Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ocean Park Hong Kong - Adventures in Australia Grand Opening

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Ocean Park Hong Kong has unveiled yet another exciting attraction, this time putting the spotlight on the best of South Australian wildlife in “Adventures in Australia”. The first-ever South-Australian theme park in Hong Kong, Adventures in Australia provides an immersive walk-through of the land down under featuring distinctive animals including koalas, red-necked wallabies and laughing kookaburras!
Mr. Leo Kung, Chairman of Ocean Park, today was joined by the Honourable John Tsang Chun-wah, GBM, JP, Financial Secretary, HKSAR; His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AO, Governor of South Australia; the Honourable Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia; Mr. Farhan Faruqui, Chief Executive Officer International Banking, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) and other guests to officiate the opening of Hong Kong’s first-ever attraction themed on South Australia – Adventures in Australia presented by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ).

Starting tomorrow, guests can visit the new exhibit to encounter animals unique to South Australia, including southern koalas, red-necked wallabies and laughing kookaburras in a setting reminiscent of the South Australia outback. Through the immersive walk-through experience, guests will be inspired to contribute to the sustainable future of the planet by practising LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). Ocean Park today also announced that a female koala was given the name of “Yani” in accordance with the result of the extremely popular Koala Naming Campaign.

Other guests of honour at today’s ceremony included Miss Cathy Chu, Commissioner for Tourism of HKSAR; Dr. Peter Lam, Chairman of Hong Kong Tourism Board; Ms. Ivy Au Yeung, Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited; and representatives from the South Australia government and Cleland Wildlife Park.

Today’s ceremony began with a dynamic South Australian aboriginal music performance and concluded with the officiating guests watering a flower patch to symbolise a shared commitment towards a sustainable future. 

Through Adventures in Australia presented by ANZ, Ocean Park has taken its creativity in designing immersive attractions to new heights. Guests will enter the new attraction through the Great Entertainment Theatre in Old Hong Kong under the pretext of viewing a movie entitled “Adventures in Australia”. At the theatre’s entrance foyer, guests will learn about the natural heritage of South Australia, from the interior “outback” to the coastal metropolis of Adelaide, as well as the wisdom behind the sustainable lifestyle of Aboriginal communities. After guests proceed past a dimly-lit “film corridor” of breath-taking images of South Australia, they will emerge in an open exhibit space modelled on the South Australian outback for a visual and full sensory encounter with southern koalas, red-necked wallabies and laughing kookaburras in a natural-looking eucalyptus forest. To provide guests a more realistic Australian outback experience and the animals a more suitable living environment, the exhibit is climate-controlled to match the temperature and humidity during the different seasons in South Australia, and illuminated by a combination of natural and LED lights to simulate the hours of the day. Consistent with its LOHAS message, the attraction features extensive use of recycled timber and a wide range of environmentally friendly materials, equipment and designs.

The Honourable John Tsang said, “The opening of Adventures in Australia marks an important milestone in the relationship between Hong Kong and South Australia. Under the world-class animal care provided by Ocean Park, the animals on display will play the role of ambassadors for South Australia, while conveying important conservation messages to the public. Equally important, the new attraction will further strengthen the tourism appeal of Hong Kong, making us a destination of choice for tourists from around the world.” 

The Honourable Premier Weatherill said, “On behalf of South Australia, I offer my sincerest gratitude to Hong Kong for providing such a wonderful home for our iconic animals. Given the relatively small population of southern koalas in the wild and under human care, we are extremely careful in gifting them outside Australia. Ocean Park has created a world-class attraction that offers a superb environment for the animals and gives visitors a realistic taste of the South Australian outback. We welcome everyone to pay us a visit to South Australia to experience first-hand our natural and cultural heritage.” 

Mr. Leo Kung said, “The opening of Adventures in Australia has further extended the ecological systems represented in Ocean Park and expanded our conservation education platform. We are honoured to be entrusted by the Government of South Australia to care for the animals gifted to Hong Kong. Benefiting from the meticulous guidance provided by the South Australian government and Cleland Wildlife Park, we are thrilled to offer a realistic taste of South Australia to the public and a comfortable home to the iconic animals, which are all thriving under our care. Thanks to the support of ANZ, the attraction’s title sponsor, we were able to create an attraction that connects our guests with South Australia and its native animals while advocating health and sustainability as critical considerations in our everyday lifestyle choices.”

