Traveller Letters: This Australian capital seems to hate visitors

DEVIL OF A TIME

Hobart doesn't like tourists. We flew into Hobart on Sunday, December 27 for eight days. The next day, we went to the tourist information centre. Closed. It stayed closed all week. Tourists were not welcome. We found out about Hobart attractions on the "hop on hop off" bus. Fortunately, our hotel guided us to a day tour to Port Arthur. Our second, "not welcome" was a café we went to for breakfast. An enquiry, "are you open Saturday?" was answered with a blistering snarl, "I have to have a day off sometime." We did not return there.

John Murphy, Croydon North, VIC

FROZEN MOMENTS

Can anyone shed some light on the increasingly annoying practice of hotels and motels "freezing" a cash amount on your credit card when you check in. They say that they haven't got the money but neither do we, so who has it? The amount frozen and the time it remains frozen seems to be increasing.

We recently stayed at the same motel twice within a couple of weeks and we lost the use of our money for a full week both times. If it is a deposit to cover damage to the room, or for stealing something, wouldn't they know it was all clear by the time the room was cleaned and made ready for the next occupant? One day should be enough.

Ted Richards Batemans Bay, NSW

Editor's note: Our Tripologist, Michael Gebicki, has previously investigated this issue. Read more here.

DUTCH MISTREAT

Like many disappointed travellers, I was forced, last year, to cancel a non-refundable booking for Hotel The Exchange in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Thus began a litany of emails, as well as written proof from my travel agent that the cancellation was requested, not on personal grounds, but because of the impacts of COVID-19. Our airline and cruise companies graciously refunded, albeit for a nominal fee. Finally the hotel offered the opportunity to change the date within a year of the original arrival date. However at my age (70 plus) I cannot imagine safe overseas travel for a few years yet. During the dark days of the pandemic, many in the community emerged as more caring and kind – but not everyone, it seems!

Barbara Mothersdale, Hawthorn, VIC

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT WAS DUE

A lot of letters to Traveller have complained about the time it took to get a refund or credit from airlines, particularly Qantas. Our recent experience does not reflect that in any way. We cancelled our flights with Qantas on Friday, January 8 having intended to fly to Brisbane but didn't (you can guess why). Our cancellation credit came through that night and is now, at the time of writing (Sunday, January 10) ready to redeem. I note we booked through the Qantas website directly and I wonder if delays experienced by other readers is the result of them having booking via an agent.

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Rachel Deane, West Footscray, VIC

LIGHTEN UP

I enjoy reading Traveller to broaden my travel experience and have found many little gems through this column. So, can we please have less of the whinging letters and more shared travel experiences of the good kind, please?

Julie Stewart, Turner, ACT

SHARED MEMORIES

While I agree with Dudley Oakes (Traveller Letters, January 9) about the annoying extra cost for those of us who travel alone, sometimes serendipity steps in. Some years ago I joined a well known travel company on a tour of Spain and Portugal. The company advertised that for solo travellers, if it could not match me with a suitable person of a similar age and gender to share, it would provide me with a single room at no extra expense.

So, with trepidation, I travelled to Madrid via Paris, solo, had a marvellous time, and arrived at my hotel in Madrid to find, to my disappointment, that I had been allocated a shared room with a lady from Vancouver, Canada. We discovered we had many shared interests and had so much fun on the tour we remained friends until her passing.

Llieda Wild, Eastwood, NSW

GLAD FOR GLAD

Thanks to Gladys and Kerry, our premier and our chief medical officer, who have kept NSW open allowing us to enjoy the sensory delights of southern NSW. These included ascending alpine Mount Kosciuszko, a, picnic on a boulder in the Snowy River, the freshest oysters at Lake Pambula, the most buttery almond croissant this side of France in Pambula, the huge Narooma lobsters, the crispiest fish and chips in Dalmeny, the amazing seaside rock formations at Wasp Head, the hauntingly magnificent Kangaroo Valley's fire ravaged landscape that is sprouting with green life and the gushing Carrington, Belmore and Fitzroy Falls of the Southern Highlands. Who needs Europe when we have NSW at its very best?

John Lau, Woollahra, NSW

FARE'S FAIR

We were due to fly with Japan Airlines last year in October. Three weeks before the flight I rang the Australian office of JAL to discuss our options and was told that our flight was cancelled and they would refund our airfares within the following two weeks. The call took four minutes and the refund came through in four days. This also happened to our friends travelling on the same flight. Congratulations JAL, excellent service. We will fly with you as soon as we can.

Melissa Griffin, Ballarat, VIC

OPEN AND SHUT CASE

I'm happy to report that, after our flights to Paris with Vietnam Airlines were cancelled in April last year, our tickets were refunded within three months thanks to the efforts of North Sydney's Flight Centre. It's a pity that branch is now closed and I hope that it reopens in the near future.

Joëlle Dietrich, McMahons Point, NSW

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