Tripologist travel tips: Portugal doesn’t recognise Australian vaccine certificates


I’m a triple-vaccinated researcher hoping to attend a conference in Portugal in July. Since Portugal doesn’t recognise Australian vaccination certificates might I be turned around or quarantined? When will Portugal recognise Australia’s vaccine certificates, when will we be allowed to join the EU Digital COVID Certificate system and when will Portugal reopen to Australian travellers? A Dennis, Fortitude Valley QLD

Compared with other western European countries, Portugal has been slow to allow Australians to enter for leisure travel. Since the advice on the official website is unclear, I requested clarification from the Portuguese Consulate in Sydney. According to written advice from a spokesperson, “Direct travel from Australia is limited to essential purposes only (professional, study, family reunion and for health or humanitarian reasons), to be officially extended to all visitors shortly for non-essential travel. There is an ongoing process for the Australian COVID-19 vaccination certificates to be duly recognised in Portugal. You need a PCR test 72 hours before boarding.” Refer to the Visit Portugal website [visitportugal.com] for updates. The EU Digital COVID Certificate is not available to Australians since Australia’s International COVID Vaccine Certificate uses a different format from that approved by the European Commission.

My husband and I have six days in between family engagements in the UK in December. We will be in Cookham and would like to visit Bath and York, can we do both by train? We need to be in Birmingham on December 22. B. Corrigan, Mittagong NSW

From Cookham, in Berkshire, Bath is just over 90 minutes away by frequent train services. Bath to York is just over four hours and York to Birmingham is 2½ hours.

Unless York is an absolute must, I’d be inclined to spend the whole six nights in Bath and use this World Heritage-listed city as a base for exploring one of the loveliest parts of England. Right on your doorstep you’ve got Glastonbury, Stratford-upon-Avon and Wells Cathedral, a Gothic beauty and major pilgrimage site since medieval times. Just to the north are the storybook villages of The Cotswolds – Moreton-in-March, Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold – bordered to the west by the lovely and gracious city of Cheltenham. That’s more than enough for the time you have available, and Bath to Birmingham is less than two hours by train.

The Department of Health no longer requires a negative pre-departure test for travellers entering Australia. However the Department of Home Affairs requires us to complete a Digital Passenger Declaration that confirms our passport and vaccination certificate, but the government has that information. So why is the DPD required for Australian travellers? B. Nolan, Cremorne NSW

True that government departments have passport and vaccination information for Australians living in Australia but there’s more to it. For example those departments would have no vaccination record for Australians who live overseas and who may or may not have been vaccinated there. It is necessary to show evidence of a DPD when you check in for your flight to return to Australia but if check-in staff had to separate Australians domiciled overseas from those who are genuine residents, it gets complicated. Also, the DPD asks incoming passengers to identify which countries they have visited in the 14 days prior to arrival to determine whether they have been in an infection hotspot. It would not be in the national interest to allow Australians only to avoid that admission, therefore all must complete that DPD.

In October 2023 my wife and I are celebrating her birthday with our children and partners in the Dordogne. We’re looking at booking accommodation around Sarlat, thinking 8-10 adults. Any advice re accommodation, car hire and travel from Paris to Sarlat? E. Beck, Surrey Hills VIC

Take a look at Oliver’s Travels [oliverstravels.com], which specialises in upmarket European villas. Searching the Sarlat region I’m seeing half a dozen properties that would suit your group and I think you’d be perfectly happy with something like Le Prieure Esperance. However the Chateau de Cardou just a little to the west near Bergerac could be a contender if you need more room, and you don’t have to worry about the neighbours on the 150 hectare estate,

For car hire, try Rentalcars.com [rentalcars.com], they always seem to track down a better deal than I can, even as a loyal customer. What you might do is take a train from Paris to Bordeaux and pick up a hire car from there. The fastest trains from Paris Montparnasse take just over two hours. Limoges (3 hours 20 by train) is closer to your destination, but the choice of car-hire operators is smaller.

Got a travel question? Include your name and suburb or town and send it to Michael Gebicki – tripologist@traveller.com.au

Travel advice is general; readers should consider their personal circumstances.





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6 Tips For Planning The Ultimate Australian Family Holiday


Australia is a land of spectacular beaches, rainforests, museums, and just about every amusement that one can fathom. It is a perfect vacation destination for a family and here are some tips to plan the ultimate amazing Australian family holiday.

