The Fleurieu’s newest tourism and educational attraction has arrived in Victor Harbor.
After a 300 kilometre, seven-day voyage from Port Lincoln, the 74-tonne Oceanic Victor in-sea aquarium has today been securely tethered to its new location in the lee of Granite Island and its operators will soon be topping up the giant pen with stocks of indigenous marine life in readiness to welcome the first visitors next month.
More than 10,000 people are expected to flock to the new attraction in the first year and operators Mick Dyer and Yasmin Stehr along with the South Australian Tourism Commission are confident visitor numbers will climb steadily as interstate and international awareness of the unique attraction grows.
“The Oceanic Victor in-sea aquarium will allow visitors to get in the water and up close and personal with magnificent Southern Bluefin Tuna and a broad range of other indigenous marine species from the local region,” Mr Dyer said.
“But this is not just an aquarium. As well as providing a great tourism experience for South Australians and visitors to the State, we will be introducing educational programs for school children; facilitating study and research opportunities in conjunction with universities; and revitalising the environmental and ecological base of Granite Island, which has suffered a sad decline in recent times.”
Mr Dyer said Oceanic Victor also planned to restore and re-open the Granite Island Café, which has been closed for several years.
“We’re very confident that the aquarium will attract more than 10,000 visitors in the first year as a result of the unique experience it provides and its location only an hour from Adelaide. We expect that the number of visitors will increase further as word spreads and the aquarium’s value is recognised by inclusion in school curricula.
“These visitors will provide benefits for the Victor Harbor economy, particularly in terms of meals, accommodation, and shopping, and we also hope, provide impetus for the revitalisation of Granite Island.
Minister for Tourism, Hon Leon Bignell MP, said the Oceanic Victor in-sea aquarium was set to be “an amazing experience for South Australians and visitors to our state”.
“I have swum with the tuna and I’ve seen the wonderful hands-on attractions on board Oceanic Victor,” Minister Bignell said.
“I urge people of all ages to come and experience it for themselves. If you don’t fancy getting wet then you can look through windows for an underwater view of sea creatures swimming by. Visitors all around the world are hungry for experiences. The days of sitting passively on the sidelines have been replaced by an era where people want to touch, feel and do.’
South Australia’s ocean waters are home to 7,500 different species of plants and animals – and about 85 per cent of them are found nowhere else in the world, according to the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR.
Bookings and further information is available at www.oceanicvictor.com.au