Visit Moonlit Sanctuary to learn about wildlife conservation on our Phillip Island day tour from Melbourne. 

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park cares for a range of Australian animals. There’s kangaroos, koalas, wombats, wallabies and more!  Therefore it is a favourite stop on our Phillip Island tour. In addition it is an excellent place to see Aussie animals close to Melbourne. 

The team at Moonlit Sanctuary do fantastic work in the areas of conservation, research and education. Visit them to see Australian mammals, birdlife and reptiles up close. But also to learn a lot more about the work they do. 

Wildlife Conservation at Moonlit Sanctuary

Take a look at the lesser-known Australian wildlife that Moonlit Sanctuary is dedicated to saving from extinction. 

Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian Devils are the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. They used to be on the mainland of Australia but are now restricted to Tasmania. 

Tasmanian devils face extinction in the wild because of a contagious cancer that first appeared in 1996. The disease causes cancers around the mouth and head. A such, the number of devils has declined to 10% of their original number and the decline continues.

A managed population of around 500 devil has now been established across Australia. Moonlit Sanctuary participates in this program by taking in animals from the program.

Squirrel Glider

Squirrel gliders are at Moonlit Sanctuary due to logging in their home forest. The removal of old growth trees reduced the amount of nest hollows available for the gliders.

The gliders breed every year and Moonlit Sanctuary co-operates with zoos and wildlife parks to maintain the captive population. 

Spot-tailed quolls 

Spot-tailed quolls are the second largest living carnivorous marsupial after the Tasmanian Devil. Currently their numbers in the wild are in decline. This is mainly due to land clearing which has destroyed their habitat. Competition for food from cats and foxes, and poisoning by fox baits, has also contributed.

To help, Moonlit Sanctuary is developing and managing a national breeding program in zoos and wildlife parks across Australia. 

Yellow-bellied glider 

Forests along the east coast are home to Australia’s second largest glider. Populations have declined 30% in recent years due to loss of habitat. The Yellow-bellied glider is now at ‘near threatened’ status. 

Moonlit Sanctuary is working on breeding these gliders in captivity, but this has proven difficult in the past. They hope to create a successful breeding program to protect the species in the future. They were successful with the births of twins in 2018 and 2020. This is rare for the Yellow-bellied glider!

Orange-bellied parrots

Orange-bellied Parrots are one of only three migratory parrots in the world. Because of this, they breed in south-west Tasmania during spring and summer. Then they migrate to the southeast coast of mainland Australia for autumn and winter.

Moonlit Sanctuary is dedicated to the recovery of these critically endangered birds. Since 2014, they have bred over 230 orange-bellied parrots. Over 140 of these were sent for release on Tasmania and the mainland.

Regent Honeyeater

Flocks of over a thousand regent honeyeaters were commonly seen in years gone by. Today, fewer than 500 birds are found in the wild and flocks of 20 birds are rare. This is mainly due to habitat loss.

Moonlit Sanctuary participates in a captive management program that released 40 birds into the wild since 2013. They have so far bred 7 birds and 4 have been returned to New South Wales to be released soon.

Bush Stone-curlew

The bush stone-curlew is a mainly nocturnal bird that is at risk in the wild. Foxes and cats are the main cause. Their nesting sites are also at risk of being trampled by livestock in farming areas. 

These birds are now listed as endangered in Victoria and New South Wales and are extinct locally. Moonlit Sanctuary breeds bush stone-curlews for release programs based in New South Wales.

Visit Moonlit Sanctuary on our Phillip Island Tour to see all of these endangered animals for yourself and learn more about the work undertaken to protect them. 

What to expect on a visit to 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. In addition, you can 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. 

About Moonlit Sanctuary

As a child, Michael Johnson dreamed of creating a place where people could experience the rare and unusual animals that roam the Australian bush. Because of this dream he became the Founder of Moonlit Sanctuary.

As a child, Michael collected creatures in his suburban Melbourne backyard. His school yearbook even quoted his future ambitions as “wanting to help animals.”  

Because he was an avid reader, he was inspired by Gerald Durrell. The famed British naturalist, conservationist and zookeeper’s writings fascinated and captured the hearts and minds of animal lovers worldwide. 

‘About’ Credit: Moonlit Sanctuary website

What to expect on our Phillip Island Tour

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

  • Visit the famous Brighton Beach boxes
  • Tour the award-winning Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park
  • Meet and feed a wide range of Australian animals 
  • Visit Point Grant to view The Nobbies and Seal Rocks
  • 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