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Healesville Sanctuary

Healesville Sanctuary is located in Healesville, Australia. It has been operating since 1921.

The sanctuary is operated by Zoos Victoria which also operates Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo.

In the 2018/2019 year 471,000 people visited the sanctuary.


Spirits of the Sky

Spirits of the sky features the sanctuary’s birds flying freely. It aims to answer the question whether it is parrots or birds of prey which rule the sky.

Tales from platypus creek

A show demonstrating the platypus as it has never been seen before. Keepers play in the water with the platypus and tickle their tummies.

Kid’s Nature Play

This interactive space allows kids to let off some steam. It takes inspiration from the local Wurundjeri culture. There is tunnels, sand play and a sensory garden. There is also a large nest of Bunjil the eagle in which they can play.

Australian Wildlife Health Centre

The Australian Wildlife Health Centre works to heal both the resident animal’s at the sanctuary and those which have become ill in the wild.

It also includes a play area where children can try out being a vet with stuffed animal’s.

Healesville Sanctuary





Year Opened


Land Size

30ha (74acres)

Number of Species


healesville sanctuary

The Spirits of the Sky Arena


Healesville Sanctuary began life in 1921 when Dr Colin McKenzie gained 70 acres of land at a rate of one shilling per year. The land was used to establish the Australian Institute of Anatomy. This was used to study native fauna for the purpose of medical research. It drew scientists from the world over to help with this work.

In 1927 Dr Mackenzie made the move to Canberra so he could head a new anatomy institute. He handed over the land to Healesville council. A new curator, Robert Eadie was appointed and the local community helped to get the sanctuary ready to open. It was renamed the Colin Mackenzie Sanctuary for Australian Flora and Fauna. This was opened on 30th May 1934.

The sanctuary became world renowned for its platypus care and research. The first ever captive born platypus emerged from its egg at the sanctuary in 1940. This was a worldwide headline covered in London and New York. This was not repeated again for 55 years until twins Barak and Yarra Yarra were born in 1998.

By 1947 the sanctuary was a popular tourist destination and the Victorian State Government took control of the sanctuary.

The Zoological Parks Board took control of the park in 1978. It has developed into Australia’s premier sanctuary. In 1994 the Sidney Myer World of Platypus opened.

In 2005 the zoo opened a $6 million wildlife health centre.

During 2009 the zoo was threatened by the Black Saturday bushfires. Threatened species were sent to Melbourne Zoo as a precaution but the fires never reached the sanctuary.

In December 2017 the park unveiled Kangaroo Country which provided new enclosures for wombats and kangaroos along with a boardwalk to view koalas in the tree. It was the sanctuary’s biggest capital investment that decade.

healesville sanctuary

One of the koala habitats at the sanctuary

Main Exhibits

Dingo Country

Follow the dingo fence and enter into Dingo country. Dingo country is a dramatic rocky high country habitat and the home of healesvilles dingoes. The area is also home to a rustic alpine hut and is where you can hear the old bushman’s story.

Sidney Myer world of platypus

The Sidney Myer world of platypus opened in December 1994. The exhibit is a nocturnal habitat and is renowned as the best platypus exhibit in the world. It is also home to other Australian water animals such as eels and water-rats.

Land of Parrots

A walk in aviary where visitors may become a perch for some of the birds and can feed some of these birds. It houses a wide variety from tiny budgerigars to large parrots.

Animals of the night

Mountain pygmy possums, bilbies, gliders and bandicoots can all be seen in this nocturnal house. Next door is the wombat burrow where people can get close up to these creatures.

Cool Conservation

Highlights breeding programs for the mountain pygmy possum and the Southern corroboree frog. To access this space visitors travel through an aviary for helmeted honeyeaters and orange bellied parrots.

Reptile House

The reptile house is home to a range of reptiles such as snakes and lizards which the park are caring for. These include endangered species which the park are breeding such as the guthega skink.

Kangaroo Country

This exhibit is a walkthrough where you can meet various kangaroos and wallabies. Side habitats provide a view of tree kangaroos and wombats. Also in this area is the pouch house, an interactive play space where you can learn about marsupials.

The tree kangaroo habitat in kangaroo country

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