Mr. Farhan Faruqui, Chief Executive Officer, International Banking, ANZ, said, “ANZ is proud to be the title sponsor of Adventures in Australia, Ocean Park’s latest world-class attraction, which connects visitors with South Australia’s natural environment and iconic animals. Equally important, the conservation messages conveyed through the attraction align well with ANZ’s commitment to advancing sustainability and reducing our environmental impact.”

Ocean Park today also announced the results of its Koala Naming Campaign, which saw the name “Yani” garner 62% of all the votes cast, with “Tindo” and “Makko” finishing at 27% and 11% respectively. The winning name has been given to a female koala, which is distinguished by her heart-shaped face, grey-spotted nose and white fur below her right eye. The other two koalas now living in the attraction are Dougie, a male koala marked by a darker coat of fur, and Merinda, a female koala with a round face and a white spot under her left eye. All three are nearly two years old and have adapted well to their new home in Hong Kong and the new diet of leaves sourced from Ocean Park’s eucalyptus farms in China.   

In addition to the three koalas, Adventures in Australia presented by ANZ is also home to three red-necked wallabies, including one male and two females, and four laughing kookaburras, comprised of one male and three females. These animals are set to delight guests with interesting sights and sounds. Named for the reddish fur on their napes and shoulders, red-necked wallabies are known for their hopping skills, just like their marsupial cousins the kangaroo. As their name suggests, laughing kookaburras make sounds that resemble a human chuckle. They can be found flying freely throughout the exhibit. Five more koalas, also gifted by the Government of South Australia, will eventually relocate to Hong Kong to join the animals now on display.

The new attraction features extensive interactive panels and games to offer guests an engaging way to learn tips on adopting LOHAS in everyday life, such as taking 5-minute showers to save water and time; making low-carbon choices when shopping for groceries; and using natural materials such as lemon juice and baking soda to clean different stains. Other interactive games showcase the natural landscapes and rich biodiversity of South Australia, and present the threats koalas face and how humans can help by reducing the use of wood products. Guests can support conservation by donating to the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK) by cash or Octopus Card inside the exhibit. Before guests exit the attraction, they have the opportunity to learn about common environmental challenges faced by Hong Kong and South Australia, and explore eco-tourism destinations in South Australia against the backdrop of a panoramic view of Adelaide’s beautiful skyline. 

Ocean Park today also signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of South Australia and Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, South Australia, to undertake collaborative projects within the fields of conservation and tourism research as well as education and public engagement. Among the potential projects to be considered is studying how the koalas in Adventures in Australia adapt to their new environment and diet. 

The newly opened Adventures in Australia presented by ANZ is one of the highlights of this year’s Animal Discovery Fest, which runs from 28 March to 3 May. Other seasonal presentations include exclusive guest programmes such as Amazing Birds Close-up and three Habitat Walk and Talk programmes focusing on Australian animals, sea jellies and dolphins respectively. The Waterfront Plaza will play host to The Aborigines: Story through Dance, a vibrant dance show about the history of the Aborigines; while the Summit Plaza will be the venue for Digeridoo: Tunes from Afar, a showcase of one of the world’s oldest musical instruments. Younger guests would not want to miss The Wild Mates Puppet Show, featuring koala and wallaby puppets at the LOHAS Junior Camp in Whisker Harbour.

This year’s Animal Discovery Fest will also see the launch of Blue Hero Mission, a new family-oriented challenge through which guests will learn about green living. Guests who make a donation to OPCFHK will receive a mission handbook to collect ticks by completing tasks at various locations within the Park. Each guest who completes all 12 missions will be awarded a Blue Hero badge.

Mr. Kung concluded, “Our Design & Planning, Construction and Zoological & Education teams have all done an amazing job in creating an iconic attraction to present the animals from South Australia and immerse our guests in an educational adventure unlike anything else on offer around the world. I encourage everyone to plan ahead for an exciting holiday excursion at Ocean Park during the upcoming Easter period to meet Hong Kong’s first koalas and more!”

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