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Popular Underwater Animal Encounters


Swimming is far more exciting when you’re floating alongside the creatures of the deep. Brooke Montgomery discovers the best underwater animal encounters in Australia.

Every young girl has dreamt of being The Little Mermaid and having her very own ‘under the sea’ moment, floating and singing alongside powerful sharks, majestic dolphins and tiny tropical fish. With our endless stretches of coastline and plethora of marine wildlife, Australia has an abundance of underwater animal experiences that can turn childhood dreams into a reality.

Sea World, Gold Coast
Sea World on the Gold Coast is much more than just an amusement park; it is a bustling marine mecca. With so many sea creatures to visit, and a full schedule of shows and feeding sessions, it’s not surprising that family’s come back for a second (or third!) day.

The star attractions are the incredible underwater experiences on offer for children of all ages. The kids can undertake their own ‘Tropical Reef Snorkel Adventure’ and get up close and personal with tropical fish, stingrays and even sharks (the harmless ones of course) and children as young as five will adore getting wet with a playful dolphin! Don’t stress, parents can watch just metres away on the viewing deck or hop in with the kids with the ‘Family Adventure.’

Dolphin Marine Magic, Coffs Harbour
With the sun shining, the water sparkling and the dolphins happily chattering away, Dolphin Marine Magic really does seem like a slice of heaven. The younger ones can play with the dolphins in shallow water just 1.3 metres deep while the beautiful mammals swim, feed and if you’re lucky, offer you a hug.

Those 12 and older can have a more action-packed encounter, where they not only swim with the dolphins, but get propelled across the water clinging to their fins. What’s more? Dolphins are not the only animals who call Dolphin Marine Magic home; there are also eleven seals, nineteen penguins and a majestic sea turtle.

***Hot Tip*** Opt for the ‘Seal Swim’ where you’ll get to swim, play and even feed a friendly sea lion family - watch out for that kiss though, their whiskers tickle!

Crocosaurus Cove, Darwin
Boasting some of the largest saltwater crocs in Australia, don’t miss Crocosaurus Cove on your next visit to the top end. Housing almost 200 crocodiles, the exhibits are popular with both locals and tourists alike, but it is the unique opportunity to swim with these huge creatures which brings the thrill-seekers in droves.

Diving into the water with goggles at the ready, swimmers will be just metres away from some of the most powerful crocodiles in the Northern Territory! But never fear... it’s not as scary as it may sound.

A clear, thick barrier separates you from the crocs on the other side, so the whole family can see them up close as safely as possible. For those daring kids aged 15 and over, the Cage of Death suspends riders above the water before being lowered into the enclosure for 15 heart-stopping minutes.

Bayplay, Portsea
The Mornington Peninsula is quickly becoming one of Australia’s most popular destinations and with adventures like those on offer with Bayplay, one can understand why.

It’s not very often you can interact with sea creatures in their natural habitat but with Bayplay’s underwater encounters you’ll be amazed at the amount of marine life to be found in Port Phillip Bay.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to snorkel with Puffer fish, stargazers and the beautiful Weedy Seadragons. Little swimmers will be decked out in a buoyant wetsuit and have access to a life ring at all times.

The tour only takes two hours, so there’s plenty of time in the day for other activities like the Sail & Snorkel to the Seals on Bayplay’s stunning 34 foot catamaran. The cruise goes to Chinamans Hat, a pontoon where seals lazily sunbake and splash around in the ocean... and you can jump in and join the party!

Monkey Mia Dolphins, Shark Bay

While the 10 hour drive from Perth may seem daunting, the playful creatures at Monkey Mia will make it all worth-while. In a fascinating tradition spanning over 40 years, the bottlenose dolphins swim in from the turquoise bays of Shark Bay and right up to the shallows of the beach. Everyday a lucky few are picked from the crowd to feed the dolphins their breakfast. There are up to three feeding sessions each morning so that the dolphins are free to spend their afternoons doing whatever it is that dolphins do. Don’t be discouraged by thinking you might miss them; Monkey Mia is the most reliable place in the world to meet a dolphin, being the only area Australia-wide where dolphins visit daily!

***Hot Tip*** If you attend the second or third feeding session of the day, the group sizes are generally smaller and you will have a better chance of being selected to feed the dolphins.

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