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Your First Holiday?
My first holiday without parental
supervision was a motorbike journey
with my then girlfriend, which took
us from Vienna to Austria’s beautiful
southern lake area (above), into Italy’s
Tuscany and from there by ferry
to the island of Sardinia. Later on,
we crossed by ferry to the island of
Corsica, where we enjoyed great days
and nights camping. Returning to
Austria led us to Milan and from there
along picturesque Lake Como into
the high mountains of Switzerland’s
Tessin and Engadin, to St Moritz. An
Do you travel often?
Not as often anymore as I used to,
when I was an Export Manager.
Nowadays, only about 10 journeys a
year within Australia, to New Zealand
and Papua New Guinea as well as
back to Austria.
Favourite Australian holiday
Western Australia’s south coast as
well as its endless coast north of Perth.
Last year I spent one month travelling
in a mobile home from Melbourne to
Kalbarri. I just loved it.
Favourite overseas destination?
My mother moved from the Tyrol,
where I was born, to Austria’s south,
to Carinthia, 15 years ago. She now
lives in a beautiful old stone cottage
on a hill near Villach, overlooking
the Drau Valley with beautiful views
of the southern Austrian/Slovenian
Dolomites. I try to visit her every
year – not only because it is good to
spend time with Mum and her eight
cats – but also because the area is so
beautiful, featuring many, many small
and big lakes, which get incredibly
warm in summer and are surrounded
by stunning scenery made up of forest
covered hills and rocky mountains.
Although it may sound odd, my
favourite accommodation is not 5-star
in the typical sense: The tented camp at
Kenya’s Masai Mara Nature Reserve
has remained my all-time favourite.
Enjoying the surprising luxury of high-
class tent accommodation, hearing the
sounds of rhinos in the river below
the camp during the night and being
treated to a marvellous breakfast in
the bush with an experienced old
nature reserve guide and ornithologist,
who told us stories about every single
bird and other animal we saw, was a
really unforgettable experience.
Ultimate ‘I wish’ destination?
The Canadian wilderness. I would
love to spend time hiking and fishing
in the lakes there.
Best view in the world?
Soaring above the glittering glacier
covered peaks and green mountain
valleys of Austria’s and Switzerland’s
Alps under a deep blue sky dotted with
white cumulus clouds. Many Austrian
gliding clubs offer the opportunity to
join experienced pilots in two-seater
gliders and to get a taste of gliding in
the mountains. At times, you might
find yourself high above the rocks in
an up current together with an eagle
right next to your aeroplane’s wing...
Worst travel experience?
In Liberia shortly after the end of
the first civil war. The drive from the
airport situation deep in the bush
to Monrovia provided me with an
impression of what was to come: Burnt
down bush and burnt out buildings
whenever we passed populated areas.
Monrovia, the country’s capital, with a
population of almost a million people,
lay in almost absolute darkness. As
I later learned, there were only two
functioning power generators in the
whole of the city. Luckily, my hotel at
Mamba Point, the foreign residential
area of Monrovia, had one of them.
My stay in town nevertheless felt
like a nightmare, with a city in ruins,
devastation and despair everywhere as
well as double patrols of West-African
peace-keeping soldiers and Liberian
government troops on the streets. At
another hotel which I visited, girls of
easy virtue had replaced the regular
staff, rebels had cooked their meals on
open fires, leaving the rooms severely
damaged and black from smoke while
the restaurant had nothing to offer.
Best travel tip?
When travelling by plane with checked-
in luggage, never rely entirely on your
suitcase to arrive on time. Always
have your wash bag and a spare set
of clothes in your hand luggage. My
experience has also proven that a good
nip of vodka, whisky or gin keeps your
digestive system happy, even in places
where hygiene is not always top notch.
Beach lounge lizard, culture vulture
Adventurer! I love to explore the
unknown, to follow my own path
and to travel off-season. I wish I had
been born during the age of the great
explorers (it would, however, have
been helpful to have access to today’s
medical facilities in case of emergency
even during those times).
Personal travel philosophy?
Join the locals whenever you possibly
Austrian Consul General and
Trade Commissioner in Sydney.
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