Saturday, May 23, 2015

Western Australia Day 12: Aquarium of Western Australia & Sorrento Quay

On our second last day in Australia, we decided to take it easy and enjoy the indoors to get out of the summer heat. We took a short drive down to Hillarys Boat Harbour, to visit the Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) and hang out at Sorrento Quay.

A tunnel walk-through inside Australia's largest single aquarium is one of the highlights for the family. This is AQWA's 'Shipwreck Coast' exhibit which features sharks, rays and turtles in a 'bottom of the sea' setting. 

Large rays up close as they swim alongside and over us.

A variety of large and majestic sharks. The aquarium allows guests to dive with them for a fee.

Turtles glide through the 'air' gracefully. What an adorable face.

We could step on an off the travellator as we marveled at the majestic creatures.

Artificial swim-throughs, caves and wrecks. Nothing beats the real thing, but this will do for now.

Jellies! Stingers! Call them whatever you wish, but they make a 'dreamy' spectacle as they toss around the deep like little astronauts in space.

The 'Far North' exhibit showcases the isolated tropical reefy lagoons of the remote north coast.

The Marmion Marine Park is a section of AQWA devoted to visitor interaction with marine life. At the roof-top, there is the touch-pool, stingray-bay and lagoon.

This is a view of the Shipwreck-Coast aquarium from the roof-top.

Stingray-bay! The rays come up close in the shallows and the visitors get a good look at their odd but adorable shapes.

The nursery is where rescued baby animals are nursed back to health before release. There were rays and turtles here.

Whale vertebrae. Is there a chiropractic anywhere? This was part of the Coral-Reef exhibit.

The girls wanted to add a little note about their experience at the touch pool, and so I let them write a paragraph on it:

"When we went to the touch pool, my younger sister was too scared to touch one of small sharks because she thought it would bite her. She loved the sea-cucumbers and was amazed when the sea cucumber changed shape. When we first saw Daddy hold the starfish we thought the starfish will bite him because the mouth was under it."

Visitors of all ages were engaged by the exhibit. There were Port-Jackson sharks, sea-stars, sea-cucumbers, mollusks, sea-urchins and the elusive lobster.

We made the effort to keep the creatures in the water even when we were touching them. This was to reduce the stress placed on it and still enjoy them.

At first, the girls were afraid to pick up the creatures. Daddy helped bring the creatures closer to them. After a little warm-up, they were ready to help themselves.

Oops, this fella is upside down. However, they are able to right themselves pretty quickly without assistance. Fun to watch, but perhaps stressful for the creature.

After rinsing our hands, we had a lovely milkshake from the AQWA Cafe and took some time to browse the adjoining gift shop.

It was time for a late lunch (and desert of course!). Sorrento Quay had the reputation of a happening bay for the young and old alike. We were not prepared to take advantage of the sand and sea, but decided to appreciate soak up the holiday mood and check out the shops.

Kids were somersaulting off this wooden jetty and families were cooling off in the safe swimming bay.

The scene resembles a water-park without the toys. A giant swimming pool perhaps?

The seaside town was quite crowded today.

Youths were hopping off the pontoons into the water to cool-off form the hot sun.

Our hosts had recommended the popular Little Caesars Pizzeria and we settled in quickly, got drinks and a couple of pizzas. The diner is classy and so are their pizzas. But kids are not always classy, and they often skip the sophisticated fare for the simple and sweet.

Pizza by the waterfront! Oysters Kilpatrick (top) and Smoked Salmon (bottom) were not the kids' cup of tea, but the potato wedges in sauce suited them just fine.

The little restaurant has a wide range of flavors so there is definitely a pizza that would suit your taste buds. Would definitely return for more the next time we visit and we would make sure to pack along our swimming gears for the dives into the water. 

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