Melbourne may be Australia’s second largest city, but just outside the city (and even within) you’ll find incredible natural attractions where you can witness a wide range of wildlife.
Just outside Melbourne’s CBD you’ll find some of Australia’s finest sanctuaries for authentic wildlife encounters, home to both Australian and international species. And within the city, there are an incredible range of attractions, including the zoo, the aquarium, and many nature parks prolific with native wildlife.
Admission fees can start getting quite expensive after you hit a few of these attractions. So we recommend purchasing a Melbourne iVenture Card for up to 40% of the city’s best wildlife experiences (the card also includes a wealth of attractions within the city itself).
Enjoy the flexibility to choose a pass that works for you in terms of your holiday duration and what you wish to experience. A Flexi Pass allows you to visit a set number of attractions of which there are a wide variety to choose from or you can opt for an Unlimited Attractions Pass to experience it all.
Best Wildlife and Nature Attractions around Melbourne
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Werribee Open Range Zoo
Be transported to Africa with a visit to the Werribee Zoo. Far from witnessing animals locked up in small cages or enclosures, this open range zoo provides an enjoyable home for the wildlife as well as providing visitors with a much more rewarding experience.
Included with your visit to this 200 hectare zoo is a 40 minute bus safari tour where you’ll see iconic African wildlife such as rhinos, zebras, and ostriches. The zoo is also home to beautiful exhibits featuring western lowland gorillas, hippos, and African lions.
The zoo also contains an Australian Wildlife section located along the Werribee River where captive and wild native wildlife can be viewed.
The Melbourne iVenture Card provides single entry to the zoo and also allows you to book return transfers from Melbourne. The Werribee Park Shuttle provides daily service from Melbourne’s Arts Centre to the suburb of Werribee and takes approximately 30 minutes.
Phillip Island Nature Parks
The Melbourne iVenture Card gives you access to all three of the below attractions via the Phillip Island 3 Park Pass.
Rent a car to experience the magic of Phillip Island just a few hours south of Melbourne. Here you can experience the thrill of seeing penguins return to shore at sunset via the Penguin Parade Experience.
Every night of the year, the world’s smallest penguins, known as little or fairy penguins, return to their burrows in the sand dunes after spending the day fishing at sea.
Koala Conservation Center
By day you can see koalas in their natural habitat with a visit to the Koala Conservation Centre. Here you can get a glimpse into the daily lives of these adorable marsupials as you walk along a set of tree top boardwalks.
You may also come across other Australian natives such as the adorable, albeit spiky echidnas and wallabies.
Churchill Island Heritage Farm
While you’re in the area, a visit to Churchill Island Heritage Farm will provide you with a glimpse of rural Australian culture.
Learn about sheep shearing, whip cracking, and other aspects of life on an Australian farm. In addition to seeing wild looking livestock such as the Highland cow, the farm provides wetland walks where you may spot many types of Australian wading and shorebirds.
Photo courtesy of Philip Island Penguin Parade.
Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park
Moonlit Sanctuary is located between Melbourne and Phillip Island and provides an authentic viewing experience of over 60 Australian animal species.
By day visitors can hand-feed kangaroos, wallabies, and birds as well as hold a koala. As darkness falls and Australia’s nocturnal animals come out to play, you can view species rarely seen in the wild via the sanctuary’s guided lantern tours where you get the chance to see Tasmanian devils, owls, quolls, and more.
This is a fabulous wildlife experience, and very hands-on. The sanctuary is included with your Melbourne iVenture Card.
A visit to the Yarra Valley wine region is a must when visiting Melbourne and while you’re in the area you should check out Healesville Sanctuary.
Much like Moonlit Sanctuary, Healesville Sanctuary centres on Australia’s native wildlife. Enjoy a wide variety of incredible Australian native species like dingoes, wombats, platypus, and more in a natural bush setting.
The sanctuary puts on numerous daily talks and incredible shows like “Spirits of the Sky” which offers free-flight demonstrations from Australian parrots and eagles as well as an interactive Platypus show.
The sanctuary is also home to a walk in aviary where you will come face to face with vibrantly coloured parrots such as the Eclectus Parrot and Red Tailed Black Cockatoo. Like Moonlit Sanctuary, enjoy access to Healesville with your Melbourne iVenture Card too.
Puffing Billy Railway
Experience the ultra scenic rolling hills of the Dandenong Ranges aboard the open-sided carriages of the Puffing Billy steam train.
The railway offers several stations where you can begin your journey as well as a wide variety of train experiences including dining and musical events. And a ride gives you a nice introduction / overview of what the Dandenong Ranges has to offer.
Enjoy stunning landscapes (especially during autumn), as well as the historic Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge. After your ride you can then take a self driving tour of the Dandenong Ranges. Melbourne’s iVenture card provides you with a return trip from Belgrave to Lakeside.
Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium
This stunning aquarium allows you to get extremely close to incredible underwater creatures very few people would get a chance to see in the wild.
In addition to a variety of shark and ray species, you can also view bizarre Australian creatures like the weedy sea dragon, lionfish, and cuttlefish. There’s a huge range of ocean wildlife, but you will also get to see a massive saltwater crocodile and adorable penguins.
Along with the aquarium’s beautiful viewing exhibits there are also hands on experiences which children will love. Entry to the aquarium is included as part of your Melbourne iVenture Card.
Enjoy rare and endangered wildlife from around the world as well as Australian native species at one of Melbourne’s most popular attractions.
Melbourne Zoo offers the chance to see around 320 species from around the world including large predators along the newly opened carnivore exhibit. Witness snow leopards, lions, tigers, and Tasmanian devils … oh my!
The zoo is easily accessed via public transportation and affordable parking is provided if coming via your own vehicle. Entry is included with your iVenture Card.
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