Werribee Open Range Zoo is famous for the natural beauty of its landscapes, ranging from the African savannah and Victorian basalt plains grasslands, to our hippopotamus marsh.
Our animal exhibits resemble their natural habitats as closely as possible, so they can live and interact as they would in the wild.
The Zoo’s horticulturalists need a variety of skills and knowledge to create and manage these diverse landscapes. They are also responsible for the restoration of the natural wildlife habitat along the Werribee River.
The Watersmart garden has been developed based on two key themes:
The garden consists of five themed gardens. Any one of these gardens could be yours, or you could draw inspiration from each of them. These garden ‘rooms’ are separated by stunning steel walls that have been laser cut with different rain patterns.
Please note: The Wirribi Yaluk (Werribee River) walk is closed over the winter months. The Watersmart garden remains open.
The Pula Reserve walking trail represents a fictitious African wildlife reserve, where the local communities have realised the value of protecting their land for wildlife and future generations through eco-tourism.
The Pula Reserve simulates numerous African habitats, from the arid home of the lions and meerkats, to the marshy riverine habitat of the hippopotamus.
These changing environments present zoo horticulturists with many challenges; not least of these is the fact that many of the animals who live in the exhibits can be destructive. The horticulture team must be creative in their methods of establishing, maintaining and protecting the vegetation.
The Werribee River wildlife corridor restoration project was launched in April 2000.
The project aims to restore the vegetation communities of the zoo’s four main vegetation zones: the riparian woodlands, flood plain grassland, escarpment, and grassy woodland.
Since the revegetation started, many thousands of trees, shrubs and grasses have been planted. Many species of native wildlife, including the endangered Growling Grass Frog, have returned to the area.