I have been travelling for nearly 54 years and I have learned not to rate too many places online and here are the reasons. My business involves a lot of travelling and last year my accommodation in Parramatta was $179 night. But this year, after favourable ratings for the hotel, the same room became $256. This also applies to many restaurants that I patronise with price jumping considerably following positive ratings with some also booked out. Why would I want to help put stars on an establishment just so they can increase the price? I do not believe that I am selfish but why give away a good restaurant, hotel or a good place to visit when you are going to face more people?
John Mertino, Croydon, VIC
COLOUR MY WORLD
If it wasn't for an article in Traveller earlier this year (February 24) I would never have heard of the spectacular Antelope Canyon in the US. After having visited the national parks of Utah many years ago, and having explored Petra and Wadi Rum, in Jordan, I was eager to see the canyon's spectacular formations. Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon, comprising an upper and lower canyon with separate access points and levels of difficulty. I took the upper (easier) access. Visitors were spellbound by the spectacularly carved shapes in the gorgeously coloured rocks, the hues accentuated by the midday sun. The experience becomes tactile as well as visual as softly falling sand captures the rays of sunlight that make their way through the narrow spaces overhead, - and onto our faces. It has only been accessible by tour since 1997 and is owned and controlled by the Navajo Nation.
Kerry Foster, Allambie Heights, NSW
The article on Six of the Best Hawaiian volcanoes (Traveller, September 21) raises a couple of issues that need to be taken into account by anyone planning a visit in the near future. Mauna Kea is currently inaccessible due to the local political situation regarding a proposed new observatory, and Kilauea is not active as suggested by the photo used in the article. We found this out in both instances on a recent trip there and they seriously affected the value of our holiday. Many advertised tours on the Big Island still misleadingly show these as though Mauna Kea is accessible and Kilauea is active.
Andy Border, North Narrabeen, NSW
SPARED FROM DESPAIR
After recently checking into our cabin at the Merimbula Big4 Tween Holiday Park, I went out to unlock the car parked beside the cabin and I could not find my keys. Our second key was in Beaumaris. Fortunately, a friend had access to our spare car key at our home. The cost to courier the spare key was over $100 whereas the charge by Australia Post, with delivery well within two days, was just over $20 including insurance. So thanks, as well as a rave, for this great service from Australia Post. But there is more. We had initially phoned a helpful RACV staff member to find a locksmith who might be able to assist but none was available. When we informed her that we would wait until the key arrived by post, she contacted the Big4 holiday park and transferred the money to cover the cost of two extra days while we waited. How good is that? Our new key from Honda will cost $380 so we will travel in the future with a spare key.
Faye and Lindsay Quennell, Beaumaris, VIC
New Zealand's Stewart Island (Traveller, September 21) saved our bacon. Hurtling around New Zealand in a rental Mini, my boyfriend was driving like an Australian farm boy – fast, impatiently and tooting the car horn on blind corners. It was both frightening and hilarious. Three days in Stewart Island without the car and in the peace and calm there, rescued the relationship. After 43 years farming, we are retired. Perhaps another trip to the island would reset our compasses yet again.
Adair Dunsford, Naracoorte, SA
RESETTING THE RECORD
I'm writing regarding the article "Budapest, Hungary: One of the world's saddest sights" which appeared on Stuff a couple of days ago. The article states that "more than 100,000 Hungarian Jews who perished in the Holocaust" But the number of Hungarian Jews who perished in the Holocaust, including members of my own family, is around 565,000.
Oren Douek, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
EDITOR'S NOTE The writer of the article in question was referring to the number of Hungarian Jews who died in Budapest and not in Hungary as a whole. However the distinction should have been clearer. The online version of the story has since been amended.
SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE
Having experienced Ayers Rock, now called Uluru four times, twice climbing the largest exposed monolith in Australia (next to Mount Augustus), I am appalled by the opening title in the cover story by Catherine Marshall (Traveller, September 21) who claimed "climbing Uluru was never the best way to experience the Rock in all its splendour". Do the hundreds or thousands of people who visit Mount Everest to Mount Dandenong each year simply go to observe it from a raised track or dining under the stars with pretty lights? The Rock is, with respect, a Mecca for all travellers and especially those with an adventurous spirit, and the climb to me, having experienced it once with my 75-year-old father, literally is the pinnacle. We are Australians who have adventure and, therefore, a little risk running through our veins. Climbing the Rock [which will be banned later this month] will be sadly missed as a highlight of real Australian outback travel and good luck to those with a vested interest attempting to keep the tourists interested with side shows.
Warwick McKenzie, Croydon North, VIC
ON THE CASE
Recently my Singapore flight from London to Singapore was diverted to Delhi due to a medical emergency. This added three hours to our flight. Leaving me just 30 mins to catch my connecting flight to Brisbane. After landing I had to go from one gate to another without delay. Many people had connecting flights to catch as well. I am impressed with the baggage handling in such situations. There must have been hundreds of suitcases to unload and disperse throughout many different airlines at different gates. I assume there is sophisticated technology involved here. Well done to the management and staff at Singapore Airlines and Singapore Airport.
Martin Sorbello, Yatala, QLD
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