Despite his busy schedule, Erik Thomson makes time for his family

The actor is a family man first and foremost.
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For years he’s played the role of Australia’s favourite father, but when the cameras aren’t rolling, Erik Thomson is every bit the doting dad that we see on-screen as he is off.

WATCH BELOW: Rebecca Gibney and Erik Thomson look back at Packed To The Rafters

Best known for his role as Dave Rafter on Packed To The Rafters, and also on the reboot Back To The Rafters, Erik plays the role of dad in his own home too, which can be a little tough to manage with a busy work schedule.

As a father to two kids, daughter Eilish, 12, and son Magnus, nine, whom he shares with wife Caitlin McDougall, Erik exclusively tells New Idea how he manages to balance family life and his career, especially when you add travel to the mix.

“It’s like anything in this business, being away from home puts a bit of stretch on all of us,” Erik tells us. “My wife has to do it all by herself with the kids and I’m away from the kids.”

“So as much as for the first few days or perhaps first couple of weeks that’s really great because you’ve got the freedoms that you use to have before you had kids, it wears off pretty quickly.”

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Erik and his wife Caitlin share two kids together. (Credit: Instagram)

Currently making the most of being at home with his family, Erik has been bonding with his kids by going on fun camping trips near their home in South Australia.

It’s just one of the ways that he and his wife create long-lasting memories with their kids, and it’s one thing the actor doesn’t take for granted.

“Myself and my wife really just want to make the most of having our children living under our roof and being here and taking full advantage of their childhood and making sure that we’re having good times together and making good memories,” he says.

“And those memories can be as simple as just going for walks down the beach – they don’t have to be amazing things, it’s just spending good quality time and we are lucky enough at this stage to be able to do that.”

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Erik and his son Magnus. (Credit: Instagram)

Erik also makes sure that he’s always there for his kids, including doing the everyday tasks like school drop offs, but also going that extra bit further to get more involved.

“I’m coaching the rugby tag team and going and assisting the soccer team coach and running the kids around their various things, and making sure we’re doing stuff as a family,” he says.

Teaching his kids valuable lessons is another way he gets involved with their lives, and one of the most important things he’s taught them is to be polite.

“Things like having good manners, and that’s not the Victorian manners, it’s basically just being a nice person,” the 54-year-old says.

“That counts for a lot in life and that manifests itself in lots of different ways so we just keep an eye on those basic things and make sure that they’re thinking of other people.”

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Erik and his daughter Eilish. (Credit: Instagram)

Navigating parenthood during a pandemic is a whole other challenge in itself, but if anything, it’s allowed Erik not to take anything for granted, especially when it comes to just being able to be with his family.

“Hopefully we’ve all learnt that we’re pretty lucky if we’re healthy and we have friends and family nearby and we can enjoy their company,” he says.

One thing he’s also been forced to reflect on during the pandemic, is how lucky he was to be able to travel back and be with his family in between projects.

“With doing The Luminaries and being able fly back and forth across the Tasman and a lot of my family live back in New Zealand – we used to take that for granted,” he says.

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Erik as Dick Mannering in The Luminaries. (Credit: Supplied)

The Luminaries, which was shot in New Zealand back in 2019 before the pandemic hit, is a period drama series set in the gold rush of the 1860s.

It follows the epic story of love, murder and revenge, and stars Erik alongside fellow Aussie actors Ewen Leslie and Callan Mulvey, as well as international stars like Eva Green and Eve Hewson.

“It was a very different world because it was a five-month shoot all up but because I was heavily in some episodes, not so much in the others, I was flying back and forth from Adelaide to New Zealand,” Erik says.

“Of course, I couldn’t do that right now,” he adds.

The Luminaries will be available to stream on Paramount+ from October 31.

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