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'Modern Family' Cast Lands in Australia to Shoot Holiday Episode

"Modern Family"

"We just had to go to the Great Barrier Reef, since, like Sofia Vergara, it's one of the natural wonders of the world," says the show's co-creator Steven Levitan, who is directing the episode.

SYDNEY – The cast and crew of Modern Family have arrived in Sydney ahead of filming a special holiday episode of the hit sitcom in Australia over the next two weeks.

It's the first time the show has shot outside the U.S. but follows the Emmy-winning series' tradition of filming its holiday episodes at a special destination. Past holiday episodes have been filmed in Hawaii and on a ranch in Wyoming.

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Part of the episode will center on the Dunphy and Pritchett families' stay at the luxury Queensland island resort, Hayman, and the surrounding Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef, with other filming to take place in Sydney, including at the iconic Harbour Bridge climb.

There’s no word yet on the storylines, although one reason for the visit is that Phil Dunphy, now dubbed “Crocodile Dunphy,” has Australian roots. The show's co-creator and executive producer, Steven Levitan, will direct the episode.

“We just had to go to Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, since, like Sofia Vergara, it's one of the natural wonders of the world,” he said.

Aiming to capitalize on the tourism industry boost afforded by exposure to the show's huge global audience, the Queensland government’s tourism and events body has pitched in some funding to finance the production, as has Australian airline Qantas and local industry agency Screen Queensland.

Queensland arts minister Ian Walker said: “Modern Family is a hugely popular show, and it’s very exciting for our tourism industry to know that places like the Great Barrier Reef and Hayman Island will be seen by millions of people right round the world.

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“This coup is a testament to the Government’s commitment to creating local jobs and promoting our screen and tourism industries to the world."

Walker said the government has been "working hard to make Queensland a great place to do business," and getting Modern Family to shoot there is the latest in a growing list of recent local projects, including Unbroken, San Andreas, The Railway Man and the local version of Secrets and Lies.

He thanked new Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira for her assistance in getting the contract over the line when she was in her recent post as Ausfilm commissioner in Los Angeles.