UnderWater World

Grüner See – Austria’s Naturally Occurring Underwater Park

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Hidden in Austria, a great country well known for hidden things, deep in the district of Tragoess and shadowed amongst the magnificent Karst Mountains, is a small park. Like many parks, it has benches, footpaths, trees and small bridges laddering the streams that run from the mountains to feed the Green Lake, Grüner See, which sits in a natural dip in the landscape, like many lakes the Green Lake is around a meter deep and a little murky.

Unlike many lakes, this lake likes to spend it’s Spring posing as a 12 meter deep lagoon … and the park; it goes for that ‘magical underwater wonderland somewhat resembling a high class fish tank’ look that many parks dream of, flooding itself and submerging the rickety bridges, benches and trees in 4000 square meters of crystal clear water … bet you didn’t see that coming.

As the snowy peaks of the Karst Mountains meet the European early summer the melt floods the once ambling streams and rushes down the hiking trails, turning the modest Green Lake into a surreal dream as it drops the water temperatures to as low as 7°C. Of course these plummeting temperatures still don’t deter the Austrian people and outsiders alike, as those who know about this stunning natural phenomenon make the somewhat grueling trail through the mountains to swim, play and scuba dive in Austria’s magnificent underwater park.

The water of the once Green Lake has been described to have a clarity only rivalled by the un-spoilt tropical waters I normally write about, and although it lacks a range of underwater wildlife; divers often visit the park to experience the otherwise unattainable feeling of swimming down footpaths or sitting on a park bench 10 meters below the surface.

I know what you’re thinking. You saw my comment, the one about the magical fish tank world and you thought to yourself; ‘’By golly gosh that would be a perfect place to release that boring Goldfish I bought last year, the one that I suspect may be stealing from me’’ … maybe you’re right, the little orange pickpocket could live a great life in the underwater park of Goldfish’s wildest dreams … or could he?

As little as four weeks go by and just like that, it’s all gone, the water level recedes, the leaves are out, pet fish litter the footpaths as dog walkers resent their life decisions… maybe some children play football around the shallow lake, and that is how it will stay, for the next eleven months at least, until the snow melts and this window the another world opens once again. Holidays TraveleZe

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Travel Writer TraveleZe
Jack Van Toorn, International Travel Writer and Guide Editor, currently Island Hopping from Thailand to Micronesia.

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