Traveller letters: No, this Australian destination is not 'gouging' visitors

PAY THE FERRYMAN

Pam Kershaw (Traveller Letters, February 13), operating a car ferry is not cheap. The ferry to Kangaroo Island in South Australia is huge - it takes 45 minutes, holds 50 cars, more than 240 passengers and there are 20 services per day. I think describing the cost as "gouging" is quite unfair. Like David Towson, make the most of your trip to Kangaroo Island by staying longer. You can also save by booking the ferry in conjunction with accommodation. We took our own car and stayed there for eight days in 2018. It was a brilliant trip and highly recommended.

Brendan Jones, Annandale, NSW

HAVE A LIONHEART

People who are outraged about paying to visit Kangaroo Island's Seal Bay have obviously not done any research and fail to understand that it is a conservation park. This beach is the habitat of a colony of endangered Australian sea lions and is not open to the public.

The cost of "going onto the beach" includes a fascinating and detailed guided tour by experts who work with and study the sea lions who live on this beach. The guides provide a wonderful education and viewing of these exceptional animals. They also ensure that visitors are not in danger from the ferocious males and, most importantly, that sea lions are not at risk from humans.

For a small fee, you can choose the self-guided boardwalk tour which provides a view of the beach and some of the sea lions who live there. However, I can recommend the more expensive one for an unforgettable experience.

Please consider this comment from the Seal Bay website: "Tour fees allow us to invest in ongoing research and conservation efforts. Through these efforts we hope to preserve the natural habitat of this wild Australian sea lion colony for generations to come".

Sophie Cuttriss, Inverloch, VIC

PAW EXPERIENCE

I live with a Boston terrier and until very recently had no trouble travelling with him as an accompanied pet on Qantas, usually to Western Australia where my kids and grandkids live. But my last trip was fraught with anxious moments and a lot of expense.

Citing COVID-19 as the excuse, it turns out that Qantas now outsources their pet travel air freight service to travel pet agents. I am relating the short version of my experience and would appreciate readers' thoughts and experiences on the current situation involving travelling with pets interstate.

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Cynthia Hunter, McMahons Point, NSW

GLASS MENAGERIE

Margaret Cormie says that perhaps hotel management should be advised that she and others can see into Crown Sydney's rooms (Traveller Letters, February 13). But this is only fair. For some very, very strange reasons, the NSW Government allowed this monstrosity to be built on public land so it's only reasonable that we can see into their rooms. It's our space, after all.

Peta Colebatch, Hawthorn, VIC

FINE WHINES

Please keep publishing letters that complain or moan (Traveller Letters, January 23). I, for one, find them interesting, sometimes funny and often informative. It is helpful to get a warning on things sometimes.

Donna Turnbull, Marrickville, NSW

STATES OF CHAOS

Every day we hear the travel industry is suffering enormously and we should still travel, but in our own country. I have booked a group travel holiday for June but of course it is so risky given that our premiers change the COVID-19 rules on a whim.

No insurance company that I can find is offering travel insurance. If the travel company and the client shared some of the risk this could be hugely encouraging. At present credits are offered, but what if the client is not so young and may not be in a position to use a credit in a year or two?

As it stands, it is a one-sided arrangement favouring the travel companies. They hold onto the money and the client is disadvantaged. How about offering 50 per cent back to the client and 50 per cent in credit. It'd be more equitable and much more encouraging.

Leeron Branicki, Brighton, VIC

HIGHWAY OF LOVE

For 40 years my family attacked the Pacific Highway from Sydney until we reached the Queensland border. My use of the word "attacked" is deliberate. Thirty minutes of waiting on the Hexham bridge, a slow meander through Taree and Kempsey, becoming over familiar with the houses along the river at Nambucca, Urunga and Raleigh, bottlenecks in Coffs Harbour and then the boot-to-boot drive amongst the sugar plantations, until finally the end was in sight. This was after many hours, stops and the consumption of much junk food.

Last week we travelled to and from Byron Bay on the newly completed upgrade. It was heaven. A four-lane highway that took 2.5 hours' less time and was much safer and with amazing views.

A travel writer called it boring. Why? The scenery consists of a stunning Australian landscape. The bridges are an amazing feat of engineering. There are no potholes on the highway and one marvels at the hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of immaculate fencing and animal protection and wonder how on earth these contractors managed to create such equally-sized attributes.

Your favourite coffee shops or towns may still be visited just two minutes off the highway. The upgrade between Glenugie and Mclean is amazing and takes you away from the old road through the beautiful Pillar valley. This is no comparison with the slow, laborious past. Make this a COVID-19 special.

Grada Loria, Glenorie, NSW

PUTTING THE "GEE" IN MUDGEE

M.Taplin of Mosman, NSW (Traveller Letters, February 6) complains of a hospitality business model involving "dynamic pricing". An extreme contrast was our recent visit to Mudgee, NSW. The owners thanked us for staying, hoped we enjoyed our three-day stay and offered $100 off any future three-day stay. So, where would you choose to stay next?

Michael Webb, Cromer, NSW

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