If you recall, back in September of 2017 my husband and I decided to take a road trip for our wedding anniversary. The end goal and destination was Taronga Western Plains Zoo, because we are nerdy animal enthusiasts and we like going to zoos. As well as a nerdy animal enthusiast, I am also a researcher and I spent some time weighing up our accommodation options. I eventually settled on the Savannah Cabins, owned and run by the zoo itself. This was a major factor in our choosing this option; we could have stayed in a hotel/motel nearby but wherever possible I like my tourist dollars to go to a good cause.
So I’ll quickly run you through what I found, and what I’d recommend to you if you’re planning a trip to the zoo.
Accommodation options at Taronga Western Plains Zoo
The Zoofari Lodge is the premium offering, and is basically glamping – double bed, bath, and all. If you opt for this package you get the use of the Lodge building, which has a restaurant, lounge and pool. The main benefit to this option seems to be the added bonuses of behind the scenes tours and the fact you’re very close to the animals in the zoo. However, it’s very expensive and, ultimately, still a tent. Yes, it’s heated and whatnot but we were visiting in September (the very beginning of spring) and I was worried I’d be too cold.
The Billabong Camp is… camping, albeit with fairly large tent provided. But it’s still definitely camping. It’s the lowest priced of all the options (although interestingly not hugely cheaper than the Savannah Cabins) and you get meals included with even the cheapest option, but it’s still a tent. I was still worried about being cold, and I am not a camping person. I have a bad back and basically am a bit too high maintenance.
So I happily opted for the Savannah Cabins. These are basically portakabins/mobile homes that have a full kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. I wasn’t expecting much, to be honest, given they were so much cheaper than even the glamping option. However, I was pleasantly surprised.
A tour of our Savannah Cabin
To check in to your cabin, you’ll need to visit the Information & Ticketing Desk in the Savannah Visitor Plaza, which despite the name is nowhere near your cabin. You don’t need to actually pay entry to the park to get here, you can just park in the visitor plaza for free and check in at the desk. They will then give you instructions as to how to get to your cabin, and a key, and off you go.
To get there, you have to drive back out of the zoo again and back down the main road a little bit. You then turn off the main road just past the zoo. There’s a pleasingly Australian looking drive to get to the cabins, which is unsealed I’ll warn you now.
And when you get there, you’ll find a car space directly outside your obviously numbered cabin. You will then walk around to see the front of your cabin, with covered deck and gas BBQ.
You can see it’s pretty well lit at night, so you can sit out late into the evening if you so choose.
The view over to the park is pretty cool. You’re not the closest, but they do provide binoculars you can use to try and glimpse the animals which I think is a nice touch.
See those strange rock outcroppings and grass shade things? Do you think this used to be an enclosure? And if so, what kind of animal lived here?
Anyway, check out those sweeping views (and the epic barbie). Gas is supplied, as are barbecue utensils, no bother.
Next, you’ll go inside the sliding patio doors to find your kitchen and living room. Everything looks very new and clean if you ask me.
There’s a tv on the wall just above the dining table, but you didn’t come here to watch tv did you?! The sofa and chair look inviting, but let’s keep exploring.
Now, turn directly behind you and there’s the hallway : first door on the left is a bedroom, second door is a bathroom, and the door ahead of you is another bedroom. I think the place feels very spacious thanks to the slanted roof and all the windows
The first bedroom on your left is a good sized double. It’s got a wardrobe, and some tastefully themed art above the bed. I reckon this room splits into two twin beds if you wanted it to.
Walk through the room, and on your right you’ll see the entrance to an en-suite bathroom. Nice, eh? It’s got a bath and everything.
All linens are provided, and there are those nifty warming lamps to keep you toasty after your shower. Let’s go back to the hallway and see if the other bathroom is as nice as this one…
Personally I prefer a walk in shower to a shower over bath, so I’ll be bagsying this bathroom for sure. There’s a hook for my washbag so I’m all set. The sink area is just as nice as the first bathroom, with a tinsy amount of space for your stuff. Bar soap, liquid soap and some basic toiletries are provided, which saves packing space.
Onto the second bedroom! I think this is the master. I like that it’s got windows facing three different ways. I also really like the built in luggage storage place. Why don’t more places do this?! It’s so handy!
There are ceiling fans too, if that’s your preference.
Ok let’s go back to the kitchen because I have some very specific pictures to share. Anyone else hate when you turn up to a rental and they have one rusty knife, seven bowls and only one plate? I do. I hate that so much. I like to cook in rentals, that’s why I get places with kitchens. So I like to know what I will and won’t be able to rustle up. With that in mind, I’m about to share with you the facilities of the kitchen. Feel free to skip over these and to the end where I’ll let you know my final verdict.
Kitchen appliances: combo convection oven and microwave (don’t ask me how this works, I think wizardry), 2 ring electric hob, fridge freezer, drawer dishwasher.
Kitchen implements: take your pick!
Basically, it’s pretty well stocked.
Unless you can’t tell, I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the accommodation in the Savannah Cabins at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. As and when we’re heading back to Dubbo, I would definitely stay here.
- I’d highly recommend staying here for parties of up to 4 people; I think you’d have more than enough space. For larger parties, you can rent more cabins and hang out in the grassy spaces between them.
- There are plenty of optional extras you can add on to the cabins, like meal hampers etc, but the base price includes everything you need and most you could want.
- There are supermarkets within 10-15 minutes drive of the cabins, so you can restock your fridge at will.
- Keep an eye out for special offers, and obviously travel outside of school holidays is cheaper.
- Ask for a zoo facing cabin if you can. Half have views of the zoo, half have views out over fields (still pretty, but less chance of seeing a giraffe).
Bonus baby giraffe:
Ok that’s enough from me.
Would you stay in the Savannah Cabins? Or are you more of a true camper?
This is not sponsored or affiliated with Taronga Western Plains Zoo in any way. They have no clue who I am.
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