of our winter woolies and headed west on Saturday morning.
We hit Katoomba by 9am and decided it was time for coffee and hot chocolate. Completely necessary as the Blue Mountains was bloody cold. Warmed by our drinks, nourished by croissants and the legs stretched with a quick amble of the main street we headed on our way.
"It's a long bloody drive to go and see a zoo," I started to think.
We arrived in Orange in time for lunch, via a quick lap of the circuit at Mount Panorama in Bathurst. We'd left the grey, drizzly skies behind for sparkling sunshine. We even managed to eat lunch outside soaking in the sun at Wine Bank Union. I've always wanted to go to Orange and this quick visit has certainly whetted my appetite. After a quick play at the park and some scooting on the scooters, we jumped back in the car for the last leg to Dubbo.
"It's a long bloody drive to go and see a zoo," Skip muttered as we took off.
"Where's the holiday house?,"cried the kids from the back seat.
We finally pulled into the caravan park in Dubbo just before 4pm. We arrived at our cabin and what looked like a prison cell. Grey lino floors, grey vinyl chairs, grey walls, ceilings. Grey. Oh well.
"It was a long drive to see the zoo," said Lil-lil.
Tired and grumpy we ate and fell into bed. Only to be woken in the middle of the night completely freezing. It seems our cell wasn't built for the cold, though I have my doubts it was built for the heat either.
The next morning we jumped up, got dressed, packed our picnic and headed for the zoo. We saw rhinos and giraffes and hippos and zebras. "Look! A black rhino," I cried. Goosey was searching the ground intently for rocks and Lil-lil happily drawing on the ground with a stick. "Look! A tiger," I cried. Goosey poked some bird poo with her finger and Lil-lil whined that she was hungry.
"We've come all this way to look at the animals, look at some animals will you!"
We drove past bison and appax and spotted deer. Then tortoises and llamas. Then kangaroos and wallabies (plenty of which we'd seen squashed on the side of the road on the way there).
We then drove past a playground. "A playground!" the girls cried. "Puhlease, can we go and play?"
"It's a long bloody way to come to watch them play at a playground," Skip and I sighed.
We went back to our cell and fell into bed. Awoke early the next morning to get on the road and beat the traffic home. We drove on some dodgy, bumpy roads so we could stop in Mudgee to have breakfast at one of our favourite cafes. It had closed down. So, we stopped at the girls' favourite place for hotcakes – McDonalds.
As we drove back over the mountains Goosey snored away and I asked Lil-lil what her favourite animal at the zoo was. "The pink hippo," she answered. "Pink hippo? I didn't see a pink hippo," I responded.
"I saw it at the gift shop at the end. I really want it for my birthday," she replied.
Sigh. It was a long bloody way to go for a visit to the zoo.
Despite it all, it was a great adventure.
*All photos were taken by Lil-lil in the back of the car on my iPhone.