Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Werribee Open Range Zoo

There are three zoos in Melbourne and I made it to the last one this weekend, Werribee Open Range Zoo. 
When we arrived the ticket guy immediately booked us in for the safari tour, we only had 20 minutes before it left, so first we grabbed a bite to eat at the Meerkat Bistro/Kiosk. The Kiosk sells quick take-away items like fish and chips, ready-made sandwiches and drinks. If you have a bit more time the Bistro serves fresh made to order meals, steak sandwiches, hot focaccias, pastas. They serve the full menu only during lunch hours (noon-2:30pm), during other hours there is a limited menu available.
Next it was onto the safari tour- the tour is included with your general admission, so everyone should take advantage. At the appointed time you are loaded onto the tour buses with a friendly guide/driver- no food or drinks allowed, so finish up your lunch before heading out.
The buses then take you through the "open range" including the Australian bushlands, the desert, and finally the African savannah. It's a very different way to see the animals and you really get the experience like you're on a real safari. so when you spot the animals there is a sense of excitement, like you were really lucky to see them :) But don't worry, everyone will see them!

The savannah was my favorite part of the tour. first you drive along the ridge of the savanah and are able to see the animals in the distance, then you head down a steep hill into the middlle of it, where you'll get up close and personal with the animals. In the savannah all the animals are roaming free, so you'll see giraffes, zebras and rhinos all in the same area. We loved the rhinos! The were huge and we were able to get really close. So close that one of the females started to get angry and the driver said we might have to drive off if she gets mad enough to charge (I'm sure he just said that for effect, but it was still exciting). The whole tour takes about 45 minutes and was totally worth it.
After the tour we checked out the rest of the zoo- the Pula Reserve Walking Trail. I love how this was laid out. It's set up like you are walking through an African village. So there are huts, chicken coops, trails through tall grasses, a rope bridge, stepping stones across the water. Just walking through was fun. Of course, on your walk you'll also see lots of animals. 

I loved how so many of the animals were in what looked like large, open enclosures, with glass that seemed to keep us away from them, rather than the other way around.

There are also plenty of extra tour opportunities available. You can go in one of the open-air vehicles which go off the path during the safari tour and get much closer to the animals. You can even sleep overnight in the savannah! see the website for details on these experiences.

Name: Werribee Open Range Zoo
Telephone: 03 9731 9600
Website: www.zoo.org.au/WerribeeOpenRangeZoo
Admission: Adult $24.40, Child $12.10, Family $55.50
Friends of the Zoo Passes are good at all 3 zoos (Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, and Healesville Santuary) for 12 months from the time of purchase.
Location: K Road, Werribee, VIC 3030
Getting There: Catch a train from the Melbourne CBD to Werribee Startion (Werribee Line Train), then from the train station catch bus 439 (Werribee South) from Werribee station to the Zoo. Buses leave the train station once an hour (at 15 minutes past the hour). Because buses are few and far between I recommend planning your departure/arrival around the bus schedule.

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1 comment:

Gina E. said...

Oooh thanks for this review! It has been 10 years since we were there - looks like there have been a heap of improvements!