Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga is the most northern point of the North Island open to the public.  It is where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea meet.

IMG_2314

Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) is also the point where Māori spirits return to Hawaiki, their ancestral homeland. For this reason, eating is not permitted at Cape Reinga.

A sealed walkway heads from the carpark to the iconic lighthouse and yellow direction signpost. The walkway is suitable both prams and wheelchairs. There are panels along the walkway providing history on the area.

The lighthouse was constructed in 1941 and was the last manned lighthouse to be built in New Zealand. It was manned by a person until 1987. It now fully automated and operated remotely from Wellington.

Cape Reinga is 1 hour and 30 minutes drive north of Kaitaia.

IMG_2235

IMG_2246

IMG_2293

IMG_2278

IMG_2287IMG_2258

IMG_2261

IMG_2272

IMG_2273

012

Werribee Park and Mansion, Australia

Werribee Park Mansion is an Italianate style mansion in Werribee, south-west of Melbourne.

13533036_10153506244210810_7688069264350867183_n

Werribee Park Mansion was built between 1874 and 1877 by Scottish brothers Thomas and Andrew Chirnside. Thomas committed suicide in 1887. Andrew died three years later and the property was divided between his four sons.

In 1923, it was brought by the Catholic Church, who added additional wings, and it became Corpus Christi College, a Catholic seminary.

Currently it is owned by the Victorian Government. A separate wing housing the Mansion Hotel and Spa was later built.

13528657_10153506245550810_261903603665289417_n

It is free to explore the Werribee Park Mansion gardens and grounds, but entry to the Mansion is by admission.

One of the features of the 10 hectare grounds is an ornamental lake. A grotto is located on a man-made island in the middle of the lake. The grotto was built in 1877 and decorated by the Chirnside family. The ceiling is lined with shells from their holiday home at Point Cooke.

13567270_10153506244535810_5068936339935159518_n

13516325_10153506244720810_5786704914828622768_n

13567108_10153506244300810_5475994669270593563_n

13532864_10153506244845810_2090073618623469700_n

13511011_10153506245285810_301102242546901766_n

Werribee Park and Mansion is located at Gate 2, K Road, Werribee.

Werribee Open Range Zoo, Australia

Werribee Open Range Zoo is a zoo in Werribee, Victoria, about 32 kilometres south-west of Melbourne.

13533066_10153506243815810_7709051516545335631_n

The highlight of Werribee Open Range Zoo is the Safari bus. This 40 minute tour with live commentary travels through open savannah grasslands where antelope, bison, camel, giraffe, Mongolian wild horse, ostrich, rhino, scimitar-horned oryx, and zebra roam.

I recommend starting the day with the Safari bus, and then exploring the rest of the zoo’s foot trails. The last tour boards at 3.30pm.

13439229_10153506241205810_7615318224924034804_n

13507261_10153506243030810_5119518684753673394_n

13502078_10153506242680810_4143944436633135808_n

13516509_10153506242520810_5157246273264243342_n

13567039_10153506242130810_8693390628656474806_n

13567294_10153506241480810_5319848320100042971_n

There are two main trails to explore by foot – the African trail and the Australian trail. There is also the Werribee River Trail, which provides views of the Werribee River.

The African trail is home to African wild dogs, cheetahs, gorillas, hippos, meerkats and lions.

The Australian trail has native animals and birds, such as brolga, eastern barred bandicoot, emu, kangaroo, koala, and tamar wallaby.

13524355_10153506243970810_7107295328723076032_n

13528771_10153506243520810_123911028846356602_n

13557679_10153506244105810_3704775600641508265_n

Werribee is a great day trip from Melbourne. It is easily accessible by public transport – simply take the train to Werribee Station and then catch Bus 439 Weribee South to the Zoo.

Werribee Open Range Zoo is at K Road, Werribee South and is open from 9am to 5pm (last entry at 3.30pm).

Healesville Sanctuary, Australia

Healesville Sanctuary is a zoo specialising in native Australian animals.

IMG_1927

Dr Colin McKenzie set up the Institute of Anatomical Research in 1920 on 78 acres (32 hectares of land. The reserve was passed to the Healesville Council in 1927 and was named the Sir Colin McKenzie Sanctuary in 1934 (McKenzie was knighted in 1929).

Today the sanctuary is part of Zoos Victoria, which includes Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo. It is well known for its work saving endangered Australian species.

