My holidays: Henry Cole

Henry Cole is the host of World's Greatest Motorcycle Rides. The two vital accessories he hates to travel without are his motorcycle and his producer.
Henry Cole is the host of World's Greatest Motorcycle Rides. The two vital accessories he hates to travel without are his motorcycle and his producer.

What was your greatest holiday?

I classify presenting my series World Greatest Motorcycle Rides as a holiday - well it can't be construed as work can it? So, to that end, riding Route 66 is right up there, along with New Zealand and South Africa. They are my all time top three destinations without question.

And the worst?

Probably turning up to an old farmhouse in the south of France with my wife, kids, mother and parents-in-law. My mother-in-law went into the farmhouse and before I had got out of the car announced that she was not staying there! The place was falling down, with no hot water and sporadic electricity. We went home after two days - nightmare!

If we bump into you on holiday, what are you most likely to be doing?

Probably smoking!

If we could teleport you to one place in New Zealand for a week-long holiday, where would it be?

It has to be Queenstown - probably one of the most wonderful places on the planet. The scenery is awe-inspiring, the extreme sports are unsurpassed and the choice of off-road motorcycle riding is utterly compelling. Also for road riding the Queenstown area delivers everything you could possibly want!

How about for a dream holiday internationally?

My dreams are constantly realised riding the world for my job. I wake up every day on the road understanding that I am one of the luckiest bikers on the planet! South Africa is a must for a dream holiday but so is the N85 from Grenoble to Monaco in the south of France! Some of the scariest and phenomenal mountain roads I've ridden fast.

What's the dumbest thing you've ever done when travelling?

Not taken a motorcycle.

Complete this sentence: I can't travel without ... Hamish my producer. I can't find my way to my own front door without him! Followed closely by a mobile phone and a credit card.

What's the best travel tip you've ever been given?

Don't plan everything before you go - you'll just end up getting stressed by your own schedule. Allow time to change things around once you are on the ground because things will change. Just book essential stuff and then see what blows. It's a holiday after all, not a business deal.

What was the most memorable meal you've had while travelling?

I'm not a foodie so I enjoy any meal, whether it's a five-star restaurant or a roadside cafe, if you're treated with a genuine welcome and the service is friendly and quick. If you get both those elements the food is usually excellent because the proprietor cares.

What's the best thing you've brought back from a trip?

Memories.

Favourite airport to land at?

Has to be Queenstown. The baggage handlers welcome me the minute I get off the plane. So great to be treated like a person at an airport instead of being treated like a number - we all deserve at least that and at Queenstown airport they understand.

What's the next trip you've got planned?

Just finished a three-part World's Greatest Motorcycle Rides special on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, America, attempting to beat a world land speed record on a pre-1955 750cc motorcycle. You'll have to wait till it screens to find out whether I did it! Australia, Far East and The Balearics beckon for next year but there is a huge likelihood I will be filming in New Zealand in October and November this year - watch this space.

Henry Cole is the host of World's Greatest Motorcycle Rides, which screens on the Travel Channel on Mondays at 8.30pm.

- NZ Herald

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