Giveaway | The Australian Shark and Ray Centre

Giveaway The Australian Shark and Ray Centre

When we were asked if we’d like to come swim with sharks and rays, I’ve got to say, it wasn’t high on my priority list. I’m not scared, per say, more just not that interested. And we’d taken Poss to the aquarium a few times now, only to have her want to leave within the first half hour.

Why go to all that bother, when I know it’s likely she’ll want to be out of there almost as soon as we’ve arrived? But she was keen (and persistent), so last Wednesday we finally made it out there.

The Australian Shark and Ray centre is located in Dandenong. It sounds like a long way away, but honestly, it’s just off the freeway and super easy to find. They also have a centre somewhere in New South Wales, but that’s significantly further away 😉

When we arrived, Poss donned a wetsuit, while I popped on some very fetching waders. We grabbed some food, then were shown to a smaller pool filled with little rays for us to get used to the experience.

While we walked, the manager Sharona, gave us a bit of a safety talk; explaining that their first priority is their animals, the second is to the visitors. She told us how all their animals have either been rescued and rehabilitated (if injured), or they are bred there; these animals are getting a second chance.

It started well. We stepped in gingerly and surprisingly, the rays were like little puppies; keen to explore who had just entered their yard. Pushing up against our legs, we were encouraged to pat them. This is about when the composure that Poss had shown up until then lost her, and the tears arrived.

I’m guessing we didn’t prepare her enough for the feel of the rays, as they don’t really feel like you’d expect them too. More jelly-like, than fish-like. I was all for it, they seemed to like being stroked, but Poss was having none of it and the tears continued.

Luckily the staff at the centre are super calm, and probably used to people of all ages freaking out, so they encouraged Poss out of the pool and to feed the rays from the side. While they patiently answered all Poss’ questions about every aspect of marine life, she directed me around the pool and I tried not to step on the frisky little buggers.

Over the next three hours (you can be there as long as you like once you’ve paid your entry fee) we moved from tank to tank, working our way up to going in with the giant grey nurse sharks. From the amazing eagle rays, to the gummy sharks, each animal had their own personality and were intensely curious about these giant wader wearing intruders.

We finished in with the black rays. These babies are huge. Meters across. By then Poss was permitting me to carry her into the water, ironically clinging like a barnacle, and together (with assistance from the staff) we had a hug from Diablo, the biggest of the rays, for which she was rewarded with a mouthful of fish head. Not a sentence I really expected to be writing, but I’m so glad I’m able to.

The whole experience really exceeded my expectations; I came home gushing about it. And I don’t really gush. Scrap that; I don’t gush. I wish I had more photos, but I was having so much fun in the water, I just didn’t think of it. That probably says it all really.

And even though Poss started out rocky, the staff were so good with her in building up her confidence, she’s already planning our next trip back, telling us all how she’ll be first in line to feed Gigantor, the largest of the sharks!

With school holidays upon us, I’m really excited to be able to offer a giveaway of two family passes*, valued at $95 each so you can visit the Australian Shark and Ray Centre.  

Just tell me of a time when you tried something new, and enjoyed it more than you thought you would in the comments below and you’ll go in the draw to win!


This is not a sponsored post, however our entry was paid for, along with our food and wader/wetsuit hire. You can find out all the pricing details, over on their website, and the lovely Kate at Mee Too has done a review too, which has some handy information in it. 

The giveaway is open to Australian residents who can get themselves along to the centre in Victoria. It’s open for entries from 20th December to 27th December 2014. Winners will be chosen by About a Bugg and no correspondence will be entered into.

*The family passes don’t include food or the wetsuits/waders, but it’s a great start to covering the costs of the day. Again, check the website for all the details. 

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  1. Michelle V says:

    I was always afraid of driving but one day after my parents bought me vouchers for drivin lessons, I bit the bullet and got behind the wheel for the first time (I was almost 33 years old). I actually really enjoyed it and went on to get my licence on my very first attempt!

  2. Quite a few years ago I was given a voucher to swim with the dolphins at Sorrento. It meant getting into deep water in the bay which I am petrified of. Once out in the bay in the boat and with my wetsuit on I figured I had come this far and everyone else was doing it. I got in the water and snorkeled close to the boat. We didn’t see any dolphins but the seals came to have a look at us. Watching them dive underneath me was breathtaking.

  3. I am terrified of heights, always have been. I am also not a fan of going fast. Earlier this year, which I have dubbed my year of ‘doing things differently’, I was presented with the opportunity to go ziplining. I surprised myself and went beyond the donning of the suit to actually stepping off the platform (50 metres up a mountain in the treetops eeeek) and whizzing down the 200 metres of thin wire to the other end. I then did it two further times to the bottom of the mountain. Wheeeee!

  4. That sounds totally amazing!
    My DD is the same at the aquarium, keen to go there but then wants to leave straight away.
    Its always been a dream of mine to do one of those cage dives with great white sharks, although seeing as how I can hardly swim and am terrified of the ocean, it’s not looking too likely.
    Something like this might be the stepping stone I need to get me into the water with the big fishies!

