Families and visitors to Cairns can now experience diving with some of the largest apex predators of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea without leaving the city.
Cairns Aquarium and Reef Research centre today launched its “Dive with the Sharks” program – a cage free shark dive experience which gives visitors the chance to come face-to-face with open ocean predators.
This new tourism experience is one of several projects at the Cairns Aquarium which was jointly funded under Federal Government’s highly-successful Regional Jobs and Investment Package.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the “Dive with the Sharks” experience will allow visitors to enjoy underwater diving from a whole new perspective.
“The attraction will be particularly welcomed for time limited visitors such as business travellers or cruise ship passengers that might not have enough time to enjoy our beautiful Great Barrier Reef and instead can now experience ocean life right in the heart of Cairns,” Mr Entsch said.
“This is a great new way visitors will get up close to the reef’s world-famous flora and fauna.
“The attraction already provides a memorable experience and interaction with the incredible fish and animals from the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics.
“The addition of scuba diving experiences of the underwater realms is a wonderful enhancement to a fun day out for individuals and family members.
“As this attraction continues to grow and enhance its product offering, it ensures we continue to have new experiences to make Cairns the state’s premier tourism destination.”
Cairns Aquarium CEO Daniel Leipnik said “Dive with the Sharks” experience is 2.5 hours, including a 20-minute dive in the aquarium’s 1.8 million litre Coral Sea oceanarium, with divers receiving a PADI certificate of completion.
“This is an incredible way in which visitors can have a close underwater encounter with some of the ocean’s most feared species just inches away from your face and body,” Mr Leipnik said.
“Although the sharks and rays may appear fearsome at first and a lot larger once you are in their world.
“It is a unique way of experiencing the Cairns Aquarium’s predators from a whole new perspective – by being in their underwater lair.”
Mr Leipnik said the RJIP grant allowed the aquarium to hire a full-time Dive Safety Officer as well as support additional dive and curatorial staff to facilitate the establishment and operations of the “Dive with the Sharks” experience.
“In addition to increased staffing levels, support through RJIP assisted the business to purchase dive equipment, dive access equipment, and dive training equipment,” he said.
“Warren has been a big supporter of the efforts Cairns Aquarium has made to become the region’s leading facility for Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics rainforest education, conservation and public interaction.
“I want to personally thank him and the Australian Government for the constant support.”