If you are a fan of our furry Aussie icons, you are going to love this place!
Savannah Walkabout Tours leave Melbourne at 9.30am in the Echidna Walkabout minibus. In just 45 minutes you reach the 250 hectare Serendip Sanctuary which is an excellent example of the open grassy woodlands and wetlands of the volcanic Western Plains. It is the best place to learn about and experience birdlife and wetlands ecology.
In 1856 the property of Lara was sold by the Crown to a businessman from Launceston. The land included the area now occupied by Serendip and has been sold and re-sold many times. It has been a sheep stud, general farm, health recovery resort for alcoholics, a research station and bird banding headquarters for waterfowl and ducks.
In the 1960s and '70s, gradual changes were made by the Fisheries and Wildlife Division for research and in 1987 is was redeveloped into a wetlands education centre, bringing the Western Plains to the people.
Janine and Roger have been running their business for 10 years and share a passion for wildlife and its wellbeing. They are aiming to set up a koala research centre and carefully track the movements of those who live in the sanctuary.
It's a good idea to start your visit in the theatrette and activities room, maybe step into the underwater world or take a look down the giant microscope before heading along nature trails, seeing wildlife in their natural habitat.
Large mobs of kangaroos, koalas, emus, wallabies and pademelons live happily at Serendip.
Over 150 species of bird common to the Plains have been recorded at Serendip and facilities make it ideal for viewing them in natural surroundings. You will see strutting brolgas, free-ranging ibis and magpie geese in the shallow freshwater wetland, mountain ducks, black swans, wood ducks, coots, hardhead ducks and grebes in and around the marshland.
Honeyeaters and wattlebirds love the nectar and insects provided by the trees around Lake Serendip. Black-shouldered kites and whistling kites soar above looking for small prey.
The spike-rush pond provides habitat for blue-billed ducks, black ducks, swamphens and moorhens, frogs, snakes and water rats. The north arm permanent wetland provides food for pelicans and cormorants. You will see chestnut teals, spoonbills, Australian bustards and bush thick-knees.
The wonderful thing about this wildlife is that thanks to the safe haven of Serendip, they are now multiplying.
Just over an hour's drive from Melbourne, the Brisbane Ranges National Park is home to Victoria's richest examples of wildflowers, as well as having the state's greatest density of koalas.
The low-set mountains are dissected by rocky gullies and the unusual geology has preserved plants which have long-since vanished from other areas. This has the added benefit of a diverse bird population of around 180 species including the magnificent peregrine falcon, rainbow bird and powerful owl. There are swamp wallabies, eastern grey kangaroos, nocturnal brush-tailed and ring-railed possum, sugar gliders and tuans.
The soil is sandy and supports 619 species which represent almost a quarter of Victoria's native flora. Many are rare or remote from their usual localities. The Brisbane Ranges' grevillea, while common there, is found nowhere else in the world.