What do you miss most about travel right now?
I should be in London opening my exhibition at The Mayor Gallery right now.
Where was the first overseas trip you ever took, and what are your strongest memories from it?
I left New Zealand in 1959 to go the Royal College of Art in London. I sailed from Auckland to Sydney on the Monowai but was delayed in Sydney because of a waterside workers’ strike. We were flown from Sydney to Melbourne to board the Fairsea, an Italian ocean liner and sailed to South Hampton via the Suez Canal. It took seven weeks all up.
What was a standard family holiday like when growing up?
I only remember having one family holiday and that was a trip to the beach.
Who has most inspired your travels?
The art business – travelling for exhibitions in dealer galleries and museums.
What is the greatest trip you’ve ever been on?
In the summer of July 1961 David Hockney and I had seats on a chartered Flying Tiger Line flight from London to New York. It took eighteen hours in a Lockheed Super Constellation and we had to refuel in Greenland.
Artist Billy Apple only remembers one family holiday – to the beach. Photo / Dean Purcell.
And the worst?
Turning up at Heathrow Airport to return to New York on TWA (Trans World Airlines) to find my passport had expired…
What’s your approach to packing for an overseas trip?
My briefcase is the most important thing.
What is the destination that most surprised you – good or bad?
We visited Shanghai on the Vue Artist International Residency in November 2019. The scale of the city was extraordinary and we had a wonderful experience living and working on Yuyuan Road in the Chang Ning District.
Where was your most memorable sunrise/sunset?
Waking up on a beach in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) with elephants wandering around in 1959. Or, watching the sunset while eating the juiciest Bluff oysters on Rakiura Stewart Island.
What’s the first thing you do when you get home from a long trip?
Check the mail…
What do you miss most about home when you travel?
My West Highland White Terrier, Macintosh.
Where is the one destination you must see before you die?
I’d like to visit my work installed on the track to Mt Reeves in the Tararua Ranges. It marks the centre of the Extended Continental Shelf of New Zealand (ECSNZ) and was a collaborative project with Cornel de Ronde of GNS Science. I’ll need to be helicoptered in to get there.
What’s your favourite thing about travel?
The Koru Club.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com