This week, Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield traverses the world, from Patagonia to Rockingham
ELVIS LOVED IT
- Elvis Presley loved Christmas. It was his favourite holiday. And at Graceland, his home in Memphis, travellers are being invited to celebrate the season with Christmas tours, festive concerts, Graceland Guest House hotel Christmas packages and more. Christmas at Graceland is big . . . officially beginning on November 17 and it runs until Elvis’ birthday on January 8.
- The extensive Christmas display at Graceland includes hundreds of blue lights lining the driveway, and a life-sized nativity scene, and Santa and his sleigh, all initially displayed by Elvis and the Presley family. Graceland.com/Holiday
LET IT SNOW
As you read this, I’m getting ready to leave for Antarctica, travelling with 24 readers. We will sail from Ushuaia, at the southern tip of Argentina, to the Antarctic Peninsula with Australian company Aurora Expeditions. And Aurora released its Arctic and Beyond 2024 program this week, with polar voyages from Greenland to Patagonia. Aurora is offering savings of up to 25 per cent savings when booking an Arctic or global destination before December 31, 2022. There’s savings of up to 10 per cent when back-to-back voyages are booked.
- A 15-day Patagonia and Chilean Fjords expedition.
- An 11-day circumnavigation of Iceland.
- Fifteen days sailing in Costa Rica and the Panama Canal.
- A 12-day Wild Scotland adventure.
- And a 17-day Greenland Odyssey.
A reader off to Antarctica this time next year is looking to trek in Patagonia first. Expect to pay about $3500 for nine days of hiking in Patagonia, but he has time for the “full circuit” of Torres del Paine, which is usually about 11 days and under $5000. I have pointed him towards gadventures.com and intrepidtravel.com.au
Honolulu’s Bishop Museum has a new exhibition opening next on November 19. And Backyard Adventures exhibition in its its Castle Memorial Building was created by Scitech in Perth, and produced by Imagine Exhibitions. A spokesperson for The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum says: “It creates a dynamic space with interactive science displays that engage guests with the wonders that can be found in their own backyards. Keiki and ’ohana (children and families) will be able to discover the outdoors from the perspective of a bee; take a walk through a digital garden to see plants growing in super time; and investigate the creatures that only come out once keiki are tucked into bed.” The exhibition runs until August 20, 2023. BishopMuseum.org
The Giants of Mandurah exhibition which opens on November 12 is a free outdoor trail of larger-than-life hidden sculptures by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. The sculptures will be in their spots for at least the next year. Dambo has previously held sculpture exhibitions in Denmark, the USA, France, Germany, China, South Korea and Chile, and is famous for his wooden creations made entirely from recycled materials. giantsofmandurah.com.au
Journey Beyond has released packages for its rail season on The Ghan, Indian Pacific and Great Southern, in platinum and gold services.
- Ultimate Territory Tour (15 days), includes travelling on The Ghan between Adelaide and Darwin and time to explore Uluru, Kata Tjuta and the Red Centre with Outback Spirit, and then Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks near Darwin. Packages start at $10,925 per person.
- There’s an eight-day Top End Explorer which just includes The Ghan and Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks with Outback Spirit from $5590 per person.
Journey Beyond spokesperson Peter Egglestone says: “With demand so high across 2023, we are launching some of our rail journeys and holiday packages for 2024 earlier than ever before. We’ve also invested in our ‘off train experiences’, crafting new ways to connect guests with the country as part of the journey.” journeybeyond.com
The G20 meeting is in Bali from November 12-18, for world leaders and hundreds of delegates. Tourists heading to Bali may experience disrupted or delayed flights, particularly between today and Friday, and security will be tight, leading to possible delays in processing passengers. There will be road closures and generally busy conditions.
SEATS ON SALE
AirAsia has had seven million seats on sale to celebrate flying 700 million passengers over 21 years. The sale ends on November 13, with a travel period from May 1, 2023, to March 30, 2024.
Some readers have been caught by the closure of We Are Bamboo travel company. One reader who had paid a deposit to go to Uganda with the company in July 2023 looks to be $2600 out of pocket. A Bamboo spokesperson says: “The beautiful dream that was Bamboo can no longer continue. Through the challenges of COVID and a looming recession, we thought we had found a way to keep the journey going. For 10 years, we have strived to share our love of travel and how it can be a force of positivity in the world. With deep regret and due to reasons beyond our ability to control, we advise that Bamboo has reluctantly ceased to operate.” Customers are advised to email the company.
UNDER THE STARS
Last week we brought the story of Teo Musso, brewmaster and philosopher, to these pages. Teo has now designed beers for MSC Cruises, but his Baladin Brewery is still based in Piozzo, a small village in the Langhe area in the province of Cuneo in Italy, where it started. We mentioned visiting the brewery and its Baladin Open Garden, but guests can also stay in their our guest house, Casa Baladin or in a “Star Box” — a cross between a wooden hut and a tent. They are “architecture-art installations” and at night the roof can be completely opened. baladin.it