Badger Creek Road
Number of animals
The sanctuary is home to around 200 species of animal.
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 platypi 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.
The Size of the zoo
Healesville sanctuary is set in 30ha (74 acres) of bushland.
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 1994. 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.
Follow the dingo fence and enter into Dingo country. Dingo country is a dramatic rocky high country habitat and the home of healesvilles dingos. 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 tiny budgerigars and large parrots.
Animals of the night
Mountain pygmy possums, bilbies, gliders, Lord Howe Island stick insects 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.
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.