Yesterday Shannon and I journeyed to Healesville Animal Sanctuary in, you guessed it…Healesville!
The animal sanctuary was about an hour’s drive from Melbourne, most of it through gorgeous rolling hills and Yarra Valley wineries. The mountains surrounding the valley, the Dandenongs, offer some of the best views in Victoria. And no, I can’t pronounce it either.
Healesville itself was adorable — I couldn’t imagine a more perfect place to retire in the summer and just drink wine all day. Tiny little shops on the one main drag, then miles of vineyards as far as the eye can see. This little hotel was adorable:
Soon enough, we made a left and headed toward the sanctuary. The park’s 3k loop takes you through all the famous Australian wildlife. Dingoes, all sorts of kangaroos, bunches of wallabies, a duck-billed platypus, emus, parrots, hawks, lizards, snakes, etc. No crocs though! That’s for later, up north.
At 2:30 we sat down with a hundred or so screaming children there because of their school holidays and proceeded to watch a show about birds of prey. I remember Beatrice the Black-breasted buzzard and James Brown, both hawk-like, scavenging, scary birds. (Of course they were nice and trained and stuff, but I wouldn’t want either of ’em swooping down on my head, thankyouverymuch.) I’m a sucker for that stuff, and loved when they showed how one of the birds uses rocks to open emu or ostrich eggs. They gave him a plastic one and a rock and he did it for us a few times. Only two birds in the world use tools like that, and the other is in Africa.
After the show, one of the other keepers showed the crowd how to throw a boomerang. I paid close attention but haven’t actually attempted yet (I did buy one for $10). I reckon (ha, I said it) I’ll give it a go in Sydney or something.
Dinner…dinner was another story. We went here and ate lots and lots and lots of meat. If there were ever a jail for vegetarians, this would be it. Ridiculously, my favorite part of the meal was the pumpkin. Yum! (sidenote: they don’t have pumpkin pie in Australia — blasphemy!)
Anyway, pics are up on flickr!