What was your greatest holiday?

That depends on the definition of "holiday".

My trip to New Zealand in 1974 involved a series II Land Rover from Dover, down to Greece, through Bulgaria, Turkey then Iran and Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Then, due to the "disappearance" of the Land Rover following its shipment to Penang, a flight to Melbourne, followed by another to Auckland, a rugby trial, followed by a 10-game tour of South Africa with the Ponsonby Rugby Club.

Or, it could be last year's tour in the Basque Country with the Active Gourmet (my wife's travel company). Seventeen of us on mountain bikes and one new electric bike exploring hidden valleys of the Pyrenees, the markets, towns and cities of this amazingly different and diverse region, which borders the south of France and north of Spain.


And the worst?

I can never have a bad holiday!

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

Quite likely I'll be cycling sedately along a European canal, or through a forest or open countryside. Or, with bike locked close by, I'll be strolling around a market sourcing provisions for pique-nique or evening meal.

Alternatively, at the end of the day's riding, we'll be gathered in front of a local bar recounting stories of the day's experiences.

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

Central Otago will do just fine at any time of year that's convenient, thank you. Driving off road, or mountain biking or skiing or kayaking or fishing or golfing...

How about for a dream holiday internationally?


We'll be travelling to Europe to see the All Blacks defend the Rugby World Cup, it's always a great event to be part of, taking short excursions between matches to make the most of it. To make it a dream trip I'd love to see the ABs destroy the English at the final at Twickenham.

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

Losing my Land Rover

Complete this sentence: I can't travel without ...

...my Deuter day pack. They really do transform a normal off-the-shelf product into a special travel item; which serves me well on flights, walking, biking shopping or just carrying additional clothing, cameras and repair kits.

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

Minimise the valuables you carry with you at any one time.

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

Researching last year's Basque trip, we took lunch at the Asador Etxebarri in Atxondo in 2012. That really was the best series of dishes I have ever tasted and, of course, the lunch had to be repeated for our group during last year's tour.

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

A series of bowls, dishes and platters by Giovanni de Simone that we bought on our last day in Rome in 2004, and then carried carefully home as additional hand luggage.

Favourite airport to land at?

Charles de Gaulle [in Paris], because it's going to be the first of many challenges on the trip ahead, and it's good to get any complacency out of the system early on the journey.

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

This month we are heading for the Vaucluse in Provence for an Active Gourmet escorted tour. This means that I get the chance to challenge myself on Mt Ventoux.

Former Auckland rugby coach Maurice Trapp was recently elected president of the ARFU. His wife Gail has run The Active Gourmet travel company for 21 years and they host some of their group tours to Europe each year.