As the weather starts to cool down, Victorians with an itch for a getaway might be considering a few days of local relaxation, rather than a jam-packed adventure.
Fortunately, they won’t have to look far and wide either.
The Mornington Peninsula, filled with wineries, spas and secluded accommodation options, proving to be a safe bet.
And after being deemed part of metropolitan Melbourne during the pandemic, the Peninsula is back to being regional.
This means those who secured one of 50,000 travel vouchers and are planning to go southeast can claim $200 off their trip after they return.
Here is a perfectly planned relaxing weekend getaway to the Mornington Peninsula, recommended by Visit Victoria.
Accommodation options on the peninsula can be limited, but those quick enough might be able to secure an overnight stay at Montalto’s boutique hotel.
The sustainable pods are created by Contained and are plonked in a prime location next to the winery’s dam each year.
But while they are portable and sustainable, the pods are anything but basic and are filled with luxury and comfortable finishes.
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The national cabinet will meet on Monday, the first of twice-weekly gatherings following the vaccine rollout being thrown into disarray after health authorities recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given to people over the age of 50 after blood-clotting was linked to younger people.
Included in discussions will be changes to Australia’s vaccination policy, including state vaccination implementation plans, in the wake of the new advice around the AstraZeneca vaccine and additional supplies of Pfizer doses.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the vaccine rollout has been a “debacle”.
“Scott Morrison has had more than a year to prepare for the rollout of the vaccine but what we have is him giving up on the timetable, giving up on telling Australians what they want to know,” he told reporters in Hobart.
“Australians want to know when they’ll be vaccinated.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia is now approaching 1.5 million vaccinations after some 330,000 jabs were completed in the past week.
He said GPs continue to be the cornerstone of the program but going forward, with very strong support of the states, national cabinet will consider ways the states can assist with larger vaccination clinics.
From Wednesday, Victorians aged over 70 will be able to show up to a vaccine centre and get jabbed without an appointment as the state prepares to scale up its rollout.
“We’ve worked around the clock to find solutions to get vaccines in people’s arms as quickly and safely as possible,” Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said.
But Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein, who is in the heat of an election campaign, is concerned about the delays and lack of communication from the federal government about the vaccine rollout for residents and staff at disability and aged care residential facilities.
“We are in a good place but we cannot afford to go backwards,” he said in a statement.
A woman who died from blood-clotting last week was the third case linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. The first two cases are still in hospital.
The nation’s chief nurse Alison McMillan recognises there could be hesitancy in being vaccinated, but encourages anyone with concerns to talk to their health professional, GP or nurse practitioner.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, who was until recently the minister for science and technology, did offer some hope for vaccine support in the future.
She says Australia has the capability to manufacture an mRNA type COVID-19 vaccine like Pfizer’s, but is currently not able to produce it at scale.
The Pfizer vaccine is recommended for people under 50, a treatment which the government has secured a further 20 million doses, but they won’t arrive until late in the year.
Ms Andrews said it is “absolutely” possible Australia could manufacture an mRNA vaccine, and that work is already under way to try and make possible its production at scale.
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By Tom Livingstone16 Apr 2021 07:02Scott Morrison thanked the Australian Defence Force personnel who are in Kalbarri and surrounding areas, helping with the recovery effort after Cyclone Seroja swept through on the weekend.He also commended the local SES who helped ensure some 7000 locals were safely evacuated prior to the storm hitting.”Some 7000 or so weren’t there. People who were in this town before that cyclone hit and the commander of the local SES made sure that people got out. That clearly saved lives,” Mr Morrison said.”That quick thinking, that experience that was needed in that moment, the work that was done as a community to get people to safety was extraordinaryand we are now in the position where the injuries here are minor, substantially, and there has certainly been no loss of life and that is, indeed, a miracle, given what we’ve seen happen as a result of this terrible cyclone.”
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A toddler is in hospital with deep puncture wounds inflicted by a dingo which attacked the two-year-old boy who walked unsupervised from his family’s holiday home on Fraser Island.
The young boy sustained significant injuries to his legs, arms, neck, shoulder and head after being mauled by just one animal, with a paramedic saying he was lucky not to be attacked by a dingo pack.
Neighbours at Orchid Beach on the island’s northeastern coast raised the alarm after hearing a commotion around 7.30am on Saturday.
The two-year-old had wandered outside while his family was asleep and was approached by a dingo, on duty paramedic Lee told the Courier-Mail.
Lee said the dingo bit the boy on many parts of his body as well as the back of his head.
“The young lad had sustained bite marks and puncture wounds to his left leg, left arm, base of neck, shoulder and a laceration to the base of his head and the back as well,” Lee said.
“None of these wounds were life-threatening but some were quite deep puncture marks.
