Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 2 January 2024

Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide.

Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield is just back from Uluru and is looking forward to another big year in Travel


I’m just back from Uluru, where I celebrated the new year along with nearly 100 readers, and I was pleased to be in such great company. We got there on a Holidays of Australia charter flight, direct from Perth to Yulara airport, and spent three nights at Sails in the Desert, visited the rock, and saw in 2024. And we’re hoping for a similar charter flight, but with a very big twist, as a West Travel Club long weekend in 2024. Watch this space.


And I should add, of course, that we wish all our readers a happy, peaceful, stimulating, fulfilling and exciting 2024. Being Travel Editor might look simply like the best job in the world, but there’s the odd bit of backroom work too. I’ve already planned and committed to 20 travel guides for 2024, in addition to our usual coverage in big editions in Saturday Travel, Sunday Travel and eTravel Digital Edition. That guide planner went out to the travel industry months ago, and we have significant support locked in for the whole year. It’s going to be a whopper ... so you can expect lots of stories, full of inspiration and information.

These are just the first five guides ...

+ Our Big Travel 2024 Guide January 13. Trends, tips and travel essentials.

+ Antarctica Guide 2024 January 27. When, how and who with.

+ Cruising Guide February 10. Long-term planning and last-minute deals.

+ India for Beginners February 24. A practical guide with sound advice.

+ Rail Guide March 9. From touring trips to simply using rail to get around.


If you don’t receive our free eTravel Digital Edition in your inbox on Wednesdays, sign up at We just ask for your first name, last name and email address.


The Pod Well Travelled this week is a hoot. Penny Thomas invited staff writers Cheyanne Enciso and Megan French to join her and chat about their time on Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady. Three of them have lots of fun talking about it — and there’s more insight into how Virgin Voyages goes about things. Subscribe where you get your podcasts. Penny records and edits an episode every week.


Australians in paid employment now have 200 million days of annual leave due, according to new data from the Roy Morgan research company. For those 8.8 million Australians, that’s up from 185 million days two years ago. So, if you think the planes are full now, look out for 2024.


Plenty of our readers are happy to be away, but within striking distance of home. Tasmania’s the flavour of the month, and so too is Adelaide. It has beaches, hills, wine regions and some good deals:

Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury Built in 1839, this heritage-listed building (in the main picture at the top of the page), was once the home for offices for the State Treasury and is now surely one of Adelaide’s most significant historical sites. We have found an overnight stay in a premier studio room, with a kitchenette, high speed wi-fi and a spacious bathroom for $229, with a bottle of wine upon arrival, 12pm checkout and free parking for one car. It has to be booked by January 1.

Vibe Hotel Adelaide This is in Adelaide’s vibrant East End, and we have found 10 per cent off overnight accommodation, with breakfast at the new Storehouse Flinders East restaurant. It is from $206 per night, for booking and stays before January 31, 2024. And there’s free cancellation up to 2pm one day before arrival.


The team at MSC Cruises says it has identified five trends that are driving travel decisions for 2024 and beyond. They all add up to a hunt for the biggest “experience-value return”.

Extended stays An MSC spokesperson says: “Cruise travellers are increasingly expressing a desire for more time in their destinations, and itineraries with extended or overnight port calls are gaining popularity.” Many of MSC Cruises’ 2024 itineraries now have overnight stays, including some on the Greek island of Mykonos, and in Dubai.

Cultural exploration Our insider says travellers are more eager than ever to explore diverse cultures and experience new destinations. We are not content with just visiting well-known tourist attractions: “Instead, they seek to experience destinations in a way that reflects the local lifestyle.” And more of that has been worked into MSC itineraries.

Upgraded experiences Travellers globally are also increasingly seeking more exclusive and luxurious experiences. As a reaction to this, MSC Cruises now offers the MSC Yacht Club — an “elevated cruising experience” within the ship. It was introduced in 2008, but gained what our insider calls “immense popularity”, leading to its expansion to 14 ships. It includes suites, private lounges and a dedicated high-end restaurant.

European cities The MSC spokesperson says: “Travellers are more enthusiastic than ever to delve into the vibrant cities of Europe.”

Experience-value return MSC is finding that more gen X and millennials are considering cruising for the first time — partly because they see the value, compared to land-based options. “Couples, families or groups of friends can choose itineraries containing multiple must-see destinations,” says the spokesperson. And, of course, there’s all that dining and entertainment, and wellness facilities on board.


And as you read this, colleague Penny Thomas is on the way to Antarctica, through Buenos Aires and then Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina. She is sailing with Hurtigruten and there will be plenty of stories (and a podcast) when she gets back.


I’ve long been a fan of waterproof gloves over inner gloves for Antarctica. And now I have a pair of Sealskinz waterproof sporting gloves, which can be pinned back to expose the thumb and index finger — ideal for those using a touchscreen for their phone camera. They are rugged and waterproof, but breathable too. The palm is goatskin suede for added feel. I paid $107.91 at More information at


It’s been a big year for national parks in WA. The halfway point of the WA Government’s Plan for Our Parks was reached when the 220,000ha Bunuba National Park was declared in August in the Kimberley. It followed the new Matuwa Kurrara Kurrara National Park, 160km north-east of Wiluna in the Goldfields, which was declared in May. Along with the Lake Carnegie nature reserve in the Goldfields, that’s more than 800,000ha — the size of Bali. In August, we also had the new Pimbee National Park and the expansion of the Kennedy Range National Park in the Gascoyne.