The Healesville Sanctuary is a great and easy day trip for the whole family. Alternatively, it can be part of a larger weekend trip to one of Victoria’s many wine regions: the Yarra Valley. If you are choosing a romantic getaway in wine country, don’t miss the Healesville Sanctuary just because you haven’t brought the kids along; even adults can have some fun at the zoo!
Getting to the Healesville Sanctuary and planning your day
The Healesville Sanctuary is located about 65 kilometres (one hour) from the Melbourne CBD. This means you can book any GoGet car for the day and get to the sanctuary and back without going over the 150 included kilometres on a daily rental. The short one hour journey is also perfect with younger kids in mind.
We were at Healesville Sanctuary for about three or four hours, which was quite leisurely and allowed us to see everything. So if you leave the house mid-morning, you’ll have more than enough time to get there, see everything, and be home by dinner!
That being said, try to plan your day around some of the great activities below.
Healesville Sanctuary Highlights
Plan ahead and check out the highlights section of the zoo’s website. It may not be possible to see every presentation and feeding, but you’ll be able to see many of them if you think ahead. As the animals do need to rest between presentations, they are limited.
Tales from Platypus Creek is a must see presentation when at the Healesville Sanctuary. For one thing, it’s a chance to learn about some great aquatic animals! The extra bonus is that it’s quite difficult to see a platypus in the general enclosure, so this is your chance to get a good look at one swimming about.
Spirits of the Sky is another great performance where zoo-goers get to see many of Australia’s birds of prey as well as a myriad of other Australian birds. If you miss this one, though, there are plenty of opportunities to see many birds up close.
Parrots, Lyrebirds, High Country Birds, Woodland Birds! Many of the areas you can see birds are open so you can walk amongst the birds and get up close and personal! Of course the birds aren’t supposed to get out, so be careful with the doors as you enter.
Our favourite was the “Land of Parrots” as the birds seemed to have the most personality and were the most curious about human contact. We were also lucky enough to have a casual chat with some of the keepers here and learn a bit more about our feathered friends.
Just a word of caution at all bird houses: yes, birds can fly and they like trees, but some hang out on the ground. Tread carefully and don’t let the kids get too excited.
So many other animals
The ride home is time to discuss (or argue?) about which was your favourite animal to see. Everybody will have their own opinion and their own favourite.
Personally, we preferred the wallabies of the kangaroos (they were cuter!). The dingos were another surprising highlight, but mostly because the group of us who went were “dog people” and there was a lot of surprising facts to learn.
But before this turns into a list of every animal, let’s just say they were all great and interesting. The Healesville Sanctuary is a fun day out for all, and it’s definitely worth the trip.
So go ahead and book yourself a Toyota Yaris for a quick trip with your partner, or a nice big Toyota RAV4 and take the whole family. It’s tons of fun.