First taste of Yarra

Does this view of Yarra Valley, the renowned wine and gourmet region in Victoria, Australia, look desolate to you?

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Well, perhaps. The region is coming out of a dry spell after all. But it is also a view of such freedom. Freedom of space, to be exact. Sweet, glorious, wide open space.

Space that is lacking in tiny Singapore.

Perhaps that is why I enjoy visiting the sub-urban regions of any country to take in the slower, more scenic sights that are lacking in key commercial cities.

Anyway, even if it does look desolate, I quite enjoy this vision. I have a thing for bare trees and dry fields. Perhaps I find it fascinating that soon, in the next season, life will thrive again and all will be lush and green.

My trip to Melbourne this year gave me a chance to explore Yarra Valley, and my first stop to this area was Healesville Sanctuary, one of the best places in Australia – as I was told by many locals – to see the local wildlife in captivity.

Healesville Sanctuary is such a sprawling place and the animal compounds so spacious and hardly enclosed, that I did not feel like I was in a zoo.

Say hello to this ‘roo which is a vision of absolute bliss, as he lay so serenely in his open compound, enjoying the early morning sun. Somehow, he reminded me of a Sports Illustrated model striking a sexy pose on the beach.

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The koala compound had just a simple fence, allowing visitors to enjoy clear views of these gentle creatures going about lazily on their tree. Our guide told us that koalas do two things all day – eat and sleep. “Just like teenagers,” he quipped, drawing chuckles from knowing parents in our group.

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As we roamed around, we came upon a lovely girl with a dingo on a leash. What a handsome animal!

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There are several featured shows and opportunities for visitors to get up close and personal with some of the resident wildlife. We did not stay long enough to do everything, but we did catch Tales from Platypus Creek (I finally realised that platypus are so tiny!) and Spirits of the Sky, a showcase of regal birds of prey and playful parrots. Fun stuff, although the heat made me quite sleepy half-way through Tales from Platypus Creek.

Alright. Bye for now. But first, I’ll leave you with a lusher view of Yarra Valley, taken from the beautiful RACV Healesville Country Club.

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Yarra Valley is so beautiful, eh?