G’day Mate! Greetings from Australia

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Meghan Sharma writes, Ever wondered what it would be like to visit the Land Down Under?

Ever wondered what it would be like to visit the Land Down Under? Have you pondered about how thrilling it would be to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, hike the outback, or walk through the Sydney Opera House? This summer, I got a chance to visit this geographically diverse country.Our trip started in the tropical beaches of Port Douglas, Queensland located in the northeast part of the country. In my opinion, it was even better than Hawaii! It had palm trees, ocean, and was a great place to be. My favorite thing we did there was to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. I couldn’t wait to see this “Natural Wonder of the World”. As soon as our boat stopped in the middle of the reef, we anxiously put on our snorkel gear. Finally, we were ready. I submerged my face underwater and a salt-water taste filled my mouth. I flapped my flippers and moved along. Dozens of different schools of fish zoomed by and different coral waved in the water. “I loved snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef because I got to see many fish and coral,” said my seven year old brother, Shaan. Our second destination was Uluru Rock, Northern Territory, in the outback. You could compare it to Colorado-dry and arid; however, the cities were very small. My favorite activity there was watching the sunset of Kata-Tjuta and the sunrise of Uluru. These are two very large rocks that are sacred to the native Aborigines. Before sunrise, we woke up and got to the base of Uluru. Every minute, the sun would make the rock change hues. It was from a dark brown, to a red, to a glowing orange. At first, I was baffled about how these rocks could be formed. I learned that they were once part of a mountain range that got eroded by water, wind, sun, and ice. You could see why the Aborigines found it sacred.After visiting the outback, we traveled to Sydney, New South Wales. Since it was their winter, it was cold but still had many attractions to see. First, we went to the Taronga Zoo and Sydney Aquarium. It was astounding seeing all the Australian animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and platypuses. We also saw the world-famous Sydney Opera House. Inside, you could see the orchestra room and many other rooms for performances. We also learned about how the architect, Jorn Utzon, designed and created the Opera House. As our trip was coming to an end, we made a final trip to Melbourne, Victoria. One thing we did there was watching the penguins arrive at Phillip Island, ninety minutes south of Melbourne. We layered on clothing and sat outside waiting for penguins to arrive. Finally, after sunset, the Fairy Penguins came to shore. Hundreds of sixteen-inch penguins would arrive from the ocean and attempt to cross the beach. Some would get frightened, run back to the ocean, and try again. Once they made it, they would make it back to their burrows.”The penguins are so cute!” said my nine year old sister, Amber. It was neat seeing nature up close. My family and I had a great time at Australia. We enjoyed every part of it, especially the Great Barrier Reef. We also loved to see all the different parts of Australia and Australian animals. I will never forget the wonderful experiences we had in Australia.

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