Weekly Travel News & Views: February 26 Edition

There's lots to talk about this week in travel, finds Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield


Next Thursday, March 3, is the day WA reopens to the world, and the rest of Australia. Oh, you already knew that? Pray excuse, but where else could I start this edition.

On March 17, 2020, I returned from Oman with my new friends on a Travel Club Tour, as the world shut down around us. As I write this, I am preparing to head out overseas for the first time since . . .


Despite being a travel writer, I’m not a dreamer.

What we haven’t done over the last almost-two-years is blather on about places you couldn’t go to. We started by reporting on credits and refunds, then wrote about local parks, broadened into the whole of understaffed, full-priced, fully booked WA when we could, and dipped in and out of other States and Territories when it was sensible for us to suggest that you could do that, too.

Every week, we worked to bring sensible suggestions, and places directly in sight.

Indeed, it was only after the border backflip that we pursued our Stories Without Borders theme in our Saturday and Sunday Travel supplements, knowing the big day wasn’t far off.

And now, the big day is just a few days away.


Tourism Industry Council chief executive Evan Hall believes travellers will soon start turning up in WA, because relatives will be keen to reunite with loved ones.

Visitors to Queensland will no longer have to wear masks in most indoor settings or cafes from Friday, March 4.


Viking is celebrating 25 years in business. It began with four river cruise ships in 1997 and now has a river fleet of 72 ships. They dominate in Europe, but there are new, custom-built ships on the Mississippi, the Mekong and the Nile. And Viking is celebrating with the release of its 2023-2024 River Cruises brochure — a 240-page window into the colourful adventures ahead. Along with a host of trusted favourites, there are five new European river cruise itineraries, including a 17-day Eastern European cruise and four new cruises that take in the pure magic of Europe during the Christmas season.


Christmas in Europe is magical. And Viking has four new winter season departures in late 2022:

Christmas on the Rhine between Amsterdam and Basel from $3995 per person.

Christmas on the Danube between Budapest and Regensburg from $3995 per person.

Danube Christmas Delights between Budapest and Passau from $3995 per person.

Christmas on the Seine between Paris and Rouen and back to Paris from $3695 per person.

Each voyage lasts eight days, and prices are for a standard stateroom and include savings of up to $1000 per couple and $1000 flight credit per couple.

Travel agents, phone Viking on 138 747 or visit vikingcruises.com.au


Sixty years ago, on February 20, 1962, the NASA spacecraft Friendship 7 set out on its three-orbit Mercury-Atlas 6 mission. And with it came the moment that Perth became known as “The City of Light”. Locals put on lights and waved torches, and astronaut John Glenn spotted the gleaming pinprick surrounded by the dark of desert and ocean, as he became the first American to orbit the Earth.

The city of light logo, pictured above, to be used in addition to the city’s formal crest in events and branding, was unveiled on Saturday, on the 60th anniversary of Glenn’s flyover.


Christmas has come early to the Great Central Road — the road from Laverton in the WA Goldfields to the WA/NT border. We then continue to Uluru. Funding has been approved to seal the entire 872km of it over the next seven years. The Commonwealth Government is contributing $400 million, with the State Government chipping in $100m. WA taxpayers have already spent about $52m upgrading the route, with an additional $112m already allocated for works over 147km through to 2025-26.

The Great Central Road is the WA section of what is referred to as the Outback Way — the 2720km route between Laverton and Winton in Queensland.


Bicycle organisations want us to adopt the “Dutch Reach”. This is when a driver uses their left hand to open the driver-side door, forcing them to turn and spot incoming cyclists or motorcyclists.

A submission co-signed by Bicycle Network, Amy Gillett Foundation, We Ride Australia, AusCycling and RACV, proposes that it be included in all road rule handbooks and learner driver materials. A spokesperson for the group explains: “The technique has been recognised internationally as an important measure to prevent collisions between bikes and open vehicle doors, an incident commonly referred to as ‘dooring’.”


Brickwrecks: Sunken Ships in LEGO® Bricks is going on tour to Albany, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie. Shipwrecks in the exhibition include the Batavia, a Dutch trading vessel that sank in 1629 in the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, off the WA coast.

The exhibition was developed by the WA Museum, Australian National Maritime Museum and Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught. It’s at the Museum of the Great Southern, Albany, until May 8, before moving to the Museum of the Goldfields, Kalgoorlie for May 21, and then the Museum of Geraldton from August 27.


And finally, this Thursday, for “march free day”, March 3, we’ll have special coverage in the Travel pages of the Today liftout. What is MY BIG LIST of places I’m looking forward to revisiting?