DUBBO, named after an Aboriginal word meaning “red earth”, lies on the banks of the Macquarie River, 420km northwest of Sydney and about 200km from Bathurst. The regional capital for the west of the state (with around 40,000 people), it supports many agricultural industries and is located at a vital crossroads where the Melbourne–Brisbane Newell Highway meets the Mitchell Highway and routes west to Bourke or Broken Hill. As such, it’s well used to people passing through, but not staying long. If you do stop, the only real attraction is the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, which can easily fill a day.