Watermelon, the smell of sunscreen and fried fish

The Age has asked prominent Victorians to reveal their favourite places and activities of the summer holiday season.

Today, actor Georgina Haig, ambassador for the Peninsula Film Festival, reveals her secret spot – and the one thing that can ruin it.

Actor Georgina Haig.

What does a Victorian summer mean to you?

Watermelon and Barbecue Shapes. A chance to get to the beach with family and friends. We live on the coast, so bunches of our city mates will be trekking down and we love hosting them. Victorian summer means long, light evenings, kids staying up too late, everyone a bit more chill and relaxed, hearing cricket in the background everywhere you go, sand falling out of creased novels, lazy days, late starts.

Where is the first place you take visitors?

The Heronswood garden (Diggers Club) cafe in Dromana.Credit:Eddie Jim

If they’re international guests, I like introducing them to the kangaroos at Seawinds Gardens in Arthurs Seat. It’s a beautiful spot with incredible bay views, and the ’roos love chilling out there. I also love Heronswood in Dromana, an amazing historic home and garden on a cliff overlooking the sea. Clive and Penny Blazey founded The Diggers Club, which oversees Heronswood – they save heirloom seeds, and the plants they propagate are really interesting and beautiful; often they’re drought-tolerant. You can get inspired about growing your own food. I love taking my daughter there.

Is there a secret spot you escape to?

McCrae beach.Credit:Yanni.

Shoreham Beach. It’s quite quiet and has pine trees on the hill – it’s a beautiful spot, and I grew up going there with my mum and dad. Also McCrae Beach, which has bushland, amazing sand and the water is really clear – and there are gorgeous beach boxes. There are so many other secret spots, but I can’t give too many away because the locals want to protect them. One is a certain quirky driving range with great pizza, fun tunes and good vibes; I can take you there one day.

What’s the best summer food?

I love picking cherries in Red Hill – there’s all sorts of berry picking up there. It’s a great thing to do with little kids: they get to see where food comes from, it’s fun and we come away with buckets of berries. I often think I’m going to make jam, but we always end up eating them handfuls at a time.

Is there a smell that defines summer?

Sunscreen. I burn so easily that we end up having bottles in every room and melting into the interior of every car. But I love that smell. Because I have a small child and I am constantly trying to launch it onto her, it ends up on everything – the towels, the car, her clothes, my clothes …

Do you have a favourite summer?

Danielle Haim, left, and Este Haim from the band Haim.

One is Summer Girl by a band called Haim. We lived in California, where they’re from, for a few years. Their music has a fun, retro, pop-y vibe, perfect for summer days. Anyone wanting a bit of summer romance can chuck that on and feel good about it. Another is Heavy, California by Jungle – it makes me think of warm weather. I love their music.

What’s the worst thing about summer?

I’m going to sound like a nana here, but jet-skis: can we just put them all in the bin, please? So loud and polluting, and they often come in too fast and close to the shore where folks are swimming.

What’s your guilty summer pleasure?

Fish is much better fried.

Watching cheesy Christmas movies. Going to the Pig & Whistle near Arthurs Seat a lot – there’s an awesome kids’ play area and you can have a drink while they’re happily occupied. Fish and chips becomes a lot more regular, tartare sauce taking the place of a vegetable side. I’m definitely a fried fish girl, it’s so much better fried.

-with Kerrie O’Brien

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