Cairns aquarium Cairns aquarium

Aquarium opens in Cairns

Cairns Aquarium & Reef Research Centre has just opened. Developed at a cost of $54 million, the 7800 square metre, three-level complex will enable people of all ages to be able to see, touch and learn about the inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef.

As well as being the first aquarium built in Australia for 18 years, it is also the only one in the world to concentrate solely on showcasing the bio-diversity of the Far North Queensland region’s rainforest and marine life. It displays a number of critically endangered or rarely seen endemic species including the emerald tree monitors, freshwater sawfish, Jardine River painted turtles, ribboned pipefish and a school of scalloped hammerhead sharks. Over 15,000 aquatic animals, fish, plants, and other organisms are housed within 71 live exhibits in the two-level facility. It is in Cairns CBD with views of the Esplanade and Coral Sea. One of the visitor highlights is the aquarium’s 300,000 litre Deep Reef exhibit. Specially designed Touch and Talk exhibits in the Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef galleries offer visitors of all ages the ability to touch, and in some cases, hold creatures in complete safety. These include blue sea stars, sea cucumbers, insects and lizards while under the supervision of a trained aquarist. The aquarium’s culinary offering, Aqualuna, is a 220-seat contemporary Italian restaurant which features a 70,000 litre floor to ceiling Under the Pier themed marine tank inside the restaurant while outdoors there is a rainforest themed Daintree Deck. Open 365 days a year, Cairns Aquarium is air-conditioned, wheel chair accessible, with free wifi access. Visit