Feathers and Fur

An Australian Point of View #6 Healesville Sanctuary

Australia is renowned for its unique wildlife and we sometimes joke that international visitors imagine there are kangaroos jumping down our main streets. While estimates put the kangaroo population at more than 50 million, urban dwellers don’t tend to see them unless they leave the towns and cities behind and head into rural areas. Other well-known Australian animals like koalas, echidnas and platypuses are even more difficult to spot in the wild.

A beautiful place to see many of our native animals is Healesville Sanctuary, an hour’s drive from Melbourne in the Yarra Valley. A bushland zoo dedicated to Australian fauna, the sanctuary is home to those native animals with which we are all familiar and some others less ordinary.



Two walk-through aviaries, Land of Parrots and the Wetlands, have purpose-built hides where visitors can quietly observe native birds in their natural environment.


Flightless emus have their own large enclosure.

The zoo has an extensive conservation and breeding program for some of Australia’s most threatened or endangered species.

Native flowering plants bring seasonal colour to the paths leading through each bushland environment.

Unsurprisingly, the most popular exhibit is the Koala Forest, where raised boardwalks and platforms rise up into the canopy of the eucalypts. Here, the sleepy marsupials rest in the forked branches of manna gums, seemingly unaware of their admiring audience.

For a close up view of Australia’s unique wildlife, Healesville Sanctuary is the perfect choice – it’s easier than waiting on the street!

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57 thoughts on “Feathers and Fur

  1. There’s a wonderful assortment of photos here Carol. I wish I’d known about this sanctuary when I was last in Melbourne. We went to the Melbourne zoo one dampish Sunday, where I spent a wonderful couple of hours watching the wombats sleep in their underground burrows. They remain my favourite Aussie critter!

  2. That’s a great collection of photos of what looks to be a place well worth visiting, Carol. . That Gouldian Finch is especially stunning in its multi-coloured feathers.

    • Australia is a big empty country so the kangaroos have plenty of room to spread out. Just one thing Judy – koalas aren’t bears, not even related. So they’re just koalas. it’s a common error. πŸ™‚ Isn’t he a cutie.

  3. Love the Australian animals. Kangaroo and wallabies are favorites. Koala is adorable but I’d like them to be a little more active. Your colorful birds are beautiful. This would be a favorite place for me. Thanks for introducing it and sharing.

  4. Looks like a grand place to visit. I have been fortunate to see some of your wildlife in the wild, though those koalas can take some finding. Your first sentence reminded me of when we came back to live in England and children in my daughter’s class thought she must have lived in a mud hut with lions outside. She thought they were very silly as we lived in a normal house with a swimming pool and the only lions we heard were in the lion park several miles away from one of the houses we had lived in.

  5. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Alte and about | restlessjo

  6. Wonderful photos, I love the birds but my favourite has to be the sleeping koala πŸ™‚ If I could have any Australian animal as a pet though it would have to be a wombat, I think they are so cute and adorable πŸ™‚

  7. I will never get over the first time I saw wild Kangeroos, munching away on grass. I had no idea at all what I thought they ate, but clearly by my reaction at the time I had never considered grass. Duh I said to myself!!

    • I suppose unless we’re familiar with an animal we don’t really consider what we actually know about them. We loved seeing all the squirrels in Canada and took heaps of photos but our daughter said no one in Canada thinks they’re special. She was quite embarrassed on our behalf and would walk away when we got the camera out. Haha!

      • Hee hee, love it you can still embarrass your daughter! Your and my experience highlight why travelling is so great, encourages us to look at everything around us πŸ˜€

  8. I spent the last few minutes thoroughly enjoying your blog – and learning a lot about Australia! It’s well-written, and the beautiful photos are a great addition to the posts. πŸ™‚

  9. One of the best things about our Australia trip were the animals! Although they weren’t at every street corner we did see a great deal in the wild, especially Tasmania. Love your photos which bring back lovely memories. We visited a sanctuary and learned a great deal.

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