Famous flyer: Cameron Daddo

Cameron Daddo needs water, whether it's a swimming pool, a lagoon or an ocean.

What was your best holiday?

We're definitely not a go-to-Disney-World-in-Florida sort of family.

Cameron Daddo

We rented a house in a little town called Paia on the north shore of Maui in Hawaii one Christmas with my wife Alison's family. The kids and Ali would be eating breakfast on the grass out the front of the house while I was surfing and I could throw a stone to them. It was just warm water, great surf, bare feet and family. Most people associate Hawaii with tourists, resorts, muumuus and Hawaiian shirts, but Paia is the antithesis of that. It's hippie-ville - Birkenstocks and hessian, yoghurt and granola - yeah dude, like wipe-out. Cue a Hoodoo Gurus song.

Best hotel you've stayed in?

The Kea Lani Hotel on Maui. We were the great unwashed on that holiday, but we took the kids to the Kea Lani for a bit of luxury. It's a Fairmont hotel and one of the oldest hotels on Maui. It's gorgeous, elegant, old-style, just rambling bungalows through beautiful grasses, palm trees and Hawaiian tropical flowers. It even has its own beach. And the service is top-class. If you've got kids and you want a night out with your wife, which we did, the kids get taken care of. So we went out for a beautiful dinner then retired to the cigar lounge for a whiskey and cigar under the stars. Life doesn't get much better than that.

What do you need for the perfect holiday?

I could be anywhere - Yamba in northern NSW, fishing on the south coast of Victoria, in far-north Queensland or in the desert - and if I have a good mindset that says, "I'm just going to roll with whatever happens", that makes a perfect holiday.

What do you always take with you?

A bathing suit and thongs. I need water, whether it's a swimming pool, a lagoon or an ocean. About 30 years ago, when I was hosting Perfect Match, I swam in a natural spring at the base of Ayers Rock [Uluru]. It was like swimming in Cocoon water, it was regenerative, it felt like I was swimming right in Australia's heart. It was quite a spiritual experience.

Best piece of travel advice?

As a dad, my best advice is: it's all about preparation. Making sure visas, passports and money are all taken care of. Recently my family and I were leaving Hawaii to come to Australia and the kids have American passports so we didn't realise we needed Australian visas. It was easy enough to sort out, but it meant the $400 we thought we had, we didn't.

Where do you want to go next?

I've never been to Bali so I'd like to do that. My wife has great memories of Bali and I'm really looking forward to the simplicity of life there, the food and of course, the surf.

What was your worst holiday?

We did a trip from Los Angeles to Monterey, along the coast of San Francisco, on our way to see a great white shark in captivity at the Monterey aquarium. We decided to do it budget-style, so there were five of us in one room at this crappy hotel. On the first night, my son lost his dinner all over the floor. I also decided to go on a liver-flush cleansing diet before leaving, so I had to find a bathroom every two hours. Finally, we got to the aquarium only to find they'd let the shark go two days earlier because it had been eating all the prize salmon and tuna.

The worst hotel you've stayed in?

A little bed and breakfast in Monterey. It was supposed to be four-star but our room had no windows, it was freezing cold and the swimming pool was right beside the main road. We called it Cell Block H because it really was like a prison cell.

What was your worst experience on holiday?

In 1996, a buddy and I went to see the Australian cricket team play Kingston in Jamaica. During the cab ride from Kingston Airport to our hotel in Negril, the cab driver was all over the road, driving a car that was literally about to fall apart. There were no seatbelts and the door didn't shut, so while he was swerving around pedestrians, buses and bike riders, we were rolling around trying to hold the door shut while yelling at him to slow down. He was like, "It's all right man, don't worry about it man!" He even hit a dog; he was off his face. He had incense burning in the cab probably to cover the ganja he'd been smoking, and he wouldn't stop to let us out.

Biggest packing mistake you've made?

I was travelling from California to Toronto in summer, but I just assumed Toronto was going to be cold so I didn't bring much summer stuff. Turned out, it was even hotter than Los Angeles and almost 100 per cent humidity and I'd brought completely the wrong stuff - jeans, boots and beanies. It was brutal.

What do you avoid on holiday?

Crowds. We live in a crowded city so when we go away on holidays as a family, it really is a time when we put computers and phones and all that stuff away and just find space. We're definitely not a go-to-Disney-World-in-Florida sort of family.

What do you hate about holidays?

Running out of money. Serving up baked beans on toast for three days in a row on holidays isn't much fun! But we generally try to make an adventure out of anything that goes wrong; we don't dwell on the negatives. Our motto is, "Nothing happens to you, everything happens for you."

As told to Nina Karnikowski

Cameron Daddo stars in Legally Blonde The Musical, at the Lyric Theatre until January 27.