Window to the marine world at Coffs Harbour NSW

It’s not often you can say, hand on heart, that a place is informative, inspiring, fun and thought provoking. The Solitary Islands Aquarium in Coffs Harbour NSW is all that and more!


The aquarium is attached to Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre. It’s a window on the local marine environment where you can see the local marine life, and find out more about the research conducted there. Interestingly, all the water in the aquarium is pumped through from the ocean, making it a tiny part of the Pacific Ocean.


We visited the aquarium as part of a group and were treated to an inspiring talk about the unique marine environment around the Solitary Islands, how it facilitates ocean research, recent research findings relating to rising ocean temperatures and acidity as well as possible causes and the effects on marine life.


Some of the creatures affected by changing conditions in the marine environment were at the talk in a small water tank. Seeing and touching these little sea creatures was amazing. Our, ahem, mature group of adults turned into a bunch of wide-eyed, overgrown kids as we touched the derriere of a little starfish (at the time we didn’t know that was what we were touching!), patted a squishy bêche-de-mer and felt the spikes of a sea urchin.

Thought provoking tank3

After the talk it was out into the aquarium area with its dazzling displays of sea life and some displays that were rather disturbing. The Not So Fantastic Plastic display, Decomposition Rates of Marine Debris information board and the list of rubbish collected from a small beach near the Aquarium were definitely food for thought.

And more … 

Solitary Islands Aquarium is at 2 Bay Drive Coffs Harbour and is a must do if you’re in the area on a weekend, or in school holidays. It’s great value for money with entry fees of $10 Adult, $8 Concession or $6 Child. Did we mention that there’s plenty for the kids to see and do as well? You’ll also be supporting further research. Money well spent!tank2

Words and Photos by TruBlu Travelling.

For more about Coffs Harbour, see the TruBlu Travelling town pages:

Coffs Harbour:!/explore/nsw/northern-rivers/coffs-harbour