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Seasoned traveller Q&A

Ben Southall enjoys the view from his home on Hamilton Island.
Ben Southall enjoys the view from his home on Hamilton Island. Whitsunday Times

Where is your favourite international destination?

Since arriving in Australia, Queensland has shot straight to the top of the list. Everything about it has just blown me away since I arrived in July. Outside of Australia I am particularly fond of Cape Town.

What about your favourite Aussie destination?

I've only visited Queensland so far but of all the locations, Lizard Island really sticks out for me as being somewhere I could spend a load more time.

Where do you take visitors to show off your home town?

I'm lucky enough to live on Hamilton Island. You have to get up high so I'd recommend climbing to the top of Passage Peak at the eastern tip of the island.

What's your top tip for sensible packing?

Roll your clothes. Being someone who avoids ironing like the plague, rolling everything eliminates the need to do any and also allows you to get more in your bag.

Favourite airline?

I've flown Virgin a number of times in my life and their entertainment system means that long haul flights become a breeze.

Favourite hotel in the world?

The Intercontinental Hotel in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. After a month's hard driving through Central Africa and on my first day in this pretty turbulent capital city, the delight of checking into my room on the 23rd floor has never been bettered.

Favourite hotel in Australia?

There can only be one here - the Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast is total unadulterated luxury. I have never been to anywhere as excessive and over the top.

Best “roughing it” trip you've ever done?

Kayaking up the coast of Hinchinbrook Island and camping on the beach. To sleep under the stars, paddle the days away and see no other humans for a while makes it my clear winner.

Most “life changing” travel moment?

Aside from being announced caretaker for the magnificent islands of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, it was the moment I decided to travel for the first time, left the UK and headed to South Africa.

Where to for your next leisure trip?

It's a choice of two really and they're both pretty big - kayaking the length of the Great Barrier Reef for charity all the way from Lady Elliot to Lizard Island, or driving around the coast of Australia. They'll both be completed... it's just in what order!


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