DATE SETS COURSE
The announcement of February 5 as the day WA’s borders open changes our perspective. It extends our focus. It broadens our horizons.
I’m not suggesting that everyone will immediately jump on a plane out of here — though (as you may read in the following pages) there’s a huge number of planes leaving on that day alone.
I’m suggesting that it gives a point from which we can plan future journeys, adventures and holidays.
We have taken that approach in this “Anywhere But Here” edition. We offer a few suggestions for days out and short side trips for those who will visit friends and family for stays which might be more extended than usual.
And we might surprise you with the affordability of airfares.
But then we look up to and over the horizon. The reintroduction of the Qantas direct flight between Perth and London, and the introduction of a new non-stop flight to Rome, is big news. But so is the COVID insurance built into every Emirates ticket.
Since April last year, we have stayed home, visited local parks, expanded our travel over the State and interstate where it's been possible, done the right thing, and waited. The wait isn’t over, but last Monday, and February 5, are series waypoints on this strange journey.
ANTARCTICA TAKE TWO
We sold out our trip to Antarctica, but so many people were interested and missed out that we are planning another, for early 2023. We will partner with our friends at Collette (who really protect their clients’ bookings), head to Buenos Aires, fly to Ushuaia and join National Geographic Explorer there, cross the Drake Passage and then spend our days sailing the coast and bays of the Antarctic Peninsula. There will be icebergs! There will be penguins! We don’t have full details yet, but are calling for expressions of interest. Let Chiara know (without committing) on 1800 429 000.
Geoffrey Thomas’ story about the Islander ferry taking folk to Rottnest Island in the 1950s and 60s brought a flood (!) of memories for reader Terri Van Lamoen: “One trip, I remember the sea was so rough (mid-January, leaving the island) that everyone was soaking wet and a lot of people seasick. However, the biggest controversy was that the bar had to be closed because all the glasses had crashed from shelving on to the floor, so they could not serve drinks.”
Terri adds: “It was a time when a working-class family could afford a front row bungalow on Thomson Bay. The old bungalows had a wood stove and Dad’s first thing on arrival was to boil up several buckets of water and thoroughly clean the outdoor dunny. No bathrooms — cold outdoor shower or line up and pay to use the shower block.”
CRUISE IN THE NEWS
Norwegian Cruise Line will become the first cruise line to homeport in Panama City, Panama, offering round-trip Panama Canal voyages from March 20 on Norwegian Jewel.
P&O Cruises Australia has extended its pause until mid-April 2022 — the 23rd cruise cancellation announcement since the rolling pause began in March 2020 and a full two-year suspension of operations.
President of P&O Cruises Australia Sture Myrmell says: “Federal and State governments are yet to outline their requirements for restart despite the nation’s high vaccination rate, the cruise industry’s comprehensive health protocols, vaccination policies for guests and crew and the successful resumption of cruising in other international markets.”
MELBOURNE’S NEW REALITY
Journey Beyond’s Melbourne Skydeck has relaunched (it was Eureka Skydeck).
The highest observation platform in the Southern Hemisphere, it opened on Wednesday, (December 15), with the biggest virtual reality theatre of its kind in the world. The Melbourne Skydeck Voyager Theatre has 24 Positron chairs playing a film that takes guests through 16 iconic Melbourne experiences.
IMPROVEMENTS FOR SHORE AROUND WA
The Australind Jetty will be rebuilt, costing taxpayers $3 million. Originally built in the 1980s and popular with locals and visitors alike, it was closed in January when it was deemed no longer safe.
Improvements are to be made to Jetty Baths Park on the Bunbury waterfront. There will be new pathways giving better beach access, landscaping, improved seating, and picnic and barbecue facilities. The makeover follows the renewal of other local foreshore areas, including the expansion and upgrade of the Dolphin Discovery Centre and work on the Koombana Bay foreshore.
WA documentary maker, Peter Harrison, pictured above, is looking for someone to travel the WA outback with him. He says: “I’m looking for a drone pilot to join me on my annual adventures in the outback. It might be a ‘senior’ with plenty of time. We will be recording those special people working on remote cattle stations and in helicopter mustering as well as filming crocodiles, buffalo, birds, dingoes and unique wildlife.”
Peter travels to outback locations throughout WA every year and, by invitation from property managers and owners, has access to locations where cameras are rarely seen or even permitted. He works closely with Indigenous people and is guided by them in filming their unique culture. The proposed North West documentary has attracted interest from cattle station operators, local councils, Indigenous groups and tourism centres. Call Peter on 0458 544 584 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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