Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 19 March 2024

Mt Fuji, Japan,

With news of new aircraft, EV rentals, securing valuables, and more, Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield reviews another week in Travel


We launched our new A Nice Day Out with Writers last weekend, and it was sold out by Monday lunchtime. We’re working on other ideas for our coach days with readers.

We still have a handful of spots at our New Norcia photography, writing and experience weekend, from April 26 to 28.

We’ve also got some PhotoWalks with Phones at Hillarys, Perth & Guildford.


Last year, more than 220,000 people climbed Mt Fuji in Japan between July and September. This year, just 4000 people a day will be allowed on the Yoshida Trail. Congestion, rubbish and injuries have led to officials limiting the route, and visitors will soon have to pay just under $20 to walk up Japan’s most famous volcano. Visitors will not be allowed to set off between 4pm and 2am, to stop what locals call “bullet climbs” of the 3776m peak.


Scoot airlines has named the six South-East Asian destinations that its fleet of new Embraer E190-E2 aircraft will fly to. They are Koh Samui, Sibu, Hat Yai, Kuantan, Krabi, and Miri. The first of nine E190-E2s will be delivered in April, coming from the Embraer factory in Brazil. Scoot flies direct from Perth, connecting to the flights. Scoot is Singapore Airline’s low-cost wing.


Europcar Mobility Group (a car rental company) will install 256 electric vehicle chargers across at least 41 sites around Australia, including airports, metropolitan hubs and regional locations, in a bid to push up EV rentals. It has just received $4.76 million in funding from the Federal Government’s Driving the Nation Program, delivered by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The “Electric Rental Vehicle and Charging Infrastructure Rollout” project aims to support about 3100 passenger electric rental vehicles over the next three years.


A reader off to China soon has asked about using a phone SIM card there, and how to go about payments and yuan currency. He’s struck a big, interesting subject with SIM cards in particular. A key provider is My China Unicorn, and we suggest looking at For money, we still very much like the Wise Travel Card, and using Wise is a good way into safe China SIMS. Travellers can use a Wise card in China, and get yuan from an ATM. That’s one way to do it. But I usually get some at Perth Airport on the way out, so I have a little cash in my pocket.


We like clever and stylish design, and FlexSafe by Aquavault falls into both categories. Start by looking at the FlexSafe Portable Travel Safe ($93), which locks on to fixed objects like a lounge chair, closet rod, boat railing, stroller or golf cart. It is slash and water resistant, with RFID blocking and a reprogrammable three-digit combination lock.


Reader Ted McEvoy adds to last week’s story by Sandy Guy about driving on the “wrong side of the road” when overseas: “When travelling I use my watch to indicate which is correct at the time. If driving/riding in countries which are lefties, the watch is on my left wrist. For those righties, I wear my watch on the right wrist. It comes in very handy as a visual reminder when riding a motorcycle and approaching a roundabout.”


I have previously suggested touring in America with Empire Vacations. I take that back. I had to pull out of a tour that I paid $US995 for in January 2023, and there’s no sign of them refunding. Avoid them.


On a happier note … I’m pleased that my mention of Bhutan last weekend prompted good memories for reader Norm Jackson.

He was there in June 2012, on a trip with Dharma Adventures, based in Bhutan. They organised a driver and guide.

Norm writes: “Some of the highlights of the trip were climbing up to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Punakha Dzong fortress and Thimphu City. Dharma Adventures also organise motorcycle tours in Bhutan, with good roads and little traffic making for easy riding.”


A reminder that ferries can only take e-bikes to Rottnest if the battery is removed. Most ask that it is carried in hand luggage. If a battery can’t be removed, the bike won’t be permitted on the ferry. This applies to Rottnest Express, Sealink and Rottnest Fast Ferries.


The European company Fuell (yes, with two Ls) claims that its e-bikes have the longest range in the world, at up to 350km on a single charge. The Flluid-2 (up to 25km/h) and Flluid-2S (up to 45km/h) have two removable batteries totalling 2000W capacity.

The coolest looking e-bike I’ve seen is the Evolve Project BMX, made in the Gold Coast by electric skateboard company Evolve. It’s a classic story of innovation. In 2008, Jeff Anning was looking for an electric skateboard, but couldn’t find anything decent. So he spent three years designing his own, using high-quality parts, and he and wife Fleur sold their family home to manufacture the first batch (which sold out in under two weeks). Evolve has now made the beautiful chrome Project bike, with its small electric motor and battery under the seat.


We have Elvis Presley on The Pod Well Travelled this week. Or, to be more precise, Penny Thomas and I discussed Elvis, Graceland and touring the southern States of America. Last week’s episode on The Taylor Swift Effect was an epic, and is still there, where you get your podcasts.