A new overnight camping experience at Taronga Western Plains Zoo will soon be a reality as work begins on the redevelopment of a lake and the landscaping of islands.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, joined the Member for Dubbo, Troy Grant, to inspect work progress on the zoo’s new attraction to be known as the Billabong Camp.
The redevelopment, which has received $100,000 funding as part of the NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Product Development Funding Program, is expected to open in March, 2013.
Mr Souris said the aim of the Regional Tourism Product Development Program, which was an election commitment, is to encourage industry growth and tourism spending in regional NSW.
“Since the beginning of this year, the Government, through Destination NSW, has delivered a total of $5 million of funding across 129 regional projects to develop new experiences and improve existing visitor attractions,” Mr Souris said
“The Billabong Camp overnight experience will provide visitors with a unique bush experience that will connect them with wildlife.
Mr Grant described the Billabong Camp as “an exciting innovation for Dubbo’s top tourist attraction”.
“This is a brilliant project that will surely boost the local visitor economy by encouraging visitors to stay longer in Dubbo for this unique experience,” he said.
Director Taronga Conservation Society Australia, Cameron Kerr, said the overnight experience will consist of 20 tents by a billabong in the zoo’s Australian Wildlife section and will accommodate up to 80 visitors a night.
“Guests will have close encounters with native Australian wildlife and a hands-on experience with animals. It will focus on school groups during the week and families on the weekends and during school holidays,” Mr Kerr said.
The new Billabong Camp experience will complement the current zoo overnight accommodation offering of Zoofari Lodge, which is currently undergoing renovation of its main house.