Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 12 September 2023

Our version of herd on the terrace. This was during the recce for A Nice Day Out. Grady Brand, Lesley Hammersley fully investigate options, set the route and write notes before we take our readers on the the day trips. This was on a road near Toodyay.

Celebrating the big things, Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield explores another week in travel


Kevin Pearse is celebrating 40 years in travel, having started with West Travel, which was The West Australian’s own travel agency, back in 1984. These days he’s known for the train tours that he arranges and leads, and the next is the South West Escapade Rail Tour, which leaves on Wednesday, October 11 and returns on Friday, October 13. The midweek getaway to the South West includes accommodation at Abbey Beach Resort in Busselton, all meals, one with entertainment and wine tasting and a gourmet lunch at Palmer Wines. Guests will see Canal Rocks and Dunsborough. The full adult fare, per person twin share is $1018, but there is a “pensioner free pass” fare at $948 and senior or pensioner concession price at $983. The single supplement on the full adult fare is $185. Kevin says: “They are taking the Australind off the run in November until the new train arrives in around two years time. So this trip will be probably the last opportunity for many folk to ride this train.” Contact Kevin on 9316 1504 or email


We were out and about recently on A Nice Day Out coach days and, before that, I was with WA landscape and botanical specialists Grady Brand and Lesley Hammersley, setting the route and writing notes. The picture above was on a road near Toodyay. It’s our version of The West’s business column, herd on the terrace.


Wagin is officially being celebrated on a $1 collectable Australia Post coin and stamp collection. It celebrates the 10 of Australia’s Big Things — which I celebrated in a story in Travel on August 19 (all our stories go online at To come up with the list, Australia Post surveyed 1000 Australians nationwide, Also in the list is the Big Pineapple, Big Jumping Crocodile, Big Banana, Big Swoop and Big Lobster. The collection is available as individual stamps for $1.20, individual coins for $3 each and as a full coin set and accompanying folder for $29. It is available online and at post offices.


Reader Peter Williams came to our Festival of Travel and writes: “Thank you for sharing your many tips for great travel. I was particularly impressed with Casey and your tips for packing efficiently and effectively.” (Impressed by my truculent, toilsome and often exasperating suitcase?)


Peter continues and raises a good point when he asks: “Do you take a second phone when you travel in case one gets lost or stolen. I carry my cards and other things on my iPhone. I am paranoid that I might lose it or it gets stolen and have no way of getting a taxi or making calls.” I do indeed. I upgrade my phone every year (with technology, I’d rather keep up than catch up), and keep my last phone as a spare. They are both set up with exactly the same apps, in the same order, and I have a Travel SIM card in the spare. To me, it’s well worth foregoing the few hundred dollars trade-in.


Long trips in Europe make some readers question whether their mobile provider’s international roaming deal is worth the money. One reader, from Bridgetown, is off for seven weeks with his Oppo A17 and has asked about just this. Before you leave, I’d consider TravelSIM (which I have in my backup phone) and the Travelex SIM card. If you leave it until you get there, you’ll have a wide choice but I would start with Orange (


Another reader has commented on his perception that we “spruik the positives” of travel experiences. It may appear so, simply because we write about what we have experienced ourselves. We share the stories of those we know and trust.


There’s a chance that Argentina’s peso could become a thing of the past. And there will be some there that say good riddance. Javier Milei, a frontrunner for the presidency election later this year, has said he’d abolish the peso and replace it with the US dollar. Most Argentines hoard a lot of US dollars, but polls show that 60 per cent of them are against the idea of adopting US currency as it would give too much power to the US central bank.


Reader Brian is travelling to China soon and his passport photo shows him without a beard. He has since grown one and asks if there will be an issue with identification. Under international guidelines, having a beard or not does not constitute a “substantial difference” — so, in theory, it shouldn’t be a problem. But (and I have to say this), entering China hasn’t always been straightforward. This sounds odd, but if Brian’s passport showed him with a beard and he now hadn’t got one, I’d be much more worried. But, as it shows him without, and he now has one, he does have one very simple option if his entry is questioned. Pass the razor…


Readers Jim and Trish Grant noticed that recent story on Big Things, and write: “We travelled Australia for 14 years, and went to 99 per cent of the big things and have photos of them all — only a couple missing. We finished our travels in 2016.”


June Roe read the story too: “I so enjoyed your article in Sunday Travel. We Aussies do love our big stuff. Worthy of a mention is the big galah (pink and grey) which is to be found in Kimba, South Australia. I understand that Kimba is actually at the halfway point across Australia. Attached is a photo taken in 2004 when we passed through on one of our caravan holidays.” I’m grateful that June put the Big Galah back on this big galah’s radar.