Television Producer & Photojournalist with a passion for sharing adventures in and around Melbourne, Australia. See my www.youtube.com/user/tmztvaustralia for other adventures. Subscribe to me so I can tell you of upcoming fab things not to miss.
Go where eagles fly & dive & scream around you - Healesville
Less than one hour's drive from Melbourne is a zoo that celebrates the diversity of our Australian animals and other animals from around the world, but with a very "hands on" approach. Your hands!. You can actually touch and feel fur and feathers and features of the animals at this incredible zoo.
Wallabies have the softest fur and ears and let you get very close to them for a gentle stroke. The baby wombats are so cute in the spring. And you can cuddle and play with them for just $20, but book ahead as it is very popular.
Tickle the Tum Tum of Platypus - Healesville Sanctuary Photo
You can wade with the platypus and tickle his tummy. Again, call ahead to check for price and availability.
The enclosures are so beautifully carved into the landscape, you barely know the animals are enclosed. They live very open and free and safe lives cared and nurtured by their trainers. And I believe they enjoy interacting with us as much as we enjoy interacting with them.
This place is a must visit any time of the year, a bucket list must. But this summer something even more extraordinary is happening. Healesville Sanctuary is celebrating 25 years of the "Spirits of the Sky" with an extraordinary show. And what spirits might these be? They are the amazing creatures of the sky; birds of prey trained to perform for you and fly free just above your head.
When the trainer frees the wedge-tailed eagle and it spreads its wings and passes just over the top of your head, its wing span is wider than your arms, up to 2.3 meters wide. If you are just a young person, that is wider than you are tall. You feel you could reach up and touch them and you can feel the air from their powerful wings as they rush past. They cry out as they climb. It is a breath taking experience. Even more amazing is that when the trainer calls, they come back. In this show, you can get close and really experience these stunning creatures, look deep into their eyes, see their stunning colours and possibly touch their feathers.
Where Eagles Fly and Reach the Sky right above your head
Staff at Healesville Sanctuary say, "You get to see and meet their keepers and get up close to these amazing birds as they show off their incredible skill and agility. You may even have the opportunity to compare your arm length with the wing-span of a Wedge-tailed Eagle and be treated to a meeting with our Peregrine Falcon, the world's fastest animal, which can reach speeds of more than 300km/h!" Air force jets move over.
The Bronze Statues at Healesville Zoo seem so real!
The trip from Melbourne is incredibly quick at about an hour. It's a very straight forward drive out to Healesville and then you just follow the signs; you cannot miss it. I will give a secret hint, you will need to leave early and spend the whole day. There is just so much to see up close and very personal, koalas, dingoes, echidna, kangaroos, reptile, birds of every feather, meerkats and much much more.
I fell in love with one baby echinda at Healesville. I could have watched him forever. He would run around in a circle and then run into a little hole he had dug out and then he would flip over in the hole onto his back and wave his feet in the air. We were in stitches with laughter and it seemed he was laughing with us. And then he would do it again and again and again.
Your are spoilt for choice for with many wonderful food selections around the Zoo. There is something for everyone. Enjoy Yarra wines from the area with meals from the chefs who use seasonal local foods at Sanctuary Harvest. You can pre-order gourmet picnic hampers and barbecue packs, featuring a range of local Yarra Valley produce also from Sanctuary Harvest. Order the day before at (03) 5957 2837.
The Candlebark Cafe says, "Enjoy a Genovese coffee, a freshly baked Harvest muffin, a warming ham and cheese toastie (the ultimate comfort food), a cool drink or an indulgent ice-cream."
Or at the Pavillion, you can feed everyone and then let the kids run wild on the playground while you sit and relax. Where do they get all that energy?
And you can always take a lovely picnic to one of the wonderfully grassy, shady spots and just relax, unwind and dine in this majestic setting, while the majestic "Spirits of the Sky" soar above you.
Better yet, escape for a long weekend and tour around the rest of the lovely historical town of Healesville. It is stunning country and accommodation is very reasonable, with family rooms on offer at a few places.