Wyndham City is full of life, colour and flavour

Are you heading Victoria’s way soon? Maybe you you’re about to explore the Great Ocean Road? Perhaps a local Melbournian looking for a different destination in the nearby vicinity, or just someone that likes to explore places that aren’t the obvious?

There is a little pocket of goodness that doesn’t get the attention I believe it deserves. I am talking about Wyndham City. The City of Wyndham sits about 30 minutes to the South West of Melbourne city and is home to Werribee, Point Cook, Laverton, Little River and Williams Landing, to name a few.

It covers an area of around 550 square kilometres and has 30 kilometres of coastline that looks over Port Phillip Bay. It is also currently the third fastest growing local government area in the state of Victoria. But hey I’m not about to give you a geography lesson, I want to reveal to you some of the reasons why you and your family would have a fantastic time here.

Whether it be for a couple of days passing through or better still a pre-planned holiday that will be filled with terrific experiences. I’m telling you now, you will truly be surprised at what the City of Wyndham has up its sleeve.

Let’s start with one of the best zoos I have visited in the country. When you are in the area, it’s not a matter of should you go; you must go. There is plenty to like about Werribee Zoo, like the fact that is a zoo that has committed to the recovery of 21 threatened native species and also being part of a bigger picture internationally in doing its bit in helping deal with threats to the world’s wildlife.

The zoo itself has over 350 animals from 57 different species all housed in relaxed and aesthetically pleasing surrounds, all easy to navigate. When visiting the animals, there is not much separating you from them – you feel like you could reach out and give them a pat! Well, most of them anyway; you won’t catch me trying to give the lions a cuddle anytime soon and watch the hippos don’t surprise you! From Addax to Zebra and all the animals in between, you and the kids will be loving them all sick.

The highlight for me without a doubt was the ‘Off Road Safari’ adventure. Now if you have ever wanted to get a feel of what a real African safari might be like, but just haven’t managed to save the dollars for a trip to Africa, then this is definitely for you. I have been lucky enough to experience the real deal with my travel show and I have to say its is pretty close to what you would experience – but on a smaller scale of course. It cost a few extra bucks on top of the zoo entry fee, but it is so worth it. A big open plain with waterholes and grasslands inhabited by giraffe, antelope, zebra and magnificent rhino which I could not take my eyes off. Being up close and personal and having the luxury of just watching them interact without distraction was simply amazing. Especially watching the only male in the crash trying to make ‘friends’ with the girls….to no avail I might add!

During the winter months there are a heap of free events for the kids and storytelling Sundays have also been a huge hit, so check out the website above for more details. All this and plenty more to entertain and ignite the imagination are at Werribee Zoo. 

For an experience that is definitely far removed from the animal kingdom, you may want to visit the RAAF Museum down at Point Cook. Now you don’t have to be a war plane buff to enjoy this piece of Australian aviation record. I like the Boss, Bruce Springsteen’s “War, what is it good for” philosophy, but regardless of that, this is the birthplace of the Australian Flying Corps and the RAAF for that matter, so it holds a special place in our history. Besides there are actually some really cool feats of engineering brilliance on display! In other words, plenty of awesome planes to check out. Also, if you want to see some of these beauties in action make sure you visit on a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday at 1pm, because that’s when you will see a Sopwith Pup, Tiger Moth or a DC3 Bird Dog doing its routine. The names alone had me interested, and it was a great experience seeing a little yesteryear in the skies over Wyndham. This is an all ages affair for sure.

When it comes to looking after those foodie cravings there is plenty on offer no doubt, and it ranges for those after a quick fix and those lovers of a delightful dining experience.

Now it’s not like me to send you to a shopping centre for a feed, but for those in category one (the quick fix) this place will have you spoilt for choice. Pacific Werribee not only has all your shopping needs covered, and if you like to peruse then you will be busy. However, the Urban Diner entertainment quarter is what will excite the hungry. Open 7 days, it has over fifteen options for you to procrastinate over and if you have young kids in tow well I would say it’s a great choice. The Groove Train got my attention and the food was of a high quality with terrific service and didn’t strip the budget bare.

For those with a discerning palate then I highly recommend lunching at the closest winery to Melbourne in Shadow Fax and dinner at the amazing Josephs Restaurant and Bar at Werribee Mansion Hotel – but more on these two options next week.

If you are after a relaxed café style lunch or are planning to do a little self-containment on your getaway then I suggest you pop into see the lovely Julie Skewis at Wyndham Cache, where you have the option of delighting in their tasty treats in house, or just grabbing something to go. And I love their motto, The hidden treasures of life’s pleasures because this place is full of just that. Vegies straight from the farm. Delectable Deli pleasures and all sorts of condiments and home-made jams. They also have some local artworks and assorted gift wares on offer. Definitely worth a visit.

As I sign off for now I must drop a mention in for a couple of free attractions that might grab your attention when in the region and let’s be honest everyone loves a freebie!

So, in no specific order, check out these two highlights. Explore B-24 Liberator Restoration Australia where you will see the only surviving B-24 Liberator in the Southern Hemisphere. Campbell’s Cove Boathouses are a little of Wyndham heritage on show and for those with an interest in quirky history, I think you will be engaged. It remains to be seen how long these waterfront eclectic treasures will remain.

Finally, Wyndham Harbour is worth a look. A relatively new development and one that has quite a lot on offer. The only safe harbour between Geelong and Williamstown it is often home to many free public events. 

Come on down and give Wyndham City a little love, I hope you will be as nicely surprised, as was I!

Check out what’s on offer right here www.experiencewyndham.com.au 

Scott McRae is the host of Channel Ten’s A Taste of Travel. Visit www.scottmcrae.com.au, www.atasteoftravel.com.au