A freelance writer living by Moreton Bay. Visit my website at www.traceylloyd.com.
Published April 1st 2010
Stingrays, sharks and seals are just some of the creatures which make their home at Underwater World, Mooloolaba. Divided into 8 zones, including an 80 metre tunnel which sits below a 2.5 million litre oceanarium featuring sharks and hosting 14 shows daily, there is no shortage of Wow, Look at That! moments at Underwater World.
The touch and tell area lets you touch sea cucumbers, sea stars and even a shark, the brown banded bamboo shark which can grow up to a 1 metre long. Weird and Wonderful celebrates those marine creatures which are unusual or a little bit bizarre; in this section visitors can see lionfish, rabbitfish, cow fish and the pineapple fish. Kids can also have fun finding characters from the movie Finding Nemo.
Seals behaving badly and who's training who are presented daily at Seal Island. Home to Underwater World's collection of seals, Seal Island features an underwater viewing area where visitors can enjoy the sight of seals gliding through the water. You can also arrange (for a fee) to have a kiss from a seal, get up close with the seals or go swimming with these gorgeous creatures.
Turkey had the Ottoman Empire and Underwater World has the Otter Empire - home to Mayhem, Kaos and Lou, cute critters who know how to strike a pose. As with seal island, visitors to Underwater World can take part in an otter experience and get up close and personal with the otters for an additional fee.
In Fresh and Freaky you can meet Marge, Underwater World's resident freshwater crocodile, a sawfish and see giant barramundi lurking in the water. Green tree frogs, cane toads, lung fish and turtles make their home in the Billabongs and Backyards zone, which celebrates some of our local inhabitants. Crawly creatures is home to the Japanese giant crab, which can grow to 4 metres wide, the Christmas Island red crab and the coconut crab.
Entering Zone 7 at Underwater World always makes me want to go der-der-der-der (a bad written interpretation of the Jaws theme). This zone is the oceanarium and home to a variety of sharks including grey nurse sharks, sandbar whalers, whitetip reef sharks, zebra sharks, rays, moray eels and other colourful fish. Visitors can walk around a 80 metre tunnel to view these magnificent creatures from underneath. For the truly adventurous (or slightly crazy) Underwater World can arrange for you to swim with the sharks. This experience is open to both certified and non-certified divers.
Underwater World is open every day except Christmas Day between 9am and 4:30pm; tickets can be purchased online and cost from $20. It is recommended that you allow 3 – 4 hours to fully explore the exhibits and zones of Underwater World. The Octopus Garden Café onsite is open for morning tea, lunch or a snack. If driving, take the Mooloolaba exit from the Bruce Highway and follow the signs to Underwater World – parking is available on site. A shuttle bus operates from Noosa to Underwater World and the Caboolture/Nambour train lines have connecting bus services to Underwater World.