DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION
Prior to a recent trip to Queensland (pre-lockdown four) I ordered an Uber for a trip to Melbourne Airport. This was booked for a time between 9.50 and 10am. On the day a message was received showing that the driver was on the way. But then on the map he began going away from us, and in fact was further away than when we were first notified. By then it was 10:15 and we tried calling but there was no response. By 10:30am we were risking missing check-in for our flight, so we drove to the airport and booked into the Value Car Park. What should have been a $30 fare, or $60 return, cost $133. If Uber can't commit drivers to the times booked, they should advise so. We were later told another driver was allocated our ride at 10.35 am and had arrived at our home after we had left, so Uber charged us a $10 cancellation fee
David Phillips, Campbellfield, VIC
LETTER OF THE WEEK
On a recent stay on the mid North Coast of NSW, my wife and two other women friends rented a house in Sawtell for a week through a local real estate which they'd searched for online, paying the full amount close to $2000 well in advance. While the location and the views from the property were spectacular, the same cannot be said of the house. As soon as the front door was opened, the stuffy air burst out in their faces. During their stay, they had to keep the air conditioning on in an effort to dry it out. In spite of the fact that a sign announced that the place had been COVID cleaned, there was dirt in the bathrooms and other rooms. Furniture was an assortment of odds and ends, too. But the final surprise showed up on the morning of departure when they noticed fungi (mushrooms?) had popped up during the night through the carpet.
Tom Pelle, Randwick, NSW
COURTESY WITH THE LOT
Recently, due to the latest Melbourne COVID-19 lockdown, I had to cancel my parking reservation at Melbourne Airport. I went online, cancelled the booking, and received a full refund a couple of days later. Excellent and easy service.
Robert Gibson, Kensington, VIC
Like George Fishlock (Traveller Letters, May 29), I couldn't believe that something as jaw-dropping as the Stick Shed in Victoria's Wimmera region wasn't better known. Travel transcendentalism is in the eye of the beholder; while some have to fly overseas to find it, I've felt moved by the sight of a lonely outback pub, a sweeping bend in a western NSW river or, in this case, the silent, serene interior of a vast grain storage facility. There was more than a hint of the loaves and the fishes at Shindy's Inn at Louth, NSW (Traveller Letters, June 5), when I was there many years ago.
Matt Watson, Bathurst, NSW
HOME SWEET HOME
A common feature of Traveller Letters is the delight which many travellers have experienced in touring Australia while at the same time others bewail the fact they've been deprived of overseas travel. I have been fortunate to have travelled fairly widely overseas and Australia has many things unique to planet Earth, in terms of flora and fauna and unmatched landscapes. Much criticism has been made of our service standards and the high costs here at times. To face facts, we're not innately subservient as people an the costs reflect our wage structure. Tipping isn't required since those who look after us on holiday are paid appropriately. Unfortunately price gouging, although not common, is a fact of life in a country that prides itself on free enterprise. This is a great country so get out there and enjoy it (lockdowns permitting).
Tom Troup, Carrum, VIC
BEAUTIFUL ONE DAY, CONFOUNDING THE NEXT
Any NSW resident booking a rental car in Queensland should be beware of the following experience. I had booked a vehicle to pick up at Sunshine Coast Airport with Avis. When I presented my NSWGov digital license on my phone I was told that in Queensland this was not accepted. It's hard to make any sense of this strange regulation, but only with the original plastic one would Avis authorise me to collect the vehicle. Fortunately a friend I was travelling with had his, so he became my driver for the week.
Alex Hamill, Sydney, NSW
BIN THERE, DONE THAT
We recently travelled on the Stuart Highway from Port Augusta to Coober Pedy. I was upset to witness kilometre after kilometre of glass bottles glinting in the sun, alongside plastic containers, aluminium cans and shredded plastic adorning fences and shrubs alongside the road. It is a ubiquitous problem throughout Australia. Can we please have a further education campaign to eliminate discarding rubbish out of cars, trucks and vans? We must also appeal to truck drivers to ensure that large pieces of plastic don't escape from their loads. We are degrading our beautiful country - how hard is it to bin your litter at the end of your trip?
Janine Halls, Carnegie, VIC
I agree with Cassandra Ludwig regarding scarcity of dinner reservations while travelling (Traveller Letters, June 5). Recently, weeks before a trip to Noosa, I researched places I might like to dine in. I quickly realised there was little availability in many restaurants during the time of our visit so felt it wise to make dinner reservations weeks in advance. Once in Noosa itself, the option for "walk-ins" was scarce, if available at all. Restrictions on numbers allowed to dine in, along with staff shortages have made plans for dining out an important part of domestic travel.
Elise Hosking, Donvale, VIC
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