Cruise deals, flight tips and a ship named for Egypt's god of the dead are just some of the topics covered in Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield's column this week
Picking up our cover and thinking “art and WA” brings me happily to The Perth Mint. The connection between gold and Indigenous West Australians has been recognised in a mosaic. The “Pretty Country” or “Kwobidak Boodja” artwork designed by Kevin Bynder, a Whadjuk-Yued-Balladong artist who lives in Nollamara, has been created and installed by Fremantle artist Jenny Dawson. It is part of The Perth Mint’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan and will be the starting place for all tours of The Perth Mint’s historic 310 Hay Street building.
The Perth Mint tracks monthly numbers on the tours and July was the best month for bookings since pre-COVID, in January 2020. June 2022 was at a similar level to June 2019. “Hopefully a sign that things are bouncing back!” says a spokesman. More than 34,000 people visited the mint in the last financial year.
More than 1900 of the 2000 “Maali” or “black swan” coins designed by Mr Bynder and released for sale at the end of May, have sold, with Germany and US being the biggest market for the coin. The Perth Mint donated $10,000 from the sale to Mr Bynder’s charity of choice, The Magic Coat.
The Magic Coat is a tool developed by Di Wilcox and her team to help create confident, calm and caring kids who know how to problem solve, feel safe and manage their emotions so that they have good mental health. themagiccoat.com
Global travel search engine Skyscanner has found the top five cities and countries Australians are booking travel to this summer are all overseas. Bali, New Delhi (India), Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), Seoul (South Korea) and Manila (Philippines) top the list, so there’s a good deal of VFR in the figures . . . visiting friends and relatives. Skyscanner’s spokesman Brendan Walsh says: “Australians’ travel spirit is back in full force with strong demand for international travel since borders began opening earlier this year.
“We can clearly see Aussies are making up for the time lost over the past two years when it comes to travel.”
Brendan also shares the Skyscanner team’s tips for finding the best deals:
Set up price alerts Signing up to Skyscanner price alerts helps travellers jump on flights as soon as the price drops.
Be flexible Searching multiple dates and airports gives the best chance of a bargain.
Mix and match Mixing and matching the airlines and airports can cut costs. A spokesperson says: “Look at flying out with one airline and back with another, or out of one airport and back into another, as this can save you money.”
New national research from Jetstar shows that 14.4 million Australians are planning a holiday in the next 12 months. Generation Zs prefer to travel with friends (40 per cent), while millennials opt for their partner (34 per cent). When it comes to choosing a travel buddy, the least desired traits included being too frugal or stingy (20 per cent).
CRUISE FROM $654
MSC Cruises has discounts of up to 50 per cent, per person, for sailings in Europe next year. As we pointed out in our Europe 2023 Guide last week, now is the time to plan and look for deals, because it looks like being a busy year. The discount is valid on selected sailings departing April 2023 to November 2023. Itineraries include MSC Preziosa, departing Hamburg, Germany on September 24, 2023, and calling at Rotterdam in the Netherlands; Zeebrugge for Bruges and Brussels in Belgium; Le Havre for Paris, France and Southampton for London in the UK. The seven-night cruise costs from $654 per person twin share. 1300 028 502 and msccruises.com.au
ON SNOOZE CONTROL
I have, of course, been following the story of the Ethiopian Airlines plane with two pilots who could not be reached by air traffic control . . . because they were asleep at the controls. They were only woken when an alarm alerted them that the autopilot system had disconnected. They circled back to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and landed 25 minutes later. They have now been suspended. Ethiopian Airlines has issued a press release saying they have been “removed from operation pending further investigation”.
BIG BACKLASH . . .
it takes me to the backlash that European budget carrier Wizz Air chief executive Jozsef Varadi received after saying pilots should push through tiredness. “We cannot run this business when every fifth person of a base reports sickness because the person is fatigued,” he said. “We are all fatigued but sometimes it is required to take the extra mile. The damage is huge when we are cancelling the flight, it’s huge.” It is even bigger when the pilot is asleep, one would think.
GOD OF THE DEAD
Viking’s river ship, in Egypt, has been named for Osiris, god of the dead. His wife and sister was Isis, goddess of motherhood, magic, fertility, death, healing, and rebirth. It was said that Osiris and Isis were deeply in love with each other, even in the womb. The ship was named in Luxor, Egypt, with the company’s first ceremonial godfather, George Herbert, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon.
Closer to home, Scenic has announced its 2023/24 Endless Wonders of Australia collection. The 14 tours range from Queensland’s rural heartland to alpine Tasmania. The 17-day Outback Landscapes covers three States, from Melbourne to Mungo National Park, Bendigo, Broken Hill and the ghost town of Silverton. It is from $9330 per person including an earlybird saving of up to $600 per couple for new bookings made before October 31, 2022. scenic.com.au
PHOTOS & FLOWERS
Wildflower specialist Grady Brand, our lead Travel photographer Mogens Johansen and I are off on our Nice Day Out daily coach trips with readers next week. Three daily trips sold out quickly. Grady and I have just been out on a recce, and the country around Perth is looking refreshed, and in many places, flowers are out.
. . . and as you read this, Grady and I are camping with partners and “landscapists” Lesley Hammersley and Virginia Ward in Karara Rangeland Park.