Locky Gilbert, 30, veteran of TV's Survivor and now the new Bachelor, tells Traveller about his favourite place in Australia – and how he longs for a face-to-face encounter with a Great White.
Where are you from?
I grew up in South Australia then at 17 I moved to Perth which is where I now call home. But over the last 10 years, I've been a bit of a nomad, spending time in Germany, Spain, Australia and Finland – I was playing American football in Europe for five months a year then I'd travel the rest of the time. Then for the last three years, I've been dividing my time between Perth and living in Bali, running my own adventure tour company Four Elements Adventure and building a beach bar.
How important is travel to you?
It's hugely important. When I was growing up, it was all about work and getting as much money as I could in the bank. But then I travelled to the American football World Cup in Austria in 2011 and … Holy Hell! I loved the experience so much, I realised money isn't everything and, instead, it's all about memories and about creating those memories.
Where have you travelled in Australia?
I've seen some of Western Australia, like Bunbury, Busselton, the Margaret River and Esperance. I've also been a bit around South Australia, to the Mount Lofty Ranges and the Barossa Valley.
What's would you say is your favourite place in Australia?
That would have to be Rottnest Island, offshore from Perth where I'm living at the moment. It's a beautiful nature reserve that I've visited hundreds of times, and it never gets old. My best mate Chris has a boat, and so we used to go there every weekend. It's got everything you could ever dream of, from snorkelling, cliff jumping, and sky-diving, to the beautiful beaches, quokkas and the best sausage rolls ever. The Rotto bakery is the absolute best!
Any recommendations for what to do on Rottnest?
So many! Explore the island and ride around it on a mountain bike. Go to the Rottnest Bakery for a pie or sausage roll. Take a selfie with a quokka. And go scuba-diving – that's absolutely amazing there.
Where are you planning to travel next, while we're still under travel restrictions?
I haven't done much travel over the north east of WA. I'd love to drive up to Karijini National Park and Exmouth. I love hiking and camping and national parks so I'd love to swim with the whale sharks at Exmouth. Sometime I'd like to go over to South Australia too and swim with the Great Whites off Port Lincoln – but I'd like to do it without being inside the shark cage! I'd like to be at one with the sharks …
So travel insurance will be a must … And, assuming you survive the encounter, where else in Australia is on your hitlist?
As I love hiking and the outdoors, Tasmania definitely is. It's got some amazing hikes, great base jumps and mountain biking. I'd love to do the Overland Track, the six-day trek from Cradle Mountain to Like St Clair through the national park and world-heritage wilderness. I'd also like to get on a touring motorbike and head up the coast of north Queensland, staying on the beach or in caravan parks and visiting Cairns and Port Douglas and the Whitsundays for at least a month.
Do you find it frustrating not being able to travel overseas?
We're fortunate to live in one of the best places in the world and this is a great opportunity to get out and explore it. I guess, like most people, I always intended to do that when I was older, travelling with my kids in a campervan for two years, but there's no better time than now! I want to get out in a 4WD and drive around Australia a much as I can. I also want to start a thing where everyone tries to spend 60 nights a year outdoors under the stars. That could be in your own backyard – or on your balcony – but I think it would be a wonderful thing for everyone to do in Australia.
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