Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday IslandsWhitsunday Islands are a beautiful chain of islands just off the shore a few hundred kilometres north of Brisbane. They are also very expensive, so I stayed in Airlie Beach on the shore, a much cheaper alternative to rooms starting at $300 per night on the islands. I had planned to go to Airlie Beach a few weeks earlier, but they had a bit of a typhoon and most of the area was under 10 feet of water, so I postponed a few weeks. PADI Open Water Diver certification in February and this was my first dive since the course. While the Great Barrier Reef does stretch as far south as we were, it is quite a bit further out from the coast than it is further north.
Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia, although the day we were there the weather was cloudy and the beach was not very photogenic. Apparently the sand from that beach is quite pure (98% silica) and was used in the construction of the Hubble Space Telescope.
The rest of the weekend was quiet and relaxing. I took a bus way out of town to go to church on Easter Sunday. (While the church was packed for Easter, the church and community were a bit underwhelming: the "choir" was a tape player.) And mostly I just read, having found a nice used bookstore in town.
I even managed to fit all my scuba gear back in my suitcase—and relatively dry too—to get back home.
More pictures from the trip are available in 2010's Australia gallery.