The zoo is set in a natural bushland environment with over 200 species of Australian animals. The zoo is split up into a series of different areas / tracks to explore.

The main track is home to reptiles, amphibians, birds of prey, parrots, and emus. There are also several sites of Aboriginal cultural significance to the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. There is also the Flight Arena, where there is a daily bird show and the Australian Wildlife Centre, that treats more than 1500 sick and injured native animals a year.

IMG_1993

Spirts of Sky – Bird Show

The woodlands track includes emu, wallaby, barn owl, Australian pelicans, kookaburra, Tasmanian Devil. Also here is Animals of the Night, a facility that houses nocturnal animals, such as possums, bilbies, bandicoots and gliders.

The wetlands track is home to native wetland birds and frogs, such as the black swan, which originated from the Southern Hemisphere.

There is also Dingo County, Kangaroo County (Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, Red Kangaroos and Wombats), Koala Forest (Southern Koala and short-beaked echidna), and the Platypus Track.

Healesville Sanctuary is approximately one hour from Melbourne. The address is Badger Creek Road, Healesville, Victoria.

Tree Kangaroo

Tree-kangaroo

IMG_2005

Dingo

IMG_1991

Aviary

IMG_1943

IMG_1955

Kangaroo County

Puffing Billy Railway, Australia

The Puffing Billy Railway is a heritage steam railway in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, Australia.

IMG_1891

The steam train runs on the historic 24 kilometre (15 miles) track between Belgrave and Gembrook through the Dandenong Ranges. This is one of four narrow gauge lines that opened in the 1900s to provide transport and access to remote parts of Victoria.

In 1954 the line closed due operating costs. The Puffing Billy Preservation Society was formed and reopened the line between Belgrave and Menzies Creek in 1962. Later the line was reopened to Emerald in 1965, Lakeside in 1975, and Gembrook in 1998.

IMG_1850

Majority of passengers will start their journey at Belgrave, but it is also possible to start at Lakeside. Usually there a four departures a day from Belgrave.

From Belgrave it is 30 minutes one-way to Menzies Creek, 50 minutes to Emerald, 60 minutes to Lakeside, 1 hour and 50 minutes to Gembrook. A return journey from Belgrave to Gembrooke is approximately 5 hours. Please visit their website for more information on journey timings.

The carriages are open-sided providing views of mountain ash trees, forests and fern gullies as it travels through the Dandenong Ranges National Park.

The service operates everyday except Christmas Day. Belgrave Station is located at 1 Old Monbulk Road, Belgrave, Victoria. Please visit the website for information on parking.

IMG_1861

IMG_1863

IMG_1866

IMG_1890

IMG_1901

Grants Picnic Ground, Dandenongs, Australia

Grants Picnic Ground is located in the Sherbrooke Forest in the Dandenong Ranges National Park.

IMG_1825

Grants Picnic Ground is known for its picnic grounds, bush walks, and bird feeding (due to cease February 2020).

Grants on Sherbrooke is a locally-owned and run tearooms and souvenir shop located in the grounds. You can purchase tokens here to access the bird feeding area.

IMG_1807

The fenced bird feeding area is the only spot currently in the Dandenong Ranges were hand feeding native birds is permitted. Bird feeding at Grants Picnic Ground is due to be discontinued in February 2020.

In the past there was the opportunity to feed colourful lorikeets and king parrots. The sulphur-crested cockatoo has in recent years pushed the smaller birds out.

 

IMG_1815

IMG_1812

Nearby is the Margaret Lester Forest Walk. This short 500 metre, 15 minute loop track has been designed with a hardsurfaced track to allow those with prams or limited mobility enjoy the forest.

The sealed track was constructed in 1981, the International Year of Disabled Persons. It was first of its kind in Victoria. Margaret Lester was a paraplegic and architecture graduate advised in its design.

IMG_1834

IMG_1836

There is also the Hardy Gully Nature Walk (700 m | 45 min loop) and the Eastern Sherbrooke Forest Walk (7.1 km | 2 hour loop), which both start from the Picnic Grounds.

Facilities wise there are several picnic tables and electric BBQs dotted around the reserve, including a covered pavilion with four picnic tables.

Grants Picnic Ground and Grants on Sherbrooke are located at 70 Monbulk Road, Kallist, Victoria.

IMG_1823

IMG_1824

IMG_1842

IMG_1838