After a good night’s rest, we managed to get the boys fed and shooed out of the door by 9ish. The Healesville Sanctuary was a 5 minute’s drive from the apartment. There were really few visitors when we arrived.
We purchased the tickets and also added the option to feed kangaroos at $12 per person. It had seemed rather pricey at the gate to fork out $110.60 for 2 adults and 1 child. Furthermore, the $12 only allowed you to feed 1 animal. If you wished to feed koala bears, wombat and others, it would be an additional $12 per animal per person!
The lady at the counter suggested that we feed the kangaroos as it would be more engaging and fun. Koala bears were always sleeping and not very friendly. She was right!
At the stipulated time, we waited at the kangaroos’ area for the zookeeper. We were told to feed only the young ones as the adult kangaroos could be very aggressive. Actually, the younger ones were pretty active and demanded for the hay. There were dried corns which got the kangaroos even more excited. They ate off our hands and no matter how excited they were, they were gentle in eating off our hands. Z really enjoyed himself at the feeding. I guess that made the 3*$12 well spent.
Petting a kangaroo after a feed (at $12 per pax)
Posing with the roo
Healesville Sanctuary was pretty huge. It was much bigger than the Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney. There were a lot of conservation tips on how we could protect the environment so that the wildlife animals had a better place to live in. There was even an animal hospital where injured wildlife could be admitted to. They would be cared for till they recovered. When we were there, there were no injured animals but the hospital was caring for newborn animals such as a baby wombat. Aww… so cute!
At Animal hospital
The hospital had amazing equipment such as an operating theatre, patients’ rooms and more. We continued the walk to see more animals such as Tasmanian Devil, wombats, wallabies and more. The display panels were informative and there were many keepers on site who were really helpful in explaining.
We also caught a ‘Birds of Prey’ show where the eagles & macaws took to the sky. It took us almost 4 hours to finish the trail. By then, the boys were hungry. I popped into the souvenir shop to take a look and X made a beeline for the sunglasses’ stand. We picked out 2 pairs of sunglasses and were checking for new stocks when the terrible toddler managed to smash a souvenir mug in the store. The folks at the store were very sweet and did not even blink an eye, nor chid X for doing so. Neither did they even ask us to pay for the broken mug.
We felt more obligated to purchase the sunglasses. Once we paid, we hurriedly got out of the store and drove over to Bella Vedere for lunch. It was a restaurant based in a vineyard. While the wines were average, the kitchen churned out delicious meals. We ordered 3 entrees for Z and us since X had his porridge and conked out. We had the pork belly, trout and breaded scallops at $55.
The awesome lunch at Bella Vedere
After lunch, we drove to Yarra Valley Chocolatier & Ice Creamery. It was a large establishment and we could see bus loads of tourists at this place. There was free chocolate sampling at the door. To be honest, I was not too impressed with the taste and quality of chocolate.
However, there was a huge glass window which allowed visitors to see how chocolates were made. We could follow the manufacturing chain along the window. The merchandising display was very colourful.
We ordered 3 scopes of ice cream and settled down at the bistro. The ice cream was good but if we compared it to Timboon’s, it was worlds’ apart. There was an open space outside the bistro where there were huge balls for the kids and adults to play. We ended up playing for a really long time because the kids were so amused.
Having a ball of a time at Yarra Valley chocolatier
We drove around the Yarra Valley region and checked out the Tarawarra Vineyard as well as the Blueberry winery. The wines made from blueberries were quite nice. Unfortunately, we would be flying to Tasmania and we were trying not to buy anything prior to our domestic flights.
After the vineyards closed at 5pm, we brought the kids to the local playground. They played for nearly an hour before we brought them over to Innocent Bystander (1 minute’s drive away) for dinner.
The decor at Innocent Bystander was industrial and you could see their huge barrels of alcohol (wine) behind glass panels. The foods were served in tapas or entree style for sharing. We ordered grilled steak, grilled chicken, truffle fries and pizza.
Though it came highly recommended and rather alternative in terms of flavours, I thought the food was a tad too salty. We could also have been too stuffed to enjoy the food. I wished the food could be served faster too because X got so restless from the waiting that it made us hurry through dinner too.