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A day at Sea World Australia

Sea World Australia is a marine wildlife park combined with thrill rides, aquatic animal shows & educational presentations all on the gorgeous Gold Coast.

We recently spent a day at Sea World Australia and wanted to share our tips for getting the most out of your visit.  The park has aspects to appeal to all age groups, for us, nothing can beat the animal and bird displays, if you are visiting with children the shows combine an element of entertainment and education plus there are theme park rides suited to the whole family.

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Click on the play button on the video below to watch

Marine wildlife displays

There are all sorts of marine birds and animals resident at Sea World Australia and they are always our main reason for spending a day here, I’m quite sure I could spend the whole day just watching the dolphins alone, they are so playful and entertaining.  There is so much more to see and do but I do find myself back detouring back past their various pools a number of times during the course of the day.

The Affinity show is on twice a day and is always popular. While we were there one little girl’s dream came true when she got to meet and play splash with one of the resident dolphins.

Dophins at Seaworld Australia

Seals and Sealions

A new display for us this time is Seal Harbour which provides the seals and sea lions plenty of room to swim and play in the sandy bottom lagoon pools.  While we watched a couple were swimming, racing each other across the lagoon and taking flying leaps from the water clearly happy to race and play among themselves regardless of us watching from above.  Their speed and acceleration are incredible.

Seal harbour

Shark Bay

For an underwater viewing aquarium, you really can’t go past Shark Bay.  Take time to stop at the touch pools on the way in to see the sea slugs and starfish, the kids can get their hands in the water and gently touch these passive creatures.  As you continue on towards the underground entrance you can also see the sharks and large rays from above as they glide past.

Shark bay

Polar Bears

The polar bears are some of my favourites too, Nelson and Hudson were fairly sedentary while we were watching although they do make short work of their meal (watch them in the video above).  

There are 3 adult polar bears resident at Seaworld at the moment but only the boys were in the viewing area when we visited.  The female, Liya has a new cub she is nursing behind the scenes who will hopefully make a debut in August.  

We remember watching in 2005 when the twins Hudson and Nelson had recently arrived having been found orphaned at around 5 months old.  With only 20,000 polar bears thought to be left in the wild a successful birth in captivity is an important contribution to the genetic pool of these endangered animals.

Polar bears at Seaworld Gold Coast
Polar bears at Seaworld Australia
Polar bears at Seaworld Australia
Hudson and Nelson, the same Polar Bears as cubs back in 2005

Conservation and marine rescue

Sea World Australia is heavily involved in marine rescue, rehabilitation and conservation programmes.  We’d been meaning to get back down here since we had the opportunity to meet the wild dolphin, Nari, off Morton Island last year.   Nari was injured in a shark attack and still bears the scars but thanks to the quick response of Tangalooma staff and Sea World he was rescued, treated, and after a period of recovery on the Gold Coast, he returned to his pod in Morton Bay.

Read about our encounter with Nari at Tangalooma Island Resort.

Sea World works with a range of rescued animals, some like Nari can be rehabilitated and returned to the ocean while others like Howie who came in badly injured by entanglement in fishing line, bear permanent injuries that put them at too much risk in the wild so they get permanent sanctuary in the park.

Marine Life Shows

There is a range of shows scheduled throughout the day, many will have a morning and afternoon time slot to make it easier to get around all of them.  Any of the showtimes work well but we do find the sun position and light for taking photos can be optimised with a little planning especially in winter when the sun is lower.  In our view the dolphin show is best in the morning as the shadows can be a little long in the afternoon and the seal show is better in the afternoon as you aren’t looking directly into the bright morning sun.

If you want to get to a few of the shows, or all of them,  it’s worth taking a look at the schedule they give you when you arrive and having a bit of a plan.  For the bigger shows like Sea Lion detective and the Affinity dolphin show, you will want to get to them a bit ahead of time especially if you want to get the best seats (close to the front or in the shade). They also close access once the shows start so don’t be late.

Theme Park Rides

For the younger family members, Nickelodeon Land and Castaway Bay have plenty of fun and giggles.  For the more thrill-seeking members of the family there’s the Jet Rescue roller-coaster and a new ride the Storm Coaster which involves somewhere between getting splashed and drenched.  All part of the fun and in the Queensland sun, you’re going to dry out pretty fast.

Storm roller coaster at Sea World

 Visitor information

Where is Sea World Australia?

Sea World is located on Seaworld Drive on the Spit at Main Beach, Queensland 4217.

The easiest way to get here is by private car. If you do drive there’s a huge free car park for visitors.

Another option is the Surfside buses, the local public bus service, do include the Spit in their route with a bus stop outside the park.  From Surfers Paradise it’s approximately a 10-minute bus ride on route 705.  Use the free Translink planning tool to find the bus times from your location.

Click the ‘view larger map’ link on the map below to get directions from your current location.

What time does Sea World open?

Gates open at Sea World from 9.00 am with the first show scheduled for 9.30 am and the gates close at 5 pm.

How much do Sea World tickets cost?

Tickets at the gate cost $79.99 per adult and $69.99 per child or pensioner which includes the day in the park and all shows and rides.

There are a variety of options to get a discounted ticket but they do require some pre-planning and early purchase:

  1.  Multi-day or annual tickets.  If you live in the area or want to visit all the parks on holiday these can be great value compared to purchasing individual tickets.  At the date of publication, you can visit all 4 parks in the group as many times as you want for a whole year for only $20 more than the standard day ticket price to one park.
  2. The deal booking sites such as ExperienceOz regularly have discounted tickets to Sea World and many other attractions on the Gold Coast. They are locally based here in Australia and have a really good selection.
  3. Watch out for any member-only discounts offered through everything from your superannuation fund to the local RACQ motoring club.

A few final tips for a top day at Sea World Australia

Now I don’t want to make this sound like a fine-tuned mission but there are a few things worth thinking about before you arrive.

  1. It’s Queensland, almost certainly the sun will be shining so apply a good dose of sunscreen and maybe toss the bottle in the bag to reapply later.
  2. Allow enough time, we suggest getting there at or around opening time to catch the shows throughout the day and allow enough time to explore.  We’ve been loads of times over the years and still end up staying all day and being the last stragglers out of the park.
  3. You aren’t able to take food and drink into the park other than a water bottle and fruit.  There are a variety of options to eat within the park or you can ask for a pass to get out and return later in the afternoon.  If you, or someone in your group has food allergies or a medical condition that requires a specific diet, exceptions can be accommodated.  A water bottle is definitely recommended.
  4. Have you considered staying at the Sea World resort?  This is a great family holiday and includes access to the Sea World park, monorail access into the park and free use of the onsite water park.

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Friday 24th of November 2017

I am so glad I found this article today because. I have a trip planned to Australia with my significant other and two kids under 7. We were struggling to find appropriate activities for the entire family that my somewhat easily distracted children will enjoy. It is amazing to know that they have all of that marine wildlife shows AND a theme park in the same spot. A huge plus for me is also the fact that they make the effort to get involved in marine rescue and conservation. I'm impressed.

Glen - Eastcoast Sailing

Tuesday 20th of June 2017

Glad to know that Seaworld is active in marine rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation programmes. I do love watching sea animals as well, especially in the wild. The theme park rides look so much fun, though!

Ryan Biddulph

Sunday 21st of May 2017

Hi Toni,

I love that Seaworld there is involved with marine rescue and rehab. Awesome karma and it's quite fun to see these marine mammals pal-ing around. The sea lion is cute! I would watch them for hours at the Bronx Zoo in NYC.

Thanks for sharing :)


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