Healesville Sanctuary, Healesville
Healesville Sanctuary, managed by Zoo’s Victoria, is one of the best zoo’s in Melbourne to see native Australian animals. Located just over an hour from Melbourne in the East, it is one of the best things to do in the Yarra Valley with kids.
Each of the zoos in Melbourne are different, and Healesville Sanctuary, whist the smallest out of the three, is the one to visit if you are looking to get a unique Australian wildlife experience.
Healesville Sanctuary focuses on Australian animals, so you will see lots of koalas, kangaroos, wombats, dingoes, emus, platypuses, snakes, and a variety of native Australian birds.
The sanctuary is set in a bush environment and the animals spread out. There are various paths around to explore. And there are also some great shows to watch throughout the day so check the schedule. The bird show in particular is quite popular.
You may see the keepers walking around the sanctuary around various animals giving you a close up look. Depends on when you go and what they have on that day, but our little ones were lucky to hold a snake during one of our visits.
There is a range of wildlife encounters where you can get up close and personal with the animals too. You do pay extra for these, and they are short, but they are great for the kids.
The koala encounter is quite interesting. While you can’t actually cuddle the koala, you can get up close and of course get a cute photo.
As well as seeing the animals, there are also a couple of playgrounds to let the kids run around on. There are also benches around to sit on and watch them play.
There are plenty of grass spaces and picnic tables if you want to bring your lunch. If not, there are also cafes serving up drinks and snacks and a small restaurant.
You could probably walk around the whole place in 2-3 hours, but our suggestion is to make a day trip, take some lunch, have a picnic and take it slow to get the whole experience.
Tips for visiting Healesville Sanctuary
- Allow at least 3 hours for your visit.
- There is lots of walking so wear comfortable footwear.
- Rug up in winter as it can get windy, and put the gumboots on the kids as it can get muddy.
- You can BYO food, but there are also cafes and a restaurant.
- Buy the annual zoo’s membership which includes entrance to all three zoo’s all year round.
Things to do in the Yarra Valley
Healesville Sanctuary makes a great day trip but if you want to stay in the area overnight or for an extended period there are plenty of other kid friendly activities.