When it comes to incredible animal encounters, Melbourne and its surrounding areas are nothing short of a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise. This Australian city, often celebrated for its vibrant culture, art, and coffee, also boasts a unique natural treasure trove that offers unforgettable moments with the animal kingdom.
Melbourne and Victoria provide a remarkable wildlife encounters. Whether you’re into adorable marsupials, playful seals, or mesmerizing birdlife, this region offers a diverse range of animal experiences that will leave you in awe of Australia’s natural wonders.
Here’s why Melbourne and Victoria are the perfect australian destination for animal encounters
Melbourne is home to numerous zoos, sanctuaries, wildlife parks, and aquariums, drawing visitors from around the world. Here are some of the top attractions in and around Melbourne where you can have close animal encounters:
1.- Melbourne Zoo
Also known as the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, Melbourne Zoo has been a beloved attraction since its establishment in 1862. This expansive zoo houses a wide array of animals, birds, and reptiles. Visitors can encounter African Wild Dogs, Asian Elephants, Otters, frogs, pelicans, seals, kangaroos, gorillas, koalas, penguins, baboons, and lions, among other species. The zoo features diverse exhibits, including elephant trails, butterfly displays, an Asian rainforest, an orangutan sanctuary, and an Australian outback section. It also offers a free-flight aviary, a lion exhibit, a marine wildlife zone, a reptile house, an African rainforest showcase, and exotic creatures from around the world.
2.- Penguin Parade on Port Phillip:
Few wildlife spectacles are as endearing as the Penguin Parade on Port Phillip, located just 30 minutes or so from Melbourne City Center. Each evening, as the sun sets, little penguins emerge from the sea and waddle up to their burrows in the breakwater of St Kilda’s Pier. Best time to visit them is between August to March.
Witnessing these pint-sized penguins in their natural habitat is an absolute delight for visitors of all ages.
3.- Werribee Open Range Zoo
Situated near Melbourne, the Werribee Open Range Zoo offers close animal encounters in an African-themed experience in Australia. This unique zoo primarily focuses on African wildlife, featuring species such as Hippopotamus, zebra, lions, giraffes, ostriches, meerkats, African wild dogs, antelopes, rhinoceros, camels, cheetahs, and gorillas. Additionally, Australian animals like koalas, emus, and kangaroos are part of the zoo’s diverse collection.
4.- Koalas in the Wild – Great Otway National Park:
If your heart melts at the sight of koalas, the Great Otway National Park is where you should be. This lush rainforest is home to a thriving population of koalas. While they may not be in the wild sense, spotting these furry marsupials in their natural habitat is a rare treat. Make sure to look up, as they are often found resting in the treetops.
We got to see possums, kookaburras, and koalas very early in the morning, around 5 am at Bimbi Park Camping site. We heard a devilish noise and realized it was a koala trying to get inside our tent. That’s what I call a real close animal encounter.
5.- Healesville Sanctuary
Located in Healesville, near Melbourne, Healesville Sanctuary is one of the most favorite sanctuary for animal encounters, specially with native Australian animals. It’s one of the finest petting zoos in Melbourne, allowing visitors to interact with animals under the supervision of zoo staff. The sanctuary, established in 1934, is home to a wide variety of native Australian wildlife, including wallabies, wombats, dingoes, kangaroos, owls, skunks, buzzards, kites, pythons, echidnas, emus, monitor lizards, native Australian birds, and platypus, among others.
6.- Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium
Nestled along the Yarra River, the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium is a prominent attraction for both locals and tourists. This aquarium, which opened in 2000, features diverse marine wildlife, including rainforests, crocodiles, penguins, mangroves, rockpools, seahorses, stingrays, sharks, sea turtles, sea dragons, and various other aquatic species from around the world.
7.- Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park
Located on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne, the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park is an award-winning wildlife park. It focuses on Australian Bushland animals and offers opportunities for day tours and lantern-lit nightime tours. Visitors can encounter colorful exotic birds, reptiles, dingoes, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, pythons, cockatoos, parrots, possums, Tasmanian devils, and more in their natural habitat.
8.- The Grampians – Home to, kangaroos Wallabies and Emus:
The Grampians National Park is where you can hike through rugged landscapes while spotting native Australian animals like wallabies and emus. Keep your camera ready, as the chances of capturing these remarkable creatures on film are high.
In addition to these top animal encounters attractions, Victoria offers several other wildlife experiences, such as Halls Gap Zoo, Ballarat Wildlife Park, Phillip Island Wildlife Park, and Gumbuya World, an amusement park with numerous wildlife exhibits.
Melbourne is surrounded by nature in every direction making it a must-visit destination for animal and nature lovers. Whether you’re exploring the city or its surrounding sanctuaries, Melbourne offers an incredible array of wildlife experiences.