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Magazines : Breakaway Summer 2010
NT HEADING E CATCH THEM @ THE BARWON CLUB THIS SATURDAY NIGHT @ 10PM YOUR GUIDE TO LOCAL BANDS, REVIEWS & GIG GUIDE Local bands make their make Another sub heading from inside to appear here Coverline for inside story FROM amazing animal sights to the joys of luxury camping, Werribee Open Range Zoo has created an incredible experience with its Slumber Safaris. As guests on the overnight experience, we were treated to spectacular sights including a cheetah feeding, a lively hippo and the rarely-seen nocturnal habits of the zoo's residents during a moonlight stroll. A once-in-a-lifetime treat was also on offer in the morning as guests had the chance to act as keeper, with the opportunity to hand-feed the zoo's incredible giraffe herd. For Sydney couple Rob and Renee Hollerin, the Slumber Safari was the ideal way to celebrate their first anniversary. "It's something really different and very special,'' Renee said. "You get a completely different perspective of the animals, it's wonderful.'' The overnight experience begins at 3pm, with an extended tour to see the zoo's fantastic wildlife residents. While the normal zoo tours take in all the animals, the Slumber Safari group is not restricted by a timescale, which allowed us to stay and observe the animals for longer than usual. We were rewarded with a wonderful display from Harry the hippo who wallowed luxuriously in his watery home before putting on a toothy demonstration. The behind-the-scenes aspects of the tour change each time, depending on the animals' and keepers' schedules. Our close encounters involved hand-feeding the giraffes and seeing a cheetah feeding, where the keeper tossed meat to the animals just a metres away behind a mesh fence, giving us the chance to see them in action while learning more about the creatures. The safari is a camping experience, but this was camping in its luxury form. The tents had wooden floors, crisp linen on comfortable beds, a verandah to enjoy the views and hot water bottles at night on request. Greeted with champagne and canapes, we enjoyed the spectacular view over the zoo's savannah while our guides Amy Briese and James Goodridgee prepared a delicious gourmet barbecue. A night-time walk through the zoo gave us the rare chance to see the animals' nocturnal habits, and take our time meeting the reptiles in the education centres. Amy said slumber guests regularly chose the experience as a way to celebrate special events such as marriage proposals, birthdays and anniversaries and visitors were always amazed by what they saw. "I like taking people on a journey with us,'' she said. "People can really connect with the wildlife, and you know that when they go home they are going to think more about it. "It's a unique experience that opens people's minds.'' James said the close-up encounters with the animals were key to the magic of the experience. "It's a gateway to Africa,'' he said. "There's a lot of variety and people get the chance to see animals a lot closer than they normally would. "People have a very emotional response to the animals and, as a result, they are more likely to think about the problem of endangered animals and do something about it, so it's a very positive experience.'' Slumber Safaris run from September to May on selected nights and cost $325 per adult. The zoo will also run family Slumber Safari nights every Wednesday during January. For details or to book, call 1300 966 784 or visit zoo.org.au/werribeeopenrangezoo Breakaway has one free couple's voucher to give away valued at $650. The lucky winners get an overnight Slumber Safari at Werribee Open Range Zoo so they too can get a taste of exotic Africa while enjoying premium camping accommodation. For a chance to win, email your name, address and telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'SLUMBER SAFARI' in the subject line or send your name, address and telephone number on the back of an envelope to: SLUMBER SAFARI Competition, C/- Geelong Advertiser, PO Box 91, Geelong VIC 3220 by Friday, January 7, 2011. Winners will be notified in writing. For full terms and conditions go to www.geelongadvertiser.com.au. win an overnight Slumber Safari GEELONG ADVERTISER I 29
Breakaway Autumn 2011