The 7 Best Aquariums in and Around New South Wales

Written by Devika Khosla
Published: December 5, 2023
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New South Wales, Australia is home to a diverse array of marine attractions. Each aquarium and marine center have interactive exhibits, educational programs, and prolific marine animals. These aquariums showcase the rich biodiversity of marine life found in and around the region. These are the seven best aquariums in and around New South Wales where visitors can discover the wonders of the underwater world.

1. SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium (Sydney)

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is on Darling Harbour in Sydney.

©Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Sydney (AU), Darling Harbour, King Street Wharf — 2019 — 2076-83” / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

The SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is located in the heart of Sydney in Darling Harbour. It is one of the best aquariums in New South Wales. The aquarium is home to over 13,000 marine animals from 700 different species. It is divided into several themed zones, including the Jurassic Seas, Great Barrier Reef, and Shark Valley. One of the most notable attractions at the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is the Great Barrier Reef exhibit, which features an underwater tunnel. Visitors can walk through it and see marine life up close. In addition, the aquarium is known for its collection of sharks, including the grey nurse shark and the sandbar whaler shark. There is also an interactive Penguin Expedition with king and Gentoo penguins. The aquarium has various extras, such as guided tours, educational talks, and feeding sessions. There are also dining facilities and souvenir shops available on-site.

2. Taronga Zoo (Sydney)

A seal regularly performs at the Taronga Marine Mammal Show in Taronga Zoo, Sydney.

© Miguel Mendez from Malahide, Ireland, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Taronga Zoo in Sydney is home to over 4,000 animals from 350 species. During the Taronga Marine Mammal Show, visitors can see seals and sea lions. The show is both educational and entertaining and provides insights into the behaviors of these marine mammals. Check out the exhibits showcasing the marine ecosystems found in Australia, including the Great Southern Oceans exhibit with unique displays of Australian sea lions, Australian fur seals, New Zealand fur seals, leopard seals, and pelicans. Additionally, Taronga Zoo includes interactive and informative sessions such as marine animal feeding demonstrations and keeper talks that highlight the importance of marine conservation.

3. Dolphin Marine Conservation Park (Coffs Harbour)

Coffs Harbour is home to a variety of marine animals.

© Paul Lakin, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Dolphin Marine Conservation Park, located in Coffs Harbour, is a unique marine park where visitors can see and learn about dolphins and seals. The park has been rescuing, rehabilitating, releasing, and caring for marine animals since 1970. One of the main highlights of Dolphin Marine Conservation Park is the interactive, hands-on experiences and live demonstrations. In addition to dolphins, the park is home to a variety of other marine animals, including seals, penguins, and turtles. Combining entertainment, education, and conservation, Dolphin Marine Conservation Park is one of the best marine attractions in New South Wales.

4. Merimbula Aquarium (Merimbula)

Fish swim amidst colorful coral reefs along the Sapphire Coast in New South Wales.

©Rebecca Jackson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Located in the coastal town of Merimbula in New South Wales, the Merimbula Aquarium is known for its interactive exhibits and educational experiences. The 18,500-gallon Oceanarium with 28 tanks features local and tropical marine life native to the Sapphire Coast region. Visitors can see a variety of marine habitats, including coral reefs. Showcasing the biodiversity found in the coastal waters of New South Wales, Merimbula Aquarium has touch pools and feeding sessions. Visitors also have access to a gift shop and the Wharf Restaurant.

5. Solitary Islands Aquarium (Coffs Harbour)

Cute anemone fish playing on the coral reef.

The aquarium at Coff’s Harbor has a plethora of



©Kurit afshen/

Located at the National Marine Science Centre in Coffs Harbour, Solitary Islands Aquarium offers a one-of-a-kind experience. In addition to being an educational center and research laboratory, it allows a limited number of visitors to explore the marine life housed here. The aquarium has clownfish, sea anemones, crayfish, and sea urchins, in addition to lionfish, angelfish, tangs, and butterfly fish. There is also a touch tank with marine species like sea stars and sea cucumbers. In addition to games and activities for children, the Solitary Islands Aquarium has hands-on displays, guided tours, and a mini theater with marine videos.

6. Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre (Terrigal)

aquariums in Massachusetts

The discovery center at Terrigal welcomes kids 12 years and under.

©NDAB Creativity/

A marine research and educational center for children up to 12 years, the Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre in Terrigal has activities, exhibits, rock pools, and aquariums. It offers an insight into marine life and conservation practices through puzzles, quizzes, and interactive guided tours.

7. Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters (Port Stephens)


An interactive marine experience located in Port Stephens, Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters is home to sharks, rays, and other marine life. One of the highlights of Irukandji is the chance for visitors to swim with and hand-feed sharks and rays. In addition, there are educational exhibits focused on the conservation of marine ecosystems. Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters also has two lagoons with marine species. The heated Tropical Lagoon features warm tropical fish, and the Sea Shelter is home to marine life that has been rescued and rehabilitated. Other activities include an interactive Shallows Encounter, Reef Shark Snorkel, Stingray Snorkel, and Zebra Shark Encounter.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © anek.soowannaphoom/

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