Know The Best Accommodation

Accommodation is an essential part of traveling with a family especially one with kids. If you are living the backpacking lifestyle you can stay anywhere but if you are traveling with a family you need to be sure you are meeting their requirements and also your budget. Do some timely research so you can get the best rates for whichever accommodation option you choose. Australia is known for its abundance of camping sites and caravan spots. Camping is educational and exciting for children and it offers a lot of entertainment even on a budget.

If camping is not part of your itinerary then find a hotel or cabin that offers facilities like swimming pools or an arcade so you can get some relaxation and still have your children reasonably entertained and busy during the day. Scheduled tours are also a great idea for those traveling with family.

Be Prepared For In-Flight Drama 

As any parent will tell you, children get bored and unmanageable on long flights. If you are traveling with kids, make sure you bring entertainment options and pre-packaged snacks for them to enjoy so they are not constantly creating a ruckus. Download movies and games on a tablet to keep them occupied.

A Survival Kit

Australia is the great down under and if you are interested in making the most of what nature has to offer there, you need to pack a basic survival kit especially when traveling with family. Consider medical supplies like antiseptic, Band-Aids, stomach medicine, painkillers, and then specific medicines if any of your children have special needs. Keeping mosquito and bug repellent (especially if you intend to hike) can prove invaluable. Sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection is also a must for everyone as Australia does get a lot of sun.

Special camping and hiking wear, as well as swimwear, is very important especially for children as they can get their clothes untidy very quickly and laundry costs an arm and a leg in most hotels unless you have rented an Airbnb. If you have planned some sophisticated activities having a little black dress or any kind of relevant formal attire will also help and rental services like dress hire Melbourne mean you don’t need to shop for expensive clothes.

The Weather Counts

While you may consider yourself a ‘go with the flow’ easy-going person, it is harder to travel with kids because they can get sick or uncomfortable more easily than adults. For that reason, you may want to consider what each season in Australia has to offer and what would suit your family the most. Visiting areas like Queensland is great for spring and summer but tropical weather changes and cyclones are also a concern for coastal areas. Many great sites in the outback can easily reach over 40 degrees Celsius and that means heat stroke, dehydration, or fever for young children especially if they are not taken care of properly. Areas like Tasmania can become freezing cold during winters so choose a seasonal medium that allows for comfortable sightseeing and activities. While ticket prices change seasonally, international travel typically does not allow traveling with a temporary paper license so you will have to check if your passport is renewed before you travel.

Pack in the Attractions

When you are in Australia you want to pack in as many attractions as possible during your time there. The Great Barrier Reef, the several beautiful national parks, and the uber-modern capital cities like Uluru all have a lot to offer in terms of experience and joy and your children will remember this trip for years to come! It is worthwhile to note that about 70% of Australia is simply the wilderness and the natural expanse of the outback so make sure your children loved trekking and camping as much as you do.

The Theme Park Capital

The Gold Coast is the place to be if you are traveling with kids because it hosts a plethora of attractions from beaches, tourist sites, and a plain gorgeous hinterland as far as the eye can see. The Seaworld Resort has all the marine life you’d love for your kids to see and Dreamworld offers the best of adrenaline-pumping amusement rides. Tiger Island is also great for families and WhiteWater world has water slides and games that everyone will enjoy. For lovers of movies, the Hollywood movie world is a singularly great attraction.



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The ultimate guide to Australian food for travelers


What is it? Products native to Australia, also known as “bush foods” or “bush tucker,” including (but not limited to) the following: fruits such as Kakadu plums, finger limes and quandongs; vegetables such as bush tomatoes, Warrigal greens, saltbushes and samphires; seasonings and nuts such as wattleseed, lemon myrtle and macadamia; and proteins such as kangaroo, wallaby, pipis, emu, crocodile, barramundi and yabbies.

Why it matters: First Nations Australians have a roughly 50,000-year relationship with this land, and they have an unparalleled knowledge of the flora and fauna that grows within it. The mainstream Australian food scene now acknowledges the nutritional benefits — and sheer volume of possibilities — found in native produce. Yuin man Dwayne Bannon-Harrison, an Indigenous culture educator and co-owner of Mirritya Mundya, which means “hungry blackfish” in the Ngarrigu language group of southeastern Australia, says there’s still a long way to go.

“The most important thing to remember, for us, is that people need to feel and see and understand our culture before they can eat our food,” he says.

These days, you might see native ingredients on restaurant menus — lemon myrtle dukkah, wattleseed cakes, kangaroo stir-fries and finger-lime panna cotta, say — but to fully understand and appreciate the extent of native cuisine, seek out a cultural experience on Country run by First Nations Australians.

