The National Geographic Only in Oz presenter, tour guide, photographer and model had just strapped on a mask for the first time.
"Mum," she said excitedly. "Do you know what's down there?"
Nush's first sight of the underwater world fired a passion that has led the 24-year-old Perth native to move to her beloved Ningaloo, and her role as a National Geographic presenter has allowed her to share her stomping grounds with millions of viewers around the globe.
(Left to Right) Anna Cresswell & Emma Westlake with Nush Freedman on boat.
Story: Ningaloo Hope
"My parents used to take me to Ningaloo Reef every year and I’d be so upset when we left - because Exmouth felt like home, ” says Nush.
”Being a presenter for Only in Oz was an amazing way to show off the area I live in and the creatures that live here, ” she says of the reef, which is home to tiger and whale sharks, manta rays, and over 500 species of tropical fish.
The other highlight of hosting Only in Oz was Carnac Island – home to over 400 tiger snakes – or three for every 25sq m of the tiny island, which Nush visited with Perth-based environmental consultant Mitch Ladyman.
”Apparently a crazy snake performer let them go in the last century hoping he might find them again one day. Watching Mitch with the deadly snakes was a massive highlight. He was so calm and the snakes were calm in turn.”
Nush Freedman getting down with the snakes at the West Australia Reptile Park.
Story: The Myserty of Snake Island
In another episode Nush solved the mystery of why the planet’s blue whale population has not come back since the beleaguered gentle giants were protected from predatory humans.
”It all comes down to whale poo. Humpbacks go to Antarctica to breed and they poop there, which in turn fertilises the ocean and replenishes food.
”Blue whales are opportunistic – they feed anywhere. I had no idea that their poo was so important to the ocean.”
(Left to Right) Curt and Micheline Jenner and their dog Skipper with Nush Freedman onboard the Whale Song.
Story: Big Blue Poo
Another highlight was tagging turtles to keep track of them as they return to Ningaloo reef.
”It was great, although a little bit gnarly wrangling them, ” she says.
Nush says she is comfortable around the creatures she worked with but it was unsettling being a first-time presenter.
”When you are a presenter you are the glue that holds everything together.
”So the best part was learning how to be a presenter. The crew was great. They were so funny and kept encouraging me and I got better and better every time. So it was a challenge and a reward.
”I had an absolute blast working on Only in Oz and I hope it encourages people to explore Australia because there is a never-ending variety here. You just never know what to expect. It was amazing to showcase Australia and our incredible diversity - there is no place in the world like Australia, from reef, to rainforest, desert and everything in between.
”People should watch Only In Oz to see the crazy things that happen right under their noses and they don’t even know about them.”
Lead Image: Nush Freedman with a snorkel on her head, in front of Ningaloo water.
Story: Ningaloo Hope