Underwater World is a great place to spend a few hours especially if you are unlucky enough to be on the Sunshine Coast on a rainy day.
Located in The Wharf in Mooloolaba it is Queensland’s largest Oceanarium and Aquarium and is open every day except Christmas Day from 9am to 5pm. You can buy tickets in most of the visitors centres on the Sunshine Coast rather than at Underwater World itself which will save you a few dollars.
It is very well layed out with different sections devoted to different fish or mammals and you feel that they all have a good amount of space.
As you enter the first area you come to is the Stingray Reef which is a shallow pool with quite a few young stingrays and other rays in it. It is great to visit this near feeding time as they are very inquisitive and will just about come out of the water when they are hoping to be fed.
Opposite that is the touch pool where you can touch star fish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers to mention a few. They have plenty of towels so that you can dry your arms and hands after touching everything.
Next are the large tanks which house lots of different fish from different areas some of which are beautifully colourful, others such as the sea horses and sea dragons are just incredible to watch.
On the same level as these is the seal cove where you can see the seals swimming round and playing all during the day and also where the seal shows take place. We were very unlucky because for the whole time we were on the Sunshine Coast the seal shows were cancelled as the trainers were trying to get them used to a new enclosure but by all accounts they are a real spectacle.
Downstairs is the underwater seal viewing which is directly under their pool and gives you the chance to see just how graceful they are underwater. You also see the Billabong from below with a fresh water crocodile and some large fish.
One level further down is the Oceanarium Tunnel which was probably the highlight of Underwater World for me. This is home to sharks, adult stingrays and lots of other fish and if you are lucky enough to be there at feeding time it is incredible experience to see the “trainers” hand feeding the sharks.
There is also a section of crawly creatures but for me the less said about that the better!!! I’m sure it’s a bigger hit with kids than it was with me!!!
They have presentations on throughout the day and the timetable for them is below. You may want to use this to help plan your time in Underwater World.
- 10.00am – Exploring the Reef Talk
- 10.30am – Rocky Shore and Touch Pool Talk
- 11.00am – Showtime at Seal Island
- 11.30am – Billabongs and Backyards Talk
- 11.45am – Otter Presentation
- 12 noon – Let’s Talk Weird and Wonderful
- 12.30pm – Fresh and Freaky Talk and Feed
- 12.45pm – Exploring the Reef Talk
- 1.00pm – Showtime at Seal Island
- 1.15pm – Billabongs and Backyards Talk
- 1.40pm – Otter Presentation
- 2.00pm – Rocky Shore and Touch Pool Talk
- 2.30pm – Fresh and Freaky Talk and Feed
- 2.45pm – Exploring the Reef Talk
- 3.00pm – Let’s Talk Weird and Wonderful
- 3.30pm – Showtime at Seal Island
You can book extras such as playing in the water with the seals, play with them out of the water, go behind the scenes and learn how the marine animals are fed and cared for and you can even dive with the sharks. For the first three options you can book them on (07) 5458 6226 or enquire at the reception desk and for the shark dive you should call (07) 5444 8595.
The whole place is wheelchair accessible and there is a cafe which serves snacks and shops where you can buy some souvenirs of your visit. You will easily be able to spend at least a couple of hours here especially if you go to some of the presentations mentioned above.
Take a look at the official Underwater World website for more information.