Underwater Bondi Experience opens for Easter – Dive Bondi Bay without getting wet!
Bondi Beach’s first custom-built visitor attraction, the Underwater Bondi Experience, at Bondi Pavilion’s Marine Discovery Centre, will open its doors to the public from Good Friday.
“Sydney has the most amazing underwater environment of any major city in the world and Bondi is the best place to see it,” says Underwater Bondi Experience’s curator, marine biologist Will Jones. “From seadragons to sharks, Bondi has it all.”
The Underwater Bondi Experience takes visitors on a virtual dive of Bondi Bay through a series of walk-through audio visual experiences. These include a world-first re-creation of an actual dive site where you can experience what it’s like to dive without getting wet. The site is authentic to North Bondi and features its giant pink boulders, with their trademark holes burrowed out by generations of black sea urchins. Concealed amid the boulders are aquariums where you can meet the local marine life, including baby sharks, face to face.
After visiting the dive site, visitors watch a film which is a fish’s-eye-view tour of six different “hidden” habitats starting from Bondi beach: the surf, the shallows, the rockpools, the boulders, the deep (home of the bizarre and uniquely Australian Weedy Seadragon) and the open ocean. Viewers will witness giant cuttlefish changing shape and colour; see friendly Blue Gropers, harmless Port Jackson sharks and electric blue sea spiders.
Will Jones says the attraction, which takes about half an hour to experience, aims to transport visitors beyond the familiarity of the beach and give them an insight into the teaming wildlife below.
“There is a misconception that Bondi is just a stretch of sand and water and little else. But just below the surface is an amazing cornucopia of marine life which is both exciting to see but at the same time extremely vulnerable to human activity.
“Five million people come to Bondi Beach every year but they are mostly oblivious to the impact they have on ocean life. We’re hoping to inspire the visitors to the Underwater Bondi Experience to take some simple, practical actions to help protect this precious environment,” Jones says.
As visitors exit the underwater world, they are met by a reality check – a recreation of the North Bondi stormwater drain – full of pollution – which is a sharp contrast to the beauty of the underwater world and a physical call to action. Visitors are then invited to make a simple and easy change in their lives which will ultimately help the oceans.
“This is the first time visitors to Bondi can do more than visit the beach itself – so we are thrilled that this attraction enhances their time here and shows them that the most beautiful part of Bondi is underwater,” Jones says.
The Underwater Bondi Experience is suitable for children from ages 4 and up – a great addition to a day at beautiful Bondi Beach. The Underwater Bondi Experience is open seven days throughout the school holidays, from 9.00am to 5pm. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children with family tickets at $25.
The Marine Discovery Centre at Bondi Beach is a not-for-profit conservation organization and all proceeds go towards marine conservation and education.
Underwater Bondi Experience has been built with the assistance of Waverley Council, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts; the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, the Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries, the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust, Sydney Water, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and many generous filmmakers, musicians, equipment suppliers and tradesmen who worked at discounted rates on the project.
Visit http://www.marinediscovery.org.au/ for more information.