“This child was extremely lucky to not sustain worse injuries as it was believed to be a single dingo and not a pack.”
The toddler was saved after nearby residents heard the attack taking place.
“I believe it may have been neighbours in houses nearby, heard the commotion going on outside and they dealt with it,” the paramedic said.
The boy was airlifted to Bundaberg Hospital where he is in a stable condition.
Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world, has a history of dingo attacks, with one incident in 2019 serving as an eerie reminder of the Azaria Chamberlain case
A pack of dingoes dragged a 14-month-old boy by the head from his family’s caravan after midnight.
It was only the boy’s cries waking his father, who wrestled his son away from the pack, that saved the boy.
The ninth attack on Fraser Island in 20 years, it was similar to the infamous 1980 case when nine-week-old Azaria Chamberlain was taken from her family tent near Uluru in the Northern Territory.
Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murdering her child and spent three years of a life sentence in jail.
Then, by chance, the baby’s bloodied matinee jacket was found in a dingo’s lair at Uluru.
Ms Chamberlain was released, exonerated and financially compensated.
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Middle-East airline Emirates has flown a special Airbus A380 superjumbo flight with almost 400 passengers on board, all of whom had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Flight EK2021 took off on Saturday, aimed at drawing attention to the success of the UAE’s vaccination program and encouraging confidence in travel.
Along with the vaccinated passengers, all flight and ground crew were also vaccinated. The UAE has administered nearly 9 million vaccine doses thus far to its population of 9.7 million residents, the vast majority of whom are expatriates. The UAE has one of the world’s highest rate of vaccinations at 90.22 doses per 100 people.
“Today’s flight is a showcase of the combined efforts and dedication of all stakeholders in supporting the vaccination programme, and the implementation of protocols in the past 12 months to ensure a safe travel journey, stimulate passenger traffic and set the groundwork for the ramp up of air travel in the near future,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates’ chairman said.
Passengers were able to check-in and board using contactless technology introduced last month, including biometric facial recognition and the ability to control the check-in kiosk from their mobile devices. They also received rapid COVID-19 tests.
Maggie and Simon Neil, who have lived in the UAE for 20 years, were among the passengers who paid Dh2000 ($A717) each for their business class seat on board.
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“We hadn’t been on a plane for over a year and we really wanted to be a part of it. We are both vaccinated which we believe is important for safe travels and to top that, our fare will go towards helping those in need,” they told Dubai’s Khaleej Times.
Proceeds from the flight went to the Emirates Airline Foundation, a non-profit charity that supports projects for disadvantaged children around the world.
The Emirates flight follows a similar trip by Qatar Airways last Tuesday, the world’s first flight to carry a full-vaccinated complement of passengers and crew. The Qatar Airbus A350 took off from and returned to Doha’s Hamad International Airport after a three-hour scenic flight.
Qatar Airways’ chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the airline’s special flight “demonstrates the next stage in the recovery of international travel is not far away.”
Both Emirates and Qatar are trialling the International Air Transport Association’s Travel Pass, which will allow airlines to confirm passengers have tested negative for COVID-19 or been vaccinated against the disease before they fly.
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ome coronavirus travel restrictions have been removed in Scotland and more people are now able to meet up outdoors.
The latest stage in lockdown easing was announced at an unscheduled Covid-19 briefing by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday.
She said the continued decline in virus cases meant the restrictions can be eased earlier than planned.
From Friday, Scots can travel across local authority boundaries for outdoor socialising, recreation and exercise.
But they must follow the “stay local” order for other purposes such as non-essential shopping, and travel to some islands is not allowed.
Rules on gatherings have also been relaxed, with groups of up to six adults from six households now allowed to meet outdoors.
Children under 12 do not count towards the limit.
The easing comes after barbers and hairdressers opened on April 5 and ahead of a more substantial unlocking of the country on April 26.
On that date, Scotland will move from Level 4 to Level 3 of the four-tier system of restrictions.
Cafes, restaurants and beer gardens can then reopen, along with shops, gyms, libraries and museums.
Travel between Scotland, England and Wales will be permitted and tourist accommodation can welcome back visitors.
Other restrictions will ease in May and over the summer if Covid-19 continues to be suppressed.
Announcing the measures on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon said: “We have always said we will keep plans under review and accelerate the lifting of restrictions if possible.
“The improved data does not allow us to throw caution to the wind – not if we are sensible – but it does give us a bit of limited headroom.
“So from the end of this week, you will be able to meet up with family and friends who live in different parts of the country.
“Many of those reunions will be long-awaited, and much anticipated. Please do remember that meetings at this stage must still be outdoors – you cannot socialise in people’s homes – and remember due to physical distancing, public transport capacity remains relatively limited.”
But on Thursday, the First Minister told the PA news agency it was “positive” that the easing of travel restrictions had been brought forward, but cautioned Scots not to allow their guard to drop.
