Even though we still had dust in our shoes from our adventure in Australia’s Red Centre, we were eager to explore some of the best natural sites in the state of Victoria – Healesville Sanctuary and Phillip Island.
We rented a car for the day and our first destination of the day, Healesville Sanctuary, was only an hour away. Healesville Sanctuary is a spectacular wildlife sanctuary that features more than 200 species of Australian wildlife. In addition to involving the public in the animal’s rescue and recovery efforts, they also offer unique opportunities to get extremely close to some of the most famous residents.
Magical Moments is the Sanctuary’s program to give the public a chance to feed, pet or observe certain animals with the keeper and learn more about the remarkable animals. We participated in Magic Moments for both the kangaroos and koalas.
The kangaroos were amazing, we were allowed to pet and feed them, an exciting and rare experience. The koalas were a little more restricted, we were allowed to be near them, but couldn’t touch. They could though touch us, which I learned when the surprisingly active koala gave me a kiss. The rest of the park is no less magical though. They have done an exceptional job highlighting the animals for the public while working hard on conversation issues behind the scenes.
After Healesville we made the two-hour drive to Phillip Island, a gorgeous spot of land home to several great wildlife experiences. The Churchill Island Heritage Farm was our first stop, and provided even more opportunities to play with cute animals, from baby lambs to full grown Clydesdales. The farm also features gorgeous views of the rich farmland abutting the sea.
The final stop in our wildlife day was at one of the best wildlife experiences in Australia, the Penguin Parade. Every night, the aptly names Little Penguins return from searching the ocean for food to rest in their seaside homes. For decades people have lined the beaches waiting for this unique parade of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of penguins coming ashore in their nightly ritual. Today the experience is well choreographed and organized around the penguins so they’re not disturbed as they rest for the evening.
Although it was a long day, it was well worth it for the opportunity to see more of Victoria and experience firsthand some of the unique wildlife that makes not only the state, but the country so fascinating.