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Melbourne's Best Wildlife Night Tours

Home > Melbourne > Animals and Wildlife | Fun Things To Do | National Parks | Outdoor | Tours | Lists
by Gayle Beveridge (subscribe)
Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer. Check out her short stories and nano fiction at www.ficklefiction.com/
Published April 12th 2016
See What The Natives Do After Dark
Melbourne's Best Wildlife Night Tours
There's so much more to nightlife than dining out, movies and night clubs. Instead spend a night under the stars watching Australia's native animals in the wild. There are plenty of opportunities. Melbourne's wildlife night tours are a joy for children and adults alike so why not choose one or two and find out what goes on in the bush and grasslands after dark.

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A squirrel glider (Photo from Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park Facebook Page)


Moonlit Sanctuary Lantern-Lit Tours

Embark on a guided lantern-lit tour through Moonlit Sanctuary where Australian animals can be viewed at close quarters. Your guide will tell you stories about the animals you encounter and will happily answer all your questions. The wallabies, kangaroos, and possums are a favourite with the children. Some of the animals can be patted. Some of the animals can be patted.

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On the evening tour (Photo from Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park)

There will be plenty of creatures to see as all Australian mammals are nocturnal. The evening tour gives the opportunity to see the animals when they are more active. Be on the lookout for feather tail gliders, yellow bellied gliders, quolls, Tasmanian devils, pademelons and bettongs. Listen out for the barking owls. A full list birds, reptiles and animals you might see on a night tour can be found here.

Moonlit Sanctuary is a conservation park set on 10 hectares of bushland. The sanctuary runs breeding programs and conservation education. It describes itself as "an ark for endangered creatures." The Sanctuary has successfully bred and reintroduced orange-bellied parrots, bush stone curlews and Julia Creek dunnarts to the wild. Their education programs include school excursions and junior ranger programs. The sanctuary has won many awards, all of them well deserved.

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A barn owl at Moonlit Sanctuary (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)

Its popular evening tours run for between one and a half and two hours. Transfers from Melbourne hotels for an extra fee as can private evening tours. If you would prefer to visit by day the sanctuary is open 10am to 5pm except Christmas Day and runs a number of scheduled keeper presentations. They also have a range of animal encounters on offer as well as a Keeper for a Day Program and birthday party bookings.

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A Tasmanian Devil on the evening tour (Photo Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation park)

When: Most evenings of the year usually commencing at 7pm or during daylight savings at 8.30pm, but can vary so check at the time of booking. Bookings are essential and must be made by 3pm on the day of the tour.

Phone: (03) 5978 7935.

Where: 550 Tyabb-Tooradin Rd, Pearcedale VIC 3912. Find directions here.

Website: www.moonlitsanctuary.com.au/bynight.aspx

Cost: (At April 2016) Adults $40, Concession $34, Pensioner$32, Child (4-15 years) $25, Child under 4 $15, Family (2 adults and 2 children) $120 (extra children $20 each), City transfers including the tour $115 per person

Melbourne's Wildlife at Night Naturewise Eco Escape

Naturewise Eco Escapes are offering a four hour twilight tour at Woodlands Reserve where Conservation Volunteers Australia, Zoos Victoria and Parks Victoria are working together to bring the Eastern Barred Bandicoot back from the brink of extinction.

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An Eastern Barred Bandicoot (Photo by JJ Harrison -jjharrison89@facebook.com- Own work - CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

At the commencement of the tour a ranger will explain the park's history and its wildlife and tell you about the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Project. Then spotlights at the ready you will head into the Red Gum bush and grasslands in search of animals in the wild. Not only are you likely to see kangaroos, possums, owls and bandicoots you will also stop to check for wildlife activity on the motion sensor cameras. The tour concludes at Gellibrand Hill where you can admire the city lights while enjoying a snack and a hot drink.

Proceeds from the tour go towards conservation efforts. Natrurewise Eco Escapes is a not-for-profit organisation run by Conservation Volunteers Australia and also runs a range of eco holidays across the country.

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Woodlands Historic Park (Photo from Conservation Volunteers Australia)

When: Melbourne pick up times are 4.30pm and self-drivers meet at the gate at Woodlands Historic Park at 5.15pm. Current available dates are April 14th, 21st, 28th, May 5th and June 6th 2016. Check here for schedule updates

Phone: 1800 032 501 (Freecall within Australia)

Where: Woodlands Historic Park, Greenvale. Find a map here.
Melbourne pick up locations: CVA (Conservation Volunteers Victoria) office 162 Adderley Street West Melbourne or North Melbourne Train Station Dynon Rd / Railway Place, West Melbourne

Website: naturewise.com.au/eco-holidays/victoria/melbournes-wildlife-at-night/

Cost: (April 2016) Adults $60, Child (8 to 12 years) $45, Family (2 Adults an 2 Children) $180.

Twilight Tour at the LaTrobe Wildlife Sanctuary

The Latrobe University Sanctuary sits on 30 hectares of woodlands on the Melbourne campus encompassing the Gresswell Forest Nature Conservation Reserve, the Gresswell Habitat Link and the Gresswell Hill Nature Conservation Reserve.

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A possum (Photo from LaTrobe University Facebook Page)

The Sanctuary was set up in 1967 to restore, manage and to provide education about native flora and fauna. Your twilight tour guide will take you on a walk about the sanctuary using spotlights to seek out the native animals and will explain about the animals and the sanctuary's work. Animals you might see include possums, bats, birds and geckos.

