Chris Hemsworth has had a great few years being a Hollywood stud.
From his breakout role as Thor in the eponymous Marvel franchise film to his more nuanced films such as “Cabin in the Woods” and “Rush,” Hemsworth has been busy securing himself as a true Hollywood staple. So much so that the Australian native realized that he need not be in la la land to secure work and so decided to move back to his homeland with his wife and children.
His act of patriotism seems to have been brought to the attention of the tourism board of Australia who have named the A-list actor as their global tourism ambassador. In his first year as the emissary for Australia’s tourism industry, Hemsworth kicked of the G’day USA events by hosting a virtual travelogue of Australia along with fellow Australian stars Naomi Watts (“Birdman”) , Rachel Griffiths (“Six Feet Under”) and many more. From the mesmerizing coastal views and experiences to the epicurean delights of the country’s food and wine, Hemsworth and others showcased the nation’s identity, heritage and lore.
“It’s a great honor to play a role in promoting my country to the rest of the world. My first year as an ambassador for Australia has been incredible. I am looking forward to another year seeing Australia and sharing its natural beauty with the rest of the world,” said Chris Hemsworth. The actor’s efforts have caused Australia’s tourism to grow by nearly 20 percent, with Tourism Australia’s Managing Director admitting that “travel by Americans to Australia is growing at levels we haven’t enjoyed since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.”
Before possibly heading Down Under to check Australia out yourself, take a moment to read Hemsworth’s interview with Rachel Griffiths below:
Rachel Griffiths: This won’t be long folks. You’ll be drinking and going on your virtual reality tour. People are allowed to sit. Pull up a chair.
Chris Hemsworth: Yeah, sit down.
RG: All right. Are we watching Chris’ holiday snaps or are they not going come up?
CH: This is how I stay flexible.
RG: We hacked your phone.
CH: Thank you. Good.
RG: I hope there’s no nudies in there.
CH: There’s a couple.
RG: Well some people are hoping there’s nudies but … Oh yep, it’s hacked.
CH: There it is.
RG: It’s a hack-a-thon. Let’s see.
CH: Nothing too outrageous. It’s fine.
RG: I think someone might have edited this hacking.
CH: Me, personally.
RG: So in the last twelve months Chris, you’ve been to some amazing places all over Australia. Name a favorite experience?
CH: I’ve got to say the Great Barrier Reef was a pretty special experience. I’ve grown up in Australia but never been there myself to the Great Barrier Reef and it was like another world. Scuba diving and seeing the incredible, immense amount of sea life there and the Great Barrier Reef, the coral reef, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
RG: Cause there’s no sharks there, is there?
CH: No sharks.
RG: No sharks at all.
CH: There is sharks in other parts of the country.
RG: Not in the Barrier Reef?
CH: None in the Barrier Reef. Small sharks but you can sort of punch them in the nose and they swim off.
RG: It is so beautiful. I did actually honeymoon on the Barrier Reef with my husband. We were diving with a lot of aggressive sea life.
RG: And some people thought it was a very good way to start a marriage.
CH: Did you punch a shark in the face? [laughs].
RG: Yeah, it turned me off [laughs].
RG: The weird thing about seeing your holiday snaps is it’s kind of stupid because you live in the most beautiful part, the paradise of Australia.
CH: That’s the view from my house.
RG: It’s just sick–
CH: That’s the beach in front of my place.
RG: And it’s wrong.
CH: There is a sense of guilt that comes with living here and I moved away from Australia ten, twelve years ago and then moved back a couple of years ago and I have to say … I’ve traveled all around the world and seen most of the planet and coming back home, and especially where we live now in Byron Bay is unlike anywhere in the world. The coastline and countryside is just so diverse.
RG: The chickpea fed duck.
CH: And the chickpea fed duck is a specialty.
RG: It’s kind of weird because if I was planning a dirty weekend with my husband I’d want to go to Byron Bay, so is every weekend a dirty weekend in your house? Or do you have to bring the kids home and go somewhere else?
