Where the experts holiday: Campbell Jefferys, travel writer and author

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Born and bred in a small farming area in south west Australia, Campbell Jeffreys grew up believing that the whole world could not simply have been a field of wheat. There had to be more. Consequently, Campbell headed to Canada upon graduation before hitch-hiking across America. Eventually he landed in Europe and settled in Berlin where he wrote his first book, The Bicycle Teacher. He is also the author of Hunter (2008), winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and True Blue Tucker (2011), which won the bronze in the Australia/New Zealand fiction category of the IPPYs, the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His latest work, Greetings from – a collection of Campbell’s journalism, essays, articles and non-fiction stories – is out now.

What do you like to do on holiday?
I confess to being rather restless when on holiday. I’m not really one for sitting around and relaxing. I like to walk, especially in cities I’m visiting for the first time. I also like to rent a bicycle and take a long ride out to a place or town that interests me. But this is just a nice way of explaining that when on holiday, I enjoy getting momentarily lost.

Where did you last go?
I spent 10 days in Calabria, which is the toe of the Italian boot. It was both surprising and disappointing, but I always enjoy the beautiful madness of Italy.

Do you know where you’re going this year?
I’ve already been to Australia and Denmark. There will be trips to Austria and the UK. I’d like to go to the States, but I’m not sure how to fit that trip in. Malta is on my radar this year.

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
I think Germany is an underrated travel country. When people think of going to Europe, they want to visit France and Italy, and to tick off famous cities like Prague, Barcelona and Lisbon, and rightly so. But Germany is full of surprises and has so many interesting areas. The Moselle River from Trier to Koblenz is one of the most stunning things I’ve seen.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
There are many. Scotland, Greece and Iceland, to name just three.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
Perth, Australia, has many fine beaches, but my favourite beach seldom gets a look in, as Cottesloe, Scarborough, City Beach and Hillarys are the most popular. But Brighton Beach, just south of Scarborough, is a gem. It’s very much a locals’ beach and it’s almost never packed. There’s a nice cafe and the beach has a sand bar, meaning you can swim out to where the waves are breaking and have a body surf.

How do you plan your holiday?
Given that it’s now so easy to plan trips using the internet, this is how I do it. I was also an early user of Airbnb and Tripadvisor, two very useful additions to the travel market. Such websites, and travel planners, make it easy to choose travel options and decide where to go.

How often do you go away?
Typically five to six times a year. I’m lucky enough to combine work trips with travel.

Who do you travel with?
I enjoy travelling on my own and with my wife. I’m not good a travelling in a group.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
Australia is one of the top destinations in the world, and I don’t see this changing in the next 10 years. The only downside is that the country has become expensive and this trend looks likely to continue, which could price out many visitors or result in shorter trips. I think it’s a shame that Australia is reaching “expensive” territory, as it makes the country sound elitist.

Thanks Campbell! Greetings from (Ripple Books) – a collection of travel stories that has been gathered over 20 years of travel and writing – is out now.

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