The Most Amazing World Of All
Sea World is a theme park, zoo, aquarium and marine life sanctuary combined, allowing guests to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most fascinating marine mammals and experience a few thrill rides along the way. This guide provides insider tips on where to stay, eat, play and shop.
Sea World has long been a firm favourite with nature-loving families and with the introduction of a few thrill rides it’s now grabbing the attention of thrill-seeking teenagers as well. Wander around the animal enclosures to watch seals, penguins, dolphins and polar bears at play, stroll through the aquarium and check out the tropical reef fish, sharks and rays, and be sure to take in one of the shows to see how clever these creatures can be.
If you’d like to get even closer, book yourself onto one of the many animal adventures, and swim with dolphins, snorkel with reef sharks, go behind the scenes at Polar Bear Shores, feed Gentoo penguins on the Penguin Antarctic Adventure or take part in a Seal Safari.
On the other end of the spectrum, Sea World has its share of thrill rides such as the Storm Coaster and Jet Rescue, and fun for littlies in Nickelodeon Land and Castaway Bay.
- Country Australia
- Currency AUS Dollar
Gold Coast Weather
Temperature (avg °C)
Rainfall (max mm)
J - 29
J - 136
F - 29
F - 184
M - 28
M - 119
A - 26
A - 136
M - 23
M - 119
J - 21
J - 116
J - 21
J - 54
A - 22
A - 66
S - 24
S - 46
O - 25
O - 94
N - 27
N - 127
D - 28
D - 150
The Gold Coast is a short flight away from Sydney and Melbourne, with over 24 direct flights from Sydney and 14 direct flights from Melbourne each day. With one or two direct flights from Adelaide and Perth, most flights from Australia’s other major hubs connect via Sydney and Melbourne.
Gold Coast Airport is the closest airport, and from here, it’s a 30 to 40-minute drive to Sea World. Brisbane Airport is another option for interstate visitors, which is a 50 to 60-minute drive away.
There are several shuttle services operating on the Gold Coast throughout the day. Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle meets each plane that lands at the airport and also provides transfers to the theme parks from your hotel. Tickets start at $21 for a one-way transfer from the airport to your hotel, and 3, 5, 7 and 10-Day Passes, as well as Family Passes, are available.
- Average flight time 1h 20m from Sydney, 2h 5m from Melbourne
- Daily direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne. Other capitals can fly via Sydney or Melbourne
- Major airlines Virgin Australia, Qantas, Jetstar, Tigerair
Sea World is easily explored by foot with most attractions accessed from one main trail that half circles the park, branching off at the park’s centre, to different exhibits and attractions. From the entrance, follow the trail around past the penguin house up towards Nickelodeon Land, and go left for Reef World or right towards the thrill rides.
Australia’s very first monorail runs for two kilometres around the perimeter of the park, and is a great way to get your bearings when you first arrive. If you’re staying at Sea World Resort, you can access the park directly from the monorail station outside the hotel gift shop.
Where To Stay
There are endless accommodation options on the Gold Coast, to suit most budgets, from campgrounds and holiday parks to apartments, hotels and luxury resorts. Most of these can also be booked as part of a theme park holiday package with tickets and shuttle services included.
You’ll find most accommodation options along the region’s long beachfront, from Burleigh Heads in the South to Surfers Paradise and Southport, all roughly 30 to 40-minutes’ drive from Sea World and all within reach of a shuttle service.
Sea World Resort & Water Park
Sea World is the only Gold Coast theme park with a resort sitting right next door with direct access to the park. The Resort also has its own waterpark and giant waterslide, a choice of family friendly restaurants, day spa and exclusive access to the park before normal opening hours.
Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort
Located on Sea World Drive, Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort is a beautiful 4.5 star accommodation option. This beachfront resort has a selection of rooms and suites to choose from, ranging from Mirage Rooms to two bedroom Villas with access to an exclusive private pool. Enjoy fresh seafood at the Oyster Bar or Terrace Restaurant, and indulge in a spa treatment at the Golden Door Spa and Health Club.
This opulent resort is the vision of designer Gianni Versace, the world’s first fashion-branded hotel. The waterfront hotel is designed to reflect “…a level of opulence once confined to the grand hotels of Europe”. Accommodation ranges from Superior Rooms to three bedroom condos, with a choice of four restaurants and bars.
Xanadu Main Beach Resort
If you’re after self-contained apartment-style accommodation, Xanadu Main Beach Resort is a great choice for families. The resort has a range of one and two bedroom apartments, it’s a short walk to the beach, restaurants and shopping, and a 20-minute walk to Sea World.
Where To Eat And Drink
Sea World has a range of places to eat throughout the park, with a large food court conveniently located near the park’s entrance, another located in the centre of the park and a few a la carte restaurants for a more relaxed dining experience.
