Moonlit Sanctuary – Wildgrain – Seawinds Arthurs Seat – Dromana
By Julia Swift
Autumn colours are starting to appear on the trees, weather can start to cool, but sunny days are still plentiful and it’s a perfect time to get out and about on the Peninsula with the family.
Here is a great way to spend the day.
We started our day at 10am – opening time at Moonlit Sanctuary Pearcedale.
Moonlit Sanctuary is a hidden Australian gem on our doorstep. I haven’t been here since I was a kid, and had to take a step back this morning and have a bit of a proud moment that we do have such an amazing place to showcase our beautiful Australian animals here in our backyard.
The sanctuary plans the day out well for you. They offer animal presentations very much in line with the order you’d walk around the grounds; this saves time and backtracking and allows plenty of time to slow down and take everything in. Perfect for animal watching.
When you first arrive and purchase your tickets, make sure you also grab a tub of animal food per child for only $3. Also take time to check out the many encounters they offer from koala petting, holding a python to walking a dingo! It is recommended that you arrange all of these at the gate on arrival or when purchasing your tickets online to avoid having to head back to the ticket booth during your visit.
The presentations and encounters are at set times (and days), so be sure to check online to make sure you don’t miss something that you are super keen to see.
First up we got nice and close to a super cute wombat who was doing his thing: just strolling his enclosure. Wandering further up the track we went through native bushland, past different species of birds, reptiles, koalas and emus. At 11.30 be sure to check out the animal training session which shows how the park works to train their animals, which comes in handy not only for the afternoon show, but for completing medical checks on some of the larger animals.
Here we met Humphrey a tiny squirrel glider and Percy an inquisitive quoll. Both equally cute and hand raised since birth.
Next we walked among the roos and wallabies and my daughter, Char, got a chance to hand feed these shy yet friendly native animals. This was a great experience that she just loved.
We then headed up to check out the Tassie devils and dingos. Char seemed to tire at this stage, but I was glad we’d got around the whole grounds.
At this point you have two options, grab lunch at the onsite café, dispensing a range of burgers, salads and sandwiches, and stick around for more of the presentations and afternoon action show if your kids are willing. Or make tracks for lunch in Mornington. We spent about 2.15 hours at Moonlit Sanctuary.
At about 12.30 we arrived at Wildgrain in Mornington for a spot of lunch. Wildgrain is the’ new kid’ on the block; opening only this January.
A charming and welcoming dining room awaited, decked out with lush green plants and a calming and beautiful colour scheme.
Not a huge menu, but hubby was more than happy with his burger option, I with my salad option and Char with the kids meals on offer.
Paired with a glass of wine or their signature cocktails, it makes for a great stop to chill and chat with the kids about the morning.
Next up we headed down the road along the scenic Nepean Hwy to Seawinds gardens in Arthurs Seat where splashes of autumn colours in the many trees will meet your eyes.
This is a perfect place to take a ball and let the kids run around to burn all energy acquired from lunch. Or even try your hand at some amateur photography of the family/kids. The autumn leaves just make the most perfect backdrop for this.
From here head back into the main township of Dromana and find a little café or ice cream shop for an afternoon treat before heading home.