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Totally awesome is the only way to describe a day flight over Antarctica (Traveller, August 15). My flight was many years ago, but I still have vivid memories, aided by my photos, of the pristine whiteness, in contrast with the sky and the sea, the excitement of all around me and the fascinating commentary. Expensive, but worth every dollar.
Marjie Williamson, Blaxland, NSW
Editor's note: Antarctica Flights tell us that their Perth and Adelaide flights this summer have already sold out and the departures from other cities are quickly filling. Read more here.
GRATITUDE NOT ATTITUDE I
I have read with interest the many COVID-19 related travel stories and woes and I feel obliged to publicly thank my travel agents. I was booked and fully paid to do a Middle East tour earlier this year but, for obvious reasons, it didn't happen. Thanks to my wonderful, long term, travel agents - Newcastle Travel in Warners Bay - I recovered all my substantial outlays on the tour cost and Emirate fares in fairly quick time. My only grief has been with my travel insurers (InsureandGo). I was an eligible insurer (that is, paid up in December 2019), I didn't pull out of the trip (it was cancelled) and I haven't made any claims. Despite this, I can't get a refund or extension or future credit. Otherwise, I am a very happy, lucky and hopefully future traveller.
Anthony Gooden, Newcastle, NSW
GRATITUDE NOT ATTITUDE II
So many of our 2020 travel experiences have been involved with cancellations and refunds leaving us to wonder when and if we will explore far flung destinations again. Responding to encouragement to seek places close to home as the gloom of COVID-19 seemed to be lifting I paid a deposit to join the Federal City Express – Springtime in Canberra rail tour in September. When I received an email suggesting the final payment not be made until it was absolutely guaranteed that the tour would proceed I reflected on the wisdom of travelling in a group so soon. I reviewed the travel arrangements and noted I still had time to cancel with a full refund of my deposit, so I proceeded to do just that. The staff at Cruise Express were wonderful when I contacted them and within a few days the deposit was back in my account. I sincerely hope I will have the opportunity to return to carefree travel in the future and will certainly consider this company in such decisions.
Kathy de Flon, Belmont, NSW
F IS FOR FEEDBACK
The A-Z of NSW Road Trips (Traveller, August 29) was timely as we had just returned from a 2000-kilometre trip through the refreshingly chilly Central and Northern Tablelands. As the article stated, a paper map is still vital as it gives the "big picture", showcasing the depth and breadth of this state. Through initial sleet, snow, rain and hail and finally sunshine we took the road less travelled including the Burrendong Way, Bucketts Way and Thunderbolts Way and crossed many a one-lane bridge. If I may add to your alphabet list it would be "P for Produce". We enjoyed spectacular meals with friendly service and a welcoming ambience everywhere we stopped. The Oriental Hotel in Mudgee and The Pig & Tinder Box in Tamworth were highlights. Another gorgeously preserved village well worth a visit is Wollembi - add that to "W" (and a "CC" for the carrot cake at Myrtle House in the main street).
Sally Spurr, Lane Cove, NSW
TRACKS WINDING BACK
Your feature article brought back so many lovely memories of travelling the New England Highway, Thunderbolts Way and Waterfall Way with many little side trips. I lived in Armidale from the time I went to teacher's college (1961-62), and my husband and I worked and raised our four children there until 2001, when we moved to Brisbane for work. Those wonderful trips to the coast to feel the sun in our bones at Woolgoolga, Sawtell and Coffs Harbour made the Armidale winters bearable. The best advocate for getting off the beaten track is Heather Ewart through her Backroads program on the ABC. Every town she visits makes me want to pack up and go there. Over the years we have had many trips overseas, often following advice from Traveller readers. While they have been amazing, and make me realise how fortunate we have been, I'm now more than happy to explore more of Australia and hopefully just take our time to get off the beaten track and find accommodation along the way.
Ros Barwick, Sunnybank Hills, QLD
WHAT A BUMMER
Your story on A to Z of road trips lists the NSW towns with "upper" and "lower" in their names. To that list I'd like to add the Hawkesbury's Pitt Town Bottoms.
Matt Watson, Bathurst, NSW
If it's fancy cream plus a great setting that you're looking for (Traveller letters, August 22), here is another version. Across the channel in a glorious little town called Chantilly, there is a wickedly delicious treat to discover. The town is about 50 kilometres from Paris, easily reachable by local train (don't forget to validate before boarding!). This place is famous for its Chantilly cream, as well as its château, and it's a taste and texture you will never forget. There is an outdoor café, and after wandering about the expansive château, you can reward yourself with an amazing composition of ice cream with a big dollop of Chantilly cream; a rich blend of thick, delicious, cultured cream, slightly sweetened and a perfect accompaniment to strawberry and vanilla ice cream. At the moment, Chantilly cream is merely a foodie fantasy that we will have to make do with while we wait.
Margot Pope, Springwood, NSW
WINGS OF DESIRE
Just to clarify, the photo of the aircraft (Traveller, August 8) is a Beechcraft Bonanza, not a Cessna Caravan. The Bonanza is a smaller but quicker aircraft and much more comfortable than the Caravan.
Stan Pollock, Caloundra, QLD
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