Traveller Letters: Airbnb host refused refund, told us to ignore lockdown rules


LETTER OF THE WEEK

AIRS AND DISGRACES

Further to the concerns expressed by Trish Lynam (Traveller Letters, August 14), we have also lost money through a COVID-19 lockdown-related Airbnb cancellation. Our host kept 100 per cent of our money, despite being informed of our lockdown cancellation three days before our intended stay. The host informed us that lockdowns are "ridiculous" and proposed that we just hop on a train, travel to Victoria's Goldfields region and stay as intended. In his view, we would be unchallenged and suffer no consequence and he claimed to have hosted people from Melbourne during lockdown. I have reported this matter to the police but have been informed that it is unlikely that action can be taken against the host because he is "not a business". Airbnb requested a refund from him on our behalf but he refused to cooperate. Airbnb was also unwilling to address his encouragement to defy the lockdown restrictions.

Ross Mathieson, Kingsville, Vic

FLINDERS KEEPERS

Circling Wilpena Pound, as featured on your cover (Traveller, August 21) in a light aeroplane was one of the most exhilarating inclusions in our South Australian road trip. This elevated oval amphitheatre, with the ochre-rich crags surrounding it, was breathtaking. Further north, a dry-weather road through the Flinders Ranges National Park provides scenes straight from Namatjira's brush at every turn. Orange cliffs, meandering streams, grey trunks, very blue skies. The historic town of Peterborough and tiny Blinman are worth a visit, and a beer or stay at the Parachilna are great outback experiences.

Barbara Watt, Frenchs Forest, NSW

PHONEY ART

Some of the highlights of my three escapes from Tasmania, in between the mainland lockdowns, this year have been some wonderful art exhibitions we've seen, namely the Impressionists at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Botticelli to Van Gogh at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and the Clarice Beckett exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide. However, I am puzzled by other people's need to photograph each painting with their phone. As much as I try to ignore this behaviour, I still find it a distraction from the quiet contemplation of the works of art. Some people must view entire exhibitions through the camera on their phone.

Ken Mackay, New Town, Tas

THE BALD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

The article, "BC it, and believe it" (Traveller, August 21) pointed out some amazing new attractions on Vancouver Island. They are tempting but, for me, the most incredible thing was seeing the Bald Eagles near Tofino. As an American who has never seen one of these national birds at home, I was awestruck. And to think I saw them first in Canada.

Sue Harrison, Ulladulla, NSW

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THE TOWER AND THE GLORY

I was pleased to see that Tower Hill in Victoria got a mention in your cover story on the best-kept secrets of Australia's national parks (Traveller, August 21). I'm glad it is still a secret as I was lucky enough to visit there some years ago, only for a few hours but have never forgotten what a magical, mystical and enchanting place it is. Hopefully, at some stage Traveller could do a more in depth feature on it? But then again, maybe not (let's keep it a secret).

Llieda Wild, Eastwood, NSW

TREASURE HUNT

During yet another COVID cupboard clean, I found a shoe-box full of photos of travel to Jordan and Syria in 2010. Many hours later these are sorted, culled, put into three albums and captioned. Intense memories have flooded back of astonishing sights, amazing food, welcoming people, our superb guide and delightful travel companions. Now I'm hoping to discover more lost treasures.

Jennifer Dewar, Double Bay, NSW

NEEDLE WORK

In response to Allan Gibson's observation of travel luggage landing on the scrap heap rather than the baggage carousel, another reason might be that we, committed travel enthusiasts, are reassessing our priorities for future "away" experiences. Daily walks in these restricted times have alerted us to the pleasure of early morning birdsong and the sweet-smelling leafy earth. We are counting the cygnets, wearing our masks and getting vaccinated. This week's announcement by Qantas of a reward program that recognises at least one of the new priorities of its loyal Frequent Flyers, looks like the welcome beginning of an industry movement to provide safe community travel.

Judith Salmon, Haberfield, NSW

HAPPIER CAMPER

I was surprised to read of Tony Cogan's experience with WA Parks and Wildlife (Traveller Letters, August 21), as we received a full refund on all our pre-paid camping fees, even though it does state on their website that no refunds will be given. I rang Parks WA when lockdown scuttled our travel plans, who advised me to send an email requesting a refund. I did so and was fully reimbursed the same day. This was an unexpected consolation for our cancelled trip.

Abby Levin, Kooyong, Vic

CRY ME A RIVER

A sudden lockdown forced us to cancel our trip to Darwin. Two holiday parks, two hotels and one airline kindly returned our fees. Later we motored up the Murray to Mildura. After one night in our pre-booked studio apartment the guillotine fell; a statewide lockdown. We rang Mildura police who were solicitous and advised us to head home to Melbourne. The apartment managers were curt and unsympathetic; they refused to refund us for the nights we didn't use or offer future credit. How sad to experience this in Victoria.

Janet Wilson, Montrose, Vic

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