CH: We have to send the kids somewhere else.
RG: And you stay home?
CH: And we stay home, and have that weekend that you’re referring to [laughs].
RG: Is there anywhere more romantic and your like, “Oh, I should take you somewhere else?”
CH: In my house? No. It’s my house, that’s it. And we’ll leave if you want to have one of those weekends. You can have our room.
RG: I’ll have my people call you about that. But seriously, so you recently visited Uluru, and you had an indigenous guide and I just want to talk to you about how that deepened your cultural experience, having that other level to the landscape?
CH: I grew up in a Aboriginal community when I was about five or six years old, and was exposed to an environment and a world that most of the country aren’t lucky enough to experience and so I’d been part of traditional dance and corroborees and ceremonies with Aboriginal people, but not since I was six or seven years old. Then recently we went back to Uluru and had a guide, a local guide from that community tell us the history to that area and I gotta say, it was incredible. We saw the sun rise at 6 A.M. over Uluru and there is an energy and a spirituality to that place that’s unlike anywhere on the planet and it was a very unique experience. And having friends of mine from all over Australia with us who’d never seen Aborigines in their life, people from Spain who’d never seen anything like it. It was almost just as special watching them go through that experience as it was for me. It was pretty special.
RG: That’s beautiful. I went to the Northern Territory the other day, with somebody that really had those ancient ties and we had this moment where he took us on a walk and we went up to this rock art that overlooked a river and there was a picture of the first boat that that group had seen come in in the 1800’s and someone had drawn that on the wall and it just blew my mind.
CH: There’s a stillness to those experience when we were at Uluru where none of us spoke and we just soaked in the atmosphere and watched the sunrise and I said it before, but it is incredibly unique and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
RG: There’s an awe in it.
CH: Absolutely. There’s an energy and a passion that comes from the local people that lives in that environment that is incredibly inspiring and addictive and I want to go back, and everyone that I’ve spoken to that’s been there says the same thing.
RG: People can’t fathom how ancient our country is and the culture that’s there. Okay Chris, in the latest campaign for Tourism Australia, it describes Australia as a place that you don’t see, that you have to sense, that you feel. So, I’m going to quickly get the sensory experience through your consciousness. Close your eyes. I’ve got five questions. The sight of your sunrise?
CH: It usually starts with my kids banging on the door saying, “Wake up Papa, wake up, get up.” And then it begins with 5 A.M., 5.30 A.M., walking out onto the deck of my veranda which you saw in some of the photos and seeing the sunrise over the ocean.
RG: All right let’s punch him right up. The smell of your childhood?
CH: I’d say the eucalyptus, gumtrees, the ocean, the hot summer bush feeling when I grew up.
RG: The sound of your Sunday?
CH: The sound of my Sunday… it’d probably have to be the kids at the moment. Where we live we’re very close to the beach and you hear the waves crashing on the shoreline and if it’s a louder crash it’s an indication that the surf is up and you should be out there.
RG: The taste of your summer?
CH: The taste of my summer. At risk of sounding incredibly cliché I’d say the big classic Australian barbecue.
RG: When we actors finish a project we all have our own ways of getting back to normal, getting back to our real life from whatever pretend-y world we’ve been inhabiting. For me, I start gardening or renovate, get very homey. So, what’s your snap back from super hero to super normal?
CH: It’d be just getting back to the ocean, coming back home. What I said before, I’d lived overseas for a number of years now and the moment I land back in Australia and hear the accent, feel the weather, the smells, the sights, the sounds, then I get in the water and start surfing, I have a real sense of being home.
RG: Now you live at Byron, and there’s a lot of female world champions that surf up there. Is it humiliating to have Stephanie Gilmore drop in you and just take your wave? Does that emasculate you?
CH: Stephanie Gilmore, Layne Beachley, not at all. They’re my heroes, those girls. I grew up being as inspired by them as I did by Nick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Kelly Slater and so on. It’s motivation to get out there and-
RG: So if a girl drops in on your wave do you want to punch her?
