Kelly didn't have to travel thousands of kilometres to experience an African adventure. Just half an hour from Melbourne, Werribee Open Range Zoo has amazing animals living in wide, open savannah. Mingle with grazing rhinos, giraffes and zebras, cheeky monkeys and cheetahs and get close to a pride of lions. The new Kubu River experience has a family of hippos.
If you find a day at the zoo just isn't long enough, then gather your family and stay overnight for a really rewarding experience.
Activities vary according to season, weather and animal husbandry requirements, but as a general guide it all begins at 3pm when your hosts greet you and take you on a private tour of the spectacular savannah and continue for an animal close encounter.
At around 5pm you settle into your luxury safari lodge and take in the view from your deck. Then everyone meets for drinks and nibbles before tucking into an African-inspired gourmet barbecue dinner. It could be the first time you have dinner whilst looking at zebras and rhinoceros! Soft drinks are supplied, grog is BYO.
Evening activities are flexible so just relax. At 9.30pm you return to the campsite for a crackling campfire. When it's time to turn in there's warm bedding if needed, hot water bottles and even earplugs to keep out the sounds of your four-legged neighbours!
Gentle birdcalls wake you in time for a cooked buffet breakfast served in the dining lodge. There are showers a short stroll from your tent.
After breakfast, head off on a second animal close encounter. You and your luggage are returned to the bus shelter, but if you've chosen to take part in a specialty tour, that's up next. They include an Open Vehicle Adventure, Raising Rhino, Rip Roaring Feed and Tall Order Safari and are available to Slumber Safari guests at a 20% discount.
Guests have access to the zoo for the rest of the day to enjoy walking trails and other attractions.
A few things to note include there is no heating or electricity, so make sure your camera and phone are charged before you leave home. Take warm clothing and night attire, comfortable shoes, a torch, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, toiletries and medications. Most of all, pack your sense of adventure.
Your private vehicle will be locked in the zoo car park 10 minutes from the zoo entrance.
Werribee Open Range Zoo, 35 kilometres west of Melbourne.
Werribee Slumber Safaris cost $295 for adults and $285 for children. For safety reasons, children younger than 12 years of age are not permitted. Tented accommodation, admission to the zoo, meals and activities are included.
Virgin Blue has flights to Melbourne.
One-way fares from:
- Adelaide $ 79
- Hobart $ 64
- Canberra $ 85
- Sydney $ 95
- Brisbane $ 139
- Darwin $ 169
- Perth $ 219
There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are subject to change.
Prices correct on 22 October, 2009.
For further information
Ph: 13 6789
Werribee Open Range Zoo
Ph: (03) 9731 9600
Fax: (03) 9731 9606