On our way back from a weekend trip to the Bellarine Peninsula we made a stop in to a free animal sanctuary. Yes! You read that correctly, free! Serendip Sanctuary is under an hour from home and makes a great little stop off.
What you can find in this post
Visiting Serendip Sanctuary
I wouldn’t necessarily say you will need a full day at Serendip, but for an hour or so it makes for a nice little break and run around.
Parks Victoria manages Serendip Sanctuary, which covers over 615 acres of grassy woodlands and wetlands on the volcanic plains, nestled in the Lara bushland.
Getting to the Sanctuary
The Serendip Wildlife Sanctuary is not far of the M1 Freeway. If coming from Melbourne take the Avalon Airport exit. If coming from Geelong, like we did, follow the Princess Hwy all the way. The entrance is on Windermere Road. You can click on the map below to add in your own starting point.
Family activities at Serendip Sanctuary
The Sanctuary is a great place to learn about and experience native wildlife, birdlife and wetlands without the crowds of the major zoo’s.
You don’t have to be lucky to spot some of the 150 species of birds which breed at or visit Serendip Sanctuary, you definitely will! There are many hides set up where birds can be seen swimming, feeding, preening and taking part in other family duties.
One of our favourite little finds was a Tawny Frog Mouth. Commonly mistaken for an owl.
There’s plenty for families to do and see while walking around Serendip Sanctuary. There are four walks which are all interconnecting nature trails. They are gentle well formed tracks, but they are gravel, so not all prams might push particularly easy along them. All the walking tracks are within easy walking distance of the Information Centre and the longest is 3km.
At the information centre, you can step into a dome to view the underwater world or look through a giant microscope. It could be a nice little set up but there wasn’t a great deal there when we visited, it felt a bit cold and empty.
We were quite keen to make it to the ponding site which is where we thought Ned and Olive would be able to dip nets into the water to catch and then study water bugs. Unfortunately, this wasn’t set up on our visit but normally there is a tub with nets, buckets and magnifying glasses for use.
The most popular walk will get you up close to some of our native Australian animals. Along this walk kids can test their jumping skills in the long jump pit. The kids can jump as far as they can and then measure it against different types of kangaroo jumps. I am not sure I believe the height that a kangaroo can jump to though?! If you have visited Serendip Santactuary before, let me know if you agree with the sign!!!
Serendip Sanctuary is open from 8am to 4pm every day except for Christmas Day and Good Friday.
Facilities at Serendip Sanctuary
Relax and enjoy a picnic during your visit to Serendip Sanctuary. The picnic area is located at the main visitor carpark.
- Electric barbecues
- Tables and seats
- Picnic shelter
- Toilets – suitable for people with restricted mobility
- Drinking water
- No rubbish bins are provided – please take your rubbish with you
- Logs on the edge of the car park which the kids walked along a million times!
Dogs and other animals are not permitted.
Looking after Serendip Sanctuary
It is our responsibility to look after the wildlife sanctuary during our visit. Please walk quietly so as not to frighten the free range animals away. Stick to the paths at all times (for many reasons but also because there are snakes!) and leave the animals to be wild. Please don’t try and feed them or touch them.
Overall thoughts on Serendip Sanctuary
We would definitely recommend Serendip Sanctuary as a good little spot for a run around and to view native Australian wildlife and bird life. Use it as a stop off on the way to or from the Great Ocean Road to break up the journey. I don’t think there is enough there to warrant a whole day trip from Melbourne but we enjoyed our little break.
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