Taika Waititi has been enjoying the company of Australian tourism ambassador and actor Chris Hemsworth on a family outing to Lord Howe Island in New South Wales, after spending two weeks in an Australian isolation centre.
The group were the first to stay in the newly completed luxury lodge Island House.
However while Hemsworth might have been enjoying a lush subtropical getaway, surrounded by his famous family and friends, the stay was in part under his role as the tourism ambassador. Tough gig.
The holiday coincides with the start of of Tourism Australia's $7.5 million 'Holiday at Home' campaign, which hopes to stimulate regeneration in the country's battered domestic tourism sector.
Hemsworth shared photos of the trip to the off grid destination in support of the local tourism industry, saying '2020 has been incredibly hard for communities who depend on tourism. Obviously not everyone is able to travel at the moment but once it's safe to do so let's support our fellow Aussies by taking a holiday at home."
Hemsworth urged those planning travel to explore the more remote and exotic parts of Australia.
The stunning outcrops of Lord Howe Island sit between New Zealand and Australia, about 600km and two hours' flight from Sydney.
Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said it was "great to see Chris and his family out and about experiencing parts of Australia with our wonderful tourism operators".
After a season that has seen many local tourism operators unable to rebuild following a series of wildfires and other natural events that have only been exacerbated by international travel disruptions.
Talking to "those who have the means and are able to", Harrison encouraged Australians "to do the same for their upcoming holidays."
The Island House is a family owned lodge, recently built as a base for adventures exploring Lord Howe Island. Equipped with mountain bikes and surf gear, the four bedroom property is a luxurious retreat geared up for outdoorsy activities. Started in 2017, it's a more high-end reimagining of the rustic baches that were on site since the 1970s.
Joined by brothers Liam and Luke, the Hemsworths were joined by Mark and Sophie Hutchinson, who run the Wild Ark conservation project. The Hutchinsons were in the area on work, re-releasing Tasmanian Devils in Mainland New South Wales.
The Kiwi director who recently travelled to Australia, joined the party from Los Angeles after a 14 days in Isolation, a publicity rep informed the Herald. Waititi and Hemsworth have worked on films together in Australia, and there are suggestions that a sequel to Thor Ragnarok (2017) is underway. However, the director will likely have to spend more time in quarantine unless there are changes to the current trans-Tasman travel arrangements.
New South Wales recently said it would open its borders for quarantine-free travel to Kiwi passport holders arriving from New Zealand. However, until further notice, returning travellers will still have to pay for a 14 day quarantine period in an isolation facility on return to New Zealand. The cost of quarantine is $3,100 for the first person in an isolation facility room, with additional costs per additional traveller, according to the New Zealand government.
Still, looking at the pictures, might such an overseas trip be worth it?
It's certainly beneficial to regional tourism operators, says tourism development manager for Gympie, Andrew Saunders. Last year the area hosted the Hemsworths holiday to Rainbow Beach near Noosa in Queensland.
The engagement on the film stars' social media accounts were worth "worth tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands" in advertising dollars to the destination, he told ABC.
"Anything I could do, or any operator could do, is far, far less (effective) than a post (on Instagram) from those guys."
With additional news.com.au reporting