Matthew McConaughey teams up with Unyoked for an outback getaway

Matthew McConaughey talks climate, personal responsibility

Actor Matthew McConaughey on the state of the environment and the "slippery slope" of politics on social media.

As far as celebrity ambassadors go, Matthew McConaughey is a good get.

The Oscar-winning actor was in Sydney to announce the release of The Reserve, an off-the-grid cabin collaboration between Wild Turkey and Aussie travel startup, Unyoked.

While McConaughey helped launch the cabin, it quickly became apparent that this wasn't just an A-lister slapping his name on a product and smiling for photos.

"I wasn't involved in the build directly, but I was on the phone, approving concepts, throwing ideas in," he says.

With one-bedroom, one toilet and no Wi-Fi, the cabin comes complete with books and music selected by McConaughey. He recommends kicking things off with Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited. "It was a seminal album in my life."

The whole point of the project is for people to reconnect with the wilderness.

"Part of checking out is to check-in, you don't want to come with an agenda," drawls McConaughey. It's a line that could almost be pinched from his True Detective character, the eternally reflective Rust Cole.

"You can do whatever you want, or you don't have to do anything at all."

The Reserve will be housed on the Central Coast of New South Wales and available for booking from early December.


A percentage of proceeds from each booking, plus $1 from every bottle McConaughey's bourbon, Longbranch will be donated to the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife.

Of course, these national parks and wildlife have found themselves under threat recently, with Australia's bushfires making global headlines amidst a debate around climate change.

As someone who is an advocate for getting back to nature, McConaughey must worry about the future of our environment?

"It's concerning the state of things right now, sometimes I wonder if we're arrogant to think that we can upend it," he admits.

"But it's not arrogant to believe that we can upend ourselves, the whole act locally, think globally movement, encouraging people to take care of their piece, that's what we're trying to do with The Reserve."

"We have a platform here, you're talking to me, so this might get heard."

McConaughey certainly has a bigger platform than most - he recently became the latest star to join Instagram.

Despite boasting 1.7 million followers, and counting, McConaughey won't use the social network to preach politics.

"I'm not looking to get into any issues, I'm not looking to get into politics right now, I know if I do it's a slippery slope," he says.

Celebrity activism can be a lose-lose game for the famous person involved. You're either not doing enough to support the cause or being criticised for lecturing the little guy.

"It can get out of hand, and then when you don't comment on some other comment, you're chastised for not commenting!"

So while his Wolf of Wall Street co-star, Leonardo Dicaprio might combat climate change online, McConaughey will focus his energies elsewhere.

"I got a life man, I got a family, I got a career, I'm working on my first book, plus I got three kids who are 11, 9 and 6, that's a full-time job," laughs McConaughey.

Of course, he already has a full-time job as an actor. He also has a couple of part-time jobs; he's been Creative Director at Wild Turkey since 2016 and a Communications Professor at the University of Texas.

"Everything I'm doing is making me as happy as I have ever been in life, but I am also as busy as I've ever been."

Having celebrated his fiftieth birthday earlier this month, McConaughey returns to Australia as a man firmly in control of his destiny. It's a far cry from his first visit here in 1988, a wide-eyed Texan teen, fresh out of high school.

"I finished school, I had a car, a girlfriend, a job, and $50 in my pocket, life was good," recalls McConaughey.

"All of a sudden I'm in Australia, with no money, no girl and no job, I didn't have any crutches, so that was time for me to learn how to become a man."

He credits the time spent in Australia with setting him on the right path.

"It changed my trajectory, I wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't have that year [in Australia], and in a way, it's become like a second home."

And with the release of The Reserve, looks like he's always got a place to stay.