“What I would say to people is enjoy it, we’ve waited a long time, it’s been really tough, but please, please be careful,” she said.
“Don’t go to crowded places, if you’re headed to a beach or a park and it’s crowded please come away again because crowded places are not safe places to be.
“Please stick to all of the rules and advice, remember your face covering, remember, as I say, to avoid crowded places, hand hygiene, keep your two metre distancing.”
The First Minister added: “As long as we all stick to the advice that’s still in place, this easing of restrictions tomorrow should be the first of many and I think, not least because of the vaccine programme, we can all afford to be just that bit more optimistic right now.”
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is urgently asking medical experts to formulate a plan on how vaccinated Aussies can travel overseas and skip hotel quarantine upon return.
The PM said the country’s “main goal” was vaccinating the most vulnerable parts of the population, but said an international travel plan was “what I’d like to see happen next”.
“This is what I’ve tasked the medical experts with, is ensuring that we can know when an Australian is vaccinated here with their two doses, is able to travel overseas and return without having to go through hotel quarantine,” he told 6PR Perth Radio.
“I think we’re still some time away from that. The states, at this stage, I’m sure wouldn’t be agreeing to relaxing those hotel quarantine arrangements for those circumstances at this point in time.
“But what we need to know from the health advisers is what does make that safe and what does make that possible.”
Mr Morrison warned reopening the international borders now could result in more than 1000 cases of coronavirus a week.
“Vaccinations are not a silver bullet. We’ve never said they are,” he said.
“Australians have become very used to the fact … of having zero case numbers and zero community transmission.
“I don’t think Australians … would welcome restrictions and closures and borders shutting and all of those things, again, out of states concerned about the rising numbers of case numbers.
“So everyone needs to get on the same page with that. And so they’re the important threshold issues we’ve got to work together through as a national cabinet.
“And that’s why I’m calling them back together again to work on that same operational tempo that we were during the pandemic, because these are the challenges we need to solve together now.”
Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton backed the PM’s plan and said he hoped for a home quarantine setup for vaccinated Aussie travellers “soon rather than later”.
“As quickly as we can and as the Prime Minister pointed out, if people have had properly recognised the vaccine, if they are living in London or the United States or anywhere else in the world and they want to come back home and see family or see their grandparents, bring their newborn grandchild back home, then we want to facilitate that as quickly as possible,” he told the Today show on Friday morning.
“But we just need to do it in a safe way.
“And if we are having a situation where people are coming back and bringing the virus back with them, then we will see community transmission – So again it is trying to get that balance right.
“But if we can get people away from hotel quarantine into home quarantine and people do the right thing, then you can scale up the numbers obviously much more significantly than if we are just relying on hotels.”
But Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Australians should have been home already.
“There are more than 40,000 Australians still stranded overseas,” Mr Albanese said.
“Scott Morrison said that Australians would be home by Christmas; that‘s Christmas 2020.”
Australia slammed its borders shut in March last year when the global coronavirus pandemic first began to unravel.
Just two weeks ago, Australia entered into an agreement with New Zealand allowing travel between the two countries.
Mr Morrison hinted at a travel bubble agreement with more countries ahead of the trans-Tasman travel arrangement’s official start on April 19.
“I think I can see a future where we could be in a similar arrangement with Singapore and we’re working on that now,” he said.
“Other Pacific countries, that’s possible. But when you’re talking about countries, you know, for example, like Indonesia or India or Papua New Guinea or countries where we know that the virus is in a very strong form, including in Europe and even still the United Kingdom, the United States. Australians, I don’t think would welcome the incursion of the virus into the country. So we have to weigh all of that up.”
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If you’re eager to make up for lost travel time, then you might want to dust off your boots and hike the Great Himalaya Trail through Nepal.
The whopping 1700-kilometre trek through steep, rugged terrain and across glaciers gets you within gazing distance of all Nepal’s 8000-metre-plus peaks. Serious fitness is required, and stamina too. You trek for 145 days. The tour lasts 150 days.
World Expeditions has run the “Great Himalaya Trail Full Traverse” every year since 2014, except during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now new departures are scheduled for early 2022 and 2023.
The company’s longest tour, according to public relations manager Michele Eckersley, “could also well be the longest guided commercial walking tour in the world” . As far as we can determine, it’s currently the longest land tour of any kind.
As hope for a resumption in international travel blossoms, travellers are making long travel plans on the back of pent-up demand, unspent travel budgets and determination to make up for lost time.
“We’re finding that those who are booking, across all ages, are now looking for much longer trips, or putting together back-to-back trips,” says Vanessa Budah at The Travel Corporation, which represents 40 brands.
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“Travellers once booked 10 or 12 days, but now they’re wanting much longer.”
