What do you miss most about travel right now?

Exploring new places, meeting new people, enjoying different cultures and hanging out with overseas friends.

What are your strongest memories from the first overseas trip you ever took?

I think it was the Sunshine Coast, Australia, visiting my grandparents as a kid. I remember going to markets in Maroochydore and practising my free-throws at a basketball hoop down the road from their house. Also, lots of swimming and playing cards.

What was a standard family holiday like when growing up?

Usually it was camping around the South Island, or visiting family in Auckland or Wellington. It would always be a road-trip from Christchurch (where I’m from) with a lot of I Spy and 20 Questions. We also used to have a family and friends reunion at Little Pigeon Bay for a few years on New Year’s Eve. On a farm next to the beach. So many places for us kids to explore.

Who has most inspired your travels?

Not so much “who” but “what” I’d say. Mostly work. Travelling with work is my favourite thing and I’ve been very fortunate with that.

A trip to New York with his wife was one of Matt Whelan's most memorable travel experiences. Photo / Colton Duke
A trip to New York with his wife was one of Matt Whelan’s most memorable travel experiences. Photo / Colton Duke

What is the greatest trip you’ve ever been on?

New York with my wife, the whole Narcos experience in Colombia, travelling through Europe for a film called The Most Fun You Can Have Dying and doing a play in Terschelling in the Netherlands with my drama school mates. I met the best people and had the most amazing times on those trips. It’s too hard to pick a favourite.

And the worst?

A primary school trip to a museum which ended with me vomiting over a display.

What’s your approach to packing for an overseas trip?

Usually overpack and stress out over my bag weight.

What is the destination that most surprised you – good or bad?

Cape Town. I had never seen such a disparity in wealth and poverty. It was a real eye-opener.

Where was your most memorable sunrise/sunset?

Probably filming on a beach in Monaco at sunrise. Magical. That or driving from Calvinia, five hours out of Cape Town, back to our accommodation. Chatting with friends, enjoying the incredible view and listening to Odesza.

What’s the first thing you do when you get home from a long trip?

Shower or sleep.

What do you miss most about home when you travel?

I’m very adaptable, but there’s nowhere as comfortable as home. Probably my bed.

Kiwi actor Matt Whelan dreams of one day visiting the Greek Islands. Photo / Jeroen den Otter
Kiwi actor Matt Whelan dreams of one day visiting the Greek Islands. Photo / Jeroen den Otter

Where is the one destination you must see in your lifetime?

Top of the list is the Greek Islands, or more of Italy. I love the Italian culture and enjoyed my time filming in Venice, but there is so much more to explore there. And the Greek Islands look so beautiful. To be honest, I don’t really have a bucket list for travel, I’d just love to travel more, wherever that is. The best experiences I have are usually in the places I never expected to visit.

Matt Whelan stars in The Sounds, available now on Neon with episodes released weekly