Where is it?

The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.

Why do you go there?

After competing at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, I spent six weeks travelling around Australia with my friend, Becca. We started in Queensland and went all the way down to Adelaide, then on to New Zealand. The Great Barrier Reef was one of the first stops on our itinerary.

What's your favourite memory?

Beforehand I was worried they might not let me do the boat trip out to the Great Barrier Reef because I have a disability, but the crew were so chilled and that made me feel comfortable.

I wriggled into a wetsuit, jumped into the water and one of the first things I saw was turtles swimming past. The fish were amazing and colourful. I also saw the back end of a shark as it disappeared.

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Seeing photographs of the Great Barrier Reef, I didn't expect it would look exactly like that in real life, but it did. I kept forgetting I was wearing a snorkel and would dive under to look at things, then get excited and accidentally breathe in seawater.

How often do you go?

I've only been once, but I would like to visit again.

Who do you take?

I went with my friend Becca and would love to return with my boyfriend Callum.


What do you take?

Sunblock. I wore a full wetsuit that went round my head and had goggles on, but I still managed to get sunburn on my forehead. I would also take a GoPro camera to do some filming underwater because it would be lovely to watch it and relive the experience when I went back home.

What do you leave behind?

The pressure that comes from competing and having to be at the highest possible level in my athletics career at all times. What I loved about spending time at the Great Barrier Reef was the feeling of not being that important in the grand scheme of the world.

When you go into the sea, you realise how tiny you are. I enjoyed travelling around Australia and doing the things that I have sometimes missed out on as a sportsperson. It was nice to spend a bit of time without those stresses.

Sum it up in five words.

Beautiful. Vivid. Outstanding. Blue. Hot.

How did you discover it?

Sir David Attenborough. Through watching his nature programmes and seeing the Great Barrier Reef on Blue Planet. I would love to see everything he has seen.

What travel spot is on your post-lockdown wish list?

I would like to see more of America and travel around Europe. I have raced in Italy before but never got a chance to explore properly.

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We have a campervan – I got it for my mum and dad for when they travel to watch me race – and doing a European road trip would be fun.

Follow Samantha Kinghorn on Twitter: @Sam_Kinghorn and Instagram: @sammikinghorn