My life in travel: Ellie Harrison

'The Great Ocean Road was gorgeous'

Ellie Harrison is an ecologist and regular presenter of the BBC's Countryfile.

First holiday memory?

Staying at a villa in Corfu called the Pink House. It sits right on the beach in Kalami, in the same bay that Gerald Durrell was raised. My mum was really into gardening and so she ended up doing the grounds, having a big bonfire and upsetting all the locals.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Northumberland. I love that it's got a range of environments, with spectacular history because it's so close to the Borders and the Farne Islands, which are amazing for birdwatchers.

The other place would be where I live, which is the Golden Valley near Stroud in Gloucestershire. I feel emotional whenever I think about it. I grew up there and left when I was 17, and I've just returned, at 35, to roost again.

Best holiday?

Zimbabwe. I went with a boyfriend whose dad had been an actor in White Hunter Black Heart with Clint Eastwood. My boyfriend had ended up going over there when the film was happening and making a load of contacts, so he took me out in 1996. We stayed on this amazing farm with a family who were starting a tourist company. We slept in high-end safari lodges and tested out their canoe and walking safaris.

Where has seduced you?

I was really enchanted by Yellowstone National Park in the United States. It's a managed landscape, but it still felt really wild.

Another place was the bright-orange sand dunes of Namibia. It's the sort of landscape where you look and think there's nothing there, but a few inches below the sand, you can find all sorts of reptiles and invertebrates.

Worst travel experience?

I went to Russia this year for work and I came home thinking I'm really glad that I didn't spend my own money on that trip. There was a mistake made at one airport with our paperwork and the result was that our film crew had to fly to a different airport overnight and miss another flight. The authorities were really unforgiving.

Best hotel?

Dormy House is a really beautiful place to stay, which has recently reopened in the Cotswolds. It's lovely inside, and a very familiar environment for me. It felt like a luxury version of home.

Favourite drive?

The Great Ocean Road was bloody gorgeous! I drove it when I was working out in Australia.

Where next?

I'm continuing to do Countryfile, filming at all sorts of locations around Britain. Then I'm off to Melbourne for a BBC series called Wild Orphans, about baby marsupials who are rescued, rehabilitated and then released back into the wild.

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