The Healesville Sanctuary occupies 32-hectares of bushland and allows visitors a chance to get up close and personal with native animals, including the opportunity to don a pair of waders and hand feed platypus. The quality of food at the Healesville Sanctuary cafe is almost worth a visit itself, although the opportunity to play with a platypus or pat a wombat is what appeals to children.
Artist Clare James loves the changing season, when leaves turn and trees shed their foliage.
"It's time to stoke the fire after taking long walks through beautiful gardens," she says. She recommends exploring the William Rickitts Sanctuary at Mount Dandenong. Rickitts sculpted the forms of indigenous people in clay, then melded his works into the landscape.
Look for sculptures protruding from rocks and those placed under giant tree ferns at key points along sanctuary paths.
Only 65 km north of Melbourne, Kinglake National Park lies on the slopes of the Great Dividing Range, offering dramatic views of the Melbourne skyline, Port Phillip Bay, the Yarra Valley and across to the You Yangs.