Thanks to a recent partnership between Scoopon and Catriona Rowntree, EFTM has been able to fire off some questions to the travel guru. Scoopon is offering some amazing travel deals with places that Catriona can vouch for, ensuring your holiday deal is a bargain AND a trip to look forward to.


Catriona, for someone who has travelled for a living, is there ANYWHERE you haven’t been but wish to still?

The more I travel, the more of the world I realise I’m yet to see. After 20 years at Getaway, my wish list is still full. In 2016, I’d love to cross the jewels of Russia and Japan (preferably when all the blossoms are out) off my list. But one trip I’m willing to wait for, is when my sons are old enough to swim with me and the whale sharks at Ningaloo in WA. Can you believe there’s an age limit? Surely my cherubs would be fine with those behemoths? Ok, maybe not, but I can’t wait for us to experience this thrill.

What would be your top 3 travel destinations and why?

  1. BHUTAN. The country’s ethos that Gross Domestic Happiness is far more important than Gross Domestic Product, resonates with many travellers. I just loved the totally different cultural experience. I may never return, but I treasure every moment I spent there.
  2. ANY ISLAND. I’m not fussy, island time just agrees with me and I can shop and be happy wherever I’m sent. The black pearls of Tahiti, the homeware’s of Bali, Pure Fiji body products in Fiji. Sure the beaches are heavenly, but I’m delighted to be your shopping guide too.
  3. AUSTRALIA. It’s infinite with it’s diversity, we just can’t exhaust the amount of places on offer ad our locations are so varied. Hire a houseboat on the Hawkesbury, get tipsy amongst the vines of Margaret River, bike ride through the You Yangs, hike Cradle Mountain; tick off your wildlife checklist on Kangaroo Island, learn from the locals at the base of Ayers Rock,whip around the Whitsundays…need I go on? We are so blessed to call this place our home.

Being a frequent traveller you must be an expert at getting through the airport, any tips on getting through the terminal quickly?

I recently had to check in for an International flight, during a Customs strike, the queues were horrendous, but a few things worked in my favour. I was travelling light, I’d done as much of the check in online as I could, I figured out really quickly who was in charge at the check in and used my best manners. I asked if there was an Express Card, that was a big help and dare I say it I dressed well for the flight. No trackie dacks and flip flops for me…until I’m onboard.


What is your top tip for travelling lightly?

I am zee Master of zee light travel! I have every kind of fold out bag, I do my research of where I’m going, what I’m doing, I never buy anything that needs to be ironed, I own lotsa wool (Australian merino of course), if it can fit in the overhead locker load up, if you can buy it at home – avoid and finally don’t take away anything you’d be sad to lose.

When looking for a holiday destination, what things are you looking for?

A little bit like choosing a Honeymoon destination, this all depends on what you need in your life right now. Flake on a beach? Keep the kids occupied with activities? A bucket list adventure? Just be honest with your financial and personal situation and go from there.

How does your partnership with Scoopon work? How do you select the deals?

Scoopon has long been associated with Getaway, so we’ve been friends for a while, but now I’m road testing and filming more locations for them, adding my tips and experiences. Negotiating a ‘deal’ is their domain, I get to do the fun stuff, like share and advise the traveller on how to make the most of their journey. ‘Life’s short, just book it and go’ is the angle we are coming from.