    Something that I tried that I enjoyed more than I thought I would?
    I had visions of pooey nappies and being up all night with a screaming baby, but decided to go ahead and have one anyway… I was amazed to fall in love with this itty bitty creature and enjoying parts of motherhood I had never expected to, poo explosions and all!

  5. I swam with dolphins once. I was rejected by a dolphin several photo op time, and asked several times if I was pregnant. We had been trying for over 2 years, but hadn’t yet succeeded. I loved the swim. The dolphins were amazing! I was captivated. That dolphin was right though, because I found out I was pregnant. Ultrasound measurements said I conceived the day I swam with the dolphins. Ummm. We were staying with my dad so, no ummmmm bedroom fun to be had that day (or several days before), so the in joke was that the dolphins got me pregnant. I never thought this event would be so signifiant. it was truly magical. That was my oldest lad. Of course, he loves the water!

  6. Judith Maunders says:

    Miss Eight is keen on this experience these school holidays. I asked her the question regarding trying something new and she suggested that she was really scared of going to school that first time. But when she got there, found it wasn’t so scary after all, that you could play at recess and lunchtime and that her teacher and classmates were all really nice! I never knew that she was so fearful of heading to school – she never mentioned her fear at the time and actually seemed really keen to go there. In prep she was playing so enthusiastically with the boys after school that she fell down and broke her wrist. Keeping her home from school for just one day was hard because she was itching to show her classmates her cast!

  7. on holidays one time I was able to go scuba diving. I was scared that I would encounter a shark so was very nervous. Once I made it down to the reef bed I was captivated by the beauty of the underwater world and by the end of the dive I was deeply disappointed that I did not get to see a shark! Since then I’ve had a love for diving (that sadly I’ve rarely been able to do) & a dream to one day dive/swim with sharks even though my heart even races at the thought of it as I type. 🙂

  8. I tried going back to work full time this year which was very new for me and my family seeings as it was the first time since having kids (which turns out to be about 10 years!) I was so nervous and worried beforehand I think I ate my body weight in hot chips and peanut m&ms!! But it ended up being the most rewarding and joyful and challenging experience that I could have wish for. When I said goodbye to my little family of 23 on the last day of school I knew it was the right time for me to be shifting my focus back onto my teaching and I’m excited to do it all again next year.

  9. swimming with the Sharks is on my bucket list!!!
    I try to try new things whenever the opportunity arises from little things like new and strange foods to activities such as learning to toboggan

  10. Thank you for the shout-out! Isn’t it a special memory – my children are still talking about this adventure 🙂 xxx
    Kate recently posted..Christmas in MelbourneMy Profile

  11. Sadly the things that I usually freak out about are social events – I talk myself in downward spiraling circles about why I shouldn’t go and how horrid and expensive it will be. And then the boy makes me go (because he knows what I’m like) and I usually have a great time. Now that’s hardly a skydiving or adrenaline thrilled adventure, but sadly that’s my life at the mo 🙂

    We are so excited to find out this centre is in Melbourne (you live here 40 years, you think you know the place, but noooo..!) and would be thrilled to win : )

  12. Rob Buckley says:

    As a family we recently entered the Swiss Colour Run, with varying degrees of fitness and ability. After doubting that the kids would be able to finish the course we and the kids were pleasantly suprised at how much fun we had as a family.
    We all finsished the race with beaming smiles and were dreenced from head to toe in colour courtesy of all the paint stations along the course.
    A very sowrthwhile family activity and a great way to raise funds for charity.

  13. My Aspie surprises me daily with her fearlessness and her sister is much the same! I’d expect a similar experience as you had with Poss. We talked Miss 9 into going on the flying chairs ride at a carnival recently. Selfishly, it had been my favourite carnival ride at her age and I was determined my girls should experience it too! One hour of preparation and cajoling later, we were off, going far higher than I’d thought the thing went! Pretty quickly, I forgot all about how worried I was about them having a mid-air meltdown and instead was focussed on the adult fear that was gripping me! Turns out, you lose your fearlessness as you get older! Snuck a sidelong glance at my brave little girls and they had huge grins planted firmly on their faces. I suspect a visit to this centre would go a little the same way – me WELL outside my comfort zone and the girls asking for pet sharks for Christmas all the way home!

  14. Earlier this year I had to go to hospital for some tests. This was the first time I’d been to hospital for any procedure other than having my babies. It would also be the first time I’d go under an anesthetic, so there was a certain amount of apprehension. On the day, I felt really seedy and had a horrendous headach. mainly due to the fasting and also the preperation for the tests…
    While waiting to go in I had enough time to give myself a full reiki which rid me of my headache and I felt a lot calmer.
    After waking from the anesthetic, my first comment was ‘Are you kidding? I want to go back to sleep’ I then had to wait for a few hours to be discharged so I was ‘forced’ to have some ‘down time’ which I don’t normally get.
    By the time I was discharged I felt like I’d had a great rest and that it had all been a good day. A fantastic first hospital experience.

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