Traveller Letters: Caravan parks now feel like you're still in the suburbs

LETTER OF THE WEEK

PITCHED BATTLE

We recently traced a loop, with camper trailer, that hugged the Pacific coast northwards to the Gulf and wandered home through western Queensland. The face of camping has changed immensely in the past decade, especially in the sheer volume of gear trucked from one stop to the next. The most glaring change is that camping sites appear to have shrunk, such is the "cheek by jowl" landscape found in so many caravan parks and free camping situations.

Caravans have expanded in all directions; they're now taller, considerably longer and include washing machines and dryers and a bewildering array of features to enhance cabin comfort. Many also erect "boundary fences" to keep pets in and the public out. As well, the ubiquitous dual cab of the past is being rapidly replaced by a legion of mega utes. It's now reached the point where many park managers offer the service of parking the rig for the visitor, upon arrival. In a nutshell, if you're heading out west, be prepared to find a healthy slice of the suburban life you've only just escaped.

Michele Hill, Rangeville, QLD

SPOKES PERSONS

A year or so ago, I enthusiastically read in Traveller about the Central West Cycleway (CWC). Within a week I'd done the research and booked accommodation. My husband and I went around Easter time and luck was on our side - brilliant weather and no lockdowns. We cycled through and stayed in towns, such as Gulgong and Dunedoo, we'd probably never have visited. This mainly off-road 400 kilometres cycle took us through fabulous farmlands, forests and river crossings and the hospitality and friendliness of the people, both on and off the trail, was inspiring.

Jan Littlehales, Frenchs Forest, NSW

EDITOR'S NOTE We always love hearing from our readers about their holiday experiences based on Traveller articles and recommendations, especially ones that worked out as well as this one. Keep the letters coming.

WAT MEMORIES

I loved reading Ben Groundwater's column on travel souvenirs and Lesley Walker's letter (Traveller Letters, July 17) in response to it. As I sit in my own lounge room, I am surrounded by our treasures from our time living overseas. From Australia to the jungles of Papua New Guinea and to the deserts of Dubai. I love that we have a home that constantly reminds us of our travels. These keepsakes include spears, baskets, Indian rugs, an ox cart, Arabian teapot, a photo of a lady who gave me a blessing in Angkor Wat, a Turkish plate and a Far North Queensland railway sleeper that has been turned into our hat stand. We have been blessed with the gift of travel, our wonderful world awaits us when we are all ready to discover again.

Barbara Audas, Williamstown, VIC

DAMAGE CONTROL

It was another Lesley Walker who wrote in Traveller Letters of her many souvenirs that "promise (she) will travel again". I once travelled to Inner Mongolia and don't need souvenirs to recall its extraordinary beauty. But I also have a more current insight into the awful changes being wrought there by climate change, courtesy of that other window on the world, the ABC's Foreign Correspondent program. And the news reminds me of how quaint Stolberg, Germany, was before the recent climate change-influenced flooding destroyed it. I don't want further damage on the steppes or Westphalia on my hands. Happy memories can easily be forged travelling less frequently and closer to home. Time saved can be usefully spent learning new skills and demanding our governments take climate action seriously.

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Lesley Walker, Northcote, VIC

WHALE BE THERE

A glaring omission in the wonderful story (Traveller, July 17) on Victoria's regional art galleries and museums, was the Hamilton Gallery in the western district of the state. Established for 60 years, it's well worth a visit. In May 2022 Patricia Puccinini and her Skywhalepapa balloons will visit Hamilton Gallery and it represents a coup for this modest but progressive gallery.

Sarah Low, St Kilda, VIC

PRIVATE SALE

I would like to thank you for the story on Victoria's regional art galleries and museums in Traveller. However, Sale, where the Archibald Prize finalists for 2021 will be on display at the Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale during October and November, was not included on the itinerary. But, by the same token, most Victorians will not know where Sale is, so the crowds will not be big and I will be able to enjoy viewing the paintings.

Dave Urie, Traralgon, VIC

Editor's note: We've featured the exhibition on Traveller this week

FAULTY COMPASS

Your guide to East Arnhem was interesting (Traveller, July 17), but having just returned from the Cobourg Peninsula, I noted that there was one small error, in that the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park is located at East Arnhem Land's far north-western corner and is actually in West Arnhem Land. We stayed at Venture North's camp on the peninsula for three nights and I would highly recommend their tour to this area. It was fascinating, with plenty to see, and the food cooked at the remote camp was outstanding.

Gail White, Ferntree Gully, VIC

EDITOR'S NOTE: The author, Craig Tansley says: "It's along the top (northern coast) of East Arnhem Land, I think you could rightly say it's in North East Arnhem Land, but in some descriptions it is referred to as 'West'."

TRACK STARS

I frequently deal with NSW TrainLink and like Grada Loria (Traveller Letters, July 10) have nothing but praise for the staff. Rather than book online I go to my local station, either in Orange or Blayney, where the staff are excellent. Time is taken to ask what seats I'd like and if travelling with grandchildren, different options are looked at in order to give me the best price. On a recent coastal trip, particular seats were recommended because of the view but I was reminded that the sun would be coming in on that side and it could be a little hot.

Cancellations are accepted graciously and money refunded instantly. I urge travellers to book tickets at local stations to ensure that we don't lose this wonderful service and be forced to book online where everything is very "clinical".

Virginia DeSantis, Millthorpe, NSW

JAB SEEKER

I am another one who still has and uses my International Certificate of Vaccinations booklet (Traveller Letters, July 17). My certificate bears the old TAA airline logo and dates from 1973. It's now virtually full – especially in the supplementary pages. It's quite a record of my travels. When I had my second AstraZeneca vaccination I too had the nurse make the appropriate entry in my book. I should add that at myGov online, Medicare also records this vaccination.

Michael Hayden, Kiama Downs, NSW

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