Healesville Sanctuary

Mathew and I visited Healesville Sanctuary a few weekends back to see some of our truly cute and wonderful native animals. I learned many a-thing:
1) Australia has some seriously weird-ass animals,
2) the early settlers must have lost their shit on a regular basis,
3) ibises are damn annoying when you’re trying to eat lunch, and
4) I want to come back as a wombat.

We were lucky enough to walk through the wallaby section just as the keepers were coming by to feed them. They asked us if we’d like to give it a go. Is the pope catholic?? YES PLEASE. PLEASE GIVE ME THE VEGETABLES SO I CAN THROW THEM TO THIS SUPER CUTE AND FURRY GIANT RABBIT WITH A TAIL. Talk about timing!

Healesville Sanctuary 02Look familiar? This is the adorable wombat munching on some sweet potato and corn that featured in A Snapshot of Two Cities #13.

Look familiar? This is the adorable wombat munching on some sweet potato and corn that featured in A Snapshot of Two Cities #13. She got super comfortable and lay down on the log to enjoy her snack.

Healesville Sanctuary 09
This guy was one of my favourites. He looked so old and wise perched up there, taking a nap. UNTIL one of those young motherfluffin’ whippersnappers landed on a lower branch and shook him awake. He looked distinctly unhappy after that.
Just as Mathew and I got to this guy, he decided it was a good idea to turn around and face the other way. Let me tell you, it was one of the most awkward things I’ve ever seen. He nearly fell off twice. So graceful.

Healesville Sanctuary 04 Healesville Sanctuary 03 Healesville Sanctuary 07

Healesville Sanctuary 11
What choo lookin’ at?
Healesville Sanctuary 06
How sweet is this masked owl, just dozing away?
Healesville Sanctuary 12
Because Australia just wasn’t terrifying enough.
Healesville Sanctuary 16
This family of ducks provided the most dramatic and stressful part of the day. The parents were desperately trying to get their ducklings to fly up a short step in the waterfall section of the river. Problem was, mum and dad didn’t seem to realise that their babies were unable to fly and the “tiny” distance they were easily covering with two flaps of their wings was a colossal wall of rushing water to their babies. The ducklings swam back and forth along the base of the step, chirping away frantically while mum and dad quacked their insistent instructions. Mum and dad even hopped down a few times to demonstrate what they wanted the babies to do. To no avail. The ducklings kept swimming around in a little group, failing at the day’s test but winning at fuzzy ADORABLENESS.
Healesville Sanctuary 18
Is it just me or do kangaroos look like weird, stretched out donkeys?

Healesville Sanctuary 13 Healesville Sanctuary 14 Healesville Sanctuary 15 Healesville Sanctuary 17When was the last time you visited your local zoo? Mathew and I like to go on a semi-regular basis (especially when there are cute baby dingo pups or wombats, not gonna lie) and I finally got my arse into gear and signed up for a year-long membership. I now get entry into any of the three amazing zoos we have as many times as I want! I could go every day if I wanted to and sometimes that is very tempting.

Do you have a favourite native animal? I don’t like to have favourites but the wombats and wallabies are probably up there. I just want to pat and cuddle them so very much.


Jacquie is a 20-something maker and writer from Melbourne. She enjoys eating virtually anything that is labelled salted caramel and, contrary to popular belief, has forgotten how to ride a bike. She feels ambivalent about writing in the third person but thought it might be fun. It was.


  1. Isabel

    Amazing photos Jacquie! I love them all, but perhaps especially your shots of the birds. That peaceful owl is just divine, and the bright finches on the branches and in their tray. Gorgeous! Yes, I agree that kangaroos look a bit like stretched out donkeys. Kangaroos are such funny-looking animals, you wouldn’t think they could move so fast to look at them, would you? I also don’t like to have favourites, but I do particularly appreciate echidnas and platypi (is that the plural?). I love the platypus because it’s so weird and wonderful, with it’s duck bill, laying eggs but suckling its young, claws, and they’re so elusive and hard to spot. Earlier this year, I was on a bush walk in Tasmania on my own, and came across an echidna snuffling for ants on the path ahead. I quietly sat down on a log to watch it, and it completely ignored me, totally focused on using its pointy beak to shovel up ants and grubs from the dirt. It was amazing x


    1. birdandfox

      Thank you! I was a little surprised by just how many birds there were actually, but I guess we do have a pretty impressive range! Those finches were pesky little things – I didn’t think I’d got a good, clear photo of them but was pleasantly surprised when I looked back over my photos 🙂

      Echidnas and platypuses (I think either term is a-okay!) are also some of my favourites. We didn’t manage to see them this time though 🙁 Next time! Platypuses are just so adorable and weird looking hehe. Your echidna interaction sounds so cute! I was walking a trail somewhere in the Dandenongs and saw one snuffling along the side of the path. So freakin’ cute! x


  2. Carolyn

    I have not been to the zoo for yonks. We took two exchange students to Healesville a few years ago to experience the wacky Australian wildlife. Like Insabel, I too am a bit of a fan of the echidna, although I’m not sure I would want to cuddle one. I do love a rainbow lorikeet as well and love seeing them on our weekend walks. I always think kangaroos are like giant mice, like in the Sylvester and Tweetie cartoon. What an assault to the senses our wildlife must have been to the early settlers. Our animals really must have looked like they came out of one of those crazy mix and match type kids books -too big feet, too long legs, bills on otter bodies!


    1. birdandfox

      What a brilliant experience for people from overseas! There were quite a few tourists the day we were there – it’s certainly a popular place and I can see why! Our animals really are so strange and wonderful. I’ve lived here my entire life and still find echidnas, emus, roos, wombats, etc. so fascinating. I highly recommend making the trip if you are keen to visit the zoo again!


  3. Laura

    1) I’m so glad you love visiting animals as much as me. You’ll have to take me here sometime! 2) I think I want a pet wombat – they’re oddly beautiful creatures. 3) what in the heck kind of bird is photo number 10 – above the masked owl!? Is it another owl? I must know! 4) I can’t help but wonder how Australia ended up with such a bizarre assortment of animals! Kangaroos? And NZ is not that far away really. But yet are animals are so different. 🙂 thanks for sharing.


    1. birdandfox

      1) Of course I love visiting animals! How could anyone not? Seriously, so much fun. And yes, Healesville or something similar would definitely be on my list of places to take you 😀 2) I think we are the same person because I’ve said to Mathew multiple times that I want a pet wombat. He has (perhaps quite rightly) strongly discouraged this. 3) It’s a tawny frogmouth! It looks like an owl but isn’t classified as one. They’re pretty freakin’ adorable though. So disheveled and fluffy and grumpy 😀 4) I actually don’t know much about the NZ fauna! Aside from the kiwi…it will be your turn to show me sometime 🙂 Thanks for commenting, lovely!


Leave a reply