Top of mind when visiting Australia for many is to meet the local residents…which of course is not the human variety but the native animals. This is not surprising as our native wildlife are unique and simply a huge drawcard for admirers of all ages! And for those of us visiting the Melbourne region, this means a must-visit is to make the one-hour journey from the Melbourne CBD to Healesville Sanctuary in the stunning Yarra Valley.
Healesville Sanctuary is all about our native wildlife and is not your ordinary zoo. It is a bushland haven for Australian wildlife and a delight that demands a full day adventure. Wander along the tracks and meet some iconic Australian animals like Koalas, Kangaroos, Platypus, Dingoes, Wombats and Emus. Take in some Keeper talks to get to know your favourite animal and how the Keeper’s care for our furry, fluffy, and even scaly friends. Have your photo taken in front of a Koala or Kangaroo and watch our strangest animal friend, the Platypus.
Australian Wildlife Health Centre:
But most importantly, Healesville Sanctuary is also home to the Australian Wildlife Health Centre, a hospital which treats more than 2000 sick and injured native animals every year. The vets and keepers from the Australian Wildlife Health Centre were part of the bushfire emergency teams that staffed a number of triage centres across Victoria during the recent summer bushfires. They tended to injured wildlife on the frontline, and several Koalas have been brought back to Healesville Sanctuary for rehabilitation with the hope that someday they will be released back to the wild.
Bushfire Relief Fund:
The recent bushfires were horrific. Scientists estimate billions of animals have perished in the vast bushfires that have torn through millions of hectares of forest across Australia’s south-east. Up to 100 endangered species have lost most of their living areas. As a voice for wildlife, Healesville Sanctuary is devastated by the impact of the Australian bushfire crisis on precious species and their habitat and is determined to assist in all aspects, including through raising much-needed emergency funds. Healesville Sanctuary and Zoos Victoria have set up a dedicated Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund for donations. You are welcome to donate here.
The goal of the Bushfire relief fund is to work towards establishing long-term plans to ensure our native wildlife, including endangered species, can recover from these heartbreaking and ongoing fires. Healesville Sanctuary is internationally renowned for its work saving endangered Australian species and offers a memorable day where you can meet and enjoy the local residents as well as see the important work in the Australian Wildlife Health Centre. So, make sure to add this to your must-visit list when next visiting Melbourne, Australia!
Good to know:
Whilst you are visiting Healesville Sanctuary take time to stay awhile as there is plenty to do in the stunning Yarra Valley!
Stay in a villa with local wildlife visiting you at dusk. Explore the Yarra Valley by visiting the local wineries (including Domaine Chandon), cider & gin distilleries, don’t miss the farmgates or the magnificent Coombe Gardens, do a day hike through Kinglake National Park and catch the Puffing Billy steam train through the nearby Dandenong Ranges.