LETTER OF THE WEEK
Nine mature-aged blokes from Newcastle recently returned from a 7000-kilometre, three week-long outback adventure on motorcycles through the far reaches of western NSW and all over Queensland. We overnighted in 15 comfortable hotels and motels, ate at countless venues and fuelled-up at numerous servos. The trip cost this rider about $4000 comprising $2300 in accommodation (mostly single), $1200 in food, alcohol and tours, and $500 in fuel. That's less than $200 a day for a trip of a lifetime, conclusively proving the cost of a fabulous domestic holiday is comparable to any low-cost trip overseas, while at the same time being good for the local economy.
David Beins, Cooks Hill, NSW
My other medal-worthy destinations to add to your post-Olympics, "when I can get there" Japan destination files (Traveller, August 14) are as follows: Naoshima and art islands of the inland sea for the art museums which have given these islands a new purpose after the closure of local factories and the demise of the fishing industry; Takamatsu on Shikoku for staying while visiting the art islands and/or as starting point for a few days walk on the 88 temple pilgrimage on the island; and, finally, walking on the volcanic slopes of Mount Aso on Kyushu.
Gwen Higgins, Rozelle, NSW
EAST MEETS WEST
I write to correct a small geographical error in your published location of Nightcap National Park, NSW (Traveller, August 21). Readers will find the park west of Byron Bay, not east as written. Cape Byron is the most easterly point on mainland Australia, beyond that lies only ocean.
Sharon Tickle, Broken Head, NSW
Editor's note: Thank you Sharon, the online version of the article has been corrected.
I'd like to add to Ben Groundwater's column my own evocative scent which hits me so strongly: the smell of the Australian bush. I hold vivid memories of the pangs of homesickness when I saw or smelt a eucalypt when I was living in London in the 70s, the joy of seeing a Tasmanian blue gum planted in an Oxford bed and breakfast run by an expat Aussie (not the best choice to grow in a small garden, though), and how much I appreciate the local bush parks now in lockdown. That's the smell that stands out for me.
Ruth Hoskin, Forest Hill, VIC
Ben Groundwater's column on the aromas of Asia was something that immediately transported me back to my years of travel for work through the continent. In the beginning, as I exited the airport the smell would assault my senses. The more trips I did, the more that distinctive aroma of spices and street food mixed with heat and humidity was welcomingly familiar, heralding my arrival. Now I have fond memories of that time, working with colleagues from many different places and walks of life. It's amazing how reading about a certain smell can instantly recall a time and place.
Meg Dunn, Mona Vale, NSW
The most wonderful travel smell of all is that of wild thyme on the pathways around the island of Naxos in the Greek Cyclades.
Patricia Slidziunas, Woonona, NSW
In the first week of July our family was extremely lucky to visit Cairns. As we flew over the COVID state of NSW and the red zone that was Southeast Queensland at the time, I realised how lucky we were. Far North Queensland was a great winter escape and reminded me of the joys of travelling. We all need to look ahead to freer days without travel permits.
David Weinberger, St Kilda East, VIC
Let's go on a journey… value add to a past trip by dedicating an evening to a favourite destination. Play the music, find the old gingham tablecloth, cook a pasta, open the plonk, dust off those languishing language skills and find those precious photos. Marvel at the magnificent sights. Remember the moments that made your heart tingle, that tantalised your taste buds and remember the absolute wonder of another culture. Remember the moments that made you laugh, that made you cry and treasure the experience of travel. Salute!
Lea Collins, Coffs Harbour Jetty, NSW
CLEARING THE AIR
In reply to Trish Lynam (Traveller Letters, August 14), when you enter dates and location on the Airbnb website, there is a filter entitled "free cancellation" (plus other filters). The resulting list will only show accommodation that can be cancelled up to a week before the stay (some may differ slightly). All very important in these uncertain times. I have recently had cause to cancel trips to Coffs Harbour and Noosa on Airbnb with a full refund. However, whilst in the process of changing a Mudgee booking in September, I found I will be charged a service fee of $170 if I cancel, because I have cancelled three trips this year. As I made the booking before the cancellations, I am disputing that they can't change the conditions in retrospect.
Susie Anderson, Nelson Bay, NSW
Unlike Trish Lynam, I think it is not unreasonable for an accommodation provider and the client to split the losses 50-50 for a COVID-related cancellation. Why should we expect small businesses to swallow the entire loss for every cancellation? We are all in this together.
Kevin Ford, Little Bay, NSW
Trish Lynam, I've given full refunds for cancellations due COVID-19, regardless of my cancellation policy. Your hosts were either lazy or greedy. Whether booked through Airbnb, Stayz or Booking.com a quick phone call has seen every guest receive their full refund. Guests can help hosts too. At the time of writing. I have guests from NSW booked for late August for my B&B in SA. I've requested they cancel so I can fill those days. They want to "wait and see" how border restrictions go. That's not fair. South Australia won't open to NSW. They can cancel one day before without penalty and, if they do, I'll never fill those days.
Kevin Cameron, Hawker, SA
Michael Gebicki's column (Traveller, August 9) made my morning. I was thrilled to read that I may be able to visit my brother (one day) in Israel, after having the AstraZeneca vaccine last week. My last trip there was in 2017 and we're desperate for a family reunion.
Rhoda Silber, Manly, NSW
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