Taronga Western Plains Zoo and Old Dubbo Gaol win tourism awards

L to R: Zoo staff Hugh Arnold, Penny Costello and Matthew Fuller accepting the gold awards at NSW Tourism Awards.

L to R: Zoo staff Hugh Arnold, Penny Costello and Matthew Fuller accepting the gold awards at NSW Tourism Awards.

The NSW Tourism Awards have been a great success for Dubbo with two locations recognised for their achievements.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo received gold in the Tourist Attractions category, as well as for Unique Accommodation.

Having won gold in Unique Accommodation for the third consecutive year the zoo was also inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Old Dubbo Gaol was awarded bronze for Cultural Tourism.

Zoo director Matthew Fuller said he was so proud of the zoo and the amazing experiences delivered to guests.

Mr Fuller said he believed it was the consistent focus on developing and delivering high quality experiences that greatly contributed to the success, and he was looking forward to the future planned developments at the zoo. 

Dubbo Regional Council Old Dubbo Gaol manager Jamie Angus said they were absolutely impressed with the result, as it was a hotly contested section.

“Cultural Tourism is what we pride ourselves on, “ Mr Angus said.

He said one of the gaol’s major strengths was its constant evolution of the facility, and the history that surrounded it.

“I think we are continually looking at new ways of telling the stories of the people at the gaol. And not just the prisoners but the wardens and the gaolers,” Mr Angus said.

“We’re not just resting on the information we do know, we’re constantly looking to do more.”

A large amount of funding had also gone into preserving the gaol, Mr Angus said, such as the $650,000 to repair the salinity and rising damp from the walls.

“It’s not like some museums where you go into a nice, new building and look at the artifacts. The building is the artifact,” he said.

The awards were a sign of Dubbo’s strong tourism sector, Mr Fuller said.

“The city of Dubbo preformed so well at the awards, recognising the passion and hard work many people have invested in tourism in recent years. Dubbo really shone, demonstrating that the city is a top tourism destination,” Mr Fuller said.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo will now progress to the Australian Tourism Awards, which will be held in Darwin early next year.

Manera Heights Apartments was also a finalist, but did not receive an award.