Places of the Heart: Pat Rafter

Forget lounging by the pool: tennis champion Pat Rafter's holidays are action-packed adventures on Sunshine Coast beaches and in the hinterland.

My family moved to the Sunshine Coast from Mount Isa when I was eight. I'm one of nine kids, and someone was always playing sport at weekends, so we just had little adventures, such as going camping, and we were always big swimmers.

When we lived in Mt Isa, we'd drive to Sydney, stopping at beach caravan parks along the way.

From about age 10, I got right into tennis, which pretty much takes over your life. I travel overseas two or three times a year, but I don't feel the need to go anywhere else when I've got time off. When I'm away, I want to go home, for the surfing, golf and beaches. My home is right on the beach and I love it.

I'm a really active person: a holiday is not piña coladas and reading a book. I try to exercise a couple of times a day and I go for a surf first thing.

I took up surfing for a bit of fun after I finished my tennis career. I've got a mountain bike and there are great tracks in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. It's pretty full on. I fall off — I'm bloody hopeless.

I go hard and do all the adventures with my kids, teaching them new skills such as kayaking or exploring marine life. The kids swim and surf, and they're in the local nippers club — they're living one big holiday. Hey, the kids have got it easy!

They'll say, "I don't want to go down to the beach." That's the way kids are.
You just tell them, "Put your shoes on and put your hat on." And they get on the beach and have a ball.

- Interview: Belinda Jackson.

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