Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 21 November, 2023

Pair of wandering albatrosses in the Drake Passage.

With news of festivals for foodies and art lovers, plus expeditions at sea, Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield peruses another week in Travel


Cunard has partnered with Australian bookstore Dymocks to bring a Literature Festival at Sea to Aussie waters in late 2024. Departing December 11, 2024, the Australian Literature Festival at Sea (Voyage Q435) is a five-night return sailing from Sydney to Tasmania aboard Queen Elizabeth. A Cunard spokesperson says: “It will offer guests a remarkable fusion of literature and travel, bringing together award-winning authors, passionate readers, and aspiring writers in an inspiring maritime setting.” And Cunard has just announced that British author Alexander McCall Smith and bestselling Australian author Fiona McIntosh will join the voyage, to share their experiences, insights and creative processes. Alexander McCall Smith has written more than 100 books including The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series set in Botswana. Remember fabulous Mma Precious Ramotswe, the main character? The book was published in 1998 — and there have been 23 novels in the series. Fiona McIntosh is the author of the hit Jack Hawksworth crime series.


The National Gallery of Victoria’s big summer exhibition is the NGV Triennial, from December 3 to April 2024. It will take over all four levels of the NGV International building, displaying the work of more than 120 artists, designers and collectives. They include Yoko Ono and Tracey Emin, Agnieszka Pilat’s robot dogs painting live in the gallery, and a monumental thumbs up sculpture by David Shrigley.


The 40th annual Kingsland Catfish Art and Food Festival took place on November 18, in Kingsland, in coastal Georgia in the US. The Kingsland Catfish Festival is one of the area’s most cherished and enduring events, with plenty of local seafood. It’s on the south-west coast of the US (just above Florida). Make a note for next year.


The 22nd Ord Valley Muster is from May 17 to 25, 2024, in Kununurra, in the East Kimberley. The Screaming Jets will perform at the Kimberley Moon Experience.


Ponant has launched a 52-page Ultimate Kimberley Expedition Guide. The nicely designed guide covers the ins and outs of sailing along the Kimberley coastline, going in to specific details about the vessels in its fleet and outlining itineraries. Request a copy at It also features insights from expedition operations manager Sandrine Erwin-Rose and Ponant’s photo ambassador, Nick Rains.


Sandrine Erwin-Rose and I will have many things in common — one is a love of the albatross. To see albatrosses wheeling at the back of an expedition ship makes my heart soar, too …

+ I pray for wind in the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica, as the big wandering albatross needs wind to fly. For every metre of “drop”, these birds can glide 23m, at a maximum speed of 85km/h, though they generally cruise about 55km/h. A wandering albatross can live up to 60 years and fly up to 8.5 million kilometres during that lifetime.

+ But Sandrine takes her interest a considerable step further, through her support of albatross conservation work. She explains that 20 of the world’s 22 species of albatrosses can be found in the southern hemisphere, with 14 species found in the subantarctic islands and 12 of these breeding on a number of the islands. But albatrosses are one of the world’s most threatened groups of birds, with 15 of those 22 species considered vulnerable or endangered. Threats come from both the sea (particularly from longline fishing) and land (primarily from feral or introduced pests).


Ice that lasts up to three days? That’s what myCOOLMAN is claiming for its 16-litre icebox. It has removable storage baskets, and a dry storage compartment with a silicon net in the top of the lid (you could keep keys or your phone in there). It has locking options and can hold 22 (375ml) drink cans. It is $119 from and outdoor gear retailers.


Jetstar’s multimillion-dollar upgrade of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet could unlock flights to India and Sri Lanka. It includes building in lie-flat crew rest areas, which means they can fly longer routes. Jetstar Group chief executive, Stephanie Tully tells us: “The new crew rest areas mean our crew will be able to get the rest they need to operate longer flights, unlocking the possibility of exciting new destinations like Sri Lanka and India.” Jetstar’s 787s have so far operated more than 54,000 flights to international destinations such as Bali, Honolulu, Tokyo, Seoul, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok. The upgrade will also bring more in-flight connectivity and includes a complete overhaul of the economy and business class cabins, with all new seats. Business class seats will increase from 21 to 44, in line with demand, though the economy seats will have the same leg room as before.


The Boeing 787 uses up to 25 per cent less fuel than previous generation aircraft — with an equivalent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. This has been achieved through its lighter, composite construction, modern engines, improved aerodynamics and state-of-the-art flying systems. A Jetstar spokesperson says: “To further reduce overall aircraft weight and fuel burn, the fleet’s current seat-back screens will be removed, a change facilitated by the rollout of inflight wi-fi and content streaming to personal devices, and the new Recaro seats and exterior paint will also weigh less.”