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UnderWater World

Home > Sunshine Coast > Animals and Wildlife | Escape the City | Family | Rainy Day | Zoos
by Heath Hewitt (subscribe)
Writer and fitness enthusiast living in beautiful Redcliffe, Queensland.
Published November 7th 2012
Discover A World You Never Knew at Mooloolaba Attraction
If there's one thing that has helped to put Mooloolaba on the map, it has to be UnderWater World. They have thousands of marine and freshwater animals from green tree frogs and a variety of fish to otters, seals and sawfish. It's an informative and fun tourist attraction. It's also a fantastic way to learn about the marine animals in our own backyard as well as those not even native to the country.

Discover a world you never knew in your own backyard/Image by Chris Parker
Discover a world you never knew in your own backyard/Image by Chris Parker

In the two years I've lived on the Sunshine Coast I've never once visited UnderWater World, but every time someone came to visit it was the first place they wanted to go. Finally, I bit the bullet, put on my tourist cap and joined in.

The seal show runs a couple of times a day. It was a highlight/Image by Chris Parker
The seal show runs a couple of times a day. It was a highlight/Image by Chris Parker

It can be quite overwhelming walking into UnderWater for the first time. After passing through the Touch and Tell section it's basically free roam. The attraction is divided up into 11 unique zones including Weird and Wonderful, Fresh and Freaky, Billabongs and Backyards and Crawly Creatures.

Inside the Ocean Tunnel - a surreal experience/Image by Chris Parker
Inside the Ocean Tunnel - a surreal experience/Image by Chris Parker

I was instantly blown away by how amazing this place was. There's just so much you can see, feel, hear, touch and learn - it's an educational journey but I never felt like I was being lectured. It was like one of those enjoyable excursions you would take every now and again at school - you learned plenty and you didn't even realise it.

Gazing out in the Ocean Tunnel
Gazing out in the Ocean Tunnel

One of the most unique experiences had to be the Ocean Walk - a clear glass tunnel surrounded by seawater and the wildlife that inhabit it. The tunnel, a short loop, is divided up into four specific zones - Shark Shipwreck, Coral Cove, Bay of Rays and Turtle Temple. Each have their own theme, animals on display and feel to them - you can tell immediately the moment you pass through the shipwreck setting into the beautiful corals with its colourful fish to match.

Getting up close and personal in the Ocean Walk/Image by Chris Parker
Getting up close and personal in the Ocean Walk/Image by Chris Parker

The tunnel felt quite short. As a tall person I felt like I could have bumped my head if I wasn't too careful. It was also quite dark in places, but never pitch black. The views we experienced were amazing - you wouldn't get the chance anywhere else to see sharks, mantra rays and schools of fish pass above your head.

The response of the seals was marvellous to see/Image by Chris Parker
The response of the seals was marvellous to see/Image by Chris Parker

Another one of my favourite experiences at UnderWater World had to be Otter Empire. Watching Mayhem, Kaos and Lou run around like a bunch of misbehaving kittens who love the water would put a smile on anyone's face. We stopped by for one of the day's otter presentations. It went about 15 minutes long and taught us a lot about the otters - how Australia is one of the only nations in the world to not have native otters, and that they have the intelligence and problem solving skills of a seven-year-old.

There's plenty to see
There's plenty to see

The anecdotal stories on their misadventures, such as figuring out how to open doors and run wild in the enclosure, was met with many laughs from the audience. At the end we were also given the chance to ask any questions we had. The staff were very knowledgeable and never bored us with their insights.

Every exhibition is packed with information on all the animals contained within/Image by Chris Parker
Every exhibition is packed with information on all the animals contained within/Image by Chris Parker

Perhaps the star attraction and poster children for UnderWater World are the seals. Seal Island was absolutely packed at the live show we attended. We also met Alex, the Seal Trainer For A Day. He got a hands on approach, even lending a hand in feeling one of the seals during the show. I later found out this is a $350 experience in which for five hours you get to experience what it's like to be part of the UnderWater World Marine Mammal Team, gain access to the behind the scenes areas of the aquarium, and participate in the seal show. It's certainly a unique experience. Only one person is allowed per day to take part so you know you'll be the centre of attention.

So very clever - the Seal Show drew a big crowd/Image by Chris Parker
So very clever - the Seal Show drew a big crowd/Image by Chris Parker

I made enquiries straight after the show about the Seal Encounters and Seal Swim, where you get the chance to put on your swimmers and take a tour of their home and even get a photo as a souvenir. At just $90 per person it's already on my list of 'things to do' next time I'm at UnderWater World. That's just one of the many animal experiences on offer here. If you're game enough you can take on the Shark Dive Xtreme. Best part is - no scuba diving experience is required. It can cost $245 for the non-certified ($195 if you are) but the 1.5 hour adventure sounds totally worth it.

The otters were amazing - very smart/Image by Chris Parker
The otters were amazing - very smart/Image by Chris Parker

Another big focus of UnderWater World is the conservation of marine wildlife. For every exhibition you walk through there is information on what you can do to lend a hand to those animals. There were plenty of miniature games such as one where you had to guess how many years it took for common rubbish items like disposable nappies, aluminium cans and fishing line to break down.

Touch and tell is one of the first exhibits you will come across at UnderWater World
Touch and tell is one of the first exhibits you will come across at UnderWater World

UnderWater World is the perfect site to take the family no matter how old or young they are. You'd practically guaranteed to come out knowing something you don't know before. Whether it's a day trip, an educational field trip or even a kid's birthday party, UnderWater World is an amazing place to visit.
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Why? Have a blast and learn something at the same time
When: Open from 9am-5pm everyday except Christmas Day, with last admissions one hour prior to closing time
Phone: 07 5458 6280
Where: Parkyn Parade Mooloolaba QLD 4557
Cost: Adult $35, child 3-14yrs $23, concession $28.00. Family (2 adults & 2 children) $96, extra child on family pass $20
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