Just a measly 30 minute drive from Melbourne CBD is a window into how 19th century Victoria may have looked...or at least, may have looked for those with money. The Werribee Mansion is a beautifull building surrounded by Gardens and a definite recommendation for anyone with an interest in history or the Victorian era in general. When walking around the mansion, each room is cordoned off so that people can observe the unchanged decor without risking damage to any of the items. As well as this, once you have climbed the grand staircase, views from the balcony overlook the lawn that scream for you to pull out a picnic rug and relax in the tranquil grounds.
Opening hours are seasonal, but for the most part, the hours are 10am - 4pm seven days a week. Entry into the mansion is as follows:
Adult - $9.60 Concession/Child - $7.10 Family (2 x Adults 2 x Children) - $30.50
You can also pay for a guided tour at an additional cost of $9.60 or an audio tour for an additional cost of $6.00
Once you've explored the main mansion, maybe take a walk around the grounds where you'll be able to spot a large number of fruit bats dangling in the trees and if you're really lucky, you may even spot some RAAF jets flying overhead as they use the area to practice upcoming air shows.
As well as the main attraction, as you're walking through the grounds, you may catch a strong scent of roses from its neighbouring rose garden. The garden itself is designed in the shape of a rose and is a great way to finish off a day of basking in luxury before getting back in your car and returning to 21st century Victoria.
The "fruit bats" at Werribee Mansion are actually Grey-headed flying foxes. They pollinate and disperse the seeds of 100 species of native trees and are critical in forest regeneration and health. Although they are called fruit bat their diet is actually nectar, pollen and fruit pretty much in that order. The bats travel from South of Brisbane to Melbourne (and some to Adelaide) each year. They move independently and not in a group. Numbers to up in Melbourne in Summer (warmer more food) and down in Winter (a bit chilly). Flying fox camp are noisy and in breeding season a bit smelly with the boys emitting a musty scent on their shoulders at attract the ladies.
Sadly these amazing animals have declined by over 95% since 1900 and with a low rate of reproduction (same as humans) we may still lose the species to climate change (too many hot days and storms) and habitat loss (starvation and camp disturbance leading to higher infant/pup deaths). To help the bats survive don't use nets on fruit trees (just bags as high as you can reach) and plant native trees. Education others about their importance. Flying foxes/bats, bees, birds. We need every one of them and they deserve a better deal this century than they've had in the past.