AQWA stands for the Aquarium of Western Australia. It was originally known as Underwater World, but has been significantly upgraded since then. Today, it’s a place where you can go to see some of the magnificent underwater life that Western Australia has to offer. There are quite a number of different aquariums, along with a touch pool and some outdoor displays for the larger animals.
AQWA has been running now for over 19 years, and in that time has had over 5 million visitors go through it. If you haven’t been within the last few years it’s worth another look; the whole place has had a big upgrade and is now looking spectacular! The idea behind AQWA was inspired by Morris Kahn, who was diving in the Red Sea and damaged his ear drums. From then, he decided that he wanted people to be able to explore the underwater world without having to get a SCUBA ticket, or even get wet. After all, most of the earth is water; there is a lot to see!
Where is AQWA?
You can find AQWA at 91 Southside Drive in Hillary’s. It is located right on the beach at Hillary’s Boat Harbour. If you want to call them, ring 08 9447 7500. If you are catching public transport you can take the northbound train line (Joondalup line) and get off at Warwick Train Station. From there, catch bus number 423 which stops very near to AQWA. Parking is free if you drive in though, which is a bonus.
AQWA Open hours and Entry Prices
AQWA is open from 10am to 5pm every day. The standard cost for an adult is $28, concession is $20, a child is $16 (4 – 15 years) and children below 4 are free. Alternatively, you can pay $75 for a family pass – 2 adults and 2 children. If you visit regularly you can purchase an AQWA Ocean Pass which is cheaper in the long run.
Snorkelling or SCUBA Diving with Sharks at AQWA
One of the greatest attractions at AQWA is the massive aquarium at the bottom. This is quite large, and has a big conveyor going around it, with the Aquarium in the middle and over the top of the conveyor. It really is amazing to see this, but for those who want more adventure you can swim in the aquarium. Whilst that might not sound so exciting, have a think about what you are swimming with! This aquarium is home to several large sharks, some big sting rays and plenty of big fish. Fear not though, because they are well fed and you have guides who swim with you.
It costs $159 to do this for 30 – 45 minutes, plus $20 for snorkel hire, or $40 for SCUBA diving hire. This cost also includes a free pass for the day to the rest of AQWA. Snorkelling with the sharks at AQWA is heavily booked and as a result you need to book several weeks in advance.
Is it worth going to AQWA?
When I was much younger I thought Underwater World was awesome, but AQWA today has been significantly improved since then. Regardless of how old you are, you will enjoy a day out at AQWA. There is plenty to see, and if you have kids then they will love it. I highly recommend going to AQWA if you have some time to kill in Perth!
Hillaries Boat Harbor
As mentioned above, AQWA is located in Hillaries Boat Harbor, which is worth visiting on its own. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes, along with shops to enjoy and it’s all right on (or over the top of) water. Be aware that it isn’t the cheapest place to shop though!