Thursday, July 13, 2017

Day Trip to Healesville Sanctuary (Day 3 in Victoria)

Healesville Sanctuary is known to visitors as an "all in one" place to see the indigenous animals. The sanctuary is located beside Yarra valley, around 65 kms from Melbourne City. Well, that's the place we visited on our third day in Victoria.

We used public transport to go there. We spent 30 minutes travelling from Surrey Hills Station to Lilydale by mrt, and then another 25 minutes travelling by taxi from Lilydale to Healesville Sanctuary. The mrt fare was AUD 2.80 per trip per pax, while taxi fare was around AUD 49 per trip. The taxi stand was located just beside the mrt station. Just in case, if you cannot find a taxi on your way back from the sanctuary, you can ask for the staff at the sanctuary to get one for you.

We need to purchase myki card to pay the fee at the mrt stations. These card can be bought or topped up at the convenient shop or anywhere with "myki" sign (upper left). The payment for the train can only be made with myki card. Surrey Hill station was quiet (upper right), and there were plenty of empty seats on the train (lower right). The taxi station was around 50 meters away from the Lilydale Station.

The admission fee for Healesville Sanctuary- AUD 32.50 for adult, AUD 16.30 for child, and AUD 29.30 for senior (65 and above). Child will have free entrance on Saturday, Sunday, and public holiday. For senior, we need to show document that can confirm the age, such as identification card, passport, or driving license for discounted ticket. We can buy our ticket online as well at Healesville Sanctuary official website.

When we walked around the sanctuary, we found that the signage were clear, restrooms were clean, and there were designated areas with Wifi connection as well.  These facilities ensure a pleasant stroll in the sanctuary. We reached the sanctuary around 12 pm and stayed until 5 pm.

From the ticket counter, we started with the exhibits of emus and cassowary, then echidnas and koalas, followed by kangaroos, Australian Wildlife Health Centre, and platypus. We took our lunch at Pavilion Cafe before going to animal of night exhibits and had a close-up activity with a cute wombat. After that, we continued our visit to brush-tailed rock wallabies, local birds, and goannas. Again, we took a rest at picnic area beside Pavilion Cafe before walked through reptile house, flight arena, and wetland aviary. We visited dingo before leaving the sanctuary. There are several aviaries  and animal houses scattered around the sanctuary. We can visit these places when we walk pass the sites.

There are three eateries in the sanctuary, selling food and beverages with reasonable price. Pavilion Cafe was the one that located at the center of the sanctuary which we passed by it a few times. The food there was nice. There are plenty of picnic tables and resting area around the cafe. The cafe opens daily from 11 am to 2 pm.
Entrance to Healesville Sanctuary.

Tuesday afternoon, we didn't have to queue at ticket counter. Well, if we wish to have close up activity with certain animals, we need to buy the tickets at the counter as well. For wombat, we paid AUD 20 per person for a 15-minute session.

Well, we might think that this is how a koala should do all the time. They sleep 16 - 18 hours a day.


Lucky for us, we saw  a few koalas actively moving around, eating and climbing up and down. 

Echidna, spiny anteater was moving around the nicely decorated exhibit. It is a kind of egg-laying mammal- monotreme. Another monotreme is platypus. So both monotremes are available only in Australia.

Kangaroos were tame. We could pet them if they came close to the main walking track.

Australian Wildlife Heath Centre showed us how the injured animals were treated. The center had an operation theater where we could actually see how the animal operation was done. The veterinary was conducting an operation for an eagle during our visit. That was the first time for us to see an eagle lying on the operation bed.

The 15 minute close up session with a cute wombat was more than a staff that holding a wombat for us to take photo. We were in fact interacting with a cute free roaming wombat in an enclosure.


The wombat was visitor-friendly. It just walked around the visitors, craving for petting and cuddling. It would take the shoes as pillow for a short nap as well. According to our guide, the close up session was only available when the wombat was awaken. Sometimes, the wombat would just rolled itself into the blanket and took a nap.

Tasmanian devil is the largest carnivorous marsupial. Tasmanian devil can be found in wild only on Tasmania Island. Although being categorized as nocturnal, the Tasmanian devils in the sanctuary were active during our visit.

Next to Tasmanian devil is the enclosure for wallaby. Like kangaroo, the area is large, with designated walkway for visitors. 

The best part of the wallaby enclosure- the feeding area is at the walkway. So during the feeding area, visitors can actually pet and feed the wallabies. By the way, we are not allowed to bring our own food for animals. The food for wallabies are given by the staff, free of charge.

Several nocturnal animals are kept in dark exhibits, such as platypus (upper left), bandicoot (upper right), potoroo (lower right), and possums. These exhibits are provided with very low intensity of light, to keep the animals active. Well, it was hard to take photo of these animals without flash light- which was strictly prohibited.

There are many types of birds in the sanctuary, including noisy kookaburra (upper left), fast moving helmeted honey eater (upper right), active Australian cockatoos (lower right) and heron of the wetland. 

Dingo is the largest terrestrial predator in Australia (cute dog!).  It is the oldest type of dog in Australia, which the presence of dingo had been drawn on the wall of caves thousand years ago

Pavilion Cafe is a big shack, selling various type of snacks and beverages with reasonable price.

The main pathway is flat and easy to access. For first timer, following the main pathway is a good idea to see all the animals around the sanctuary. Fast tracks can be used if you wish to skip some part of the sanctuary.

Healesville Sanctuary is definitely a must visit place in Victoria. Reason- it is the nearest place for us to see the indigenous animals nearby Melbourne, and the sanctuary is really well-maintained. Well, that was a whole afternoon trip with a lot more walking compared to our Great Ocean Road Trip the day before. If you are animal lover and wish to have a relaxing moment with the animals, more time should be allocated for the trip.

Next, Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance and Botanical Garden. Follow us now.





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