Famous flyer: Jon Stevens

Jon Stevens loves getting back in touch with nature, though he's not always the quiet type.

Which was your best holiday?

Haggerstone Island. It's a luxury island resort on the Great Barrier Reef on top of the Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland. It's completely remote and untouched and it's my favourite place in the world. Staying there is a Robinson Crusoe-type experience with hunter-gathering; I'm a bit of a nature boy so I love it. And you get fed unbelievably well. Basically you catch your own food - lobster, mudcrab, barramundi - whatever you want on your menu that day, you go out and catch. There are no phones or 21st century technology so you can't be reached, which means it's a great place to clock off from the world. You don't realise how dependent you are on things until you go to a place like that where you just plug into nature and the adventurous spirit. I've only been there twice, 20 years ago then again last year, but really, I want to live there forever.

The best hotel you've stayed in?

The Olsen Hotel in South Yarra; I stay there whenever I go to Melbourne. For me, gone are the days of the flash high-rise hotels. I prefer to stay in apartments where you can have a balcony and doors to open, so you're not in airconditioning all the time. I'd be happy to stay in a hut if it had a window; I really need fresh air. The Olsen fits those prerequisites, the staff are awesome and it's really central to everything - Chapel Street, great restaurants and great shopping. It has lots of John Olsen's artwork around, too, which is great.

What do you need for a perfect holiday?

A really remote location where I can just switch off from the world, where I can stop answering my phone or looking at emails or dealing with people. And there always has to be water involved, whether it be fishing, surfing or swimming.

What do you always take with you?

My guitar. All my guitars are Maton, they're Australian-made, mainly acoustic guitars. I have a Mini Maton that I take on holidays and it's just so easy to travel with.

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What's your best piece of travel advice?

Just to get on a plane and broaden your horizons, because it's a big world out there and we're a long way away from the rest of the world down here in Australia. I'm the youngest of 11 children so I have 40-odd nieces and nephews and my advice to them has always been, "get on a plane, go and see the world, then you'll actually get a sense of yourself in the grand scheme of things". When you do that, you find you're pretty insignificant, you see how other people live, and you learn to appreciate where you come from and see that what we have here in Australia is pretty special. Nowadays, travel is so easy and cheap and there are so many options.

Where do you want to go to next?

Back to Haggerstone, as soon as possible! I'm raving about it and I know everyone's going to go there which sucks, but it really is very special. I spend so much time travelling, week in week out I'm always on the go, so when I get home to Australia I just like to stay here.

Your worst holiday?

I was on tour in South America when my brother died. It was disastrous because I couldn't get on a plane home because there were 30 people relying on me and I couldn't let the team down, I just had to suck it up and realise that that's real life. It was a week before I could get home. That's the problem being a singer in a band, you're irreplaceable.

Your worst experience on holiday?

I got kicked off a Jetstar flight out of Perth a few years ago. I'd just come off stage from a Noiseworks show, so when I got on the plane at midnight I changed seats before we took off because there were empty rows behind me and I wanted to lie down, but the steward made me sit back in my seat. When I did he said, "Do you have a problem?" I said, "Yeah, I have a problem with you." So he stopped the plane halfway down the tarmac, turned it around and kicked me off, and I had to be in Brisbane for the flood relief concert the next day! It was 1.30am by the time I got off, the other passengers were livid, I was livid, and this guy had a very bad error of judgment. Luckily, Virgin came to the rescue and got me to the concert the next day.

Biggest packing mistake you've ever made?

I make it every time: I always leave my packing until an hour before I go to the airport, which means my suitcase is full of shit. I just throw stuff in there without even thinking, I don't even fold it, which means I always take too much.

The worst hotel you've stayed in?

Twenty-five years ago, when I first started touring with Noiseworks, we used to stay in these hotels and motels that on reflection were terrible. At the time, when I was touring with my mates and getting drunk I didn't really care, and when you have nothing to judge by they're all good hotels! But as you get older and a bit more discerning, those hotels become bad by comparison.

What do you avoid on holidays?

Tourists. I'm in the giving business - when you perform it's all about that connection and that sharing, so when I go on holiday I prefer to just get back to basics and drop out from the rest of the world.

What do you hate about holidays?

Crowds. In my mind, a holiday could even just be staying at home and turning the lights out and the phone off. Just shutting the world out is a holiday.

As told to Nina Karnikowski

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