Solitary Islands Aquarium welcomes 100,000th visitor

Published 19 July 2018
Solitary Islands Aquarium at National Marine Science Centre

It’s one of Coffs Harbour’s must-see tourist attractions and a popular place for school excursions and local families.

Shotbolt family are 100,000th visitors to Solitary Islands Aqarium
The Aquarium's 100,000th visitor - Marcus Shotbolt and children Demi and Bleyde from Tamworth - being interviewed by NBN News.

This week the Solitary Islands Aquarium, located at Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre, welcomed its 100,000th visitor, Marcus Shotbolt and children Demi and Bleyde, from Tamworth.

“The Aquarium is a good place for adults and kids to see and learn what marine creatures live in the area,” said Mr Shotbolt said.

The Aquarium opened in 2009 and takes advantage of the amazing marine life of the Coffs coast and, in particular, its namesake Solitary Islands Marine Park which lies on its doorstep. 

Along with showcasing local marine inhabitants, the Aquarium also profiles some of the important ocean science research the National Marine Science Centre is conducting. 

“It’s an amazing achievement reaching 100,000 visitors,” Stephan Soule, manager of the Solitary Islands Aquarium, said. 

“Our success is due to our fantastic facility and the hard work of our staff, providing visitors the opportunity to ‘dive in’ and learn more about our beautiful marine environment through our aquariums, guided tours and interactive displays.” 

The Solitary Islands Aquarium has more than 50 fish species on display as well as corals and invertebrate species from the local area.

The resident octopus is a particular visitor favourite, while the longest serving marine species, Bluey a 4kg purple cod, enjoys a regular rub behind its fins from the Aquarium guides.

Rated as one of the top things to do in Coffs Harbour, the Solitary Islands Aquarium has received a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor for the past four years. The Certificate of Excellence honours tourism and hospitality businesses that deliver consistently great service across the world and is based on consistently achieved great reviews.

“We regularly receive great feedback from our visitors saying that it’s a terrific educational place for all age groups with lots of beautiful displays and hands-on exploration for everyone. Feeding time is particularly exciting, with an up-close and almost personal viewing experience.”

Explore the Aquarium and National Marine Science Centre at Open Day

The National Marine Science Centre will be holding an Open Day on Saturday July 28, including free entry to the Solitary Islands Aquarium, from 10am to 3pm. Tour the facilities, get inspired at the Aquarium and listen to presentations by researchers.

Open Day at the University's Coffs Harbour campus is on Friday July 27 from 3-7pm.

From next year, Southern Cross University will offer its flagship Bachelor of Marine Science and Management at the National Marine Science Centre, providing opportunities for Coffs Coast locals to complete their entire degree in Coffs Harbour using the Solitary Islands Marine Park as their classroom. For more information, visit

Media contact: Sharlene King 0429 661 349 or