Thursday 7 May 2015

Melbourne Day 7: Healesville Sanctuary & Buxton Trout Fishing

We are going back to Yarra Valley again because we liked it so much the other time (and because my mum-in-law wanted to visit a zoo).

We passed St Huberts Vineyard along the way and decided to stop by so that the bro-in-law can experience wine-tasting.

St Huberts Vineyard
(Address: Cnr Maroondah Highway, St Huberts Road, Coldstream, Victoria 3770, Australia;
Opening Hours: 10am - 5pm everyday (closed on Christmas Day))
With a huge wine barrel at the entrance to the winery 
Look at the beautiful view!

The tasting counter was already packed with people. A member of staff approached us with different kinds of wine to try while explaining its taste and origins.

Stay for wine and cheese!
Happily enjoying the wine tasting

Of course we bought a bottle to support. We always find it rude of some people who like to try everything so enthusiastically but not buy anything.

Taken with a self-timer because I love this tree

The kids were starting to get restless so it was time to continue to our destination, Healesville Sanctuary.

Healesville Sanctuary
(Address: Badger Creek Road, Healesville, Victoria 3777, Australia;
Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm everyday)

Although Healesville Sanctuary is also home to many other animals native to Australia, we were here for one animal and one animal alone. The koalas!

The kids love running around on the boardwalk and watching the koalas
This koala is awake!!!
We were so lucky because we had never seen one awake before even though we've been to so many zoos in Australia.

Usually koalas are asleep for the majority of the day so I was really surprised to see that this koala was awake. Mum-in-law told me that it was actually my girl who woke him up from his sleep by calling out to him! Aiyo! Poor koala. Ah well. Was so happy to be able to take a video of it eating too though! =)

I love how close we were to the koala. Totally not like our experience at the Koala Conservation Centre where the koalas were high up in the trees.

With the koala in the background
Porcupine sleeping in its burrow

Mum-in-law wanted an even closer encounter with the koalas so we bought meet-and-greet tickets for her, the bro-in-law and my girl for AUD 12 each (expensive to me because the price does not include hard copies unlike Wildlife Sydney!). Hubby and I decided to sit this one out because we've already taken photos with koalas when we were in Sydney.

Briefing before entering the enclosure
Taking a photo for them from outside the enclosure

Because the mum-in-law loved the photos that the Official Photographer had taken, she later paid AUD 50 for all the soft copies (individual hard copies already cost AUD 15 per piece).

Taken by the Official Photographer
(in one photo, baby boy was actually biting on one of the leaves exactly like the koala!)
Taken by the Official Photographer
(again my girl woke this one with her screams of "don't let the koala poop on me!!!" (-_-))

It was a pity that they didn't get a lot of photos taken by the Official Photographer because 1) we were taking our own photos thinking we can save some money by not purchasing theirs, 2) my girl was scared to go near for the pictures so half the time was spent coaxing her, and 3) it started drizzling! I thought it was such a waste since we were already paying for unlimited soft copies, the more the merrier! Ah well, moral of the story: don't be a cheapo; and don't tell the girl the koala will poop on her (glares at hubby)! *pfft*

We ran like crazy to the nearest restaurant in the area so as to avoid being caught in the rain. It turned out to be Sanctuary Harvest.

Clockwise from left: Eating Homecooked noodles and sausages;
This time I was smart enough to put the box in the ice-box so the food was still warm when we ate it!;
Yummy hot chocolate from the cafe.
Eating at the table right next to yet another koala enclosure
(if you look carefully, you can see the koala in the background)

If you have got some time to spare, let your kids play in the playground next door. It is one of two playgrounds located within Healesville Sanctuary.

The awesome playground located beside Sanctuary Harvest

There's also a very beautiful nursing room right beside the cafe as well (review of nursing room here), so I would highly recommend taking a break at Sanctuary Harvest if you are going to Healesville Sanctuary with young kids.

After lunch, we continued our exploration and visited the Wildlife Hospital on their premise.

Australia Wildlife Health Centre

The nice thing about this place is that you get to see real surgeries as and when there's one going on. My girl was mesmerized. It was like seeing Bondi Vet in real life! Very cool =)

Observing a surgery in action

We continued next to see other animals in the park.

