Issue Number 15, 17 July 2000
Editors: Eric Lindsay and Jean Weber
In this issue...
Qantas Aussie Pass
Visiting the Northern Territory
Community Aid Abroad -- Travel with a difference
Australian immigration FAQ
Thinking of bringing your car or motorhome to Australia?
More gadget news: TV and VCR compatibility
Backpacker information for Western Australia
Travelling by ferry to Tasmania - a personal experience
The new Qantas Aussie Pass lets you fly to more Australian cities for less cost than other pre-booked fares. Simply put together an itinerary of at least 3 Qantas destinations around Australia. Fares are based on 3 distance zones with set prices. When you book an Aussie Pass, you can also arrange good deals on accommodation.
You only need to book 7 days in advance for the Aussie Pass, but I'm sure seats are limited, so if you want to take advantage of this deal, it's wise not to wait until too close to your intended departure date. Travel is available from 1 July 2000, and various conditions apply. Maximum stay of 30 days. Phone your travel agent, Qantas travel centre or any Qantas office.
Click on the Aussie Pass link for more information, but there was not a lot of detail at the time I checked.
Community Aid Abroad has trips in Australia on which you can experience Aboriginal culture, not just look at the scenery, shop, and party. If you're more interested in a cultural experience, check out their offerings at:
Jeremy Jenkins has been putting together a list of Australian immigration frequently asked questions (FAQs) at his website:
If you're thinking of immigrating, this is a good place to pick up some tips. You'll also do well to subscribe to the newsgroup misc.immigration.australia+nz
It's probably not worth the expense and hassle, unless you're coming from New Zealand, and possibly not even then. You'll have to post a hefty bond to ensure you export it again and don't sell it, and there may be some complications related to vehicles with the driver's seat on the left-hand side.
We met a couple from New Zealand who had brought their motor home to Australia, as they were planning to travel for a year or more. Their other choice would have been to buy one, and since they had one they were used to, plus the large sum of money required for the import bond, they reckoned it was worth the trouble.
For the official word on importing a motor vehicle, visit this page at the Australian Customs Service site:
http://www.customs.gov.au/site/index.cfm?nav_id=670&area_id=5 - click on "Quick Guide for Travellers".
This item is now part of our Gadgets page.
Check out http://backpackingaround.com for information on accommodation, tours, noticeboard, things to do and much more in Western Australia.
Last issue I mentioned where to find the ferry timetables, and made a few comments about the trip.
A correspondent writes that she, her husband, and young child "went to Tasmania last year by car. We drove to Melbourne and put the car (Falcon sedan) on the overnight ship. All vehicles go in the hold and they are packed in like sardines. You are first required to embark passengers and your luggage requirements for overnight. One person remains with the vehicle to drive it on board. Returning to your vehicle once the ship is underway is not encouraged and you can't spend the journey in your vehicle - I don't think you would want to.
"We had a very calm crossing but the rolling of the ship was discernable and I foound it a bit unpleasant after I went to bed though it didn't seem to trouble the others. We had a cabin with double bed and enough floor space to put up a travel cot. The cabin also had a small shower and toilet. The ship is pretty basic.
"We made the return journey by the catamaran service. This takes about half the time of the other and it is a daylight trip. Again, you cannot stay in your vehicle. There is no reserved seating (no cabins, just open lounges) and it would pay to board early as there are several areas where you can sit and several types of seating. As we were travelling with a child we were limited to a lounge at the stern where they have toys, provide cots and show children's videos.
"This was the worst place to sit because it provided the only access to the only part of the outside deck where you were allowed to smoke. As it was very cold and windy, smokers only went outside for a smoke so there was a lot of traffic through the two sliding doors. Every time either of the doors was opened, nauseating engine exhaust fumes penetrated the lounge. This made the trip pretty uncomfortable. However, it was interesting to try both boats.
"If we go again, we will probably fly and hire a car down there. This option would have been cheaper than taking our car across."
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