Melbourne as a city is incredible, but there are so many amazing things to do within a short distance outside it. I had been itching to get out of town for a day, so I wrangled up a few friends for a trip to the Healesville Sanctuary, which was recommended to me by one of my bosses at work.
The Healesville Sanctuary, along with two other zoos in the Australian state of Victoria, is part of a conservation organization dedicated to fighting wildlife extinction. They do this through breeding and recovery programs for threatened species and by working with visitors and supporters to reduce threats facing endangered wildlife.
The sanctuary is about an hour out of Melbourne, so we decided to rent a car for the day. I didn’t realize that I had missed driving in the car with friends, but it was so much fun to pile in and listen to music while we cruised. When we arrived, we scarfed down the lunch that I had packed and headed out to wander the grounds.
The sanctuary allows you to get very up close and personal with some of Australia’s incredible native wildlife, including the dingo, platypus and Tasmanian Devil. You can even pay slightly more to experience a “Magic Moment,” where you can pet and feed the animal of your choice. My first choice happened to be the koala, but it was sold out, so my friend and I booked the last two slots to meet some kangaroos! Not a bad compromise, if you ask me.
After a few hours of checking out the sanctuary’s offerings, we made our way to the meeting place at the kangaroo habitat. All of the kangaroos were napping in the shade, but once the guide led us in and we began to approach them, they stood right up, almost as if they had been through this once or twice before.
My friend and I were assigned a female kangaroo named Kiki, and handed some greens to feed her. When our guide made his way around to us a second time, however, he gave us some corn and carrots, which is apparently the good stuff. Kiki was much more enthusiastic about them.
The whole encounter only lasts about ten minutes, so after a few pictures and pets it was time to go. It was a short but sweet experience, and definitely made the day unforgettable. It even allowed me to cross off number nine on my Australia bucket list!
As much as I love Melbourne, it was great to escape for the day, and Healesville Sanctuary was definitely worth the trip.