If you are a wildlife lover and you head to Victoria (that’s the state I live in, south-east Australia) you will find yourself in luck with Victoria’s zoos, well three of them, having sort of teamed up. Zoos Victoria run three zoos, Melbourne Zoo in the attractive inner-city suburb of Royal Park, Werribee Zoo which is around an hour by road from Melbourne, and Healesville Sanctuary, a little further out to the east of Melbourne (Werribee is to Melbourne’s west). All three are great places to see wildlife, each offering a different experience to the other.
Melbourne Zoo is the most accessible for the visitor, not that far from Melbourne’s CBD and easily reached by public transport – tram or train can get you there (train actually gets you closer). Inside is probably the broadest mix of animals you’ll find in Victoria. From Australian animals, birds and mammals to lions (when they are there – I visited late last year and the enclosure was getting a do-over). You’ll even find an Antarctic area with seals!
Despite being in the centre of town, Melbourne’s Zoo seems to afford the animals a fair amount of space to occupy. There’s also plenty of interactive things for you to try, and especially for children to engage in. It’s one of Melbourne’s true landmarks, and a great place deserving easily half a day.
Actually, at all three you could probably devote a full day each if you were keen. Werribee Open Range Zoo is sort of meant to be more of a safari experience. The main highlight is taking a safari ‘bus’ ride out around the different enclosures to see the ‘big five’ type animals. Here they have plenty of space to run as if in the wild. You’ll see zebras, leopards, lions, giraffes, hippos, rhinos and plenty of African animals, plus a selection of Australian animals as well.
Healesville Sanctuary is THE place for Australian wildlife. It’s in (or just outside) the town of Healesville (this may have something to do with the name) and it’s a wonderful chance to interact with a number of Australian animals, and see a whole lot more from koalas to kangaroos to platypi and more! Not to mention the amazing Birds of Prey Show where eagles swoop in and out at will.
Victoria Zoos offer a range of tickets (no they aren’t sponsoring this post by the way!) including monthly memberships from under 10 bucks for all three parks. For single entry to Melbourne Zoo it’s $37AUD for an adult (a little pricey) $19 for a child, $28 concession and $33 for a senior. The prices appear to be the same for the other two as well – on weekdays outside of school holidays, children are free. Still, a weekend day excursion is going to set you back quite a bit! I thought there might be a single ticket for all three, but it appears not. Still, if you bought the yearly membership at $110 you’d save a dollar if you went to all three once in that year!
Anyways, I especially recommend the Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary to the overseas visitor, if you want to go to just one Healesville may well prove the most rewarding.
Thanks for reading today – and May the Journey Never End!