Set amongst picturesque bushland, Healesville Sanctuary gives visitors the chance to meet over 200 species of Australian animals. You might also wish to book a guided tour, ank talk (platypus) or a variety of wildlife encounters that take you close-up to the animals and a chance to meet the keepers. The sanctuary does a lot of valuable conservation and research activities to ensure native animal populations are thriving. The wider area of Healesville also has some good cafes and brewery options should you wish to take in a long lunch.
A wildlife park with rides and water slides? Yes, please! As part of a multi-million dollar expansion of the Aussie favourite, Gumbuya Park is now reimagined as Gumbuya World. Australian animals are found in the Wildlife Trail, which is a thoughtfully designed space with room to move and plenty of opportunities to see a variety of Australian creatures up close. You can join a ranger talk or wander through one of several walk-thru enclosures to wander amongst wallabies, birds or kangaroos. Spend a day and pack your bathers!
The Melbourne Zoo has it all. Besides the extensive collection of native and exotic creatures, it has a kick-ass kids playground, trendy twilight music series, the famous butterfly house and the Trail of the Elephants. You can even book a Roar’n’Snoar experience and stay overnight inside the zoo, camping in the elephant exhibit. This is a perfect way to catch all the nocturnals in action! As Australia’s oldest and most established zoo, it can get busy in peak times, but as there are so many things and animals to see, you can always move on and loop back around during busy periods.
Melbourne Zoo is part of Zoos Victoria, a not-for-profit conservation organisation committed to fighting wildlife extinction. Since Since 2009, Zoos Victoria has been campaigning for labelling laws to be changed in Australia displaying palm oil which is unsustainably sourced from Indonesia and Malaysia.
Last, but not the least in our books. Werribee Zoo is billed as an African adventure close to home. As a free-range zoo, it’s more like a safari park than a zoo and you can take a bus tour to see the animals and educational African village. You can also participate in an interactive soundscape walk or take one of two walking trails around the zoo. Off-road safaris, sunset safaris, village markets, education shows and global conservation programs are also part of the zoo’s offerings. Adjacent to the Werribee Mansion, you can visit both in one day - taking in the lush gardens and day spa on site after visiting the unique African wildlife at the zoo.
More than just a zoo, Werribee has breeding programs and environmental initiatives teaching others how to look after the environment.