Today’s article is a big one covering a very interesting and varied 48 hours based around Dubbo – the most northern town I’m visiting on this trip. I went to an old gaol (jail), a zoo, a gold mine, a cave and a few nice country towns.
I arrived in Dubbo on Thursday afternoon at 3pm and then went directly to the main historic attraction – The Old Dubbo Gaol (Jail). I was super surprised that it’s located off the main street! Lovely gate, hey?
Dubbo Zoo – Taronga Western Plains Zoo
This zoo has been designed to give the animals more room to roam so it is a drive-around experience. In total it’s a 5km loop where you stop your car, get out and walk to the enclosures.
I was looking forward to re-visiting it (I have very dim memories of being here as a child) and to do some animal sketching. The zoo was great – but for a number of reasons it just didn’t click for me last week. The constant stopping my car, getting my gear out and walking to see if there was an animal that could be sketched was a lot of effort and didn’t feel particularly conducive to sketching! But I also don’t think my head was in the right space for animal sketching… it just didn’t flow well with everything else I have been doing on this trip. So I didn’t end up doing much sketching! I couldn’t help thinking about the days when I’ve been to the Sydney zoo – I gear up for it (often do some research in the days before), have my kit ready to go and love walking from one enclosure to the next.
I’m still really happy that I went and even happier that I used one of my $25 Dine and Discover vouchers (from the NSW Government) towards the admission cost. So I didn’t feel guilty about only spending a few hours there!
Also (one final comment about the zoo) next time I go I intend to really do some research on all the herds there – fallow deer, takhi, blackbuck, barbary sheep, addax, bongo, eland, oryx, persian onager etc.
Just a few pictures…
But in all seriousness, the best part of my visit to the zoo was the time I spent with a few zebras. I was only drawing the stripe patterns but it was very special to be so close and to feel as if they were chatting with me!
I left the zoo before noon and as I drove out I saw the sign to Peak Hill. This is somewhere that I intended to include in this trip and had originally added it to the day I visit Parkes. I had thought of trying to squeeze it in on this day (from Dubbo) but assumed I would be at the zoo all day so it wouldn’t be possible. But hey! I now had time and it was only 60km on a flat straight road! Bonus!
Peak Hill Open-Cut Gold Mine
Peak Hill (town)
(My sketches from Peak Hill coming up soon)
This is the first time this trip I’ve been behind a road train (see here for an explanation) and the first 60-degree parking!
Final Morning in Dubbo
First up was the Court House and thanks to the front to kerb parking I was able to use my car’s bonnet (hood) again for my sketching. I’m finding that it’s quite hard to judge the value of my washes in the full sunlight so often I have to add another layer later.
I got super excited when I saw the name of the little cafe which operates out of the Post Office porch. How many people would know who Jimmy Barnet is?
(BTW I’m now referring to James Barnet as JimmyB and I’ll be actively searching out his buildings for the rest of this trip.)
I left Dubbo at 10am and made it to Wellington in time to have a little wander. I really liked this town and it was lovely to have the main street follow the curve of the Bell River. I did a sketch of the building opposite where I parked my car but would love to return and sketch some more. Here are a few photos…
The reason I didn’t have a lot of time in Wellington was that I had a cave tour booked at noon!
I went into the cave prepared for some quick sketches. I had my fude pen, two watercolour pencils (brown ochre and indigo) and a water brush in my right hand. I just started sketching at each stop and was happy with my results…
On the way out of the cave I rushed ahead of the group and then waited for the guide who was coming up the rear wiping down the handrails. I was thankful that there were two photographers asking her a lot of questions (slowing her down a little) so I had time to do this extra sketch.
Wow! what a long article… what a great time I had around Dubbo!