Call me insane but I visited the Werribee Zoo on Labour Day in the 35 degree heat. It was not easy to transition from the cooling comfort of the 5 star Mansion Hotel & Spa at Werribee Park to the dry and dusty grounds of an African-esque savannah. The trip was so worth it though, and the extreme heat only made the experience more authentic. It was my second safari bus tour, but the tour guide taught me new things (did you know that the giraffe’s muscular heart is about 60-70 cm long! In order to circulate blood up its elongated neck and to the rest of its body? Or that Przewalski horses are now extinct in the wild so the only chance you can see them is in zoos? Or that an emu is really just a giant bird wearing lipstick and tights? Ok the last one was not so scientific…). Despite the heat, I’m so grateful to see all the amazing creatures sun-baking. Now I know why they were eyeing off my hat…

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Vintage hat, shades, bag & blouse/ Edenborough Evans necklace & ring / Etam skirt / Tom Gunn shoes

The Werribee Zoo has a special place in my heart because I went to vet school just around the corner for 2 years. So when I drive down the M1 freeway, wonderful memories of uni friends and our shenanigans come to mind. I cannot believe that I’ve only just visited the zoo this year! You can come centimetres close to commanding carnivores and visit the herbivores in their backyard via your own car or an educational safari bus tour. Seeing them nestling and resting in the sunshine makes me wonder just who has the better lifestyle…  In our digital age, it’s wonderfully relaxing to spend time with wild animals. So if you’re heading to Werribee Zoo, don’t forget these stylish essentials:

1. A Hat: you can cap it, visor it, or wide-brim it. You could wear the gold standard: the round hat with a tie under your neck, or if you actually care about your appearance, then I’ll let you in my secret. To prevent this straw number from joining the zoo, I simply asked the lovely café ladies for an elastic band to be placed on top of the hat.

2. Sunglasses. There’s only one rule. The bigger the better. Think Jackie O. They not only help shade you from the enthusiastic sun but also the  dust on the bus.

3. A bag with a strap or handle. My dear stylistas, clutches are not created for the zoo. You may forget them and it would be wrong to see the animals wearing leather…I chose a straw bag for obvious thematic reasons, and I’m not worried about it getting dusty or dirty. Plus if I did leave it behind, it may be a delicious treat for the vegetarian animals.

4. Comfortable shoes: Since my feet slipped into these Tom Gunn Bordeaux leather sandals a few weeks ago, I’ve been finding it difficult not to take them everywhere. They were my sole saviours walking around the vast zoo grounds.

And last but not least, plenty of sunscreen and a constant marvel for splendidly-designed creatures!

So animal-lovers, do you know if the photo above is that of a cheetah or a leopard?