Guy Leech ... looks for quality kids' clubs, craves adventure andis an ironman with a delicate stomach.
Which was your best holiday?
Three months ago I went to Bora Bora with my wife and our two daughters, aged six and 13. I've had plenty of exotic, tropical vacations before, but this one really took the cake. It was the perfect aquatic holiday – the weather was so good and the scenery second to none. We did everything from shark diving to kayaking to snorkelling to just exploring.
The best hotel you've stayed in?
The Four Seasons in Bora Bora; we couldn't fault it. We stayed in an overwater bungalow, with clear panels in the floor so you could see the fish swimming beneath you. We'd wake up in the morning, slide open the bi-fold doors of our bedroom, walk two steps and just dive off the balcony into the most beautiful turquoise water. The food every day was as good as any fine-dining restaurant in Australia, and the staff just went overboard looking after us. It was incredible.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
A good kids' club. If you haven't got that you may as well be at home, because you're having to look after the kids the whole time. We stayed in Fiji a few years ago and our youngest, who was four, would cry every time we suggested kids' club. That just ruined the holiday. A good kids' club is one where the staff are fun and engaging, and there are enough facilities to keep the kids interested. In Bora Bora the kids' club was great – the kids went fishing and on treasure hunts, did arts and crafts and sports, and just loved it.
What do you always take with you?
My back often plays up from all the years of training, so I always take my Muscle Mate, which is like a dimpled, hard rubber back-stretching instrument that looks like three or four golf balls melded together. You lie on it across your bum and lower back and it releases the muscles; it's like having a massage. I take it everywhere I go.
What's your best piece of travel advice?
Always try to get the exit row on the plane. I'm six foot one (185.9centimetres), so when I'm travelling for eight hours or more I'd like to know I've got a bit more space, especially because my lower back doesn't like to be cooped up in one spot for too long. There's nothing worse than arriving for a holiday and your back's locked up and you can't move for the first two days! You pay a little bit more for exit row, but it's a very good investment.
Where do you want to go next?
We're going to wait another two to three years for our youngest to get old enough, but we want to go on safari in South Africa. I think it's important for the kids to know there's more out in the world than luxury resorts, with the sheets turned down and a chocolate on your pillow. We want to camp out in the wilderness and do all that sort of adventurous stuff. It'll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Which was your worst holiday?
I went to Bali about eight years ago. I'd been there a few times before and had always been careful with the drinking water and food, but I was surfing at this remote beach called Dreamland and came in starving so bought a hamburger from the local vendor on the beach. That was it; an hour later I was in bed in the resort and noone saw me for a week. I think I went home less tanned than when I turned up. Years later I read an article about the top 10 worst things you can do while travelling around the world, and one of them was eating at that exact beach from a local vendor!
And your worst experience on holiday?
In the early 1990s I went on a surfing trip in Indonesia. We were heading to the Mentawais on a boat that went right through the night and into the next day. I get seasick pretty easily, so an hour into the trip as we sailed through big swells the boat started rocking from side to side, and I started vomiting and continued to do so right through to the next afternoon. I remember lying on the deck at 3am in the pouring rain because I had no energy to get myself up. I thought I was going to die. I'll never go on a boat like that again.
What's the biggest packing mistake you've made?
Not laying everything out before putting it all in my bag. I pack very randomly, which means I turn up – like I did recently in Hamilton Island – having forgotten at least five things, including my sun visor and thongs. But I'm a bloke, that's how I do it. And it's always last minute.
What's the worst hotel you've stayed in?
It was on the main island of the Mentawais, it was a really raw, Third World place and I had to sleep on a concrete slab with no mattress or anything. I had to sleep on two towels and use my surfboard bag as a pillow! There were no windows, either, just a cloth hanging from an open window frame to keep the mozzies out.
What do you avoid on holiday?
The temptation to eat anything and everything. Some people have an iron stomach and can eat almost anything, but I'm not one.
What do you hate about holidays?
Spending a whole day on planes and at airports in transit. I'm better on the way there, but I'm not good at waiting around on the return trip when the holiday's done and you've had your fun and you're going back to real life.
As told to Nina Karnikowski
Guy Leech hosted the Fitness World Record for the largest-ever fitness circuit at Manly beach on November10.