The Kiwi actor, writer and producer Tim Balme shares his favourite holidays around the world
Where was the first overseas trip you ever took, and what are your strongest memories from it?
When I was 5 mum and dad took me and my two brothers (who were about to leave home for university) for a short cruise around the Pacific Islands aboard the '"Australis" to acknowledge the family unit was about to be disbanded. I remember experiencing tropical heat which enveloped you like a sleeping bag and that we all got seasick at some stage. Although looking back, it was probably a 70s version of norovirus.
What was a standard family holiday like when growing up?
A one-hour car ride from Tauranga to a family bach on the lakefront at Rototiti. Swimming, boating, sunbathing (back when it was sanctioned). Classic Kiwi behaviours. Unforgettable.
Who has most inspired your travels?
In later years, Anthony Bourdain. What a loss.
What is the greatest trip you've ever been on?
Landing in Paris in 1992 with no accommodation booked, no plan at all, just a desire to go. I walked the streets for five days always finding where I wanted to go without a map. It's the closest thing I've had to feeling like I'd been somewhere in a previous life. Second only to taking the whānau around the world for four months: Los Angeles to Thailand in one direction. Nine stops. New York for four weeks was like a latter version of the Paris experience.
And the worst?
Getting locked out of a hostel in Finale Ligure, Italy. Me and my buddy had to sleep under deck chairs on the beach. Who knew Mediterranean sand could be so bone-shakingly cold.
What's your approach to packing for a big trip?
My approach is always to pack light. It never happens. It seems I'm a "just in case" person.
What is the destination that most surprised you – good or bad?
Israel. It was for work but we were hosted by Israelis determined to present their country as a hip destination. Cosmopolitan Tel Aviv, swimming in the Dead Sea, Masada and old Jerusalem were all highlights. It was in 1998 and a time of relative peace. Sadly, hard to imagine right now.
Where was your most memorable sunrise/sunset?
Los Angeles, 1995. We took my oldest son, Sam, to Disneyland. There's a picture I love of me and him in the afterglow of a Malibu sunset. Sunrise over Mangawhai beach is world-beating.
What's the first thing you do when you get home from a long trip?
I think that I'll stay up to beat the jet lag, which usually fails. I'm always surprised how you can be away for long periods of time and nothing seems to change back here. It's often like you never left.
What do you miss most about home when you travel?
In this Covid world it's hard to imagine missing home. It certainly feels safer just hunkering down here in the haven that is Brokenwood, the place I live most of the time.
Where is the one destination you must see in your lifetime?
I'm writing about Egyptology in the first episode of next season's Brokenwood. It suddenly occurred to me I should probably see the Pyramids at some stage. Also, Gallipoli. Both my grandfathers served there. It's a pilgrimage I've always wanted to make.
What's your favourite thing about travel?
Tim Balme is creator and producer of The Brokenwood Mysteries, which returns for its seventh season on Sunday June 13 at 8.30pm on TVNZ 1