Budget is the only limit to tour length, since bespoke travel companies can put together anything. In 2013, Britain-based Hurlingham Travel Services famously created a two-year tour that took in all 962 World Heritage sites and cost £1million (A$1.7 million).
But even regular organised group tours allow you to pack in amazing destinations over more than just a week or two, with some already revving their engines.
Adventures Overland hopes to depart in September this year from Imphal in eastern India on a 52-day, 16,000-kilometre drive to London via China, Central Asia and Russia.
The company also offers “the biggest, the grandest and the most epic bus journey in the world” between Delhi and London. It follows a similar route over 70 days, with a departure currently scheduled (perhaps improbably) for August 2021.
Intrepid Travel has a 64-day “Africa Encompassed Northbound” open-truck journey with many departure dates in late 2021 and 2022. It takes hardy travellers from Cape Town to Nairobi and includes Okavango Delta and Serengeti safaris, the Victoria Falls, gorilla-spotting in Uganda, and a surely welcome rest on Zanzibar’s beaches.
Intrepid ran one of the longest organised tours ever in 2016, an “Ultimate 365-Day Adventure” that took in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Antarctica, and says it will consider running it again.
Contiki is hoping to revive its 82-day “Seven Wonders of the World” tour in 2022 or 2023, which ticks off big bucket-list sights such as the Taj Mahal, Great Wall, Pyramids and Machu Picchu. G Adventures’ 65-day “Great South American Journey” already has 2022 departures.
Meanwhile, if you’re missing cruising, then there are super-long options on the high seas too. Demand has been extraordinary among recently cruise-starved travellers.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 143-night world cruise in 2023 is already sold out, and every cabin on Oceania’s ever-popular “Around the World in 180 Days” cruise in 2023 was snapped up within 24 hours in January this year.
The cruise will visit 33 countries, 96 ports and 60 World Heritage Sites. But for some, 180 days simply isn’t enough. Oceania says 20 per cent of its world-cruise guests opted to extend their voyage on either side, bumping their journey up to 218 days.
That has Oceania offering the longest cruise by far, but many cruise lines such as Cunard and Crystal Cruises offer world itineraries well over 100 days long, with departures both in early 2022 and 2023. Viking’s longest cruise is 138 days from Fort Lauderdale in Florida to Greenwich (London) by way to the Pacific, Australia, Asia and the Mediterranean.
Viking has previously come up with something even more extravagant. In 2019, it launched a 245-day “Ultimate World Cruise” return from Greenwich that was set to cover 55,700 nautical miles and visit 111 ports in 51 countries. It would have bagged a Guinness World Record for the longest continuous passenger cruise but was scuppered in Dubai on day 204 by the COVID-19 outbreak. The company has no current plans for a repeat attempt.
For the moment, Silversea is capturing the headlines with the launch of the first expedition world cruise. The “Unchartered World Tour” departs from the tip of South America in January 2022 and arrives in Norway 167 days later. Along the way, it visits 30 countries, 107 ports and truly remote places including the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland, Easter Island, and Svalbard above the Arctic Circle. That should be enough to satisfy anyone’s pent-up lust for travel.
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A woman was left in hysterics after receiving a very baffling passport photo due to an awkward Photoshop job.
TikTok user Katie was told that her large bun was too big for the picture when visiting a US Wallgreens store, so staff edited it out – leaving her unrecognisable to friends and family.
Katie, who posts under the TikTok username @katiefiore898, shared the photo on TikTok and it has since gone viral and been viewed over 300,000 times.
She explained: “Wore a bun to get my passport pictures but they said it was too big so they just had to cut it off.”
After the blunt bun removal, Katie was left mortified at the finished result.
However, her passport mishap appears to have entertained internet users, with one person joking: “Went from Katie to Kyle.”
Another added: “Why would you wear a bun for a picture that’s going to last at least ten years.”
A third joked: “I’m dead. I’m sorry for laughing so hard at this.”
Another person said they had a similar dilemma and staff told her she couldn’t have hair on her shoulders after she tried to take her bun down.
In Australia, the required standard for passport photos means images cannot be retouched in any way and the size of the face from chin to crown can be up to a maximum of 36mm, with a minimum of 32mm.
In the US, however, passport photo regulations state that hair cannot obscure a person’s face and the head must be sized between 25 and 35mm.
It is understood that Katie went in for a new set of photos, this time without a bun.
– With The Sun
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Beautiful and elegant, Wellington is the artistic, cultural and political centre of New Zealand. It boasts of museums, shops and cafes. Catch the cable car to Kelburn and make the journey back through the Botanic Gardens; admire the best city views from the Mount Victoria Lookout; stroll along the boardwalks and the foreshore; and try authentic Maori cuisine. This is a city with true British origins.
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