Tag Archives: Great Barrier Reef

Sydney Aquarium

I hadn’t been to Sydney aquarium for many years, so a few weeks ago, AS and I decided to go there as it was a rainy Saturday afternoon as there wasn’t much we could do outdoors. Sydney Aquarium in situated on the eastern edge of Darling Harbour and is close to the heart of the city. The cost of entry for an adult is AU$35 per person.

When we went to buy the ticket, we realised that lots of people, especially families with young kids and tourist had the same idea as we did. So there was a bit of a wait before we could get inside. Once inside, there were a large variety of fish and water creatures like huge sharks, massive stingrays, majestic turtles, jellyfish, platypuses, penguins, and sea dragons.

There were many interesting Lego structures which wasn’t there on my last visit. I later learned that they are aquatic inspired constructions containing around 20000 pieces of Lego.

There was a section called Great Barrier Reef and I swear I saw all the fishes there which I had seen while snorkelling in Great Barrier Reef itself. They were so colourful with similar coral around them. All sorts of tropical fish, sharks and rays darted about the coral reef formations swimming over creatures that live on the ocean floor including lobsters and sea cucumbers.

The best part of all was the underwater tunnel. There were so many sharks and sting rays that we spent more than 30 minutes looking at them.  I felt really excited when a three-metre shark or giant sting ray glided silently above me :).

Luckily we were there when they had shark feeding as well where one of the keepers told us many things about the sharks and sting rays in the tank.

 A few facts I learnt that day.

  • Opened in 1988, Sydney Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world.
  • Six million litres of water house this varied and colourful exhibit.
  • They have beautiful dugongs – 2 of only 5 on display anywhere in the world
  • Almost every Australian sea and major waterway is represented at the Sydney Aquarium: from the open sea to the Great Barrier Reef, to the Australian Bight and Sydney Harbour, to the Murray-Darling river system, the rivers of the Far North, mangrove habitats, rocky shores.
  • Some of its displays are contained in the main exhibit hall, others in one of the three large floating oceanariums.
  • A large purpose-built tank called Mermaid Lagoon is where the rather adorable Dugongs Pig and Wuwu call home. Most Dugongs spend their time in warmer northern Australian waters and they are a strictly marine herbivores.
  • Little Penguins are on display in a large tank replicating their natural habitat which stretches around southern Australia from northern NSW all the way to southern WA, and can include Sydney Harbour.
  • There are a number of shark exhibits at the aquarium. Together they tell the story and life cycle of sharks and also their relationship with man.

The aquarium is great for kids (and adults) who can appreciate the cool things the world can offer like sharks and turtles. I really enjoyed my day out and if you ever visit Sydney, I think this should be one of the places to go on your list.

For more information on the aquarium, please visit their site


Oceanwalker : Swimming with the fishes

One of the good things about a tropical holiday is that you get to swim in a blue sea with lots of fishes. I love going snorkelling and meeting the locals from deep down in the water. 

During this holiday I got many occasions to do that. When we were on Hideaway Island we were able to go snorkelling in the deep blue water with a guide. We also did some snorkelling by ourselves in Eton Village and other beaches as well. 

I always want to go deeper in the coral but with snorkelling it is not possible, but in Vanuatu, I found Oceanwalker. It makes it  easy to enjoy the view underwater. I had done something similar before in the Great Barrier reef in Queensland but I was excited to try it out again . 

The website describes Oceanwalker as 

Oceanwalker Vanuatu brings you this exciting and innovative tourism experience, allowing you to explore the underwater world of tropical fish and coral reefs up close, with-out even getting your head wet. 

The Helmet Dive is the next step after snorkelling and is a fun way to discover what lies beneath. 

Your adventure in paradise starts with a short walk down a ramp into the water where the purpose-built helmet is lowered on to your shoulders and in no time at all your underwater experience begins spending up to 20 minutes walking on the sea floor to a maximum depth of 4 metres. 

The day of the dive, we were picked up at the hotel and were taken to the dive area by the short boat ride. The day was just perfect with the sun out and the blue sky. At the dive area there were 4 people who were there to help us through this amazing journey. 

We had one more group, a family joining us for the dive. 

First we were briefed by our PADI qualified instructors with instructions about the helmet dive equipment and we were given a form to sign our life away. 

Then the adventure began with a descent to the short ramp in the water, where a helmet is fitted on the head and then off you go. It was really a fun experience because you don’t have to worry about swimming or breathing. Air is continually pumped into the helmet so the water doesn’t rise above your shoulder even when you are 4 meters underwater. 

We met lots of fish down there including Nemo and the zebra fish. It was so cool. One of the instructors was with us all the time so there was no fear of getting lost or anything. He even caught a fish in his hand twice and gave it to me but the fish just escaped from my hand. 🙂 It was really fun experience. I also got to hold a sea cucumber. 

There were so many fish around us that we felt like kids running after it. I really enjoyed the whole experience and was sorry that it ended after around just 20 mins. The memory will live in me forever. 🙂 Click here for more photos.

Vanuatu here we come

One of the main reasons I love Christmas time is that we get time off from work. Normally I take my annul leave and go for a long holiday some where. For the last 6 years, I made sure that I was not in Sydney, if not in Australia at this time of the year. 

This year both me and AS have ten days off so we decided it was time to have one more stamp on our passports. After looking for reasonable deals for months, finally we found a deal within our budget so we will be going to Vanuatu during our year end break. 

Vanuatu is an island country in the Pacific which is three and a half hours flight from Sydney. It has 83 islands so we expect to have a great tropical holiday. They seem to have lots of activates like Abseiling, Parasailing, Semi Submarine, Cruises and much more. It also has the world’s most active and accessible volcano, Mt Yasur, and the world’s largest shore wreck dive the President Coolidge located just off the shore of Espirito Santo. 

So flights and hotels have been booked. Visa has been arranged and bags are packed. I got our snorkelling gears, swimmers, towels, summer dress and the all important sun screen lotion. I am really excited as I have wanted to go there for years. Finally, we are going. Hopefully the weather will be sunny and nice and not too hot. 

I have been looking at Trip Advisors for activities. There seems so many good things so I can’t wait to dive in the water and start having fun. One of the things I want to do is the Ocean Walker, if things work out according to plan. I have already done something similar in the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns and it is one of the easiest ways to be up close and personal with marine life. Ohoo! thinking about all the fun we are going to have is making me giddy already. Can’t wait to get on that plane  🙂

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!