Tripologist: Hit the road in Sri Lanka

Hit the road in Sri Lanka

We fly to Sri Lanka for a three-week holiday in January. It will be the first for our teenage children, on a visit to their father's country of birth. We heard the best way to get around is through a company that provides a car and driver, and can pre-arrange all your accommodation. Can you recommend any such companies that are reasonably priced? The children have said, "can we do fun stuff, not just sight-seeing?"

K. Peiris, Epping

A car with a driver is a great way to go in Sri Lanka and Exotic Lanka Holidays is an Australia-based operator that can put it all together for you.

You can read reviews of Exotic Lanka Holidays from past clients on the TripAdvisor website.

As for those teenagers, Sri Lanka has plenty to distract them from their favourite iDevice. Raw ingredients in the Sri Lankan mosaic include beaches of staggering beauty, ruined cities entwined with mythology, a Buddhist culture that tempers the fizz of India with monkish serenity, elephants, leopards and highland tea plantations where women pluck the tender outer leaves from camellia bushes. Make sure they have cameras they know how to use; the opportunities are endless.

Don't delay. Sri Lanka is a popular winter getaway with Europeans and you should start planning and booking your accommodation.

Lounge through airport blues

We are flying Sydney to Lima via Santiago with a five-hour stopover. I believe if you exit the airport you have to pay the arrival tax of about $100 a person, but not if you stay in transit. Five hours in the transit area after a 13-hour flight does not excite us. Any suggestions?

P. Ahlburg, Balgownie

All Australian passport holders who enter Chile must pay a reciprocity fee of $93 on arrival, and in cash only.

In any case, a five-hour window between flights is not sufficient to leave the airport, travel into town and see anything worthwhile.

Your best bet is to check into the international terminal's pay-for-use lounge. The Salones VIP Pacific Club, pictured, offers snacks and drinks, wi-fi, TV, showers, reading material and comfortable seating. The lounge is located close to Gate 20 and the price is $31 a person, but some credit cards will get you through the door at a reduced rate.

Entry is limited to a maximum of three hours but you should be able to negotiate a longer stay.

Can you ever have too much of a good thing?

We are two senior citizens cruising from Vancouver to Seward in May next year. What do we do when we reach Seward? We can book a tour of the Kenai Fiords and also a tour to Prince William Sound. But is that overkill? Are we seeing the same scenery (e.g. whales, birds and glaciers) twice? We intend to visit Anchorage and take a tour to Denali National Park. Is there any other must-see sight we have overlooked?

K. Webb, Arcadia

I like to believe there's a bit of David Attenborough in all of us and that another breaching whale exploding from the deep, or another calving glacier that sends your ship bobbing, is never going to be one too many.

No matter what you've seen in your passage from Vancouver, Kenai Fiords and Prince William Sound are world-class wonders. Especially so if you can see them from a small cruiser, as opposed to the big cruise vessel that probably carried you from Vancouver.

Seward's impressive Alaska SeaLife Centre offers a fish-eye view of the Gulf of Alaska's marine wildlife, including massive Steller sea lions, puffins, harbour seals and the giant Pacific octopus.

You might also consider taking the Alaska Railroad, pictured, between Seward and Anchorage. This is a cracker of a journey, taking you through the Kenai Mountains and past Kenai Lake, tinted turquoise blue from its cargo of glacial silt.

Denali is some distance from Anchorage and while you can tour the park on a day trip, you will probably find it far more satisfying if you stay overnight.

The scenic flights in the region, some of which include Mount McKinley, are spectacular.

For more information and ideas, take a look at the Alaska Travel website.