Want to pack a day with all kinds of adventures and experiences? You can’t beat a trip to Werribee South.
You’ll need to get an early start. There’s so much to see and do in Werribee South, it’s become its own suburb, although is just minutes from the main village of Werribee.
The main attraction here is Werribee Park. This 10-hectare property was once part of an Australian pastoral empire, and it’s not hard to imagine that as you stare up at the huge house. Built by the wealthy Chirnside family in 1877, this Italianate mansion has been restored to its full glory, and many of its 60 rooms display the Chirnside’s personal items, from clothing to furniture. The gardens around the house are incredibly beautiful, and perfect for a picnic, but for something a cut above, head to the Victoria State Rose Garden. More than 5000 roses are planted in formation — the main one in the shape of a Tudor rose — and come into bloom in October. To see the garden in its full glory, time your visit for some time between November and April. Away from the manicured lawns, stroll through the riverine, an area of bushland with a thriving population of wildlife near the Werribee River.
Header image & image below: Tim Marcus
The whole family will be thrilled with a visit to Werribee Open Range Zoo. Its main attraction is a safari on an open-sided bus past giraffes, zebras, rhinos and other endangered species who roam free in the park. Take plenty of time to explore the zoo’s other areas, where you’ll giggle at the antics of the meerkats, spy hippos floating in the water and be enthralled by the interactions of the three resident silverback western lowland gorillas.
When you’ve worked up a hunger, take a seat at Wyndham Cache, where the produce from LT’s Eggs farm is turned into delicious breakfast and lunch dishes. Choose a table outside near the bushes of lavender to add views to your meal. For a different kind of vista, you should head for Wyndham Harbour, a new marina and residential development. On the pier, you’ll find the Wyndham Harbour Cafe, where you can order coffees, pastries and sandwiches.
Brought a picnic with you? At the K Road cliffs, you can look down at the beginnings of the Werribee River and the adjacent park, which is an important area for migratory birds. And in the distance? That would be the You Yangs.
Another K Road attraction is the Werribee Park Golf Club. This 18-hole championship course has excellent views of the red cliffs and the river.
Take some time to visit Susanne Jensen Glass. This Melbourne artist is inspired by nature and this venue is both her gallery and studio. View her jewellery, platters, bowls and figurines and perhaps take something special home. Another place to discover a souvenir is Shadowfax Winery. This boutique operation, with an architecturally designed cellar door and restaurant, produces excellent, single-vineyard wines, including chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz. Grab a couple of bottles — some to drink now and a couple to cellar for later.