Australia is home to many unique animals, many of which you can see in the Yarra Valley at Healesville Sanctuary. Set within the natural bushland, Healesville Sanctuary is a not-for-profit organisation specialising in the conservation of native Australian animals. At the sanctuary, you can wade with the platypus, hear a dingo howl, pat and play with a wombat and even feed an echidna.
Critically threatened, the Tasmanian Devil is the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. To see one in the wild, you previously had to travel to Tasmania; however, thanks to Healesville Sanctuary’s successful breeding program you can also see these boisterous creatures in the Yarra Valley. To learn more about them, Healesville Sanctuary holds a Tasmanian Devil talk at 11.30 am daily which is included with general admission.
Typically shy and reclusive, platypus are seldom seen in the wild, which makes Healesville Sanctuary’s world-first platypus show that much more special. Tales from Platypus Creek allows you to come face-to-face with the creatures within a unique riverside tank in a brand new amphitheatre. ‘Tales from Platypus Creek’ runs at 11.15 am weekdays and twice daily on weekends and is included with general admission. For an extra special experience, you can wade with the platypus in a unique, hands-on experience where you’ll have the opportunity to enter shallow water of the ‘platypus play pool’.
Spirits in the sky
Spectacular and unmissable, ‘Spirits in the Sky’ at Healesville’s flight arena showcases the impressive abilities of birds of prey and brightly coloured parrots. Free with general admission, this daily show takes places at 12 pm and 2.30 pm and is sure to delight young and old.
Appearing on the coat of arms, the kangaroo is Australia’s most iconic animal and at Healesville Sanctuary you not only observe these bounding marsupials, but you can also book a close-up experience and help feed Kangaroo Island kangaroos. There is also a separate Kangaroo Talk where you’ll meet a few of the resident kangaroos. The Kangaroo Talk is held daily at 11.30 am and is included with general admission.
A threatened species in Victoria, Dingos, are a type of feral dog that has lived on the Australian mainland for 5,000 years. At Healesville Sanctuary you can meet these handsome predators with a close-up experience or attend a ‘Dingo Lingo’ keeper talk where you’ll learn about these creatures and hear them howl. The Dingo Talk is given at 3.30 pm daily and is included with general admission.
Native to South-eastern Australia and Tasmania, Wombats are adorable stocky marsupials. Healesville Sanctuary offers a ‘pat and play’ experience where you’ll have the opportunity to meet a wombat and pose for a photo together. For a free wombat experience join the Meet the Keeper Wombat Talk in their new exhibit at 11.00 am daily, included with general admission.
Appearing on the Australian five-cent coin Echidnas are spiky, egg-laying mammals known as monotremes. Healesville Sanctuary offers the opportunity to meet these timid creatures in a close-up experience where you’ll learn to feed them and the rangers will even show you how to pat them.
One of the cutest and most iconic Australian animals, Koalas inhabit eucalyptus trees throughout eastern and southern Australia. At Healesville Sanctuary you can meet sleepy koalas in a close-up encounter within their exhibit and even pose for a photo together. The second koala experience is the Koala Forest Talk where keepers will take on you a journey through the home of these adorable tree-huggers. The forest talk is held at 1.30 pm daily and is included in general admission.
In 2014 Healesville’s Lyrebirds were given a new home thanks to the ongoing support of RACV. It’s here, in the Lyrebird Aviary, that you can see these elegant, mimicking birds. The Lyrebird Talk is held at 1.15 pm daily and is included with general admission.
Whether you’re hoping to overcome a fear or simply want to encounter a snake in a safe manner, Healesville Sanctuary’s ‘Python Snake Close-Up’ is a memorable experience. A ranger will lead you through the 10 minute encounter where not only will you learn some fascinating facts but you’ll get to meet a python.
Animals of the Night
Providing visitors with a glimpse into the nocturnal life of Australia’s most elusive creatures, ‘Animals of the Night’ features the tiny Mountain Pygmy-possum, Eastern barred bandicoot, numbat and Lord Howe stick insect. The Nocturnal House is open from 10 am to 4 pm daily.