A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published June 16th 2019
Not your average aquarium experience
I've always loved seahorses. They're magical creatures like no other. In appearance and the way they move, swimming upright, they are quite unique. To see many together in one place at Seahorse World was an opportunity I couldn't pass up on a recent road trip around Tasmania.
Picturesque Beauty Point, 45 minutes north of Launceston, is where you'll find this tourist attraction that is also a working, breeding farm dedicated to education and conservation. It's your chance to get up close to thousands of these small fish in multiple aquariums via a behind-the-scenes tour.
An expert guide will take you through three very interesting rooms – The Cave of the Seahorse, the Seahorse Farm and the Wonders of the Southern Ocean Aquarium – departing knowledge along the way and providing hands-on interaction with the seahorses.
In The Cave of the Seahorse, you will discover the secret life of seahorses and their mysterious behaviour. The exhibit consists of various types of seahorses in this room that is dark, bar the lighting from the aquariums set into rock face. You'll feel like you're in an actual cave, albeit a man-made one.
Seahorses, also known as sea monsters in the Ancient Greek translation of the genus Hippocampus
Moving into the Farm, the world's first working seahorse farm, discussion turns to the breeding process and exporting. You'll see pot-bellied seahorses (native to Tasmania) in all stages of life, from tiny babies to larger adults, and participate in feeding them. It's the largest room of all three with thousands of yellow and black wonders in tanks of all sizes.
In the final room of the Southern Ocean Aquarium, from angelfish to sharks and seadragons (a relative of seahorses) to a Tasmanian Giant crab, there's a host of creatures from the deep that will have you in awe. It is here too that you can experience an amazing finale to the tour – the holding of a beautiful seahorse in the palm of your hand – should you wish to. I did and it was awesome, something I'll never forget.
Tours run regularly throughout the opening hours of 9.30am-4.30pm (7 days) and the total walking distance is no more than 100metres. With a flat surface, it is suitable for all ages. Benches, along the way, provide rest.
You can purchase a ticket upon entry or online. The tour lasts 45mins and is just $22 per adult and $9.50 per child, aged 4-16years, for this incredible encounter.
The ground level of Seahorse World also houses a waiting room with a seahorse fountain, a kiosk and a large gift shop. There's plenty of 'dust collectors' along with useful items for souvenir lovers, with many of them seahorse-themed. From clocks to soft toys, mugs to knitted winter shoes, wind chimes and artworks, a great variety awaits your wallet. With so many alluring items, I wish I could have bought the whole shop but was satisfied with my colourful mug and a very handy padded bag for my iPad.
On level 1, The Cormorant Cafe on the Pier offers all-day lunches as well as children's options, Tasmanian-made Valhalla ice cream, amazing fresh fruit juices, Devonshire teas and coffee with great views of the Tamar Valley. Named for the birds you can usually spot from the northern windows, the cafe has Chef Roy at its helm. He has worked in major restaurants, putting his passion and creativity on plates in Dubai and Europe. The menu here has some flavoursome choices, catering to both vegetarians and meat lovers.
Seahorse World is easy to find when driving. It is on the West Tamar Highway and you'll see a couple of large warehouse-like sheds from the road. Both have visible signage on them. Seahorse World sits side by side with the Platypus House on Inspection Head Wharf. Plenty of parking is available, including some disabled parking bays.
You can read about Seahorse World on their website and how they came to be (one of the owners is a Senior Biologist) but I strongly recommend, if you're in the area, to make it a point to visit this wonderful world as you'll learn so much more and enjoy the up close and personal time with all of the amazing aquatic beings here.