Breana Wagner is a student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Cairns, Australia.
Australia is famous for a lot of things: the Sydney Opera House, the picturesque beaches, the Aboriginal culture, and being known as “The Land Down Under.” Being in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia is very backwards from back home: the sky is completely different, winter is summer, summer is winter, and water circles the other way around. It is all cool and different, but South America has all these things as well, so what makes Australia “The Land Down Under?”
Easy. The Great Barrier Reef really is The Land Down Under. Underneath the water that is, with its stunning underwater landscapes, abundance of wildlife, and scenery unlike anywhere else in the world.
The greatness of the Great Barrier Reef can easily be seen through the massive coral structures, with 30+ meter tall walls and the massive coral canyons.
The impressive reef flats boasted an incredible array of animal diversity from the corals themselves to the numerous types of small invertebrates and fishes.
The ground was covered with various species of sea cucumbers, ranging in size from 25-80 cm long and 5-25 cm wide, starfish, with different numbers of arms, different colors, and ranging levels of toxicity, and giant clams nestled in the sand or within the coral reefs.
But the real beauty of The Land Down Under came from the uniqueness of every location on every reef.
While I only dove a small number of reefs off the shore of Townsville, each one offered a new experience and new challenges to face as a diver.
With so much to see and do, the Great Barrier Reef definitely holds up as Australia’s trademark attraction. Estimated to be over 400,000 years old and currently being threatened by rising sea temperatures and CO2 levels, this ecological attraction is one to not miss.
The Great Barrier Reef is The Land Down Under.
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