Study Guide

Finding Nemo Setting

Setting

Eastern Coast of Australia

G'day, mate. How you going? Going right? Good on you. Sweet as.

This seemingly bizarre and incomprehensible string of words is actually the way they speak in the Land Down Under…but not the way they speak in the Water Down Under. This is good news for us Yanks—er, Americans—because otherwise we might be in need of subtitles.

Reefer Madness

Welcome to the Great Barrier Reef. It's one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world, it's the crown jewel in Australia's oceanic crown, and it's where most of Finding Nemo is set.

Why is this place called "great"? Probably because it's over 1800 miles long, making it the largest coral reef in the world. That means the reef is bigger than the Great Wall of China: it's the only living thing on Earth visible from outer space.

You probably gathered from the movie that the reef is also extremely beautiful. Just take a gander at the scene where Marlin and Nemo swim through the coral in the reef on their way to school. You can see that down below the water there are hundreds of different kinds of coral and thousands of different tropical fish all living together in a colorful landscape of loveliness. It's like a gorgeous city, but it's all alive.

Marlin and Nemo have made their home in a sea anemone in the Great Barrier Reef. In real life, clownfish actually do hide out in anemones, which are living things that can sting you. Fun fact: clownfish don't get stung by the anemones though because they coat their skin in a mucus that tells the anemone not to release its venom on them.

The two species have what's know as a symbiotic relationship—the clownfish get a safe place to hide and the anemone gets food in the form of fish waste. And when you think about it, a poisonous sea anemone's the perfect place for an overprotective clownfish dad to hide out from the world.

Into the Ocean

While the Great Barrier Reef isn't totally danger-free (remember what happened to Coral?), it's a whole lot safer than venturing out into the open water beyond the reef… which is exactly where Nemo ends up. But when Marlin sees his son snagged by some divers, he doesn't hesitate to rush out after him.

Out in the sea, Marlin runs into a whole bunch of über-dangerous fellow fishes. Sharks, jellyfish, and whales—all this marine life makes their home in the waters off the coast and poses a real threat to a little clownfish like Marlin. And the East Australian Current? That's totally for real, too. Every year, thousands of fish get swept up in the current and wind up in Sydney Harbour or even further south.

Desperately Seeking Sydney

Sydney's the ultimate destination for Marlin on his mission to find Nemo. Because of Dory's super reading skills, Marlin knows that Nemo is somewhere near 42 Wallaby Way in Sydney.

But, Sydney's a big city. Where should Marlin head? Sydney Harbour, of course.

Not only is this one of the largest natural harbors in the world and home to such famous sights as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it's also just outside of the dentist's office. How convenient. (And how expensive. We're guessing renting out office space with a view of a gorgeous, world famous harbor is pretty pricey.)