New $4.23 million Wellington Caves Visitor Experience Centre open

Unveiling: Dubbo Regional Council's manager of regional experience Jamie Angus, with Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders and mayor Ben Shields at the opening. Photo: Taylor Jurd.
Unveiling: Dubbo Regional Council's manager of regional experience Jamie Angus, with Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders and mayor Ben Shields at the opening. Photo: Taylor Jurd.

The new $4.2 million Wellington Caves Visitor Experience Centre was unveiled to the public on Tuesday.

The Centre has a new cafe, admissions area, Mega Fauna Exhibition Space, discovery lab, fossil store and visitor amenities.

Following the amalgamation of Dubbo and Wellington Councils, the state government announced each merged council would receive $10 million in funding under the Stronger Communities Fund to go towards major projects.

The state government provided $3.8 million from the Fund towards the development, with Dubbo Regional Council putting in $400,000.

Dubbo Regional Council's manager of regional experience Jamie Angus said he was excited about the Centre's potential in what it may bring to local tourism.

Mr Angus said the new Centre it will help look after customers from start to finish and provide a unique educational experience.

"We have a live discovery lab.... so school groups and visitors can be involved through workshops that will be run later on... they can dig up fossils, clean the fossils," he explained.

Mr Angus said while the Centre's redevelopment took about a year to complete, it has been a two year project.

"I'm hoping this site can become a very nice recreation space for the Wellington residents, " he added. "A bit further down the track, maybe in 12 months or so, we'll look to hold a lot more community events out here."

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Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders said the more tourism opportunities a region can offer, the more opportunities it provides to locals and visitors, which is what the Centre achieves.

"The Caves themselves are epically important on so many levels, (it's) internationally recognised and we have people coming every year or two to study the Mega Fauna and history of the area," he added.

"It's something we should as a community be extremely proud of and I think a vision like this one (the Centre) and a new take on things resets the bar to move higher and re-involve the community at a different level."

Mayor Ben Shields said the opening of the centre was a great day for Wellington.

"This facility is designed not just for tourists to come to town to inject more money into the region, but it's also designed for locals, for locals to be very proud of," he said.

"I hope there will be locals coming to this facility each and every day to enjoy not only it's cafe but the educational aspects."

The Centre is operational and ready to take walk-ins, seven days a week from 9am to 4:30pm.

The Wellington Caves is the number one tourist attract in Wellington and one of the top three attractions for the Dubbo Local Government Area.

Visitation to the Caves exceeds 30,000 people per year.

The old cafe has been turned into a conference and multi-functional space and Mr Angus believes there are some really exciting events the area can be used for.