CH: No not at all. She’s often a far better surfer than me so yes, you have right of way, have it.
RG: All right. I can here we want to wind it up but I just very quickly want to talk about our home state, Victoria, because we just went to just spent too long on Byron Bay! It’s boring, and it’s just beautiful and beautiful every day after one another so let’s get to Melbourne where the calendar is so packed with incredible events, what’s your favorite Melbourne moment?
CH: I’ve got to say Flinders Lane is pretty special. There’s a whole lot of bars and nightlife and restaurants there which remind me a bit of New York. The eclectics, the diversity that’s here. Matcha Mylkbar comes to mind, which is a vegan, plant based restaurant.
RG: That’s near my house.
CH: It’s near your house?
CH: And I’m not a vegan, but as an alternative to meat, if that’s the way I go, absolutely. It has a great effect on the environment and it’s one of the most innovative, creative restaurants.
RG: Foodie, yum-yum. There’s going to be the fifty best restaurants in the world are having a little thing down in Melbourne, I think we’ve got more than a couple. We’re the food capital of the world, down there.
CH: We are the food capital.
RG: Melbourne’s also is famous for its sporting events and one of my greatest memories was when my grandmother took my hand up the steps of the M.C.G., which is our stadium, there was a crowd of 100,000 people watching the boxing day match and she said to me, “You’re going to have one of the most extraordinary experiences of your life.” You were there last year for a very special event.
CH: My team is the Western Bulldogs, the last time they were in the grand final was 1954, which was the year my Dad was born and he played for Footscray when he was young, and we were at that game and every week prior everybody said, “They’ve won that game, they’re not going win the next.” And onward and onward and onward, we got to the grand final and I was sitting there with my dad and I said, “Remember this, this is it.” He said, “You know I’m just happy to here.” I said, “No, Dad, we’re doing this, this is it. This is our day.” And I watched my dad in many moments, tears in his eyes. And the roar of the crowds is incredible! I love Sydney but if the Western Bulldogs are playing… [laughs]. The crowd were definitely with the underdogs which was nice.
RG: It was like the club’s theme. It was like everyone was a Bulldog, everyone was in love that day, it was a great moment. Just to wrap up, we heard you love riding motorbikes, cause you’re a movie star and that’s what guy movie stars do. You’re a little bit different because you and your wife both go riding.
CH: Yeah my wife’s a better rider than I am.
RG: So what’s your ultimate motorbike road trip?
CH: So we live on a farm, we have a few dirt bikes and she certainly like the trail rides-
RG: She gets dirty!
CH: She does. I just follow her lead.
RG: So you go off-road?
CH: Very off-road.
RG: The paparazzi can’t find you.
CH: They can’t keep up. That’s it. I follow her lead.
RG: That’s a beautiful thing, that’s so romantic. I think that’s even more romantic than Byron Bay. Going off road with your wife. Okay last question, this is one of my favorites actually because you’ve hosted a lot of overseas actors and friends and agents that come down to visit you. What’s the thing that surprises them most when they come to Australia?
CH: I think the communal sense of the welcoming. There’s a certain attitude that is around the world that Australian’s are friendly and open arms and so on but each time I talk to Americans that have been down there, they constantly say, “Wow, the people were amazing.” That regardless of where they’re from there’s a welcoming and acceptance and, come and join, and a communal sense of pride about having a good time and we love to incorporate everybody in that experience.
RG: Well on that note we want you to have a good time so we’ll wrap it up. Thank you so much for your attention, thank you so much for coming out. Enjoy the virtual reality experience. Eat, drink, be merry. Thank you Chris Hemsworth. Thank you Tourism Australia. Thank you Joe Hockey, the luckiest man who’s ever been in the Australian government, we know you’re there. I don’t think I want to leave the stage, I don’t know if anyone else is going come after me but I’ve kind of screwed them. But I’m going say, goodnight!