MORE TO SERVICE THAN A SMILE
There's been a lot of talk in Traveller Letters about service (or lack thereof) in Australia, with one of your readers commenting about the insincere nature of service overseas versus that in Australia.
Service is not only being friendly and smiling 24/7 like the proverbial Cheshire Cat. Service is also knowing how to correctly serve food and drink, providing the right facilities at hotels and restaurants, "going the extra mile", being operational around the clock and being able to communicate in more than the local language and do all this at a fair and appropriate price.
That is where Australia falls behind. Apart from a few top-end establishments, Australian hospitality providers in the boondocks are quick to charge New York Fifth Avenue prices for outback motel quality services.
Gerhard Engleitner, Merewether, NSW
GREATER OCEAN ROAD
As we've all been suffering through the various restrictions of the pandemic it also provides some travel opportunities not available during normal times. Last week we took a mid-week drive from Geelong down the Great Ocean Road to Port Fairy and the experience was absolutely sublime. No buses, no caravans, virtually no camper vans and very few other cars, most of the time we had the road to ourselves. A once in a lifetime opportunity to see one of our greatest tourist roads without other tourists. Do it (if you can) before the crowds return.
David Parker, Geelong, VIC
AOTEAROA BY THE BOOK
I loved your cover story on the best places to go in New Zealand (Traveller, October 17) as suggested by Kiwis, when the bubble happens. There were great reminders of places we've been. Highly recommended reading is the wonderful New Zealand Driving Holidays by Donna Blaber which offers a host of quirky and interesting off-the-tourist-track places to enjoy. This book is a reason we've enjoyed so many visits. Also recommended is the recent novel State Highway One by Sam Coley which, as the title suggests, takes the reader from Cape Reinga at the top all the way to Stewart Island at the very south of NZ.
Corinne Johnston, Gymea Bay, NSW
WRONG WAY: GO BACK
I enjoyed the online version of your Kiwi's guide to New Zealand. However, while the photo of the Central Otago river valley is stunning it is not the Kawarau Gorge, near Queenstown as you state. Rather it's the Matukituki Valley at the confluence of the east and west branches of the river, near Wanaka.
Adrian Wallis, Malvern East, VIC
Editor's note: Thanks Adrian, this has been corrected.
FUR YOUR INFORMATION I
A reminder to those pet lovers who want to bring their pets along everywhere they go that there are people who are allergic to pet hair, which means sneezing, coughing and breathing problems when they are in places where pets are or have been. It is unpleasant and could mean being sick for a few days, utterly spoiling a holiday or an outing.
When looking for places to stay, it always takes extra time researching to make sure that pets are not allowed. We are grateful that it is not much of a problem in Australia; however, in Europe it is. Once, after a long trip, we arrived late at our B&B somewhere in Belgium and were greeted by a gigantic dog. There was no mention of pets in the website. It was not much fun searching for another place. Therefore, please remember that there are people who do not wish to frequent places where pets are allowed.
Deborah Luxemburg, Aspley, QLD
FUR YOUR INFORMATION II
Andrew Verlei of Patterson Lakes, Victoria (Traveller Letters, October 17) incorrectly states that you "can't take (dogs) on any public transport in Melbourne:" While a little known rule, you can in fact take dogs on Metro trains in Melbourne, as stated on the PTV's website page titled "animals on public transport". The rule states they need to be muzzled and leashed, however from my experience the former is never enforced if the dog appears under control and well behaved.
I found PT attendants were always happy to see a cute dog on a trip, even my little Staffy, who can be a bit scary for some people. There is one loophole though - dogs aren't allowed to access "mall" style train stations, but that still leaves plenty of station options throughout Melbourne, including Southern Cross and Flinders Street stations. Now that I live in Sydney, where dogs are only allowed on ferries, I'm glad I took advantage of this little-known rule when I lived in Melbourne.
Bek Kaczmarek, Glebe, NSW
LET'S GET THIS STRAIT
Whilst the focus on Gippsland in your cover story on Victoria (Traveller, October 10) is fantastic, it is a bit misleading in regards to being able to paddleboard from Lake Tyers to Marlo. If you check your map then you will see that it involves at least 45-50 kilometres of paddling as the crow flies in Bass Strait to get to Marlo - probably not something you should encourage.
Ross Neilson, Maffra, VIC
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