Rainforest Ecosystems at the Cairns Aquarium

Purple Spotted Gudgeon

Follow a drop of rain as it descends from the mountain ranges, joins creeks, streams and flooded billabongs, travels through the Rainforest, past the Mangroves, through the Great Barrier Reef and finally into the depths of the Coral Sea….

Welcome to Cairns latest family-friendly, all ages attraction; the Cairns Aquarium, which offers a lot more than you might initially expect.

Don’t be ‘fooled’ by the name.

Sure, as you’d assume, the aquarium offers an engaging insight into the subsea wonders of the world famous Great Barrier Reef. Less expected however are the interconnected Wet Tropics (rainforest), Gulf Savannah and Cape York exhibits that highlight the uniqueness of broader tropical North Queensland region.

Jade Perch Fish

Jade Perch, also known as the Black Bream – found in turbid waters of large freshwater rivers

Collectively these exhibits are home to some 15,000 weird, wonderful, rare and elusive animals representing 10 different ecosystems, and 71 different habitats, all under the one roof.

Giant Mud Crab

The largest of the swimming crabs, the Giant Mud Crab

The aquarium’s impressive collection of marine creatures are stunningly showcased via a combination of custom made floor to ceiling, full wall, tunnel-like walk through, ‘birds eye’, amphitheatre (complete with seating) and touch pool style tanks.

Floor to ceiling tank displays at the Cairns Aquarium

Floor to ceiling tank displays at the Cairns Aquarium. Photo Credit: Love_Live_Loz

Not to be outdone, you can also get up close and personal with the aquarium’s similarly impressive array of landlubbers that include snakes, lizards, amphibians, crocodiles, giant bugs and insects.

Complementing this feast for the eyes are the aquarium’s friendly knowledgeable staff (or AquaNuts as they are affectionately known) who, together with a wide range of informative posters, boards and banners, provide you with some of the facts and figures that really emphasise just how unique and globally significant the tropical North Queensland region is.

During our visit, we learned about some of the unusual shapes and behaviours of endemic species such as the jungle perch, gudgeon, catfish and freshwater stonefish.

Freshwater Moray Eel

Freshwater Moray Eel. Photo Credit: Cairns Aquarium

Another amazing fact was that the World Heritage listed section of the Wet Tropics accounts for only 0.12% of Australia’s total land mass but is home to 65% of all Australian fern species and 60% of all Australian butterfly species!

AquaLuna Restaurant

Five senses dining at Aqualuna

All of this looking and learning can really build up an appetite and thankfully the aquarium also has that covered care of its in-house restaurant Aqualuna. Providing both indoor and outdoor dining options, Aqualuna features a good selection of fresh local produce and there’s even a pizza creation station for the kids to showcase their culinary flair.

While we did feel a bit guilty ordering the fish and chips (particularly as there we some angry looking sharks watching us from the full wall ‘Under the Pier Shark Habitat’), it was the perfect way to end what was a very informative and enjoyable day at the Cairns Aquarium.

Your Skyrail experience can be partnered with the Cairns Aquarium and the Kuranda train for a full day of family fun in Tropical North Queensland!