Traveller Letters: Wake up, state premiers - we're no longer separate colonies

BORDERS FARCE

We recently returned from a wonderful driving holiday in Tasmania. But until we were actually on holiday, we had failed to truly appreciate just how devastating the threat of snap closures of state borders is to the tourism industry.

We constantly hear of the financial difficulties being experienced by airlines, travel agents and hotels. But it is the small peripheral businesses which too are in dire straits - the day tour bus and boat operators, the museums attached to tourist attractions, the cafes near those attractions and the small shops selling locally produced goods.

With no international tourism for many months to come, it is now time that state premiers recognised that we are one country and not a collection of colonies. Please let us travel throughout this wonderful country freely and help keep these small businesses afloat.

Brenda Hateley, Mulgrave, VIC

LETTER OF THE WEEK

ABANDONED VEHICLE

Letters to Traveller in recent weeks regarding expensive hire car costs brings to mind a brilliant Hobart stay, where we decided to ditch booking a car and just do daily tours after visiting the city's information centre. It halved the cost and we didn't have to worry about where to go and what to do.

Here's what we did.

Day 1: Took a local bus around town, including Battery Point to get our bearings (and do some shopping).

Day 2: Up to Mt Wellington for a splendid view of nearly all of Tasmania and then to Cascade Brewery to soak up the history of days gone by..

Day 3: Down to Port Arthur for an exceptional guided history tour, stopping to eat oysters on return.

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Day 4: A day tour of Richmond, full of history in a lovely old quaint township.

Day 5: Up the river to tour the Cadbury factory and Mona to soak up some art.

Day 6: Our last day was Saturday and the Salamanca Markets were open (these are an absolute must and only a walk from most hotels) and we had lunch in the local Irish pub.

Wendy Bull, North Turramurra, NSW

HUNTER GATHERERS

I loved reading the story on the Hunter Valley (Traveller, April 3), the vineyards and all the additional activities available to visitors. That is my home town area and it made me feel so homesick, especially the photo with the mountain in the background. Every time I visit I see more and more to explore. I hope that the article takes more people there; after visiting they can move on to the many beautiful attractions of Lake Macquarie & Newcastle.

Carole Baxter, Woodgate Beach, QLD

VALLEY GIRLS

Your Hunter Valley story has given my six girlfriends and I much food for thought as we organise belated 60th birthday celebrations in the Hunter Valley in June. Postponed from last June due to COVID-19, I was thrilled to read about Australia's oldest wine region and all its tempting tastings.

It looks like we're going to be spoilt for choice with the amazing range and variety of wines on offer at cellar doors, not to mention the gastronomical delights awaiting us at award-winning and hatted restaurants. It's been more than three years since the seven of us have all been together so it's been a long time between drinks. So here's cheers to a weekend celebrating life-long friendships, fun, frivolity, fabulous food and wonderful wine.

Jann Burmester, Byron Bay, NSW

DOMESTIC NOT AS BLISSFUL

We have had a year now of exclusively Australian articles in Traveller's print edition. While mildly interesting, I am now bored of repetitive articles on the same old Australian places. I get that we have lovely beaches and great wildlife to visit, albeit in some cases very expensive. Time to move on - more exclusively international travel from now on please. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Jo Webster, Gowrie, ACT

EDITOR'S NOTE We'd love to hear the views of other readers on domestic versus international travel and also whether you'd be interested in more overseas-related stories appearing in Traveller, even with the ongoing border uncertainty.

HAPPY ENDING

A planned Tasmanian holiday for my 60th birthday was recently derailed by a serious and unexpected illness prior to departure. We had booked a day trip from Hobart with Lelle and Craig of Bruny Island Safaris through a third party platform and therefore needed to cancel before a certain date in order to receive our refund. An error made entirely by myself, made amending it online almost impossible.

Despite losing a booking, their kindness and timely support in personally dealing with the booking company enabled us to receive our money within 36 hours. It was never just about the money but it was so appreciated at a stressful time. Now that I'm on the mend, I can't wait to resume our Tassie holiday and experience their tour.

Sue Martin, Bowral, NSW

BERTH CONTROL

Why has there been no media coverage of the fact that the Northern Territory has decided not to allow Kimberley cruises to dock in Darwin? How does this make any sense if they are accepting plane loads of half-price tourists?

Peg Nightingale, Castlecrag, NSW

SPRINGS SPRUNG

With confidence in domestic travel at an all time low and the federal government spending hundreds of millions propping up the airline industry, it is appalling to note the rogue behaviour of the national carrier, Qantas. Like Mike Hilton (Traveller Letters, April 3), my husband and I planned a short trip from Melbourne to Uluru and Alice Springs immediately after Easter. On March 23, Qantas notified us the Uluru to Alice Springs flight was cancelled as the service had been stopped. As our return flight to Melbourne was on the same booking, we found this flight was also cancelled, even though QF797 out of Alice Springs was still operating.

We had to secure car hire from Uluru to Alice at considerable extra expense and, worse yet, rebook our flight to Melbourne on the same QF797 but costing more than an additional $1000. This random and unexpected action by Qantas undermines any enthusiasm for air travel within Australia and shows no regard for travellers who book in good faith.

Shar Richards, Camberwell, VIC

FUTURE SHOCK

Our Virgin Australia Airlines flight last year was cancelled due to COVID-19. Virgin gave us a "future flight credit". Some days ago we attempted to use this credit for a flight from Melbourne to Darwin. Even though there were seats available for the flight, we were informed that we were unable to use our credit because "all available credits had been used for that particular flight". This, after Virgin had free use of our money for over a year. Not happy, Virgin.

Adrian Wallis, Malvern East, VIC

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