Werribee's open range zoo has a new attraction. Now you can not only spend the day with the animals, but enjoy an overnight safari with them.
Guests check in at 3pm and have an hour's tour in a zebra-striped mini-bus. The park has many exhibits, each one exciting.
The volcanic plains have emus, kangaroos and wallabies living happily with swans, pelicans and geese. The hippos live at the waterholes and prefer to be alone. In the wild they are responsible for more human deaths than lions are!
The North American exhibit houses bison and the Asian deer, Mongolian horses and black bucks. The arid exhibit has African antelope, addax and camels. Another African area has oryx, camels and ostriches.
The upper savannah has kudu, zebras and eland and you cross the Werribee River to 37ha of lower savannah, which has rhinos, giraffes, zebras, eland and water buck.
All animals at Werribee are in their natural groupings and live comfortably together.
After the tour, you return to the campsite for refreshments. If you want alcohol, it's BYO. The camp is set about 20m above the savannah and is just the right spot to watch the sun go down. Just like being in Africa!
The eight tents are permanent, with wooden floors and decorated in 1920s safari style: wooden bed, mosquito nets, large wash bowl, jug and antique suitcases. Each contains an animal sculpture: lion, zebra, hippo, meerkat, guinea fowl and cheetah. There is a separate recreational tent for socialising and eating.
In true African style there is a drum workshop at the camp. Drumming instructions are given as everyone sits around the campfire. The noise doesn't seem to bother the animals at all.
Dinner is a gourmet barbecue of meat, kebabs, vegetables and salads, all prepared by camp leaders. After dinner, it's back to the campfire for toasting marshmallows, making damper, playing games, telling stories and marvelling at the stars.
An optional extra is a photographic safari. This is in an open-top jeep through the lower savannah. Canoe safaris take place along the river. Both of these attractions come at a cheaper price for those taking part in the slumber safari.