Where to find it: Walkabout Cultural Adventures, owned and run by Kuku Yalanji man Juan Walker, offers tours in the Port Douglas and Daintree region. The Wukalina Walk, founded by Elder Clyde Mansell, is a four-day experience in the Bay of Fires in Tasmania that includes dishes such as wallaby lasagna. Dale Tilbrook, a Wardandi Bibbulmun woman, hosts bush tucker experiences in the Swan Valley, WA. Ngemba Weilwan woman Sharon Winsor hosts the Warakirri Dining Experience in Mudgee, NSW. Bannon-Harrison’s Mirritya Mundya hosts food journeys and pop-up dinners in southern NSW.

Restaurant-wise, head to Ben Shewry’s Attica in Melbourne and Ochre in Cairns for a fine-dining celebration of native produce, or The Tin Humpy in Redfern for cafe fare.



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GlobalStar continues expansion with new Australian partner


TMC network GlobalStar Travel Management has added Connections Group Australia as its latest partner.

Connections Group is the largest independent TMC in Australia and is the latest new partner for GlobalStar as it continues its global expansion. The network added Japan’s World Travel System as a partner last month.

GlobalStar CEO James Stevenson said: “The intimate knowledge the Connections Group team have is more valuable than ever as Australia reopens post-pandemic. 

“We are seeing more and more significant travel companies from around the world looking for the ways and means of benefitting from global reach and expertise.”

As part of the move, Gary Reichenberg, founder and director of Connections Group Australia, will join the GlobalStar’s board as a director.

“The strength and breadth of the network has already enabled us to play a part in securing significant new business on a global basis,” added Reichenberg.

London-based GlobalStar was ranked as the third largest TMC network in Europe in BTN Europe’s list of Europe’s Leading TMCs 2021, with members in more than 85 countries across 3,500 locations.



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ATPI Acquires Australian TMC The Travel Authority


U.K.-based travel management company ATPI has acquired Sydney-based The Travel Authority, expanding its footprint across Australia and New Zealand, the company announced.

Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed. 

The acquisition gives ATPI a portfolio that includes “a raft of established corporate travel clients” and its largest office presence to date in Sydney, the TMC said. The Travel Authority also has operations in Perth and on the northern coast of New South Wales, including clients in the marine and energy industries, which is a focus for ATPI, and in events and leisure travel.

“ATPI’s dedicated marine and energy, and mining and resources, divisions are growing in Australia, and the acquisition of The Travel Authority cements our expansion in this region,” according to ATPI Group CEO Ian Sinderson. “With a strong corporate presence in Sydney and the servicing of marine customers in Perth, The Travel Authority team complements our existing Melbourne- and Perth-based operations, as well as bringing additional support and expertise to our team.”

ATPI significantly has grown its global footprint over the past few years, including the acquisition of German TMC Hamburg Süd Reiseagentur last year.

ATPI on Tuesday also announced that it has added new leaders to its group sales team. Nikki Regan, a former ATPI executive who more recently had been director of traveler care in the U.K. for American Express Global Business Travel, is rejoining the TMC as head of group commercial strategy in the United Kingdom. Former ATPI executive Julian Mills also is returning as the TMC’s director of corporate sales.

In addition, ATPI has promoted head of corporate, media and sports sales James Draper to U.K. sales director.



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Australian Open: Nadal, Djokovic and character plot twists


For those partial to happy endings, the world of professional sports is notoriously strewn with heartbreak. Competition isn’t the place to seek poetic justice. Villains often prosper in the heat of battle, and heroes can come up short even with an entire stadium on their side.

At a time when athletes seem to relish their antihero role, exploiting their celebrity for special favor, sounding off on controversial subjects they know little about and acting as though they’re bigger than the sport that made them famous in the first place, the Australian Open showed just how satisfying it can be when role models like Rafael Nadal and Ashleigh Barty triumph.

This was not the expected script for a tournament that made international headlines before the first ball was even struck. Novak Djokovic found himself embroiled in a bureaucratic and public relations nightmare when his visa was canceled upon his arrival in Australia, then reinstated, then canceled again by the country’s immigration minister. Djokovic, who is unvaccinated for COVID-19, had obtained a medical exemption to enter Australia to play the tournament. But the exception that was granted provoked a political firestorm after Djokovic posted about his travel plans on Instagram. An outraged public that had endured months of lockdown couldn’t understand why strict rules were being suddenly bent for a preening athlete.

Ashleigh Barty shouts in triumph

Ashleigh Barty of Australia celebrates match point in her Women’s Singles Final match against Danielle Collins of United States during day 13 of the 2022 Australian Open.

(Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)

Ashleigh Barty holds the 2022 Australian Open winner's trophy

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty poses with the 2022 Australian Open winner’s trophy in Melbourne.

(Martin Keep / AFP via Getty Images)

Djokovic is no Aaron Rodgers. He’s not engaged in partisan mudslinging and has mostly kept his opposition to COVID-19 vaccines to himself. But he has let his pseudo-scientific views be known and, worse, he has acted irresponsibly during the pandemic, holding a charity tournament in 2020 that became a super-spreader event, breaking quarantine protocol when he was reputedly COVID-positive in December and providing inaccurate information about his travel history on his Australian visa application.

News reports have questioned the timing of Djokovic’s COVID-19 test, the source of his medical exemption. How much damage has been done to his reputation remains to be seen, but I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering to what lengths might he have gone to win another Australian Open and assume the mantle of Greatest of All Time?

That question was rendered moot on Sunday, as Rafael Nadal, who began his career in Roger Federer’s shadow and has watched Djokovic become the undisputed No. 1 player in the world, did the impossible. Down two sets to love against the Russian ball machine Daniil Medvedev in the final, the Spaniard dug himself a hardcourt trench and refused to give up further ground, winning the next three sets and taking the title, his second Australian Open crown.

The victory was Nadal’s 21st Grand Slam singles title, breaking the record he shared with Federer and Djokovic, both of whom have their own claim to being the GOAT. That debate hasn’t been quashed by Nadal taking this momentary advantage. There are three more Grand Slams this year, and though a hobbled 40-year-old Federer’s best days are likely behind him, Djokovic was in rare form last year, nearly winning all four Slams, something that hasn’t been done on the men’s side since Rod Laver pulled it off in 1969.

It was Medvedev who beat Djokovic in the U.S. Open men’s final last year, eagerly playing the spoiler, a role that comes naturally to this 6-foot-6 human backboard with a sly wit. Clever on and off the court, Medvedev enjoys psyching out his opponents not only with his combination of impenetrable defense and sneaky offense but with his needling comments.

In a fourth-round match against up-and-coming Maxime Cressy, a server and volley specialist who won the NCAA doubles title when playing for the UCLA Bruins, Medvedev vented his frustration at his opponent’s “boring” style of play and attributed some of Cressy’s success to pure “luck.” Against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals, Medvedev lambasted the chair umpire for giving him a warning while not doing anything about the illegal coaching Tsitsipas was apparently receiving from his father, a chronic problem. Medvedev’s screaming fit culminated in the epithet “small cat,” presumably to avoid the fine that would have been levied had he not found an indirect way of phrasing his insult.

Medvedev has become tennis’ version of the internet troll. He gives sportswriters good material, but you wouldn’t want your kid to copy his smirk. It was no surprise that the crowd at Rod Laver Arena would be overwhelmingly on Nadal’s side, yet Medvedev seemed thrown by the antipathy.

He repeatedly entreated the chair umpire to tell the crowd not to erupt in jubilation when he missed a first serve. He mocked the crowd’s applause at his unforced errors. (Pro tip: Making dismissive hand gestures to a packed stadium isn’t the best way to win friends and influence people.) He was within touching distance of the trophy, but the villainous temperament he has cultivated as a weapon worked against him: He was fighting not just an indefatigable and beloved Nadal but also a disaffected nation.

Rafael Nadal kneels on the tennis court after his win

Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts after winning against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev during their men’s singles final match on day 14 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne.

(Brandon Malone / AFP via Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal raises his arm in victory

Rafael Nadal celebrates winning a point during the Australia open.

(Hamish Blair / Associated Press)

Australia takes its sporting values seriously, which is why Barty’s hard-fought win over an impressive American Danielle Collins on Saturday was greeted with national jubilation. The humblest of champions who’s quick to credit her opponent in victory or defeat, Barty became the first Australian women’s single titleholder since Chris O’Neil in 1978. The trophy ceremony was made all the sweeter by the presence of Evonne Goolagong, a fellow Australian of Indigenous background who has inspired Barty to embrace her roots as she takes her place in her country’s storied tennis tradition.

Barty has long left the spotlight to other players. She hasn’t been a magnet for endorsement deals. When she took a break from the game for similar reasons to Naomi Osaka, she didn’t become the subject of endless profiles, op-eds and social media dissection. Fashion magazines haven’t taken much notice.

With a gracious sense of fair play that is as much of a throwback as her all-court game, Barty proves that it is possible to be good and still be great. Stardom is inevitable when you win the French Open, Wimbledon and now the Australian Open. But no matter how many Grand Slams she racks up, her legacy will be inseparable from her exemplary sportsmanship.

