A freelance writer and bargain hunter with wanderlust, recently moved to Perth from Brisbane.
Published February 20th 2013
Bargain pass to 11 attractions
If you love going on holidays in Australia with your boisterous kids in tow, the Merlin Annual Pass is a fantastic pass to buy while touring the East Coast. It allows you 12 months unlimited entry to 11 of the best attractions in Australia and even extending to Kelly Tarlton's in Auckland, New Zealand.
As anyone with a huge family would know, entrance fees do add up and entertaining your kids can be a costly affair. The Merlin pass costs $80 online for an adult and $56 for a child between 4-15 years, with a family pass (two adults and two children) costing $236.
Merlin is the resident magician in Camelot so it is only right that this annual pass bears the same name since it has its own kind of magic - the magic of great value, ensuring you a bargain. If you do the maths in your head, you will receive value for money just through just a few visits. It's a steal if you live in Sydney with five of the attractions located in that state.
The attractions include the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, located in Darling Harbour and open daily from 9 am to 8pm. Your children will be amazed at the 13,000 animals from 700 different species. My favourite is the Shark Walk, where you can come face to face with a variety of fearless sharks. You can also catch a glimpse of the rare "mermaids" here; a place to encounter two of only five dugongs on display in the world.
Pic from Merlinpass.com.au
If you haven't had enough of animals, the pass includes a visit to the Wild Life Sydney Zoo, in close proximity to the Sydney Aquarium, where you can view Rex, one of the world's largest saltwater crocodiles at the amazing Kakadu Gorge display.
You no longer have to travel all the way to London to visit a Madame Tussauds. Madame Tussauds in Sydney is also included in the pass, giving you the opportunity to come face-to-face with amazingly life-like wax figures of some of the world's most famous celebrities. Be prepared to be star-struck.
The pass includes entrance to Wild Life Hamilton Island, a sanctuary with a collection of Australian native animals including koalas, parrots, cockatoos, kangaroos, crocodiles, wombats, reptiles and cassowarys.
You also have access to Underwater World on the Sunshine Coast where you can experience 11 unique zones including Touch and Tell, Weird and Wonderful, Seal Island, Otter Empire, Fresh and Freaky, Billabongs and Backyards, Shark Shipwreck, Coral Cove, Bay of Rays, Turtle Temple and Crawly Creatures.
Attractions in Victoria
Your pass has partner deals with Otway Fly, where you get 25% off Zip Line tours at Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, a tour in Victoria (2.5 hours from Melbourne) allowing you to traverse from one platform to another connected by tree platforms, suspended up to 30 metres above the forest floor.
If you feel like crossing the ditch, your pass is valid at Kelly Tarlton's Sealife Aquarium in Auckland, a unique experience where you can view penguins in a natural setting. You are not only limited to penguins but also have access to an amazing array of marine life.
You can scan your pass at the attraction entrance and in you go, hassle free, without worrying about the cost. Passholders also receive special offers throughout the year such as 20% off food and beverage purchases, 10% off retail purchases, and faster entry into the attractions.
If you are a ski bunny, you also get 10% off lessons and ski equipment hire at Falls Creek Alpine Resort and Hotham Alpine Resort.