- 3.5 hours
includes koala encounter
How can you go all the way to Australia and not see kangaroos and koalas? You can’t. Or at least we couldn’t. As our stay in Australia was coming to an end we decided we needed to try and see some wildlife, but at this point we were in Melbourne. We knew going out into nature and seeing animals was out of the question, so we looked for the next best thing. That is when we found the Moonlit Sanctuary.
Moonlit is an animal sanctuary (as the name implies) where you can get up close and personal with many animals, for the purpose of educating the public. Unlike many places, where animals are sedated to allow guests to interact with them, Moonlit follows very strict guidelines for visitor interaction with the animals and always has the animals best interests in mind.
Moonlit has many animals native to Australia, including koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, dingos, many bird species, an emu and a tasmanian devil named Rosie. This is one of the few places in Australia, and the only one near Melbourne, where you can safely pet a koala and feed wallabies and kangaroos. Moonlit is unlike a zoo. It is more like a park with a relaxed atmosphere. The landscape is dotted with trees and we were able to meander along the marked trails to catch a napping wallaby here and there.
We of course had to pet the koala. In nature it is very dangerous to attempt this, but at Moonlit they have created an environment that is safe and comfortable for the koalas. The two that live there were born at the facility and have been raised around humans, so they are relaxed and comfortable. The staff controls the number of visitors the koalas see daily and the amount of time people can spend with them. The zoo keeper had each group enter the area separately, with only one person at a time around the koala. Each of us took turns petting the koala while he sat there enjoying an afternoon snack of eucalyptus. He really seemed to not care that people were there petting him. He was so soft. It was like petting a stuffed animal.
After spending time with the koalas we wandered around the beautiful property where we attempted to feed the kangaroo and wallabies that hop around out in the open. We watched as the zoo keeper fed the tasmanian devil and we pet some of the friendly parrots while they were in their enclosure.
Even though we only spent a few hours there, it was a great afternoon and a very worthwhile side trip from Melbourne.