ESTABLISHED IN 1981, THE AQUASCENE FISH FEEDING SANCTUARY AT DOCTORS GULLY HAS BEGINNINGS EMBEDDED IN DARWIN’S RICH HISTORY AFTER WORLD WAR II.
Legendary salvage engineer and deep-sea diver Carl Atkinson obtained a “lease in perpetuity” for the area in 1945 and began, as a hobby, feeding the hundreds of fish visiting the shore at high tide in 1958. Carl successfully applied for the area to be declared a marine reserve in 1964. He created what has become a unique institution in the Top End by single- handedly constructing a rock groyne to protect the friendly wild fish.
Owned and operated by Darwin’s fifth generation Fong family since 2003, the sanctuary has become a popular family-friendly tourist destination, achieved eco-tourism certification and welcomes over 60,000 annual visitors of all ages – both local and from around the world – who can experience hand- feeding up to 20 different species of tropical wild fish. Visitors can hand feed from the stairs or the viewing arena or wade right into the action and feel the fish tickling their feet as they swarm in search of a gratuitous snack of bread.
Due to the enormous tidal movements of Darwin’s harbour, many hundreds of fish only visit Aquascene for a few hours a day and numbers may vary but you are guaranteed to always see fish! Numbers are generally highest between December and August on deeper tides.
Visitors can expect to see milkfish, mullet, catfish, bream, Tiera batfish and the famous Territory barramundi and may also get a glimpse of rock cod, mangrove jack, rays, parrot fish, diamond fish and mud crabs. Have your camera ready!
AquaScene would like to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s First People and traditional custodians; particularly Darwin’s Larrakia Nation descendants. We value their culture and continuing connection to country, waters, kin and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and are committed to making a positive contribution to the wellbeing of all Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander people, by providing facilities and services that are welcoming, safe, culturally appropriate and inclusive.
8981 7837 | 28 Doctors Gully Rd Darwin | www.aquascene.com.au