cairns aquarium

Things to do


Wonders of the underwater world

If your preference is to stay above the water, or you want to view the region’s rich diversity of aquatic creatures, Cairns Aquarium is home to more than 15,000 animals, fish, plants and other organisms endemic to the reef and rainforest of Tropical North Queensland. Some are unique to the region, others are endangered, rare or even deadly.

The spectacular Deep Reef exhibit, a representation of a deep water coral reef drop-off, offers the chance to view the colourful range of marine life usually only accessible to experienced scuba divers. Admire graceful leopard sharks, giant rays, gropers and other large predators in the Oceanarium and underwater tunnel. Learn more about the life aquatic, with touch and talk exhibitions featuring harmless sea animals such as vivid blue sea stars and fat sea cucumbers and daily shark and ray feeding presentations. Take a turtle rehabilitation tour to learn more about the plight of sea turtles and their rescue and release efforts.

Round off your visit with lunch at the Dundee’s at the Cairns Aquarium surrounded by live salt and freshwater specimens in an Under the Pier themed exhibit inside and outdoor reef and rainforest themed Daintree Deck. And don’t forget about the world’s biggest aquarium at the doorstep. If you don’t like the idea of getting wet to discover the Great Barrier Reef, it can also be explored on a glass-bottom boat or semi-submersible.

Tropical fish and colourful coral at the Cairns Aquarium

Upgrade to visit the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

Vivid coral at the Cairns Aquarium

Take a weight off

Plan your aquatic adventure before you go

master reef guides great barrier reef
Great Barrier Reef
Ways you can help the Great Barrier Reef

There’s a sense of responsibility that comes when you’re visiting one of the world’s seven wonders; a calling to nurture nature. If leaving only footprints (or fin waves in this case) is high on your priority list, here are some ways you can help the Great Barrier Reef during your next holiday.

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scuba diving great barrier reef
Great Barrier Reef
Diving 101 – Everything you need to know about scuba diving

Have you ever dreamed of scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef? Just imagine sinking down into the warm waters, exploring coral gardens and seeing this wondrous world through the eyes of a fish. Learning to scuba dive is easy and is your passport to a brave new world. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about learning to Scuba Dive.

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snorkelling with maori wrasse turtle and fish
Great Barrier Reef
12 Famous residents of the Great Barrier Reef

Only 12 residents? There’s probably a gazillion of them, but let’s start things slowly shall we. It’s not easy to keep track of every single one of the Great Barrier Reef’s inhabitants but here are some of the most famous ones in Tropical North Queensland.

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scuba diver nautilus shell
Great Barrier Reef
25 Fun facts about the Great Barrier Reef

As you’d expect from one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier Reef is home to some weird, wonderful and just plain loveable creatures. Here’s 25 fun Great Barrier Reef facts about a marine world larger than Italy.

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Gareth Phillips snorkelling on the reef
Great Barrier Reef
Reef Talk – A chat with marine biologist Gareth Phillips

The Great Barrier Reef is a thriving, living marine environment. It inspires all who visit, even those who see it every day, like marine biologist and owner of Marine Discoveries, Gareth Phillips.

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Great Barrier Reef
10 Great Barrier Reef Experiences for Adventure Seekers

While most people come to the Great Barrier Reef for postcard-perfect swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving in the real-life World Heritage-listed aquarium, there’s plenty of ways to experience the reef and not all involve getting wet. Choose your own Tropical North Queensland reef adventure with this adrenaline scale ranging from sunset sails to vistas served at speeds of up to 200km per hour.

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Sailaway Mackay Cay
Great Barrier Reef
Dreamy sand cays you must visit on the Great Barrier Reef

We’ve all seen those gorgeous wisps of whiteness poking out from an azure sea on Great Barrier Reef. But what are they? More importantly, where are they? And how can we get a piece of sand cay action? We’re here to reveal all.

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scuba diving ribbon reefs
Great Barrier Reef
7 reasons to book a liveaboard diving experience in Tropical North Queensland

With over 2,300km of reefs, sand cays and islands to explore, extend your reef experience from one night to up to one week with a liveaboard diving trip.

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Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel
Cairns & Northern Beaches
Reef Dreaming: Discover the Reef with Indigenous Rangers

As you discover the Great Barrier Reef, uncover the culture of the Traditional Custodians with personal interpretation by local Indigenous rangers on Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel.

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