INXS' Kirk Pengilly has a golden rule of travel

Kirk Pengilly, musician and member of the rock group INXS, playing saxophone, guitar and performing on backing vocals. He's married to seven-time world champion surfer Layne Beachley​.


Approximately 50.


I arrived at New York's JFK Airport in the early '90s on my own for a week of press junkets. While waiting for a car to pick me up out front, a guy came up to me and asked me for a light. I was standing over my small carry-on which contained all my essentials like passport, wallet, diary and personal effects. We chatted for a minute, then he walked off and disappeared. I looked down and the bag was gone. I'd say a cohort grabbed it from behind while I was distracted by the other guy. Not happy.


MY PASSPORT PHOTO IS horrible. You're not allowed to wear your glasses for passport photos, so I look like some old mass murderer.

I CAN'T STOP GOING BACK TO the Kimberley in Western Australia. I especially love El Questro. Layne and I did a 3½-week campervan trip through there a few years ago and we still say it was our best holiday ever.

MY LAST TRAVEL DESTINATION WAS  in February, a five-day cruise on Carnival Spirit from Sydney to Moreton Island return, when a friend decided to celebrate his birthday on it and invited us along. Layne and I had never been on a cruise ship so we thought, why not? But Cyclone Oma meant we went south to Phillip Island instead. Layne was devastated at not being able to surf at Moreton but we still went and had a ball on and off the ship, although we were approached a lot by people wanting selfies. An occupational hazard.


MY NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION IS a six-week trip later this month starting with a (small) cruise ship for a week around the Adriatic, stopping at places like Dubrovnik, Korcula, Piran and Kotor. Then we go to Sardinia and Greece. Neither of us have been to any of these places except I did perform in Dubrovnik with the band nearly two decades ago.

I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO firstly, going to new places and especially going as a tourist. Most of my travels have been on tour with INXS. I never really got to see much as each day it was move to another city or country, after really only seeing the hotel, the venue, and of course maybe a bar at the end of the night.

WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MY NEXT TRIP IS to relax, soak up the people and culture, food and a few drinks and definitely throw a few cooking classes in there, too.

I LOVE TO TRAVEL BECAUSE now I have the time to actually immerse myself in a city, different culture or in nature. For example, last year Layne and I stayed at WA's Ningaloo Reef at Sal Salis and got to swim with the whale sharks which was an incredible experience. I would never have had time to do something like that while on the road with INXS.

MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS be early on travel days. I hate being late, rushing or keeping people waiting. These days, after all the travelling I've done, it's important to me to travel comfortably, too, so I have a rule: business class for any flight over three hours, and good restaurants, so I do a lot of research and bookings beforehand.

THE ONE TRAVEL MISTAKE I ALWAYS MAKE IS packing way too much! My problem is I may need this or that, to be prepared. So a number of times, Layne and I have had to buy an extra bag along the way, because somehow, we accumulate as we go.

THE ONE THING I REALLY DO GET RIGHT WHEN I TRAVEL IS planning ahead. Tourism is massive everywhere you go now and there's nothing worse than rolling up to a restaurant or an event thinking you can just waltz on in, but it's full or sold out. Book things that matter to you way ahead of your trip.

IF I HAD TO SIT IN THE MIDDLE SEAT THE OTHER PASSENGERS I'D WANT ON EITHER SIDE OF ME WOULD BE well, actually, two empty seats so I can chill out, watch some movies and sleep. But if I had to choose, I'd say inventor-electrical-engineer Nikola Tesla [best-known for the design of the AC electricity supply system]. I've always been fascinated by him and his inventions, and how different our lives would be had most of his inventions not been covered up. And my wife, Layne Beachley (is that cheating?), still the most amazing person I have ever known

THE ONE FAMOUS TRAVELLER I REALLY ADMIRE IS [American aviation pioneer] Amelia Earhart.

THE ONE FAMOUS PERSON I'D LIKE TO TRAVEL WITH IS Layne! But if that's a no-go, probably Rick Stein. He's been everywhere and it would be all about food.

AIRLINE FOOD IS hmmmm. Of course, it depends which part of the cabin you are in and which airline. Mostly, from business class up, the food is acceptable.

AIRPORT SECURITY IS an absolute pain in the arse. You have no rights and you feel guilty, even though you are being a good citizen. It's now one of the worst aspects of travel, and so much stuff is unnecessarily confiscated and ends up in landfill, not to mention the amount of water that gets chucked or wasted.

HOTELS ARE I learned two things very early on – don't use the phone, mini-bar, room-service, laundry services, as they charge a fortune, and eat off-site. It's much more fun to go out and explore, leaving hotels for sleep.

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO the Caribbean. It's  exotic and has lots of different islands and cultures in a relatively small area.

I'VE NEVER WANTED TO GO TO I can't think of anywhere, really, other than any place that is currently war-torn.

AISLE OR WINDOW? Absolutely aisle.

WA's whale shark season kicks off in late March. See