From the recent Round the World Dinner to car rental deals, Travel Editor STEPHEN SCOURFIELD surveys another busy week in travel
Our recent Round the World Dinner took us across the oceans of the world, to India, Africa and Italy in music, food and words at The University Club of Western Australia. Steve Richter’s music, particularly for India and Africa, and especially his marimba playing, were spectacular. We also launched a Travel Club Tour of India for 2023, which I will lead and which has been put together with partners Imagine Holidays (who also partnered with us for the Round the World Dinner). The India tour gets its public launch in eTravel Digital Edition next Wednesday. eTravel comes to your inbox free. Sign up at westtravelclub.com.au/join
Thanks to our friends at Imagine Holidays, at the “Uni Club”, to the more-than 150 readers who joined us for the evening, and to my great friend, composer and percussionist Steve Richter. And thanks to reader Gavin Paterson for this splendid picture of Steve playing on stage.
WALKING THE TALK
Walk Talk Taste Margaret River is back and offering gourmet walking tours after more than two COVID-disrupted years. Its evening tour relaunches on Saturday, October 29, with the brunch tour expected to return each Friday from early January 2023. The four-hour tours around town guide visitors to some of the region’s best food, wine, gin and hospitality. walktalktaste.com
On April 20, 2023, the Sun, Moon and Earth will align to create a total solar eclipse. It will be best seen at Exmouth. It has just been announced that a Dark Sky Festival will be held in Exmouth and surrounding areas from April 19-21, to “enhance the total solar eclipse experience”. There will be a program of events in Exmouth, Carnarvon and Onslow, including stargazing, science and astronomy activities, live musical performances and dining experiences. ningalooeclipse.com
We are told that Exmouth is already booked solid for the eclipse. But the unromantically named Welch Street Overflow has been developed to provide an extra 500 camp sites and bookings have opened for this at exmouth.wa.gov.au. The unpowered sites are aimed at camper trailers, motorhomes and campervans, and dogs will be allowed, on a leash. exmouth.wa.gov.au
There’s a good chance that Exmouth is going to be full of pale people in tight black jeans complaining about the quality of the coffee next year. There will be direct Qantas flights between Melbourne and Exmouth twice a week from April 30, 2023. It also means West Australians in the area can get to Melbourne without coming to Perth. I guess Melbourne will be full of sun-scarred people in thongs, footy shorts and flannel shirts complaining about the quality of the coffee.
CAMEL YE FAITHFUL
On a recent outback tour at Melangata Station near Yalgoo, our friends at Global Gypsies crossed paths with lone adventurer John Elliott, a former chief executive and successful insurance broker, who has walked across the continent with camels in tow. John told them he stepped out of the business world and retired aged 34, researched everything he could about overland travel and camels, bought a dromedary “mob” and set out from Queensland to walk solo across Australia from east to west. johnelliott.com.au
Global Gypsies is holding another basic mechanics course on Saturday, November 19, 2022. The one-day introductory workshop is designed to prepare novice four-wheel-drivers and caravaners for their outdoor adventures and to teach newbie explorers practical and basic mechanical skills. It is $399 per person or $550 per couple. globalgypsies.com.au and 9341 6727
Dometic Outdoor has launched what the designers say is the world’s first, fully integrated inflatable swag tent. It has an integrated inflatable mattress, durable inflatable frame, awning, extendable poles, and a pump to inflate it. Its carry bag converts into a backpack. It is available for solos or couples. A spokesperson says: “Multiple inflation and deflation points offer the most convenient and simple use, saving time in setting up and packing down your camp site.“ Depending where you shop online, I’m looking at prices about $799 for the single and $899 for the double. dometic.com
SAVING THE CASE
The lock on reader Ann Strautins’ seven-year-old American Tourister suitcase jammed on a recent trip to Eyre Peninsula. Ann says: “Lucky our coach driver had his Leatherman and was able to snip the zip lock so I could access my contents, and I also carry an external lock so was able to secure my belongings.” She found the case’s warranty depreciates 10 per cent every year and doesn’t cover locks, and her travel insurance wasn’t going to be useful for a minor item like this either, when you look at excess charges. Ann went to Leather and Luggage Repair Centre in Walcott Street, North Perth, who repaired the lock mechanism at a very reasonable price.
Car hire company Thrifty has launched a deal in Australia and New Zealand, for bookings of three or more days, which include a Saturday. There’s 10 per cent off bookings for travel between mid-October and mid-November, 15 per cent off between mid-November and mid-December and 20 per cent off between February and November 2023.
KINTO is taking a flexible new twist on car rentals. Cars can be rented from an hour up to a year and 94 per cent of the passenger fleet is hybrid vehicles. It will soon be 100 per cent. It has flat rate pricing and the cars are rented from your phone — all completely digital and self-serve. You even unlock the car from your phone. kinto.com.au
A couple of readers flew to Queensland this week to take delivery of a camper trailer they’ve been waiting for. They sent their four-wheel-drive round on a ship for about $1200 — a nice trick. By now, they will be touring the Sunshine State.
BOUND FOR GREECE
There’s a good chance Greece will be full of West Australians next year (where I never complain about the quality of those short, black, intense coffees). We have a constant stream of interest from readers on travel in Greece and the Greek Islands, and have been writing a lot about this in these pages and in Sunday Travel. I am constantly hearing about readers’ plans to travel there.
Reader Steven Carter says he travelled to Italy recently with Tick Travel Insurance cover, caught COVID and had to isolate. Steven says: “I couldn’t use some prepaid travel accommodation and tickets. Tick did not pay for the lost money because I didn’t get an official test — I just did a RAT result. This wasn’t good enough. Please warn all your readers to read the fine print.”
Online booker Expedia has dug into data to come up with its 2023 Air Travel Hacks Report. And a spokesperson says it identifies some tricks:
Book on Sunday to save up to 20 per cent on average.
Book at least three months before domestic flights to save 30 per cent on average and book six months before international flights to save 25 per cent on average.
Depart at the end of the week to save up to 20 per cent on average.
Depart at midday to help reduce chance of cancellations.
Flight cancellations are most likely to happen in January and least likely in February.
Historically, flight delays were also shorter in February compared with June.
A traveller in England went fishing and jagged a pretty poorly looking squid. With their economy imploding, things are getting expensive over there, so he decided to sell it on the dockside. But, he reports, you don’t get much for sick-squid in England these days.