Surf, sun and squirrels
Tai Hara on his Fijian idyll and a Singapore surprise.
AKE a tip from Home and Away star Tai Hara and make tracks to Fiji. The television actor returned recently from a trip to Italy and Scotland with girlfriend Fely Irvine but says Malolo Island, near Nadi, remains his favourite place to unwind.
Where’s your favourite place to holiday in Australia?
TH: The Northern Rivers district in New South Wales. It combines the best of Australia in one great place – coast, forest, climate and food. I surf and the beaches are so much better there than in Sydney, much less crowded, so you get more beach for your buck. I grew up on the Gold Coast and had family further south so it feels like my old stamping ground.
How about overseas?
TH: I really, really love Fiji. I’m a bit of an island boy at heart. All I need is sun, sand and surf. I was last there a year ago with my girlfriend, Fely, and it was so nice just to relax by the beach. Malolo Island is the best place I’ve ever stayed – clear waters, happy people and perfect weather.
What’s the best thing you’ve eaten while travelling?
TH: It’s hard to narrow down but I had some pretty wonderful home-cooked meals in Italy just recently while staying with the family of one of my friends.
Where was your latest holiday?
TH: Fely and I recently returned from Italy and Scotland. We were there for 2½ weeks at Christmas. We had a great time exploring Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome, and we had Christmas in Tuscany. But Scotland was the favourite.
What did you enjoy about it most – haggis?
TH: (Laughs) No, the country was just everything that I imagined it to be and that sort of expectation isn’t met too often. You’ve seen the beautiful scenery in movies like Braveheart but it ended up being so much more. It really exceeded my expectations. We stayed 100m down the road from Edinburgh Castle on the Royal Mile and loved it.
What’s one travel experience that you think will stay with you for life?
TH: I was stuck in New York when Hurricane Sandy hit (in 2012). The subway and all the airports were shut. It was a pretty amazing time to be there, seeing a city as big as New York basically shut down. But it was also very sad and scary for the people who were affected. It was uplifting seeing everybody banding together afterwards to help others with the clean-up.
Has anything gone wrong while you’ve been travelling?
TH: When I was going through Singapore I went to the zoo. While I was there I got caught in an enclosure and had a giant flying squirrel land on my shoulders (laughs) – that was probably one of the scariest moments I’ve ever had overseas.
Surely you’ve got a better story than being scared by a squirrel?
TH: Well, there was a time in Thailand when I got caught in a storm while I was out on the ocean in a tiny boat. But I still think the squirrel has the edge. Interview by Chanel Parratt. Tai Hara appears on Home and Away, 7pm, Monday-Thursday on Seven Plus.