World Golf Hall of Fame Inductee, chairman and chief executive of Great White Shark Enterprises.
GREAT BARRIER REEF
It was there on the edge of the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef that I spent the first 15 years of my life. I took it for granted back then, but now I realise that I grew up in paradise. I was a fun-loving North Queensland kid who loved growing up on the reef and taking advantage of all it had to offer. I did a lot of skin-diving and fishing, and had access to one of the great wonders of the world. It taught me a lot of life lessons like confidence and self-awareness.
When visiting Arnhem Land, the history is palpable. It has been occupied by Indigenous people for tens of thousands of years and is the location of the oldest-known stone axe, which scholars believe to be 35,500 years old. This, in itself, is fascinating and awe-inspiring. The Aboriginal rock-art is extraordinary as well. As one of the largest Aboriginal reserves in Australia, I find it incredibly moving to be there, as this area carries so much meaning to our country and to the history of the world.
I have included Tanzania in this list for an entirely different reason than the other locations. I had a heavy heart after visiting and seeing what the western world has done to the Maasai people. Apparently this is a dumping ground for old flip-phones, and the Maasai, who are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people, have now acquired these old phones. The issue is that they have to pay for monthly service to use the phones and now, for the first time in the history of their population, they are working civilian jobs just to pay for the phones. It is a disgusting display of the west polluting an indigenous culture.
When I was in Atacama, I hiked Lascar volcano, Chile´s most active volcano, at an elevation of 6000 metres. It was one of the most memorable hikes of my life. The landscape in Atacama is remarkable. It is one of the driest places on earth and so unique that they tested the Mars Rover there.
I have just returned from Kyrgyzstan, spending 10 days in the mountains and experiencing one of the biggest adventures and ultimate tests of my life. I summited a peak at 5371 metres at -18C temperatures. This was the definition of extreme. Along the way, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with the local people, who are incredibly beautiful, polite and kind souls.
Greg Norman designed the 27-hole plus nine-hole par-3 private golf course at The Eastern Golf Club in the Yarra Valley, Victoria. Eighteen holes are now open with the third nine and nine-hole par-3 due to be complete in April 2016. See easterngolfclub.com.au.