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Explore the Wild Side of Melbourne
Buzzing along a townscape consisting of Victorian-era buildings and Manhattan-style skyscrapers one might actually forget that Melbourne also boasts botanical gardens, an internationally acclaimed zoo and a state-of-the-art aquarium, all hosting a range of native Australian wildlife, bird and aquatic life. Explore Melbourne the natural way and experience the diversity of Australia's fauna, flora and landscape at some of Melbourne's biggest attractions.
Just 4km from the city centre of Melbourne the award winning Melbourne Zoo offers its visitors the pleasure of viewing over 300 species of animal. Indulge your senses in diverse smells, sights and sounds as you explore the 55 acres of botanic setting landscaped to portray Asian and African rainforest and Australian bush. Discover the lifestyle of elephants, past and present, at the Elephant Village and watch and experience the natural behavior of the orangutans from the tree top at the Orangutan Sanctuary. The added benefit here is the well trained volunteer guides at the zoo offering complementary guided tours.
The Melbourne Aquarium, with its 360 degree Oceanarium, is the latest addition to aquariums in Australia. Experience live feeding at the Oceanarium where the giant shark and stingrays are housed. Be dazzled by the beautiful Great Barrier Reef display with touch pools, colourful coral and tropical creatures. For the ultimate challenge, take a plunge to meet the sharks face-to-face. This adrenaline-rush-adventure is of course with an experienced diver guide. Located conveniently close to the city, a proper tour of the Aquarium would take at least two hours.
Travel 30 minutes out of Melbourne for an African adventure. The Werribee Open Range Zoo offers an overland expedition through the grassy plains inhabited by hippos, giraffes, antelopes and zebras. For more up-close and personal experiences walk the cheetah and monkey trail, visit Lions on the Edge or just take a Canoe Safari. Over night adventure, including typical African barbeque, camp night and buffet breakfast, can be arranged. Open picnic areas are available for those who wish to relax in the natural surroundings.
Sand Dollar Kayak Expeditions was ranked in the top 50 adventures to do in Africa by Jacques Mares in his book, Great African Adventure: A Guide to the Mother Continentís Ultimate Outdoor Adventures.