Conservation happens on every scale, both large and publicised, and small and behind the scenes. Heading out west of Melbourne, past Werribee, but not yet at Geelong, is one example of the latter, the Little River Sanctuary.
On entry, and sometimes within the carpark, you will be likely be greeted by our majestic inquisitive Emus.
A dry and dusty path (in the summer) winds through the wallabys and emus, with the added bonus of bullants often congregating (hence we have a far more leisurely stroll in the winter than the summer). The circuit is small and not challenging, opening it up to all ages and mobilities.
There are resident Cape Barron Geese and Cranes, who on our last visit, were raising a newly hatched chick, quite a sight.
Leaving the open area, you will enter a series of water sanctuaries with viewing areas (that double as a respite against either heat, or cold winds, if you happen to be there in less than ideal weather conditions.)
Low key is the operative word, but its contribution is not. The land offers Australian animals respite from predators and a safe haven, and people young and old an opportunity to learn about Animal conservation and experience Australian fauna and flora in a quiet,unhurried atmosphere.
Depending on the weather conditions and state of drought, or not, you will find the wetlands to be in various states, from full of water and birds, to a little quieter.
The walk being easy and quite short is ideal for young children, who will experience a lot in quite a brief and non taxing time.
There are a number of bird aviaries, including this fabulous Tawny frogmouth, that just begs for a respectful photo. Wallabies and emus are about, and a potteroo once leapt out in front of us from its hideaway in the shrubbery. In the water colony area, we have sometimes been greeted by a resident possum over a doorway.
The sanctuary has no entry fee, toilet facilities and a picnic area adjacent to the carpark, and as you may only spend an hour here, ideally, you can join a visit with the You Yangs to get the most of your visit out west of Melbourne.
Opening at 8am, a wonderful way to beat the heat if you need to.