Weekly Travel News & Views: January 1 Edition

As we head into the new year, STEPHEN SCOURFIELD looks at some of the latest travel stories, quirky or otherwise


A long-time Rottnest visitor recalls her dad’s advice as they prepared for their annual summer holiday on the island: “Take as many clothes as you can fit in a wallet, and as much money as you can fit in a backpack.”


Actor Kirsten Dunst says that quarantining in New Zealand with a two-year-old during the shoot for the movie The Power of the Dog nearly drove her to the edge. She was working with her husband Jesse Plemons and actor Benedict Cumberbatch on the Jane Campion film, which was released in Australia in November, and on Netflix in December.


J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is set in the English countryside, though filmmaker Peter Jackson rather shanghaied it for New Zealand. An underlying theme of the story is the “old way” and rural life under threat from the coming industrial revolution. When Tolkien had to send a cheque to the tax department (the Inland Revenue in England), he wrote on it: “Not one penny for Concorde.” He was not a fan of technology — even the car. The rise of industry threatens the ecology of Middle Earth, trees give way to industry and fuel for the furnaces of Isengard.


More than eight million working Australians now have more than 185 million days of annual leave due. That’s up from 149 million days a year ago.

The figures are from Roy Morgan research company, which says this is a record.


As everyone gets moving again, Jetstar, Qantas, Rex, Virgin Australia and Australian airport authorities have had to gang up to launch a joint campaign to promote respect for frontline staff. It has been prompted by an increase in disruptive behaviour by some passengers. (You’d really have thought we’d have all been through enough to learn to be kind to one another.) It is being backed by the Australian Federal Police and supported by a new aviation Code of Practice.

The joint campaign, No More Carry On, calls for patience and preparedness as travellers, airline crew and airport teams navigate a return to widespread flying while managing COVID-19-related travel requirements.

Hundreds of incidents of disruptive and abusive behaviour were reported in 2021, many triggered by refusal to follow mask requirements. In extreme cases, crew have been threatened and physically assaulted by passengers.


Viking has released its full 2024 Egypt river cruise season. It includes the popular 12-day Pharaohs and Pyramids trip in a loop from Cairo to Karnak Temple, with its 136 pillars, Dendera, one of Egypt’s best-preserved and less frequented temples, Aswan’s spice market, and then a trip by felucca on the Nile. Viking ANZ managing director Michelle Black says: “Our Egypt river itinerary is a favourite among our Australian and New Zealand guests, so it’s fantastic that we can offer the full 2024 season so far in advance. This includes a total of 160 departures across all four of our Egypt river ships. which have been specifically built to navigate the Nile River.” The trip is from $7995 per person in a deluxe stateroom, including savings of $2000 per couple. It includes a three-night stay in Cairo including meals and excursions and a flight to Luxor to the Valley of the Kings. vikingcruises.com.au and 138 747


Life jackets will remain mandatory at the rock fishing hotspot Salmon Holes, in Torndirrup National Park near Albany. Thirteen people have died since 1983 after being washed off the rocks there. During a life jacket trial from 2019 to 2021, nearly 3000 people were observed fishing there. Of the 449 fishing from the rocks, 432 wore lifejackets and 22 were tied to rock bolts. During the trial, 21 infringements (modified penalty of $200) were issued for not wearing a life jacket when on the rocks.


Reader Roslyn Walker was kind enough to write and thank us for our recent story about WA’s 12 days of Christmas. For the four calling birds, we told the story of John Hutchinson, who devoted his whole life to recording WA bird sounds. He was Roslyn’s uncle. She says: “He came from our large extended family and never married. He left his estate to Bush Heritage. With many members of his family, I was present in May 2015, when he presented his collection of tapes to the State Library. On this occasion, he also handed over tapes of sacred corroboree recordings that have now also been preserved. John was a quiet, unassuming man, but he would have been delighted that you recognised him and remembered his passion for bird sounds.”