As the host of The Amazing Race Australia and a former rugby league player, Beau Ryan has travelled to some pretty awesome places around the world.
However, his favourite holidays have been in a motorhome with his wife and children.
He spoke to Kids Today Melissa Grant about hosting the latest series of the reality game show, travelling with kids and his favourite family-friendly places to holiday in Australia.
The second series of The Amazing Race Australia has just gone to air. Due to Covid, the team raced around Australia. What were the highlights for you?
Meeting the cast was great. We’ve got such a diverse cast, not only from all over the country but from backgrounds all over the world and belief systems, which was fantastic. And then exploring Australia properly. I mean, we’ve all travelled in Australia but obviously not to the extent we did and just some of the places, you know in the outback and down in Tasmania just really blew me away. Tassie was fantastic and the middle of the country, Alice Springs, all around there, was just breathtaking. It’s hard to sell it in terms of what you see, you’ve just got to see there to believe it – the animals, the night sky, the landscapes, the weather – you have to be there.
What was it like filming? It must have been a lot of fun but hard being away from your family for that time?
Yeah, it was hard. It was tough, it was physically tough and mentally draining. But seeing it all come to life now and the reaction from Australia makes it worth it. I’m really happy with how the show turned out. I put everything I had into it physically and mentally, and it’s a wonderful show.
I understand you recently returned from a caravanning trip with your kids. How was that?
It was beautiful. It was probably my favourite holiday as a family, and we do go on a lot of holidays. We just went up the north coast of NSW, stayed in caravan parks – no phones, no iPads, went fishing, jumped off rocks, swam in the ocean, swam in rivers, stayed at caravan parks and we just loved it! It was our favourite trip. We liked Yamba. We went all the way up the coast and we got to Yamba and we liked it.
We have been unable to travel overseas due to Covid. Where are the best places to holiday in Australia with kids in tow?
Up in the Whitsundays and North Queensland – anywhere where it’s warm does make it easier for kids. We started in Cairns, so Cairns, Port Douglas, The Great Barrier Reef are amazing. Wildlife everywhere. The scenery is beautiful, as good as anywhere in the world and I’ve travelled a lot. The Great Barrier Reef is just breathtaking. So the safe option is always up there – where there is good weather, good food, the climate is warm enough. I really like Tasmania. I would like to get in a van and go around Tasmania. There is a lot of history there, which is boring for my kids (daughter Remi, 8, and son Jesse, 3), but good people, the food is great, the rainforests, Cradle Mountain and the dam – I really want to take my kids up there but maybe when they are a bit older. It’s quite breathtaking. I had a lot of wow moments in Tasmania and I want my kids to experience that. Port Douglas I hold close to my heart – that’s where I had my honeymoon but I’m a massive fan of Coolangatta. I’m a huge Coolangatta fan. The bottom end of the Goldy – I love it.
Did you go on many holidays as a child?
Not really. I went to Bali once when I was really young but I don’t really remember it. I went to Foster, I went once. Port Macquarie. We didn’t have a lot of money, we just went where we could drive up (from home in Wollongong) and our friends had a holiday house, we used to stay with them.
My kids have been everywhere. We took them to Asia, Thailand, Bali, America – we’ve been everywhere. But my favourite holidays have been in Australia with my kids and I honestly stand by that. I think because when you are at home, we go somewhere and we go back to basics. So we will go fishing, swimming, in the bush, go off-road. We do stuff where we get away. We don’t camp. My wife won’t camp and I won’t camp either. But we get in like a Winnebago or one of the motorhomes and go up the coast. I’ve got one of those Let’ s Go Motorhomes, one of the big campervans and that’s our base. Then we just explore. Because I went to Port Macquarie and Foster (when I was a child) I want my kids to have the same experience. And the water is cleaner over here, it’s safer living standards, I don’t have to worry about problems overseas, the food’s great, the coffee’s great and it’s just good to get to small country towns and give back. And we just love it!
Travelling with young children can be a challenge. Do you have any tips to help entertain the kids?
I like to stay near the coast where there is plenty to do. We went out to see the saltwater yabbies with my son, went fishing, kayaking, swimming, we found waterholes. We just kept moving all day, so when we did get back to the van they were tired. We just had them outside and active. They forgot about phones, they got off their iPads. We stayed at a caravan park at Yamba, it was called The Blue Dolphin, and they had two water slides so we were out all day and when you come back you can just have them in the base and not worry about them. It was just good. We ate takeaway. We didn’t have to worry about anything.
You played NRL professionally. Has your daughter or son shown any interest in the sport?
My son (has), my daughter couldn’t care less. My son said the other day that he wants to play footy which is out of nowhere. I’m not really concerned about what he does, actually I wouldn’t mind getting him into surfing. I can’t surf, I wish I could. Because we are up in Cronulla, everyone is a surfer. I’d like him to do something in the water. He’s a good swimmer.
But yeah, he went down to my mum and dad’s house at the weekend and found one of my old jerseys… my little Bulldogs jersey and put it on and now he wants to play footy. Also growing up in Cronulla there’s a big footy culture there, so I think inevitably he will go and play but I’m easy if he doesn’t want to.
Do you have any other trips planned this year with the family?
Not with the family. We will be going away again soon with The Amazing Race. Hopefully we get to Croatia and Lebanon. I want to go to Far North Queensland (with the family). I think they (the kids) are too young for Tasmania, but I do want to take my kids up to Cairns because you can get out to the reef and have a base in Cairns, and I really like Cairns. It’s warm. My kids are happier when it’s warm.