English Across the Curriculum

Discover Australia

Places To See

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the biggest group of coral reefs in the world. It is more than 2,000 km long and lies off the north-eastern coast of Australia.

The coral that forms the reef is made up of skeletons of dead water animals called polyps . They are small but often light up in many bright colours. These colourful reefs and the bright colours of fish and other water animals make the Great Barrier Reef a beautiful underwater garden.

Today, the reef is a national park which millions of tourists visit every year. But there are also many problems. Oil companies have found oil in this part of the ocean and want to start drilling , but the government is working hard to protect it.

Great Barrier Reef from space
Image: NASA, taken from en:ISS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is the most famous building in the city. It has two roofs that look like sails. A masterpiece of architecture , it stands on a peninsula that reaches into Sydney Harbour. More than 6,000 people can visit concerts, operas, theatre performances and other events. The Opera House was opened in 1973.

Sydney Opera House
Image: Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ayers Rock - Uluru

Ayers Rock is a big rock that rises over 300 metres high from the plains of the Northern Territory. It is about 2.4 km long and 1.6 km wide and it takes you almost 2 hours to walk around it. The rock is often called “Uluru”, an aboriginal name.

The rock is made out of sandstone and glows red during sunrise and sunset . The Aborigines worship the rock and decorated the caves in it with paintings. Today, the land around Ayers Rock is a national park but is owned by the Aborigines.

Uluru at sunset
Image: Thomas Schoch, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park lies in Australia’s Northern Territory and covers about 20,000 square km . It is a wetland with over 200 kinds of birds and 1,000 plant species . It is also the home of Australian crocodiles.

Crocodile in Kakadu National Park
Image: Stuart Edwards., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pinnacles

The Pinnacles, located in western Australia, are made up of thousands of limestone formations that rise out of the desert floor. They were probably formed 20,00 to 30,000 years ago from marine organisms. As the years went by, winds blew away the sand and left the structures standing.

The Pinnacles
Image: Brian W. Schaller, FAL, via Wikimedia Commons