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Spotted at LaTrobe Wildlife Sanctuary (Photo from LaTrobe University Facebook Page)

When: On the third Wednesday of every month and on Wednesdays that fall in school holidays. Starting times vary throughout the year between 5.30pm and 9.00pm. Click here for details. (General admission to the Sanctuary is Sunday to Friday 10am to 3pm)

Phone: (03) 9479 1206 or Email: wildlife@latrobe.edu.au

Where: LaTrobe University Sanctuary, Melbourne Campus, LaTrobe Ave, Bundoora. Click here for a location map.

Website: www.latrobe.edu.au/wildlife/visit/tours

Cost: (April 2016) Adults $25, Children (Under 15) $10, LaTrobe Staff and Students $15, Children under 3 – free. Group discounts are available.

Eco Adventure Tours Night Walks

Eco Adventure tours offer guided walks through natural bushlands in the Yarra Ranges National Park at Healesville. Knowledgeable local guides with will discuss Aboriginal and European history of the area as they point out unique animals and plants and will supplement their talks with animal artefacts and pictures.

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A wallaby and joey (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)

Some of the animals and birds you might see and hear are greater gliders (gliding possums), black wallabies, bats, owls, wombats, eastern ringtail possums, mountain brushtail possums, yellow-bellied gliders and sugar gliders.

When: Tours run for around three hours and commence at dusk. As the start time can vary throughout the year, check when booking. Tours will be cancelled on total fire ban days. Bookings are essential.

Phone: (03) 5962 5115 or 0418 999 936

Where: Healesville in the Yarra Ranges National Park at the Badger Weir Picnic Area, (near the Healesville Sanctuary)

Website: ecoadventuretours.weebly.com/night-walks.html

Cost: (April 2016) $70 adults, $60 pensioners/concession, $30 children. The tour is not recommended for children under 6 years. Payment is in cash on the night.

Transport: You will require your own transport.

Penguin Parade, Philip Island

The Phillip Island Penguin Parade is one of Australia's most popular tourist attractions and is a mere 90 minutes from Melbourne's CBD. Every night as the sun goes down Phillip Island's fairy penguins return to shore after a day at sea. Watch from viewing stands and boardwalks as they leave the water in groups and waddle up the beach to their burrows.

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The Penguin Parade (Photo by Phillipislandtourism - Own work- CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

In addition to the Penguin Parade visitors can choose from a number of other options.

Penguins Plus overlooks the penguin's most popular route.

From the Underground Viewing the penguins can be seen at eye level and viewed in their natural habitat. This viewing is indoors.

The Penguin Sky Box offers viewing from an elevated tower where visitors can assist the rangers with the nightly penguin count.

The Ultimate Penguin Tour offers small groups of visitors the opportunity to view the penguins on a secluded beach with the use of night vision technology while rangers give an informed commentary.

The Penguin Eco Explorer Tour is a behind the scenes tour that allows visitors to learn about the work of the rangers and researchers and the conservation efforts that protect the fairy penguins.

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A fairy penguin at Phillip Island (Photo by Magnus Kjaergaard -Own work - CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

If you would prefer not to drive to Phillip Island yourself there are a number of tour companies including Penguin Island Tours, The Little Penguin Bus, Sightseeing Tours Australia, and Wildlife Tours Australia. Check the websites for details and pricing.

When: Every night. It can get a bit chilly in the evenings, particularly in winter so be sure to dress appropriately.

Phone: (03) 5951 2800

Where: Summerland Beach, 1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands 3922 (Philip Island)

Website: penguins.org.au/attractions/penguin-parade/

Cost: Tickets can be bundled with other Phillip Island Attractions and can be booked through the website or purchased on the day (before 5pm). Please be aware that tickets for some options sell out quickly. As a guide to pricing (April 2016) Adults: General tickets $25.10, Penguins Plus $47.20, Underground Viewing $60.00, Guided Ranger Tour $78.00. These prices are for the attraction only and do not include tours.

Wombat Discovery Tours

This night discovery tour will take you to the Great Dividing Range and into the Wombat State Forest in search of native wildlife. Your 4x4 bus will make stops along the way so everybody can get out and get a good look at the animals and admire the night sky away from the city lights. Your guide will offer an informative and fun narrative.

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Trentham Falls (Photo from Wombat Discovery Tours Facebook Page)

The tour begins in the Melbourne CBD at 4pm and proceeds to Trentham where you will visit the water falls and see some old gold rush sites before stopping for dinner, usually a counter meal at the historic Blackwood Pub. The wildlife spotting begins after dinner. You are likely to see kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, possums and owls amongst others before returning to the city at around 10.45pm.

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The 4x4 tour bus (Photo from Wombat Discovery Tours Facebook Page)

When: Tours run on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 3pm to 10.45pm. Bookings are essential and can be made here.

Phone: 0404 792 212 Mr. Scott Evans

Where: Pick up in the Melbourne CBD

Website: www.wombatdiscoverytours.com.au/#!toursandprices/cdk6

Cost: (April 2016) $90 per person with discounts for groups and families. The 4x4 bus can take up to 11 passengers.
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Your Comment
What a thorough effort with a great range of tours and a lovely selection of photos!
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|10926) 824 days ago
Very enjoyable things to do at night.
by Roger (score: 2|599) 829 days ago
Thanks for an excellent list of after dark ideas!
by Lucy (score: 3|1145) 822 days ago
Congratulations for winning second prize.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|11909) 820 days ago
I didn't realise there wan an animal sanctuary down south. We'll definitely have to check that out.
by betty (score: 2|486) 826 days ago
Great article. My youngest two daughters would love these experiences. Will have to put them on my list for Melbourne.
by Susan Jackson (score: 2|750) 819 days ago
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