Unlike Djokovic, who has been on a fanatical mission to conquer tennis history, Nadal has made clear that his happiness isn’t determined by how many Grand Slams he has. “You can’t be frustrated all the time because the neighbor has a bigger house than you. … That’s not the way that I see the life,” he has said in a variety of ways in his always charming English.

Ever the philosopher in press conferences, Nadal, who wasn’t sure if he’d be returning to the tour after suffering a career-threatening foot injury last season, isn’t afraid to tell you what he thinks. When asked about Djokovic’s travails with the immigration authorities, he expressed sympathy for his rival’s plight but noted, “He knew the conditions since a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision.” Regarding vaccines, Nadal was more direct: “I believe in what the people who know about medicine say, and if the people say that we need to get vaccinated, we need to get the vaccine.”

In a world in which politics and celebrity have become so debased, where winning often seems like the only thing that matters, it’s a stirring sight when athletes flip the moral script. When asked after his win for the keys to his success, Nadal pondered a moment before replying, “Love for the game, passion, positive attitude, and working spirit. … And the right people next to me, helping every single day.”

Character, for all the right reasons, was destiny at this year’s Australian Open.





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Libby Mettam says Wesfarmers decision to leave isolated WA 'tip of the iceberg' with more businesses to follow – The West Australian



Libby Mettam says Wesfarmers decision to leave isolated WA ‘tip of the iceberg’ with more businesses to follow  The West Australian



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Djokovic confirms error made on Australian travel entry form | News


By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic said on Wednesday an incorrect answer was made on his Australian entry documents, breaching the country’s strict laws on reporting recent travel, as the government said it was still considering whether to deport the player.

Djokovic was held in immigration detention in Melbourne for several days after his visa was cancelled by border force officials, who questioned his medical exemption for a requirement to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

He was released on Monday after a judge quashed that decision, saying the cancellation of the visa was “unreasonable” because the player was not given time to consult with lawyers and tennis officials when he arrived in the country.

Djokovic said his travel declaration was filled in by his support team, who made an “administrative mistake” when they ticked the “no” box in response to whether he had travelled elsewhere in the 14 days before arriving in Australia.

“This was human error and certainly not deliberate,” Djokovic said. “We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes this mistakes can occur.”

The statement came as Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke considered whether to cancel the world no.1 tennis player’s visa ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on Jan. 17.

Giving false or misleading information in the form is an offence, carrying a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison, and a fine of up to A$6,600 ($4,730) and can lead to cancellation of the offender’s visa.

Djokovic, who is seeking to win a record 21st tennis major at the Open, said his lawyers had provided additional information to the Australian government on Wednesday to clarify the matter.

A spokesman for Hawke, who has the discretionary power to again cancel Djokovic’s visa, said the minister was still considering taking action, a process that would be extended to assess the new information.

STRICT RULES

Australia has a policy barring non-citizens or non-residents from entry unless they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but offers a medical exemption. Djokovic’s visa was cancelled on the grounds he has not been vaccinated and his medical exemption was not satisfactory.

Monday’s court ruling did not address whether that exemption – based on Djokovic contracting COVID-19 last month – was valid.

Djokovic’s case provoked a row between Canberra and Belgrade and fuelled heated debate over mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies.

Questions arose about Djokovic’s movements before coming to Australia when social media posts appeared to show him in Belgrade less than two weeks before he headed to Spain and then on to Australia.

Accounts from two eyewitnesses and another individual, obtained by Reuters on Tuesday corroborated those social media posts.

Djokovic, who held another practice session at Melbourne Park on Wednesday, did not detail his travel in his statement on Wednesday acknowledging the mistake.

In its online explanation for the 14-day travel reporting requirement, the government said the information helps determine any necessary quarantine arrangements and allows health officials to contact any arrival if a fellow traveller tests positive for COVID-19.

INTERVIEW APOLOGY

The player also apologised in his statement for attending a L’Equipe interview and photoshoot on Dec. 18, the day after he said he learned he had tested positive for COVID-19 last month.

“While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period, on reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment,” he said.

Djokovic denied media reports he also knew he had contracted the virus when he attended a tennis event in Belgrade to present awards to children a day earlier.

“I was asymptomatic and felt good, and I had not received the notification of a positive PCR result until after that event,” he said, adding that a rapid antigen test taken before the event came back negative.

Social media posts showed Djokovic posing with the children, without wearing a mask.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul, Byron Kaye and John Mair; Writing by Jane Wardell; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)



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