Werribee Open Range Zoo is located 35 kilometres west of Melbourne CBD. It is a short 30-minute drive from the city over the Westgate Bridge or via the Geelong Road. The 225-hectare zoo located near the Werribee River in Werribee Park is visited by nearly 600,000 people every year.
Werribee zoo is part of the portion of land purchased by the Victorian Government in the mid 1970’s which was owned by the Chirnside family estate until it was sold to the Catholic Church in 1927. Victorian Government purchased the land considering its cultural and historical relevance to the state of Victoria. The Property was broken into four: Werribee Zoo, Werribee park Golf Club, Werribee Mansion and Grounds, and the National Equestrian Centre.
Zoo began its life as an extra pasture land for the surplus stock of Melbourne Zoo. Werribee zoo is managed by the Board of Zoos Victoria together with Melbourne Zoo and Healesville sanctuary. Work began on the zoo by constructing enclosures and planting trees in 1975 and by 1977, Melbourne zoo began transferring animals to the site. In 1977 a decision was taken to develop the zoo into an open zoo themed on African Savanna Species of animals. Though most animals were transferred from Melbourne zoo, zebras came from Rotterdam zoo and hippos from Whipsnade Animal Park in UK in the early 1980’s. The zoo was opened to public in 1983.
The zoo focuses on three objectives: Recreation; Conservation and Education. The zoo gives special focus in the conservation of Rhinos, Screw horn antelope, Scimitar horned Oryx, Giraffe, Eastern barred bandicoot, Preszwalski’s Horse and Cheetah.
Main Attractions at the zoo
Simulated African Village: Simulated African village has both educational and entertaining features and recreates a mock scenario of an African ranger.
Safari Tour: This forty-minute tour may take upto one hour, if hippos or any other animal happens to block the road. The tour bus passes through Savannah grasslands to explore the open plains where you can spot Rhinos, Camels, Giraffes, Ostriches, Bison and Addax.
Australian Journey: A walking path to see Kangaroos, Emu,Brolga,Koalas and other Australian animals.
Specific enclosures: Lion enclosure, Gorilla Enclosure and Kubu River Hippos.
Special packages: There are many special tour options to get to know the animals up and close.
Weddings functions and facilities: There are facilities for organising family functions like Weddings and Kids birthday parties. Corporate functions and outdoor events also can be hosted at the functions area of the zoo. Details are available at their website https://www.zoo.org.au/werribee/
Address: K Rd, Werribee South VIC 3030
Opening hours: Open 8am – 5pm from 26 December to 31 December and 9am – 5pm every other day of the year
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