Our top picks
Dockside Tavern is a great spot to sit back and relax with some fish and chips, and perhaps a beer or a glass of wine on the deck, overlooking the dolphins at play in the adjacent lagoon.
Plaza Food Court
This centrally located food court has something for every appetite, from pies and sausage rolls, to chicken caesar burgers, salads and wraps.
Hatsuhana Japanese Restaurant
After a day of exploring Sea World, pop next door to Sea World Resort for some top-notch sushi and teppanyaki. Hatsuhana has an early bird special every night for families – dine at 6pm and enjoy a Deluxe Family Banquet for only $79.
Character Photo Opportunities
If you’d like to get your photo taken with one of the Nickelodeon characters, spend some time in Nickelodeon Land where you’re bound to meet Dora the Explorer or Spongebob Squarepants.
For a rather special photo opportunity with one of the park’s marine creatures, book yourself on one of the many Animal Adventures, to get a photo with a dolphin, penguin or maybe even a seal.
Sea World has a range of gift shops selling Sea World, marine mammal and Nickelodeon-themed souvenirs, everything from hats and mugs to t-shirts and plush dolphins, polar bears, seals and even sharks.
Our top picks
Sea World Shop
Located by the park’s entrance, this is the largest gift shop in the park, with a great range of t-shirts, stationery and plush toys to choose from as well as show bags.
Found near Castaway Bay, this is the place to come for the best marine wildlife souvenirs, with all manner of plush toys, figurines, toys and homewares and wildlife-themed t-shirts.
Sea World Surf Shop
In the centre of the park next to Nickelodeon Land, you’ll find a surf shop, where you can purchase board shorts, rash vests, hats and sunscreen, just in case you came unprepared for swimming with the dolphins.
Sea World is available for hire, for special events such as birthday parties or even weddings, in a rather unique setting. Have breakfast or dinner with dolphins at the Dolphin Lagoon or perhaps get to know more about the ocean’s most feared predators with a breakfast inside Shark Bay.
The Storm Coaster
The new Storm Coaster starts with a few very steep descents before heading underground where you are guaranteed to get completely soaked.
Polar Bear Shores
How often do you get to see a polar bear up close? Sea World’s Polar Bear Shores is in fact Australia’s only exhibit where you can see the worlds largest land carnivore up close, swimming and playing in a large air-conditioned enclosure.
This slice of Antarctica is home to the second largest penguin species in the world, the king penguin as well as cheeky-looking gentoo penguins. It’s a great place to cool down on a hot day in a refrigerated environment.
Castaway Bay is an interactive adventure playground that lets kids fire water canons at each other in the Battle Boats, explore the five levels of the Sky Fortress and challenge their fear of heights on the high ropes course, Sky Climb.
Just for littlies, the Nickelodeon-themed area has kid-sized rides and exciting shows featuring some of Nick’s favourite characters like Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Shhh ... Insider Secrets
Sky Climb at Castaway Bay is hugely popular, so be sure to book the kids into this attraction early. It’s a good idea to book your time to climb well in advance, and then go and explore the rest of the park first before returning.
If you’re staying at Sea World Resort for two nights or more, your visit includes an exclusive Dolphin Discovery presentation and a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of a dolphin training session.
What You Didn’t Know About Sea World Gold Coast
A portion of your ticket sale goes to the Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation, which is dedicated to funding and promoting marine research projects and has to date supported over 160 research projects relating to various aspects of marine vertebrates.
In fact, Sea World contributes over $1,000,000 per year to the rescue, research and rehabilitation of marine life. Marine Science staff are on call 24 hours, 365 days a year should a marine animal need rescuing. Since the park opened, the rescue team have attended hundreds of strandings and entanglements of dolphins, whales, birds and sea snakes, and developed new techniques and equipment along the way. Sea World also operates a turtle hospital rescuing on average 40 to 70 turtles per year.
You can become a Friend of the Foundation and contribute to Sea World’s research and rescue efforts, by making a donation or adopting an animal.
Other Gold Coast Destinations
Learn How to Surf
It’s called Surfers Paradise for a reason! Where better to learn how to surf than Surfers Paradise? Surfing school Go Ride a Wave has been teaching people to surf here since 1987. You’ll find them in several locations on the Gold Coast. The instructors at Go Ride a Wave are all trained lifeguards so you know you're in safe hands.
For the more adventurous Skypoint Climb, on top of the Q1 building, takes you outside, 77 floors up for spectacular views. It's not for the faint-hearted - while you are securely fastened to a balustrade on your left, there's no handrail on your right, just sky.
Located in the Gold Coast Hinterland, Thunderbird Park is one of Australia's largest high ropes course. The TreeTop Challenge has over 100 challenges including 11 huge zip lines ranging between 20m and 125m long, suspended bridges, a Tarzan swing, barrels to crawl through and nets to climb.You can also don camouflage gear and go wild in a game of laser skirmish, or fossick for the famous thundereggs.