Our Travel Editor looks back at his year of travel adventures...
TIME TO REMINISCE
Here are my top 10 assignments from this year:
Motorcycling in Oman. Politically, it is the Switzerland of the Middle East, with old culture and modern infrastructure, and great riding with Brett Hart, owner of the family business Turkana Motorcycle Adventure Tours. In the days before setting off on that, I’d been with our Travel Club Tour group, and we staged a words-and-music concert with musician Amal Waqar in Muscat.
Walking Austria in summer. Gondolas and chairlifts take you from villages like St Anton and Lech quickly into the high mountains to walk great paths and lunch at historic ski huts. The White Ring becomes the Green Ring.
Lion cubs played around in the first rays of sun on the Serengeti. March was an interesting time to be there, in Tanzania, as the big wildebeest and zebra herds have young, and the predators have a field day.
Every time I go to the Greek islands, I seem to just stand there at some moment and say: “Wow. How beautiful is this.” And not just the islands and the water, but the food and the attitude. I loved Santorini.
Sydney Harbour never fails to send a tingle down my spine. The Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, the green ferries coming and going. A great city to visit.
I was in Newport, Rhode Island, for Collette’s centenary celebration, which was a real family affair. It’s still a family-owned company, with staff who’ve been there a long time. Great people, and great mansions from the Gilded Age. All very Great Gatsby.
The Taj Mahal looked splendid on a cool morning in Agra, as I arrived with our Travel Club Tour group. No scaffolding, 120,000 tonnes of white Makrana marble shimmering.
In the East Pilbara, we camped in the Hickman meteorite crater, saw the Punda art site and the hidden second world war airfield at Corunna Downs, but it was kayaking desert waterways in inflatables that really made the trip.
Still in WA, it was an epic wildflower year, with carpets of flowers as far as you could see. Truly spectacular.
THE YEAR AHEAD
With Europe river cruising figuring in the thoughts of so many readers, I’ll be in Europe in the northern spring looking at what two big but lesser-known companies have to offer. We like to bring you lots of options and choice.
Before that I’ll be in Esperance and Africa, and after that, well, all over the place.
In November I’ll be leading a Travel Club Tour to Antarctica.
We have two big Travel quizzes next year, an Evening in Europe and an Evening in Asia, and two of our popular Round the World Dinners, each bringing the cuisine, stories and music from five very different destinations.
And we have a lot of Photo Walks with our Travel lead photographer, Mogens Johansen.
There’s real energy in our printed publications — this supplement on Saturday and in Thursday Travel. We have 36 Travel Guides in 2019, in addition to our usual coverage. (And we are busy locking projects in to 2020.)
DIRECT TO JAPAN
Riding WA travellers’ keen interest in Japan, All Nippon Airways has announced the start of direct flights between Perth and Toyko from September 1. A Boeing 787 will fly daily, leaving Perth at 9.45pm and arriving in Tokyo at 8.25am. Bookings are expected to open in January. The WA Government is supporting the flight through Tourism WA and spending millions of dollars advertising in Japan.
OUR COOL TRIP
We’ll be holding an Antarctic information event at our home at Seven West Media in Osborne Park on Tuesday, February 5. Seeing that the Great White Continent is high on so many travellers’ wish lists, I will be leading a Travel Club Tour there in November. We will be sailing on the National Geographic Explorer with some of the world’s best Antarctic experts. It’s simply the ultimate way to go about a once-in-a-lifetime experience. (Do it once, do it the best possible way, with all-inclusive prices from $24,395.) And yes, there will be penguins. At our event on February 5, there will be plenty of insights into travelling to the Antarctic. It is free, but places are limited.
When: Tuesday, February 5. 6.30pm to 8pm.
Where: Newspaper House, Seven West Media, 50 Hasler Road, Osborne Park.
How: It is free, but you’ll need to reserve a spot, and places are limited. Email firstname.lastname@example.org (with Antarctica Event in the subject line, please) or call 1800 429 000.
Who: Collette senior executives will have full details of the trip, and be there to answer questions. Full itinerary at westtravelclub.com.au/tours.
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