At Hillarys Boat Harbour you’ll find the Aquarium of Western Australia, more affectionately known as AQWA, which takes you on a journey to explore 12,000km of WA’s expansive coastline in just a few hours! This year, AQWA celebrates 30 years as one of Perth’s most iconic tourist destinations! There has been more than 7,080,093 people pass through AQWA’s gates since the 1980s to see its vibrant coral reefs and marine creatures.
At AQWA there are over 40 exhibits, which explore different areas of WA’s coast. There’s also many exciting experiences like their NEW glass bottomed boat, snorkelling, the ever popular “Shark Sleepovers” and more! The main attraction has to be the Shipwreck Coast (Lancelin to Kalbarri) which features Australia’s largest walkthrough aquarium. The huge aquarium is found downstairs and you travel on a slow moving walkway beneath 3 million litres of water. The aquarium is home to sharks, huge smiling stingrays, turtles and hundreds of fish. There’s a different sea creature to spot at every turn, it’s a lot of fun!
The Perth Coast area is mesmerising. There are many tanks with hundreds of colourful fish. Watching the Moon Jellyfish gently floating through the water is quite relaxing!
In the Far North Coast tropical exhibit you can explore one of Australia’s most remote areas which is home to dangerous marine animals such as the Saltwater Crocodile.
Kids enjoy the interactive exhibits where you can examine coral, tiny sea horses and clown fish with a magnifying glass. There is a little step at each tank to allow smaller children to get a better view.
Outside you’ll find the Marmion Marine Park exhibit, which is the most interactive part of AQWA. In the touch pool kids can feel baby sharks, sea cucumbers and starfish, as long as they are gentle!
If you have a splash happy child then it might be a good idea to take along a spare change of clothes with you. Kids can look through the bright orange viewfinders to get a clearer look at what lies below the surface of the pool and there is a person on hand to tell you all about the sea creatures.
Check out AQWA’s Coral Reef, which is one of the largest coral reef exhibits in the whole world! You can overlook the coral reef from above and view it from a different angle by going downstairs to the underwater gallery. The viewing area is furnished with several comfy chairs, so you can stay and watch the colourful fish swim amongst the coral for a while.
New for 2017 are the Mermaids at Adventure Bay! “Mermaid Mondays” are sure to be a big hit. Kids will be able to watch them through a large front window, a side portal and an overlooking platform.
The beautiful mermaids glide gracefully through the water in their shows at 11am and 1pm, with photos available with the mermaids 30 minutes before each show. During the shows, the playful mermaids swim, do underwater tricks and chat with the audience.
In the Adventure Bay tank, there are also some new activities available for an extra cost:
Snorkel Discovery is for eight-year-olds and over and is designed for those who want to snorkel amongst schools of fish and rays in a safe environment.
Mermaid Magic is a guided snorkelling experience aimed at children eight years old and over where little snorkelers get the special chance to swim with a mermaid!
For those who want in an introduction to SCUBA diving, there’s the Treasure Hunter activity for people aged twelve and over. This activity involves a fun underwater scavenger hunt.
Also at Adventure Bay you’ll find a nautical themed soft fall playground, which great for toddlers and designed for kids under 5. It features a boat and small ramps, a rocking dolphin and more.
There’s a shady spot which overlooks the boat harbour with tables to enjoy a picnic or grab a bite to eat from the Marena Cafe kiosk.
AQWA also has its own licensed café that serves a variety of hot meals, snacks and fresh and healthy sandwiches. It even offers free Wi-fi.
If you want to make your visit to AQWA even more memorable, you can pay an extra fee to dive or snorkel with the sharks, have a behind the scenes tour or even enjoy a shark sleepover. Full details can be found on their website. Bookings are essential. Happy Birthday AQWA – and we have a feeling 2019 is going to have some very exciting AQWA surprises in store – stay tuned!
Find AQWA at Hillarys Boat Harbour, 91 Southside Drive, Hillarys.
Free car parking is available next to AQWA.
Children (under 15) $18
Children under 4 are free
Family $79 (2 Adults & 2 Kids or 1 Adult & 3 Kids)
For more information visit www.aqwa.com.au
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