Wrong Way Round: The greater Great Barrier Reef region

National Post | Life

Writer Maryam Siddiqi is taking almost seven months holiday to travel to 20 countries on four continents, documenting the journey as she goes. See her mapped route here.

Enamoured with life on the water thanks to my week in Croatia and in need of sunshine after a few weeks of winter in south Australia and the north island of New Zealand, I booked a ticket to Queensland. Destination: the Whitsunday Islands, 74 islands in the Coral Sea of the Great Barrier Reef.

The launching pad for the Whitsundays — envision aqua waters lapping gently against white silica beaches — is Airlie Beach, a town with a split personality. For young Australians and barefoot backpackers (I’m being literal here, I saw a number of them traipsing up and down the town’s main strip sans shoes), it’s a party place, where bars show football and rugby matches at the same time and…

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