Architecture Completed Sydney Urban Design Education Public & Tourism
  • Client:

    Taronga Conservation Society

  • Location:

    Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo, NSW

  • Budget:

    $10.2 Million

  • Size:

    Site: 19,200m2 Cafe: 890m2

  • Awards:

    2021 Lysaght Inspirations Design, Overall Major Award – The Waterhole Café at Taronga Western Plains Zoo
    2021 Lysaght Inspirations Design, Commercial and Industrial Projects Award – The Waterhole Café at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

The opening of the 150 seat Waterhole Café at Taronga Western Plains Zoo marks 31 years of Jackson Teece working with Taronga Zoo in Sydney and in Dubbo.


The café is the halfway point on the 5km zoo circuit and creates a rest point for visitors to recharge with a meal, a rest and a much-needed energy boost before continuing their adventure around the second half of the zoo. Located on a waterhole at the end of two aligning exhibits, the cafe offers unimpeded views of both exhibits instead of the normal short views across just one.

Our zoo design philosophy provides forms that are considered and distinct, evoking spaces that reflect the landscape surrounding each exhibit. In this design, our building’s plan is elliptical with rammed earth walls radiating out to the surrounding 360 degree landscape. The roof slopes up and away from the centre and uses a roof sheeting profile that can be compressed at one end to a fan shape to match the geometry of the isometric circle grid.

"This new precinct and the water play area will allow us to help communicate the importance of healthy waterways and encourage guests to make changes at home that will ultimately benefit the local environment.” “We are really proud of this new precinct and we are sure it will be a popular space for families to relax and take a break throughout the day whilst exploring the zoo."

Cameron Kerr Director and Chief Executive, Taronga Conservation Society Australia
Project Leadership
Trevor Williams

Senior Associate

Kate Callanan

Studio Director

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