AIRLIE LAGOON: Claire Martin, left, and Torrie Talkington cool off at the newly opened attraction.
AIRLIE LAGOON: Claire Martin, left, and Torrie Talkington cool off at the newly opened attraction. Jessica Lamb

Not just passin' thru

NAME: Claire Martin

AGE: 23

HOME: Emory, Texas, USA

SPOTTED: Airlie Lagoon

It's no surprise that scores of backpackers descend on Airlie Beach each week, drawn to the region for the stunning weather, seasonal work opportunities and laid-back lifestyle.

This week we meet world traveller Claire Martin who is a backpacker turned (almost) local.

How long have you been in the Whitsundays for?

Three months, but I don't feel like I qualify as your typical backpacker because I am planning on staying here a while. I'd like to stay until next January. I'm here on a working holiday visa.

Why Airlie Beach?

I'm here because some friends I met while I was in Madagascar for a few months in 2015-2016 are originally from here and they rave about it.

Where did you come from?

Prior to being here I was travelling Asia for 10 months.

I saw a dishwasher for the first time in 10 months when I came to Australia and I was kinda mind blown.

Are you here working?

I work in Cannonvale at a pub there.

What's your favourite thing about the Whitsundays?

The day trips - I can explore the hidden spots of the region. It's just stunning and I love the vibe. There are always more people to meet and lots of travellers with cool stories and experiences.

Are you a student?

I've already graduated, I have a degree in finance from the University of Texas.

What is the weirdest part about Australia for you?

There's a big list but definitely your slang.

I'm always learning new ways to say things.

Do you like Australia?

I like it here, it has good food and good people.

It's kind of like the US but different enough that it's refreshing and I really like it.

Where else are you planning on travelling?

I'm planning on seeing Sydney and Melbourne and eventually the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.

I've explored around the Whitsundays like Mackay etc but I haven't been further afield yet.


Crazy numbers of squid showing up around the islands

Crazy numbers of squid showing up around the islands

Crazy numbers of squid showing up around the islands.

Airlie Macca's celebrating 20 years

Airlie Macca's celebrating 20 years

Airlie Macca's celebrating 20 years

Prossie riders go hard

Prossie riders go hard

Locals clean up at comp

Local Partners