Out & About with NSW Australian of the Year 2010, John Dee

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Jon Dee

Jon Dee

Jon Dee, founder of Australian advocacy organisation Do Something!, co-founder of Planet Ark and NSW Australian of the Year 2010 is one of Australia’s most popular and influential figures on environmental issues. Here the father of two daughters shares his favourite holiday memories and tips for ‘greener’ holidays.

Where is your favourite family holiday spot in Australia, and why?

When I first came from the UK to visit Australia in 1992, my wife and I went to see her father in Brunswick Heads, NSW. I’d never seen such a big beach before, let alone one that beautiful. It was there that I realised Australia was going to be home. I still like to return to Brunswick Heads at least once a year.

Where is your favourite family holiday spot internationally, and why?

Tuscany. The scenery and history can take your breath away and the food is to die for. The local truffles and mozzarella are like nothing I’ve had anywhere else – I can’t wait to go back again.

What’s your fondest childhood holiday memory?

I was brought up in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in the UK. As a child I used visit the Church Stretton valleys with my Nana and Grandad. I’d fly down the side of the valleys on old sacks, and Nana would prepare the best picnic food you’ve ever tasted.

What is your top tip for a family driving holiday?

It’s important to break up the trip and let the kids run around to get rid of their energy. And get a satellite navigation system to avoid map arguments!

What is your top tip for keeping holidays green?
Whenever I fly, I offset my flights with accredited offsets. In Europe, I take the Eurostar train ― it’s fast, green and gets you directly from the centre of London to France or Belgium. It’s faster than a plane and far greener too. I also take a refillable water bottle and avoid bottled water.

Any hints for flying with kids?

Take your own DVD player or one iPhone per child and load them with movies! Nothing, and I stress nothing, will keep them more happily occupied.

Do you prefer resorts with kids’ clubs?

I prefer my children to experience the history and culture of where we’re visiting.

Describe your funniest holiday moment?

My wife and I once went to see a Tarantino movie in Paris, to kill time before heading to the airport. My wife whispered “twenty hundred hours is ten o clock isn’t it?” Realising that we should already actually be at the airport, we literally ran out of the cinema. The film’s intro was extremely bloody and it looked like we were so scared that we literally ran out of the movie!

Do you have a dream family destination?

I want the whole family to visit Venice together. I love this city and want the kids to experience the amazing history and culture of the place. It holds such a special place in my heart.