We’ve created this guide to Melbourne’s best wildlife sanctuary so you can experience the magic of meeting Australian animals on your visit to the city. 

If you are planning a visit to Australia, seeing Australian animals will no doubt be on your to-do list. Many visitors come hoping to catch a glimpse of a kangaroo, koala or Tassie Devil. However, these animals are not so easy to see if you are visiting Australian cities. 

However, if you plan a visit to Melbourne, you are in luck because we have an amazing wildlife sanctuary just a short drive from the city centre. Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park is home to many Australian animals. 

Furthermore, the park staff do some amazing conservation work which makes a huge difference to these species. However, the best bit for visitors is that you can get up close to iconic Australian animals at Moonlit Sanctuary.

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park is one of the stops on our Phillip Island Day Tour. During your visit you can take a guided wildlife walk to meet and hand-feed many species of native Australian animals. You can discover some lesser-known favourites including quolls, owls, potoroos and water dragons.

Melbourne’s best wildlife sanctuary

There are many magical moments to be had at Moonlit Sanctuary – from cuddling up to a koala, to feeding a kangaroo. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to Melbourne’s best wildlife sanctuary, so you can plan your visit to this wonderful place!

Iconic Australian animals at Moonlit Sanctuary 


At Moonlit Sanctuary you can see koalas up close, and even have a Koala Encounter. For an additional cost you can enter into an enclosure with one of the sanctuary’s koalas to have your photo taken. The staff at the sanctuary will share their knowledge and insights into the lives of these cute animals. They will also be able to explain the work they do to breed and care for these mammals in captivity.


At Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park you can not only see kangaroos and wallabies up close but hand-feed them as well. Special feed can be purchased and offered to the kangaroos and wallabies along the Wallaby Walk. When they are hungry, they will come up and eat from the palm of your hand. For many visitors this is a once in a lifetime experience that will not be forgotten.


An Emu features on Australia’s coat of arms alongside a kangaroo. It is the largest and most iconic of Australia’s many species of birds. You can get up close to an emu on your visit to at Moonlit Sanctuary. The one emu has been raised in captivity and is used to people coming by to take a closer look at this strange bird. 


Moonlit Sanctuary is home to both common wombats and hairy-nosed wombats. These mammals are amongst the largest burrowing animals in the world. They often create complex networks with tunnels and chambers that can extend up to 150m in radius. At Moonlit Sanctuary their enclosures are reinforced many metres below ground to stop them from accidentally exiting the park!

Wildlife Conservation at Moonlit Sanctuary

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park cares for a range of Australian animals including kangaroos, koalas, wombats, wallabies and more. The team do some fantastic work in the areas of conservation, research and education. So during a visit you can learn a lot more about the work the team at Moonlit Sanctuary does.

Here are some of the wildlife that Moonlit Sanctuary is dedicated to saving from extinction. Visit Moonlit Sanctuary on our Phillip Island Tour to see these endangered animals for yourself and learn more about the work undertaken to protect them. 

  • Yellow-bellied glider 
  • Squirrel Glider
  • Spot-tailed quolls 
  • Regent Honeyeater
  • Orange-bellied parrots
  • Bush Stone-curlew

However, perhaps the most well-known of Moonlit Sanctuaries endangered animals is the Tasmanian Devil. Tassie Devils are the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial, and while hey used to be on the mainland of Australia they are now restricted to Tasmania. 

Today they face extinction in the wild because of a contagious cancer that appeared in 1996 called the Devil Facial Tumor Disease. The number of devils has declined to 10% of their original number and the decline continues. In response, a managed population of around 500 devil has been established in wildlife parks and zoos across Australia. Moonlit Sanctuary participates in this program by housing post-reproductive animals from the program.

Unique Australian animals at Moonlit Sanctuary

There are many unique animals at this wildlife sanctuary – many of which you may never have heard of before. Therefore it’s worth a visit to discover some of these lesser known creatures that call Australia home. Here are just a few: 

  • Long-nosed Potoroo 
  • Spot-tailed quolls 
  • Red-bellied Pademelon
  • Yellow-bellied gliders
  • Barking Owl
  • Eclectus parrot
  • Tawny frogmouths
  • Lace monitors
  • Water dragon
  • Spotted Tree Monitor

While there are many unique bird species in Australia, one of the most interesting is the Satin bowerbird. This is because the satin bowerbirds have an interesting mating ritual.  The male builds a Bower which he decorates with blue items such as feathers, straws, bottle caps or flowers. He then performs a vocal dance-like courtship for a female. After mating, the female builds her own nest and incubates the eggs, whilst the male goes in search of another female.

The origins of Moonlit Sanctuary

Starting a wildlife sanctuary was a childhood dream for Moonlit Sanctuary Founder and Director Michael Johnson.

He had imagined a place where people could experience the rare and unusual animals that roam the Australian bush. Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park was what he created. 

Each animal has been hand-picked to fulfill Michael’s lifelong plan to help halt the rapid extinction of animal species in Australia.

Taken from the Moonlit Sanctuary website

How to visit Moonlit Sanctuary

If you take our Phillip Island Day Tour, you will enjoy a stop at Moonlit Sanctuary. During your visit you can take a guided wildlife walk to meet and hand-feed many species of native Australian animals. Learn about Australia’s iconic species such as kangaroos, koalas, emus, and wallabies. But also discover some lesser-known favourites including quolls, owls, bandicoots, and Tasmanian devils. To hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies, special feed can be purchased at the Moonlit Sanctuary kiosk. 

What to expect on our Phillip Island Tour

Our Phillip Island Day Tour lets you experience the best of Victoria’s nature and wildlife – all in one day trip from Melbourne. Here are the highlights of the tour. 

  • A visit to the famous Brighton Beach boxes
  • A guided tour at the award-winning Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park
  • Meet and feed a wide range of Australian animals including koalas, wombats, dingoes, and many more
  • Visit Point Grant to view the Nobbies and Seal Rock
  • Stroll the coastal boardwalks to enjoy amazing panoramic views
  • See the penguins waddle up the Phillip Island Penguin Parade at sunset


Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au