Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 20 June, 2023

With the latest on the upcoming wildflower season, a new flight out of Perth, and reducing airline waste, Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield reviews another week in travel


Last week I told you about our Country Coach Days, and all three days sold out quickly. We had launched the trips in eTravel Digital Edition, which comes as an email to inboxes every Wednesday. Sign up and you get to hear about our events and tours even before they get to these pages. Go to and we just ask for your first name, last name and email address, to receive our free eTravel.


WA wildflower and landscape specialist Grady Brand will be on the coach days with us. And Grady has been travelling Australia’s Coral Coast this week, first to Kalbarri and then Shark Bay. He sent this wildflower update for the coming season.

“With the late start to the winter rains, it’s still too early to determine if there’s going to be a good everlasting flowering throughout the Mulga country. But the sand plains will definitely reward travellers with an array of wildflowers in September, October and November. The country has benefited from good rains over the last few years and looks in good health.”

Grady’s tip is to aim for Kalbarri National Park in November for great displays of the feather flowers (verticordia) — one of his personal favourites.


The boardwalk is still closed and fenced off at the Hamelin Pool stromatolites in Shark Bay World Heritage Area . The jetty was damaged back in April 2021 in cyclone Seroja, and there’s no sign of repair. Stromatolites give a significant window into Earth’s evolutionary history, adding oxygen to our atmosphere and indicating what the planet looked like 3.5 billion years ago. I understand the boardwalk is due to reopen in late-2023. But I’m not holding my breath. They can still be (just) seen from the Hamelin Pool quarry, but the view is limited.


“Direct flights between Perth and Tokyo now on sale.” No, it’s not one of our advertisements, but an official ministerial media statement issued by the Government of WA on June 13.

All Nippon Airlines will fly direct between Perth and Tokyo three times a week from October 29. For November, economy class flights between Perth and Tokyo are showing from $2046 and $3470, and the return economy flight is from $1519 and $2219 — a minimum of $3565 and maximum of $5689, economy return.

In the words of the WA Government media statement: “Tickets for the Perth to Tokyo direct flight are available at”


Last week our aviation writer, Emma Kelly, wrote about airlines working to reduce waste, which prompted Tanya Wilkins of The Hygiene Co. in South Australia to contact me: “Excellent piece over the weekend. I wanted to give you the tip that we now have plastic-free wet wipes available so airlines can further reduce their single-use plastic use. We are Australia’s first dedicated manufacturer of plastic-free wipes, and hoping that the Australian Government follows the UK’s lead and bans plastic wipes altogether.”

In the UK, environment minister Therese Coffey has said wet wipes containing plastic will be banned in England under plans to reduce water pollution. It should come into force over the next year.


Wet wipes are flying parents’ best friend — just as cabin crew are. And Qantas crew are more comfortable, as gender-based uniform rules are relaxed. Employees identifying as male can wear make-up and long hair, and those identifying as female will not have to wear make-up and shoes with heels. In addition to flat shoes, all cabin crew will be allowed to wear the same sorts of jewellery, including big watches. All long hair has to be worn in a ponytail or bun.


But Hainan Airlines has a new and very definite policy regarding cabin crew. A flight attendant 158cm tall (the average height for women in China) can weigh no more than 48kg. If they exceed this “standard weight” by 5 per cent, they have their weight monitored and undergo reviews. Anyone more than 10 per cent over will be immediately suspended from flying duties and be put on a supervised “weight-reduction plan”. China’s fourth-biggest carrier, Hainan Airlines has been busy handling the social media backlash for its new policy.


The Queensland Government has announced that Fraser Island’s name has officially changed to its traditional Indigenous title, K’gari.


The “Bali Ruler” by which we West Australians have traditionally measured travel package prices is back. Like this . . . five nights at Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa, with all meals, club access, three hours of daily free-flow drinks and massages from $1999 a room. There’s 150m of private beachfront and more than 9.3 hectares of tropical gardens. 1300 889 900.