When I was a kid, the name Werribee was always associated with the stench of sewage as we drove down to the Bellarine Peninsula. It is here that most of Melbourne’s sewage is processed and reused as fertiliser on the market gardens.

I can’t say that I noticed any such stench today. Instead it was the scent of animal manure from the inhabitants of the Werribee Open Range Zoo.

This is our second visit to the zoo. Our first was when Alex was a cheeky little two year old.

We are sad to say goodbye to our luxury accommodation in Melbourne and hit the motorway towards Geelong, heading straight to the zoo. It’s a hot and sunny day outside.

Our first destination in the zoo is the safari tour, an open sided “train” that drives around the open plains for a close up look at the animals.

There are antelope and ostriches, zebras and giraffes roaming the grasslands. My favourite are the rhinoceros, their huge horns protruding out incredibly far.

After the ride we wander the rest of the zoo, which is landscaped for a real sense of an exotic location. A silverback gorilla relaxes ona bed of straw, his back towards the glass. A lioness lies atop a car hood right by the glass, her cups sleeping on the ground beneath her, the male looking over them from afar.

The African hunting dogs are distracted, the cheetah sleeping in the heat, as are the kangaroos.

We are ready to do the same when we emerge from the zoo. But after checking into a new Werribee hotel, the first task is food. Alex says “KFC”. I know of one Malaysian restaurant opposite the hotel, but on looking up KFC on the map, I find another close by to it.

Laksa Sayang is just a tiny shop in a small shopping centre, but the wan tad hor, assam and curry laksa all taste authentic and now the other two want to return. I love these unexpected surprises!

Unfortunately, Malaysian Village House across the road from us doesn’t reach the same heights. The nasi lemak has flavour and comes with a tiny, but tasty, side of acar, the beef rendang is tender and taste alright, but nothing stands out. They lack the complexity of a great version, that love. B’s fish head noodles was very disappointing.

Alex has some KFC to end the day, and we end up going back to the hotel early and using Chromecast to actually watch something other than tennis on the TV.

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