Virtuoso Life Australia Special Edition – May 2017 - 8
Melbourne native and Hollywood headliner
Chris Hemsworth touts Australian
destinations you don't want to miss - and
reveals a couple of spots still on his wish list.
From top: Cape
Byron, all smiles
in the Kimberley,
and Qualia resort
near the Great
8 VIRTUOSO LIFE
comic book hero Thor and the Brothers Grimminspired Huntsman, actor Chris Hemsworth was
just another strapping Aussie with a passion for
his home country. Born in Melbourne, Hemsworth
grew up in and around the water, learning to surf on Phillip
Island and to fish with his brothers in the Northern Territory.
Now, as Tourism Australia's global ambassador, he's revisiting
old favorites and discovering new ones.
Hemsworth's most prized place is Byron Bay, the hip and
gorgeous surfing hub he now calls home. "There is a sense
of guilt that comes with living here," he says. "I've traveled all
around the world and seen most of the planet, and coming
back home is unlike anywhere else in the world."
As a child, Hemsworth lived in the Outback with his family and had the opportunity to experience traditional Aboriginal ceremonies. Recently, he returned and visited Uluru, one
of Australia's most iconic desert landscapes, with a local
guide from the community. "There's an energy and a passion
that comes from the local people," he says, "but also, that
environment is incredibly inspiring and addictive. I want to
go back, and everyone I've spoken to who's been there says
the same thing."
Hemsworth recently made his first visit to the Great Barrier Reef. Located off Queensland's coast, the world's largest
reef system is home to dugongs (a relative of the manatee),
turtles, dolphins, whales, and more than 1,500 species of fish,
4,000 types of mollusks, and 200 kinds of birds. "It was like
another world, scuba diving and seeing the incredible, immense amount of sea life there," he says.
For a classic but often overlooked destination, he recommends the Kimberley: "It's an incredibly special spot where
you feel completely off the grid," he says of the beautifully
rugged region in the country's northwest corner. "When you
see things like crocs, [water] buffalo, and other wildlife, you
immediately think of the Australian Outback."
Next on his itinerary? Diving with whale sharks on
Ningaloo Reef (see page 19), and viewing wildlife and surfing
on Kangaroo Island (see page 26). If you go, maybe you'll see
him - Thor on a surfboard is pretty hard to miss.
(HEMSWORTH) DIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS/ GETTY IMAGES , (BYRON BAY AERIAL SHOT) PETER HARRISON, (CROCODILE) B. STEPHENSON,
(BEACH) NICK RAINS, (LIGHTHOUSE) PAWEL TOCZYNSKI
EFORE HIS BREAKOUT MOVIE ROLES AS MARVEL