Close enough for a day trip, far enough for a weekend escape. Werribee and surrounds should top the destination list of Melbourne families. From Renaissance revival mansions to animal safaris and jet-skiing, these top Werribee attractions await just 30 minutes from the CBD.

Wander the Werribee Park Farm. Credit: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Werribee Open Range Zoo

Jump on safari and meet meerkats, rhinos, giraffes and zebras on the savannah. Or follow the Australian Journey to spot kangaroos, koalas and other native friends. One of the top family-friendly Werribee attractions, the Open Range Zoo also hosts a Slumber Safari glamping package or special summer Sunset tour.

Feeding the friendly giraffes at Werribee Open Range Zoo. Credit: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Free flight displays – RAAF Museum

Look to the skies at 1pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday for astonishing free flight displays at the RAAF Museum. Located at Point Cook, it was once the birthplace of the Royal Australian Air Force and now houses the largest collection of military aircraft in the Southern Hemisphere. Check out the memorabilia, aviation history and heritage aircraft, before hearing from the RAAF pilots themselves. Visit the museum from 10am to 3pm on Tuesdays to Fridays. Opening hours extend to 5pm on weekends and public holidays.

Enjoy the aerial display and afterwards check out the heritage aircraft. Credit: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Werribee Park

You’ll feel like kings and queens of the castle as you explore the local history of this stately home, before unleashing your inner dirty rascal with a run-around in the huge gardens. Built by the Chirnside family in 1877, the Werribee Park mansion has 60 rooms, 10 hectares of lawns and gardens, an original farm yard and aromatic rose garden. Grown-ups will enjoy a glass or two at Shadowfax Winery, which is a short stroll away.

The gardens of the Werribee Mansion make a picturesque picnic spot. Credit: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Point Cook Coastal Park and Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary

The wetlands of Point Cook Coastal Park and Cheetham are the prime vacation spot for migratory wading birds from around the world. In fact, some come from as far as Japan, Sibera and New Zealand! Ascend The Tower for the best bird-watching and panoramic views of the park. Shift gears from the sky to the sea with a snorkel or dive session in Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary.

See what underwater surprises you can find in Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary Credit Melbourne Down Under

Bay West Trail

By now, you’ve ticked off Werribee Park, the RAAF Museum and other top Werribee attractions. But there’s more to discover off the Princes Freeway on the scenic Bay West Trail drive. The route will take you past Wyndham Harbour, the quirky Campbells Cove Boat Houses and the K Road Cliffs. Time your drive for the late afternoon so you can see these limestone cliffs turn red when the sun sets over the Werribee River.

Why not view the K Cliffs from your canoe? Credit: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

Make a summer splash

Active families should head to Werribee South Foreshore for boat, canoe, kayak and jet ski adventures. Tone it down with a picnic, or wander the walking trails, playgrounds and fishing spots. The Diane and The Henrietta shipwrecks make for great snorkelling in the Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary as the weather warms up.

Grab a takeaway dinner to eat as the sun sets on the South Foreshore Credit: Visit Werribee & Surrounds

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Top weekend getaways from Melbourne

Melbourne with kids in 48 hours