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Where's the best place you've ever stayed?
It's always difficult to name one place as the best place I've stayed, but a country that always stands out is Fiji. Whilst living in New Zealand I visited Fiji and stayed on the Coral Coast in an eco-resort managed and operated by locals from the surrounding villages. From the moment you step off the plane the hospitality of the Fijians is like no other, and nothing is too much trouble. We were welcomed with a traditional Fijian ceremony at the hotel and fruit platters picked by the locals from the surrounding areas. Our villa was set in lush tropical vegetation but only moments away from the house reef providing for sensational snorkelling opportunities and the chance to surf nearby. Food was brought in fresh on the boat by the locals, and fruit was delivered every morning. The Fijians went out of their way to ensure everything was perfect from arrival to departure.
What's your oddest travel moment?
There are numerous Great Walks in New Zealand that cover a wide range of terrain, and can take up to a week to complete. My friends and I began to walk a 2 day hike in the rain-forest of the Fiordland National Park in the South Island. Cascading waterfalls, swing bridges and rapids are typical features of these walks, so we knew adventure was calling. When we arrived at our campsite for the first night we were told that due to an approaching storm we would not be able to undertake the second day of the hike to get back to our car. As a result we were stranded in the rain-forest for 4 days on a single night of food rations. Fortunately where we were stranded was on a natural geothermal hot spring, meaning that our days and nights were spent in the hot springs during the thunderstorms and drinking from the river. We were staying close to the International Dark Sky Reserve, so whilst in the hot springs at night we had one of the world’s greatest views of the Milky Way galaxy. What was supposed to be a ‘worst case scenario’ ended up being one of the oddest, yet most memorable experiences of my life.
Have you had a perfect travel moment?
After spending time in Hawaii I flew over to San Francisco to start a road trip across the USA. During our stay in San Francisco we hired bikes to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge into the stunning surrounding neighborhoods of Sausalito and Tiburon. (An excursion I would highly recommend to anyone!) The next day we were fortunate enough to be in the city to celebrate the Fourth of July. Our hotel hosted a party for staff and guests, which spilled out onto their gardens providing for an unobstructed view of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and Pier 39 giving us the best view in the city of the famous Fourth of July firework display. This was the perfect way to start a 6 week road trip across the States.
What are your suitcase essentials?
Given my desire for adventure and an attraction to unique situations, I always carry my GoPro with me for a visual reminder of everything I have done. The size and versatility of the attachments mean I can take it surfing and skiing on the same day, and it can always fit into a pocket to cover all eventualities. My journey home usually consists of going through all my GoPro footage! Similarly, whenever I go overseas I pack either a summer or winter wetsuit. From glacial lakes in the French Alps to hidden waterfalls in Hawaii, a wetsuit will always come in handy regardless of season.
Where's next on your wishlist?
From an adventure perspective, the Argentinean and Chilean region of Patagonia has always been on my wish list. The culture and history over there is so unique and I’d love to be able to see Mount Fitz Roy and explore the Torres Del Paine National Park. Whist in Chile I have always wanted to visit Easter Island to enjoy the Pacific beaches and see the Maoi stone statues. My wish list for a relaxation holiday would be to stay in a suite at the beautiful Jade Mountain in St Lucia, where spellbinding views of the Pitons occupy the space that would normally be the fourth wall. St Lucia is an island of white beaches, unspoiled rain-forests and crystal clear waters so would provide for a great balance of adventure and relaxation. For a break in Europe, the Belmond La Residencia in Mallorca is top of my list!