Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 9 January 2024

On the roof with Beyond Skyway.

Celebrating the A to Z of summer in WA, and packing a lot in, Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield dives into another week in Travel


A slightly belated Happy New Year to you. I know over a week has gone by, but this is my first opportunity to do so here — and the warmth and goodwill of spending New Year’s Eve with nearly 100 readers is still with me. We had flown direct from Perth to Uluru in well under three hours, and then went flight-seeing around Uluru and Kata Tjuta. We had a brilliant view of one of the world’s most recognisable natural landmarks before we even landed and stayed for three nights. It was a West Travel Club charter flight, in partnership with Holidays of Australia & The World, and there’s more about our weekend here.


I came up with my A to Z of summer WA in our print edition on Saturday . . . but colleague Mogens Johansen has other ideas. His A to Z was in Sunday Travel, in The Sunday Times . . . from adventure and beer to York and Perth Zoo. And I’d just like to say, here and now, that it’s not a competition. You can read both stories at


I’ve been busy working on Inside Landscapes, the words-and-music show which composer, musician and friend Steve Richter and I will perform for Perth Festival Writers Weekend. A full 24-hour cycle in the deserts of WA unfold during the one-hour performance.

It is presented in association with Writing WA, and I’ll let Perth Festival describe it: “Inside Landscapes is an expedition through deserts and savannah rock and red dunes, under a canopy of blue sky, chink of rock, screech of corellas, silence. An exploration of the internal landscape observations and echoes, ripples and reaction, the reflections within. Travel through inland WA in original words, images and music with Stephen Scourfield and Steve Richter.”

Tickets are $25 and it’s at the Discovery Lounge, State Library of WA, Francis Street, Northbridge. The 60-minute performance starts at 6pm on Saturday, February 24. You can buy them online here.


Some readers may realise that, in addition to being Travel Editor (mostly under the supervision of colleague Leyanne Baillie), I’m also Motoring Editor (mostly under the supervision of colleague Olga de Moeller). The two roles come together rather neatly in news that car company BYD is partnering with surf park URBNSURF in Melbourne. Visitors to the surf park can drive electric cars. Appropriately, BYD (Build Your Dreams) has an Oceanic Series with models called the Dolphin and Seal. (If there was a Shark, I’m sure they’d be snapped up.)


It might seem counterintuitive to climb up a ladder in a cable car, through a hatch and then sit on a bench on the roof. But that’s the Beyond Skyway experience in Jamison Valley, a bit over 100km east of Sydney down NSW’s Great Eastern Highway (M4 and A32). The valley makes a good contrast from the city and beaches. The valley has:

Scenic Railway through the ancient Jamison Valley — the world’s steepest railway.

Scenic Walkway — the longest elevated boardwalk in Australia. Listen for lyrebirds.

Scenic Cableway — the steepest cable car in the Southern Hemisphere.

Scenic Skyway, across the valley — giving views of the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls and Mt Solitary.

But the big new addition is Beyond Skyway, pictured at the top of the page. An insider explains: “Once on the roof, with nothing to restrict the 360-degree view, the experience is both exhilarating and completely serene.” Guests have a full-body harness and climb up a ladder through a hatch and onto the roof of the cable car. They can then sit on a custom-made wooden bench sipping a mocktail and taking in the sunset across the escarpment and the valley. Tickets are extremely limited. Book at


I know a lot of our travellers are keen on binoculars and my eye has fallen on Fujifilm Fujinon TS 16x28 Techno-Stabiscope binoculars. With 16x magnification, I’ve just seen them reduced online from their usual $889 to $784. They are well stabilised (which is activated by a shift switch), AR multi-coated and waterproof down to 10m for 30 minutes.


Christmas is still in the air at Wendy Wu Tours, which now has a 2024-2025 Christmas Collection brochure. The 16-page brochure has 10 festive holidays — in Japan, Vietnam, China, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey and South Africa. Each has a special “national escort”. A spokesperson says: “These passionate guides take pride in introducing travellers to local customs and cultures, sharing their knowledge and holiday traditions to make every Christmas encounter deeply personal and enriching.” On the 15-day China Winter Wonderland, there’s Christmas Day in Shanghai, new year on the Great Wall, and a chance to see pandas and ice sculptures at the Harbin ice and snow festival. Prices are from $8980 per person, twin share.


Travellers booking a 2024 Crystal cruise before January 31 will get a complimentary suite upgrade and free clothing care. The promotion includes:

Up to a three-category upgrade from an Aquamarine Veranda Suite to Sapphire Veranda Suite or from a Double Guest Room with Veranda to an Aquamarine Veranda Suite on select departures in 2024. Terms and conditions apply.

Complimentary garment care and dry-cleaning services. Terms and conditions apply.

Only eligible for new reservations made after December 14, 2023. Any changes to existing reservations would require guests to pay the prevailing rate.


As I’ve just spoken to a reader about this . . .

To go back to the beginning of this column, we will have a lot more events and tours this year. Hear about them first (before they get to print) by signing up for our free eTravel Digital Edition. It comes to inboxes on Wednesdays. At we just ask for your first name, last name and email address.