Famous Flyer: Dawn Fraser

Water and her family inspire Olympic legend Dawn Fraser.

WHICH WAS YOUR BEST HOLIDAY?

Sun Peaks in British Columbia, Canada, with my daughter and grandson, then aged 3. He was being taught to ski by my friend, world champion Nancy Greene, and we stayed in a self-sufficient apartment in her lodge, which is great when you're travelling with kids (see cahiltylodge.com).

WHAT IS THE BEST HOTEL YOU'VE STAYED IN?

The Emirates Palace is owned by the sheikh of Abu Dhabi. It's just unbelievable, with its gold shower taps and toilets. I played golf on their courses and drove a new Mercedes car on their F1 racetrack. I reached 190 miles per hour, but you're driving a safe car, heavens above! The other hotel is the Dorchester in London. We loved being spoilt and that's just what they do. And they don't mind having children in their dining room.

British Columbia
WHAT DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE WITH YOU?

My bathers – well, I'm a swimmer. I always have my training bathers and a two-piece, to get a sun tan. Oh, and my passport.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PACKING MISTAKE YOU'VE MADE?

Taking too many clothes. You can always use the washing machine in the hotel or have the laundry done, if it's reasonable. In the early days, I always did my own laundry, as I liked to have clean bathers and towels. I have packed beach towels in my luggage, which of course you don't need in hotels.

YOUR BEST PIECE OF TRAVEL ADVICE?

Always check your hotel and air bookings. There's nothing worse than turning up to the hotel and finding you don't have a booking, not that it's ever happened to me. I always have my bookings printed and in my little hand.

AND YOUR WORST EXPERIENCE ON HOLIDAY?

I slipped in the bath in a hotel in Monte Carlo and broke four ribs. We were staying right beside the racing-car circuit and the noise coming into my room was horrific, on top of the pain.

WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR A PERFECT HOLIDAY?

Good weather and happiness. I usually take my daughter and my grandson, now 11, with me. Recently, we were in LA and stayed at the Lego Hotel for five days, building Lego, and spent four days at Disneyland Anaheim in California. I never knew my grandparents, and I said I'd always try to be the best grandparent I could, so he's always with me.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

I've been pretty much everywhere, but on my bucket list is an Antarctic cruise. I read about it every week in the papers. I believe the colours of the water are incredible, and of course, water is my passion.

Dawn Fraser is an ambassador for NRMA's Living Well Navigator, livingwellnavigator.com.

This feature by Belinda Jackson appeared in the Sun-Herald's Traveller section.

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