Five places that changed my life: Kate Ritchie

SOUTH AFRICA

The first leg of my honeymoon saw us heading to South Africa. Those first few days in Johannesburg and Cape Town were super-exciting for the obvious reason of being "just married". We then continued on to Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge, which has to be one of the most luxurious experiences of my life. I had told myself if I could return home with a lion encounter story I would be happy but I came home with so much more. Those moments of being eye to eye with such incredible, wild beasts, quietly observing them and watching them made me feel so very small in the world and created a stillness deep in me I had never felt before. No therapy or meditation had ever been able to get me to that place, but unfortunately it really is a long way to go for that kind of self-help.

SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS, NSW

I was born in Goulburn and grew up in Campbelltown so travelling down the Hume Highway away from Sydney is a road well travelled for me. I couldn't count the weekends I have spent south of the city over the years but there was something that always drew me back to Bowral in the Southern Highlands. I am now lucky enough to own my very own little piece of it and I still feel as though I am heading on holiday every Friday night when we escape to our "white house". Leaving the city and the world behind, no television and not even a radio as yet, but plenty of weeds to pull from the garden ... It is simply good for the soul.

UNITED KINGDOM

I continue to have fantasies of living a chapter of my life in this part of the world and that comes directly from having such wonderfully exciting experiences there in my youth. Thanks to my days of playing Sally Fletcher on Home and Away, I had the opportunity to appear in many English pantomimes all over the UK - from Newcastle and Sunderland to Croydon and Southampton. Sleeping Beauty to Alice Fitzwarren. I would jet to London for the Christmas period and work harder than I ever had, two live shows a day for six weeks over Christmas. The first time I travelled there as a 15-year-old girl, I had my dad in tow. I have such fond memories of that time spent with him there and knew it was a dream come true for him too, which means it will forever have a special place in my heart.

TASMANIA

Specifically, Launceston, as that is where I tied the knot back in 2010. There is no clear reason as to why we chose Tasmania but it felt like a million miles away, far from prying eyes (at intervals) but with all the best culinary experiences and the best wine anyone could ever ask for ... Perfect. I am yet to experience MONA but it is at the top of my list.

NINGALOO REEF, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The flight to Perth and then on to Exmouth was the first extended travel I did with my daughter, we then flew to Broome and home again so we truly gave it a red-hot go. We spent a day out along Ningaloo Reef swimming with the whale sharks. It was a crazy mix of feeling fraught with danger and absolute exhilaration. A truly magical, almost heavenly experience that cemented the importance of wildlife preservation in my mind. What will the world be without these creatures living alongside us, respectfully?

Kate Ritchie, radio broadcaster, actor and the new face of QV. See qvskincare.com.au