Clockwise from left: Kangaroo ahead!;
Animals in the night;
Kangaroos that you can touch if you dare!
These look like kangaroos but they are actually wallabies
Clockwise from left: Girl with the bats hanging upside-down in the background;
A very cute but lonely wombat;
Girl trying to see it upclose.
This Tasmanian Devil was asleep (probably full from lunch since you can see the remains of it in the foreground) but was briefly awaken by my girl (yes again!). In her defense, she was just trying to say hello.
(he took one look around and promptly went back to sleep)

Unlike my mum, sis and bro, who did not enjoy going to the zoos in Sydney at all, my mum-in-law and brother-in-law had a blast! Now I know who to visit zoos with! *grin*

We could have spent more time in Healesville Sanctuary if not because the hubby wanted to head to Buxton Trout & Salmon Farm for fishing. The farm was approximately 45 minutes away so we need to set off latest by 3pm.

The road to the farm was very winding! And it felt very creepy, like Hansel and Gretel venturing into the woods.

Winding mountain road through the forest

We had finally arrived!

Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm
(Address: 2118 Maroondah Highway, Buxton, VIC 3711, Australia)

They were going to close in an hour so they didn't charge us for rental of their rods and bait. "As long as you catch something, you just pay for it alright" said the staff. Sounds good to me! =)

Left: Close up of the bait and fish food;
Right: The kind staff explaining how it works to us.

We were so excited to get started! Images of triumph in catching our own dinner flashed in our minds as we cast our baits into the water.

Hubby and brother-in-law at the Trout pond
Clockwise from left: A staff teaching me how to do it;
Ripples in the water;
Hubby trying to fish at the Salmon pond
(we were told that it was much harder to catch a salmon)

Alas, it was not to be. In usual clumsy me fashion, I was too anxious to reel in my line and lost the fish at the end of the hook. Added to the fact that it started to drizzle and many of the fish went to hiding, we simply couldn't catch anything.

Baby Boy playing with the fishing net
Kids hide out under the shelter and played while waiting

Even though it was drizzling, none of us were willing to give up! But as the closing time arrived, we can't help but feel dejected that we didn't manage to catch our dinner after all.

That was before the staff took out his secret weapon: a fishing rod with a wriggly plastic thing at the hook that is meant to mimick a live bait struggling in the water. In less than a minute, the hubby caught his first trout! Now why didn't he bring out his secret weapon earlier?!

Hubby was so elated that he caught his first fish

The bro-in-law was slower but soon caught one as well! You can clearly see the triumph in their faces =)


As for me I didn't really care as long as I have fish to eat for dinner! The man was really skillful in gutting the fish and finished cleaning both in just 5 minutes!

Gutting the fish and putting them in a bag for us to take home

Both fish cost us only AUD 15 (about there, can't remember exactly), very cheap if you ask me =)

We quickly headed home because we didn't want to be stuck in the forest with no daylight. The winding Road was already scary enough in the day, I can't imagine at night.

The way back was actually scarier because we were now driving on the cliff side of the road. The car was driving at the edge of the cliff and if you look down, you'll feel like the car would slide down any minute.

This road has no street lamps, only tiny lights on the road to guide your way.

The hubby was driving as fast as he could (and we're not even considered fast, the locals are so much faster!) through the winding road and soon my girl got carsick. I told her to close her eyes and thankfully that helped her not to puke.

When we finally exited the mountains, we all heaved a sigh of relief. You know you are a city dweller through and through when you take comfort in the city lights *laughs*

The first thing we did when we got back to the apartment was to prepare dinner. We were starving!

Me preparing the fish for the oven:
Cut slices of lemon to be placed both inside and outside of the fish, Add salt and a lot of pepper and you're done!
All ready to put our trout into the oven

Ah, the smell of fresh trout. Yum!

The end product!

Do take note that the trout has a lot of tiny bones so better check carefully before feeding young children.

Our sumptuous homecooked dinner!

Such a great end to a lovely day. If you've got more time in Yarra Valley, there's a really great playground that I had wanted to visit but didn't because we ran out of time (details found in my Printable Itinerary below). It's a great alternative to fishing if fishing is not your thing =)

Continue to >> Melbourne Day 8: Apple-Picking at Paynes Orchards
<< Back to Melbourne Day 6: Great Ocean Road (Torquay)


Check out our full list of kid-friendly attractions in Melbourne
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