HOT: Serendip Sanctuary, Lara

If you’re looking for a local place to see native animals and birds up close, check out the free, hidden gem that’s Serendip Sanctuary

serendip sanctuary

Serendip Wildlife Sanctuary is in Lara, around 20 km north of Geelong and 60 km south-west of Melbourne. It’s often known as ‘Lara Sanctuary Park’ or ‘Lara Wildlife Park’ it’s actually a Parks Victoria managed nature reserve.

serendip sanctuary lara


Serendip Sanctuary Lara

Serendip Sanctuary is located in the open grassy woodlands and wetlands of the volcanic Western Plains in between Melbourne and Geelong, in Lara. There is no entry fee. 

serendip sanctuary

Near the Serendip entrance the path splits between the Wildlife Walk or Pond View Walk. I recommend the Wildlife Walk first unless you’re really into water birdlife.

serendip sanctuary lara

On the Wildlife Walk you’ll see emus and kangaroos, cockatoos and brolgas.

serendip sanctuary

En route you’ll come across an information centre which is not staffed.

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serendip sanctuary

From the bird hides you can spot the many birds that breed at or visit Serendip Wildlife Sanctuary

serendip sanctuary

It also offers stunning views of the wetlands and amongst birdwatchers, the place is often known as ‘Lara bird sanctuary’.

serendip sanctuary

There are also aviaries with various species inside – can you see the Tawny Frogmouth hidden away?

serendip sanctuary

The Pond Walk teems with water wildlife.

serendip sanctuary

Serendip Sanctuary is a tranquil place to visit and a wildlife experience for the family where you can see lots of wildlife. After your walk you can enjoy a picnic or barbecue near the visitor carpark. There’s no food or drink for purchase so BYO everything.

serendip sanctuary

During school holidays Serendip Sanctuary Lara regularly hosts Junior Rangers activities, a free program run by Parks Victoria.

serendip sanctuary

And if you visit Serendip Sanctuary in the summer make sure you stop off at the pirate-themed Lara Pool!

Parks Victoria offers social script resources for Serendip Sanctuary for children on the autism spectrum. The social scripts have been developed with the professional assistance of AMAZE

The social script has photographs and simple text to show children what they may see and experience during a visit to a park. You can read them this resource or download the Word document to print out. You can also cut and paste the pages to create a story that best suits your child and your planned park visit.

A version of the social script is also available in Key Word Sign Australia format, suited for children who are learning to use Key Word Sign to facilitate communication.

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text el_class=”thon-hot-tips-panel”]Tips for Serendip Sanctuary:

  • Lara animal sanctuary is pram accessible;
  • Stay on the walking tracks;
  • There is no food or water available enroute;
  • There is not much shade so wear a hat, sunscreen and avoid visiting the hottest part of the day;
  • Picnic tables and barbecue shelters available near carpark;
  • Toilets at carpark;
  • Free parking;
  • Take your rubbish home;
  • During school holidays Serendip Sanctuary Lara regularly hosts Junior Rangers activities, a free program run by Parks Victoria; and
  • If you visit in summer stop off at the pirate-themed Lara Pool.


I hope this post has helped or inspired you! Subscribe to my weekly newsletter to find out more ways for your family to have fun together!

About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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