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Weekend wow-factor: 48 Hours in Werribee

SATURDAY

9AM: Werribee Park gardens. A perfect green oasis for a morning escape. Grab a takeaway coffee and a map from the Parks Victoria ranger at the mansion, then lose yourself in sweeping lawns, stunning plantings, old specimen trees and an ornamental lake. I love lying back on the lawn, commanding a view of the historic mansion and imagining how the rich and famous lived in the 19th century, long before social media and reality TV. Ah, what a life!

11AM: Werribee Open Range Zoo. Follow your wild heart to a day of adventure and critter close-ups. The 40-minute Safari Tour is a must-do – bussing it through the savannah spotting giraffes, zebras, ostriches, rhinos and more. For a memory-making face-to-face encounter, book a Gorilla Behind the Scenes tour and join the keepers and the gorilla bachelor boys in the night dens.

6PM: Dinner, drinks and a show. There are so many eateries in the Watton Street precinct, you could come every week for a year and still not sight each menu. Every cuisine imaginable! My pick for a quick pre-show feed is the Park Hotel. Their incredible craft beers list is an eye-popper. The Wyndham Cultural Centre is a stone’s throw away. You’ll be seated front and centre when the curtain comes up on whatever show you’ve booked – maybe an international touring musician, an Aussie comedian or a local theatre group performing an old favourite?

OVERNIGHT: Quest Werribee. Location. Location. Smack-bang in town and close to everything! Relax in your 4.5-star apartment with all the mod cons and creature comforts you need – gym, car parking, friendly staff and oh-so-comfy beds.

SUNDAY

9AM: Bay West Trail Driving Route 11. Road trip through the best the region has to offer. Sign-posted and self-paced, the route serves up a taster of Werribee’s attractions, including the zoo, mansion, equestrian centre, rose garden, market gardens, Werribee South Foreshore, the new Wyndham Harbour, Campbells Cove boatsheds, Point Cook Coastal Park, RAAF Museum and more. Pull over, explore at your will. My tip: make the K Road Cliffs a must-do. Stop, take a few minutes to admire the towering red-hued cliffs and meandering Werribee River views.

11AM: Fly high into aviation history. Explore the birthplace of Australia’s airforce at the many-hangared RAAF Museum at Point Cook. Memorabilia, dozens of vintage aircraft and a venerable history worth a deep dive. Or pop over to the B-24 Liberator Restoration hangar some describe as “a giant men’s shed”. Passionate volunteers will share their love of aviation and their progress on restoring one of the world’s rarest military aircraft. If you’re lucky, you’ll be there on an “engine run” day when the action really revs up!

1PM ShadowFax Wines. Tuck into a delectable wood-fired pizza while sipping your way through a three-pour wine flight. The ShadowFax cellar door swings wide open for tastings and sales, and live music sweetens the deal on weekends. Don’t miss descending the orange spiral staircase down to view the cavernous barrel hall.

3PM: Retail therapy. Shop your little heart out all afternoon at Pacific Werribee, a 275-shop plaza where you’re spoiled for choice. High fashion, big brands plus bargains and specialty outlets aplenty. For homewares, don’t miss the big box shopping strip on Old Geelong Road. See if you can’t fill the boot with loot for the trip homewards!

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