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Sleep Under the Sea: Our Experience at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast

In this article you will read details about our overnight stay at the Sea Life Sleep Under the Sea experience.

Are you keen to ‘ sleep under the sea’? Well you CAN, and we DID – at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast (previously known as Underwater Wold Mooloolaba).

Skip further down the article to read about our experience of a past event, but first we want to introduce you to SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast‘s newest sleepover experience! 

Experience a sleepover in the aquarium!

This is a sleepover adventure you’ll never forget! The next date available for an underwater sleepover is 22 March 2024. These events are regular features during the school holidays, so if you miss this date, have a look at their school holidays events section for the next available date.

A shark from SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast to promote the SEA LIFE Sleepovers with sharks

When the daytime staff and visitors have gone home for the night, and most of the lights are switched off, you can come and see what the critters and creatures get up to when they think no one is watching!

With the Sleep Under the Sharks experience, you’ll have the opportunity to sleep inside the Ocean Tunnel with sharks and giant rays swimming above you, and participate in a range of great aquarium activities without the daytime crowds.

The knowledgeable staff will give you a guided tour of the aquarium including a special trip behind the scenes into the staff-only areas. You’ll get to peer into the water from above the Ocean Tunnel, getting a completely different perspective and a better idea of how big some of the sharks really are. If you’re lucky, your tour guide may even give you a few pieces of food to throw in to the hungry sharks!

As part of your stay at the aquarium, you’ll be treated to an exclusive seal presentation with the beautiful resident seals at Seal Island. It’s just one of the unique pleasures that come with Sleeping Under the Sea at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast.

All meals are provided during the Sleep Under the Sea experience including afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast.

The Sleepover Includes:

  • An overnight stay at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium
  • All meals and drinks – afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast
  • Night tour of the aquarium
  • Behind the Scenes tour
  • Souvenir SEA LIFE gift

You can find out more and book your tickets here. The first event sold out quickly, so don’t miss out! 

Sleep Under the Stars Experience: Our review

We were invited by SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast to participate in their ‘Sleep Under the Sea’ experience. This experience allows guests to explore the depths of the Oceanarium at night and see what the critters and creatures do when they think no one is looking!

We had the opportunity to treat our family to an exclusive night-time seal presentation as well as other personal ‘behind the scenes’ tours.

Right from the start of the process, I was impressed with how organised it was and how much information we were provided by email. The team in charge is incredibly efficient and this made the experience calm and super enjoyable.

Sleep Under the Sea Schedule:

What Happened On The Night:

4:30pm – Welcome to SEA LIFE, afternoon tea and mixer activity

4:45pm – Ocean Tunnel tour

5:10pm – Sea Horse Sanctuary – Castle Wreck

5:30pm – Touch Pool

6:00pm – Dinner is Served

7:00pm – Behind the Scenes Tour

7:30pm – Jellyfish Kingdom

8:00pm – Set Up Beds (Supper if Required)

9:00pm – Bed time

Between 4:00pm and 6:00pm, guests have the option of free time to explore SEA LIFE or to participate in the above schedule.

The Following Morning:

6:00am – Rise and Shine

6:15am – Pack up beds and bags

6:30am – Breakfast at Octopus Garden Cafe

7:30am – Seal Presentation in the Seal Stadium

7:50am – Penguins Upper

8:05am – Lower Penguins

8:30am – G’bye from the staff and depart SEA LIFE

PLEASE NOTE: This is an approximate timetable only and this was reflective of our experience.

Sleepover at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast essentials:

What you will need to bring:

  • Pillow and sleeping bag/blanket (sleeping mats provided)
  • Toiletries (no showers available)
  • Sleeping clothes
  • Clothes for the next day
  • Water bottle (optional)
  • Eye mask if you’re a light sleeper. The tunnel is pretty bright at night.
  • Camera to capture the creatures after dark
  • Your sense of adventure!

What SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast will provide for their sleepover guests:

This experience not only allows you to sleep in the depths of the ocean but also includes a great range of activities and meals. The Sleep Under the Sea Package includes:

  • Meals (afternoon tea, dinner, and breakfast – see below)
  • An exclusive night-time Seal Presentation
  • A personalised night-time tour of the complex
  • An amazing Behind the Scenes tour
  • Free sleeping mat hire

Afternoon Tea

  • Milo / tea / fresh filtered coffee
  • Chocolate chip cookie


Dinner at Sleep Under the Sea
  • Beef Burger with Salad
  • Hot chips
  • Paddlepop Ice Cream


  • Selection of cereals
  • Fruit salad cups
  • Yoghurt
  • Toast (multigrain/white) with condiments
  • Drinks – tea/fresh filtered coffee / orange juice.

PLEASE NOTE: Special dietary requirements can be catered for, however, these requirements must be provided to reservations on booking.

Next available ‘Sleep Under the Sea’ experience:

22 March 2024.

Limited spaces so bookings are essential.  Please call or visit the website to reserve your place.

Cost for the Sleep Under the Sea experience:

$120 per person

Who can Sleep Under the Sea?

Children must be aged 5+ to participate in Sleep Under the Sea. All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian aged 18+. 

Your sleepover questions answered:

When we let our Facebook fans know that we were doing this experience, we asked them what THEY would like to know. Here are their questions and our answers:

Are the lights left on all night – can you actually sleep?

When we were there, the main lights were turned off but there was still ‘light’ to see. Some parts of the tunnel were more light than others – we opted for a darker part of the tunnel. I am a poor sleeper at the best of times but I reckon I slept from 11pm – 5am.

What was the noise like when you were sleeping – water filters etc?

Yep! There were watery/filter kinds of sounds. Personally, I liked it – it was more like a gentle constant humming – not so much like a dripping tap (that would have been super annoying!)

What if someone gets scared in the night?

As parents, obviously, you would be the first port of call if your child got scared. However, there is a staff member designated to stay awake all night and they will deal with any major problems.

What do you sleep in/on?

As it says above, you take your own sleeping bag, but are given a blow-up mattress to sleep on. I found these REALLY comfortable. You can contact them about taking your own mattress/airbed if you prefer.

Are toilets close by?

Sort of – depends on what you mean by ‘close’. You can leave the tunnel at any time in the night and follow the signs and lit path to the toilets. It’s about 200 metres up the ramp.

How far in advance do you need to book?

Book as soon as you know you want to participate – it can get fully booked closer to the night.

Do you have a fear of water bursting through the glass and sharks flopping everywhere?

No – I didn’t fear that. That’s your call! 😉

Are you locked in?

Yes and No. Yes, you are perfectly safe and no one can come into the location, but should an emergency arise you are able to get out of the venue. It has to be a real emergency though.

Is alcohol allowed?


Can you sleep in the foyer if sleeping in the tunnel freaks you out a bit?

Yes. No problem – in the ‘entrance’ to the tunnel there is space to sleep and some people in our group did just that!

Does it get cold being surrounded by water?

The whole tunnel is air-conditioned and it cycles on and off through the night. Others in our group said that they were cold when it was on. We didn’t find this at our end of the tunnel though. So pick your spot carefully and look for the air-conditioning vents.

Can you take photos?

Yes – and video – with the usual precautions of not filming other people’s children if you intend to share your experience on social media/websites.

How many people sleep over at a time?

The venue caters for up to 40 people in the tunnel sleepover experience. In the Billabong area (for larger groups such as Scouts and schools) they cater for 50 – 70. That will be in a combination of adults and children. A minimum of 25 people need to book the event if it is to go ahead. 

Are you limited to what you can take in with you?

Yes – one small bag per person, which is left in a secure location when you go to bed.

Can you take in your own food?

Yes, but they prefer you don’t because you don’t really need to. Dietary requirements are catered for.

Can you vote snoring people out of the tunnel?

LOL – no idea but if you do, we would love to hear about it!

Can’t make it for a sleepover? Check out regular SeaLife tickets here

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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