How to Have the Best Australian Vacation, According to Actor Chris Hemsworth
When Tourism Australia announced actor Chris Hemsworth as the global ambassador for their new campaign, Aquatic and Coastal (which focuses on Australia's beautiful beaches), they asked the star where in his home country he would really love to visit. His choices? Uluru, The Kimberly, and Far North Queensland—an itinerary that Tourism Australia (and Hemsworth himself) is encouraging visitors to replicate.
The actor—best known for his portrayal of the Norse God Thor—is extremely passionate about his home country; recently, he located from Malibu to Byron Bay in New South Wales.
“Australia has some of the most diverse, vibrant, and pristine coastlines in the world," he says. "The quality of life here is second to none; plus we have some of the most unique marine wildlife. There are places where the red dirt meets crystal turquoise water, and you can go days exploring the coast without seeing anyone else. Or, you can be in the heart of a buzzing city, like Sydney or Melbourne, with great restaurants and beaches just around the corner."
We got our hands on exclusive photos of Hemsworth and wife Elsa Pataky vacationing their way through his motherland, and chatted with Hemsworth about Australia, fitness, traveling with children, and more. For the full interview, read on.
What appealed to you about these locations when planning the trip?
“When we started planning the trip, I wanted to experience the diversity of our landscapes, from warm tropical sunshine of the Great Barrier Reef to the rugged waterholes of the Kimberley and the Australian outback. I was really surprised by how vastly different each place was—that’s the amazing thing about Australia.”
What were your three top experiences in the Kimberley?
“In The Kimberley, we went fishing in one particular spot that rivaled Jurassic Park—there were crocodiles, snakes, buffalo, and an abundance of other amazing native wildlife. Sunset dinners in The Kimberley are another absolute must. The colors of the skyline there are as rich and vibrant as anywhere I've seen, and it is pretty special to see the millions of stars of the Australian outback’s night sky. We stayed at a beautiful place called Berkeley River Lodge, having dinner each night on a sand dune, barefoot in the desert sand was pretty cool. And one of the best afternoons in The Kimberley was swimming in a secluded waterhole at the base of a waterfall. We helicoptered down along the winding Berkeley River and then boated across to this really private spot. It's something I'll never forget.”
What was the most romantic part of the trip?
“The most romantic part of the trip was being dropped off by helicopter on Whitehaven Beach, with my wife, a picnic basket and bottle of champagne. It was pretty special.”
And your three top experiences in Hayman?
“We stayed at One&Only Hayman Island, which was a real highlight. Amazing food and wine, it overlooks the reef—plus, they have an awesome kids club, with face painting, fish feeding, jewelry making, and some great swimming pools for us to chill out as a family.
On the Great Barrier Reef, I went scuba diving for the first time, which was amazing. It’s like visiting another planet. We also had an afternoon at Whitehaven Beach, which was absolutely stunning—it has the most pristine white sand and crystal clear water. The next day we took the kids for a picnic and a bit of beach cricket on Langford Island, just off Hayman Island. The kids loved running along the sand and playing in the shallows.”
How did you keep fit while traveling?
“There is a great gym at One&Only Hayman Island, so I could justify letting the diet slip as long as I put some quality time in there!”
This was your first trip to Uluru. What was it like seeing the national park for the first time?
“Seeing Uluru for the first time was really awesome. We had the very special experience of meeting with Sammy Wilson, a local Anangu Traditional Owner. Listening to the local Indigenous people speaking with us about the cultural and spiritual significance of Uluru was fascinating and inspiring. The kids loved running around the base of the rock and exploring all the little caves and trails.”
What are your top tips for traveling with kids around Australia? And what did the kids enjoy the most?
“Traveling with kids in Australia is actually really easy, but finding places that have activities that you can all do together is the key. My kids love the water and that's where we spent most days. I'd have to say the waterfall in The Kimberley was probably the highlight for the kids. Watching the kids explore it and try fishing was so special.”
What were some of the culinary highlights of the trip?
“In Australia, we are so lucky to have access to some incredible fresh produce and native ingredients. Eating fresh fish we had caught that morning in The Kimberley was incredible. We just cut it up right on the beach served sashimi style. On Hayman Island we were really spoilt with an outdoor Teppanyaki night and also a really intimate Chef’s Table. Awesome French food, but with the best Australian ingredients.”
What surprised you the most about these destinations?
“The natural beauty of Australia is what always surprises me. From the Red Centre and Uluru with rich desert landscapes, to stunning gorges and remote waterholes of the Kimberley, to vibrant islands like Hayman island where you have crystal clear water and white sand beaches. Australia really does have it all.”