Established in the 1850s as an agricultural settlement, Werribee sits halfway between Melbourne and Geelong. With its amazing location – just 30 minutes away from Melbourne, you can opt to explore Werribee’s coastal trails, the riverbanks of the Werribee River, or tour the cultural city life. Among the most popular attractions in the region are Werribee Open Range Zoo, Werribee Park Mansion and the Victoria State Rose Garden, but there are many other reasons to visit. Read on for the best.
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Werribee Open Range Zoo
Established in 1983, Werribee Open Range Zoo is an African adventure only 35 km west of Melbourne. Embark on a 40-minute safari tour through the Savannah where you’ll spot giraffes, bison, rhinos, zebras, ostriches and other exotic animals. The zoo also features one of the biggest gorilla exhibits in the world, which is home to three magnificent silverbacks.
Continue your African adventure with a Slumber Safari at Werribee Open Range Zoo, a fully hosted overnight experience with exclusive animal encounters and viewing opportunities. Enjoy drinks at sunset, an African-inspired dinner and buffet breakfast, a marvelous night walk, campfire supper and two-day zoo passes. At the end of the day retreat to your tented lodge for a glamping experience with all the creature comforts.
Werribee Park Mansion
Built in 1877 by Thomas and Andrew Chirnside, Werribee Park Mansion is an exquisite Italianate property that has evolved from a home to a Catholic seminary to a five-star hotel. A popular destination for weddings, the mansion boasts 60 rooms as well as Joseph’s Restaurant & Bar. The 19th century estate also hosts a number of events including the Werribee Christmas Carols and music festival Let Them Eat Cake.
Werribee Gorge Circuit
Located just over an hour northwest of Melbourne, Werribee Gorge is a state park and geological zone which attracts hikers and rock climbers. Starting at Meikles Point picnic area, the 9.3 km circuit takes an average of four hours to complete in either direction. Along the trail, you’ll encounter popular swimming holes, challenging rugged terrain, cable walks and lookouts.
Discover the history of the Royal Australian Air Force at the free-to-visit RAAF Museum in Point Cook. Tour the hangars at the working military facility and see permanent exhibitions, heritage galleries and external displays. A highlight of the museum is the flying displays where visitors can see heritage aircraft take flight every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Victoria State Rose Garden
The first rose garden outside of Europe to be awarded the International Garden of Excellence by the World Federation of Rose Societies, the Victorian State Rose Garden features more than 5,000 roses. In full bloom between November and April, the garden is arranged in the shape of five-petal Tudor rose and includes beds of modern hybrid tea and floribunda roses, among other varieties all tended to by over a hundred volunteers.
Werribee Historical Museum
Founded in 1970, Werribee Historical Museum is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of Wyndham Shire. Open on Tuesday and Saturday or by appointment, the museum holds an extensive collection of photographs, maps, period clothing and artefacts of local historical importance.
B-24 Liberator Restoration Australia
The B-24 Liberator Memorial Fund is dedicated to restoring the last remaining Liberator in the Southern Hemisphere in honour of all those who served with the aircraft during WWII. Open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, you can see volunteers hard at work as they intricately restore one of only eight Liberators left in the world.
Only a short drive from Melbourne, Shadowfax is a boutique winery nestled within Werribee Park. Established in 1998, Shadowfax is renowned for its handcrafted wines and rustic Italian-inspired restaurant led by Chef Ben D’Arcy, offering wood fire pizza, antipasti and tempting desserts. Open daily from 11 am, the winery also stirs with live music during the weekend.
Held annually in March, Weerama – meaning ‘to play’ – is the largest community event in Wyndham, involving local clubs, businesses and performers. From modest beginnings in the late seventies, Weerama Festival now features the iconic Weerama Parade down Watton Street as well as fireworks, amusement rides, live music, market stalls, food trucks and much more.
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