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Work underway at Cairns Aquarium

Work underway at Cairns Aquarium
August 5, 2013

Preliminary construction works on the new Cairns Aquarium are underway with engineering firm ETS Ltd undertaking geotechnical work on the site in the Cairns CBD.

Aquarium Managing Director Daniel Leipnik said the work would pave the way for other engineering requirements including design and development, geotechnical, town planning, acoustics, landscaping and traffic management. Thereafter, construction is set to begin after the wet season in 2015 with the new $35 million attraction scheduled to open in late 2016.

To be built over a floor area of 10,000 metres2 the state-of-the-art aquarium will include a multi-million litre 'Great Barrier Reef' tank, a giant freshwater 'River Monsters' exhibit, a 'Life in the Mangroves' lagoon exhibit, a 'Dangers of the Deep' exhibit, a 'Daintree rainforest' boardwalk and up to 70 other key exhibits housing some 5,000 plus fish, animals and plants. The building will also feature retail outlets and offices within its three level structure.

Designed by Peddle Thorp Architects and Ellick & Partners Architects, who have designed aquariums in Melbourne, Dubai, Spain, China and South Korea; the aquarium is expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors a year.

Explaining the design to the Cairns Post, Peddle Thorp Senior Design Architect James Hampton said designing aquariums required a special skill set.

Hampton explained "it's not like designing a building. There is so much to them, you have to have that wow factor."

In March, the Cairns Aquarium was selected as the first major tourism infrastructure project to receive Commonwealth Government Assistance under the Department of Resource, Energy and Tourism's Tourism Major Project Facilitation program.

At the time Daniel Leipnik stated "we are delighted to receive Commonwealth support on this exciting landmark project for the Cairns Region."

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