'Don't plan and go with the flow'

Chilean interior design student Valentina Phillips relaxes at the Airlie Beach lagoon.
Chilean interior design student Valentina Phillips relaxes at the Airlie Beach lagoon. Peter Carruthers

FOR a young interior design student from Chile looking for a clean safe place to visit during her summer break from university, Australia as a destination was the obvious choice.

Valentina Phillips will only be in the county for six weeks in total and is making the most of the experience by visiting as many places as possible.

Travelling alone, Ms Phillips has been jumping on and off a Greyhound bus and making decisions about how long and where to go next based on the vibe.

How long have you been in Australia?

I have been here for five weeks. I arrived in Sydney then I went to Melbourne. Then visited Byron Bay, the Gold Coast, Brisbane and now I am here.

Best place to hang out in Airlie?

Here at the lagoon.

What are your plans while in the Whitsundays?

I am going on a two-day sailing trip with SV Whitehaven.

What are your top Australian travel tips?

Come with a lot of money because it is expensive and try and work here if you can.

And don't plan anything. Go with the flow.

If you want to stay longer then do it or if you want to skip a place everybody goes to but you don't want to go, then don't go.

Strangest thing about Australian culture?

I haven't met too many people from Australia but I feel people here are very respectful.

How it is different for example if you have a really long queue in Chile people will try to cut in but here it doesn't happen.

I have loved it so much. It is so different to Chile and I have met so many fun people from all around the world and have had really good experiences in all the hostels I have stayed.

I only have good things to say about Australia.

How has travelling changed you?

I have been travelling on my own and I feel like I am getting to know parts of me I would never meet back home.

Just being on my own and getting things done on my own and meeting new people has already changed me for the better.

Topics:  airlie beach backpacker backpacker chats travell whitsundays

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