Traveller Letters: Think Australia's too expensive? You should be thankful

REALITY CHECK

There are regular letters in Traveller complaining of the high cost of tourist facilities and services in Australia compared with most overseas destinations. The reason for the difference, is that Australian wages are among the highest in the world, so costs in Australia are much higher than in most popular overseas tourist destinations. These higher wages mean that Australians are able to afford all these foreign attractions. If wages in Australia were reduced, prices in Australia would drop, but so would our incomes and most would be unable to afford Australian or overseas tourist facilities.

Jeremy Grant, Somers, VIC

SITE FOR SORE EYES

When restrictions eased for Victorians last year we decided to visit Emerald Beach in NSW to inspect our rental property and have a well-earned holiday. We decided to take our caravan and relax in the Big4 Emerald Beach park. I rang to book a site, finding one powered site left. We were so lucky? The price was $150.70 per night minimum seven night stay. We could only stay five nights due to the limited booking dates putting the price per night to $211. My shocked response was answered with the statement that there are people willing to pay this amount.

Debbie Lattimore, Wodonga, VIC

ROO THE DAY

My wife and I travelled to Kangaroo Island in South Australia for two days recently. It was an amazing place, with amazing beaches and cool wildlife. However the costs getting there are just astronomical. It costs $400 return from Cape Jervis (a two hour drive from Adelaide) just to get there with the car which is a 20 minute ferry journey running every hour (add on the coffee for $7.90 at the wharf as a kicker).

We then headed to Seal Bay to view some seals where it turned out that it cost $37 each just to set foot on the beach. Throw in the costs of accommodation ($250 a night for a glamping-style tent) and food, and these costs are just too high for young people when you could probably get to South-East Asia or the Pacific for a week for similar amounts.

Elliot Yeatman, Surry Hills, NSW

TACTICAL RESPONSE

Here's my guide for avoiding tourists whilst still being one. It's a semi-retired senior's guide based impression of my little getaway over the mountains, from Paynesville to Bright in Victoria, with a like-minded friend.

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For day trips, start early and at the farthest spot and work backwards. Remain a step ahead at all times. Everyone says don't go away during school holidays. But if the opportunity arises don't knock it back. Take it on as a challenge to find that tucked-away accommodation that may have been missed by the mainstream. Use a local real estate agent rather than the online booking sites.

Explore the high country and picturesque tree-lined towns in hidden valleys. Walk down that track where you see the local kids with towels over their shoulders and discover the locals' hidden waterhole.

Take a drive out to a smaller local community and discover stunning picnic spots besides rippling streams whilst the tourists gather in droves outside the eateries and ice cream shops. . Frequent roadside vans and provedores to stock up on yummy local produce. Show appreciation to the locals, go with the flow, explore, learn, enjoy.

Denise McLarty, Eagle Point, VIC

ORANGE BARON

Good grief. One has to wonder what the logo would be for the airport that former US president Donald Trump wanted named after himself (Traveller, December 28). Many people who gained notoriety during their lifetime have been honoured by having an airport named after them, including Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, the famous Australian aviator.

Smithy is not alone when it comes to pioneers of the air having airfields named after them. At the airport that serves Santa Rosa in  California, the logo includes the image of the famous World War One Flying Ace, Snoopy. Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz created the nemesis of the Red Baron in 1965. Not surprisingly the former Santa Rosa Army Airfield is named the "Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport" (STS).

Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW

CAPE CRUSADERS

Regarding Gerry Dunckert's experience with Outback Spirit (Traveller Letters, January 9) they are great to deal with. We did a Cape York trip with them and they were marvellous as I have a disability affecting my right leg and have to use a walking stick all the time. They seated us in the first couple of rows in the coach and were always there to help us on and off and with our bags. It is a great trip, well organised all the way.

James Wilson, Knoxfield, VIC

THAIS THAT DON'T BIND

Sorry, more COVID-19 refund ranting here. In the first week of February 2020 I booked a return flight, for two, to Italy for July 2020 (how innocent we were). After Thai Airways rerouted the flight to Germany, and it became increasingly obvious that we would not be taking this, or any other trip, that year I requested a refund in early April. No sign of a refund by November, despite periodic prodding by me.

After numerous emails I was eventually informed that Thai Airways had gone bankrupt and was preparing a business reorganisation plan to present to the Central Bankruptcy Court. I have just emailed them again and been told they are still preparing the plan and hope to present to the court this quarter.

Meanwhile, our travel insurer won't reimburse us whilst there is a possibility, however slim, of a refund as we have been told our refund request is "in the queue". So, we are caught between a rock and a hard place and are worried we can kiss that money goodbye.

Debra Kilsby, Elwood, VIC

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