TREKS AND TEMPLES
I’m interested in mountainous scenery and I like to walk. Before I get too old, I’d like to attempt a Himalayan trek. My husband has found an organised tour visiting endless temples, monasteries and shrines by minibus. But is there a trip that combines trekking and culture?
Look at adventure touring as your style of trip, and you will find itineraries encompassing both the cultural side plus hiking, walking or cycling in parts. World Expeditions (worldexpeditions.com.au) would be a good place to start.
They have a tour I believe would suit you both.
The 14-day High Road to Lhasa journey is graded at level two, meaning the active parts are limited to day walks and these are optional. So hubby can choose to opt in or out as he pleases.
The tour covers many interesting shrines, monasteries and palaces, plus it visits the Rongphy Valley to see Mount Everest’s north face. This is the same base camp from which George Mallory led one of the first British expeditions, in the 1920s.
Or, if you can convince your husband to trek most of the way, try the 12-day Everest Trek. This is the least challenging of treks and includes an eight-day hike to altitudes of 3790m. It follows the main trail from Lukla (you fly there from Kathmandu) and includes walking through small villages and sharing the trail with cargo-laden yaks and donkeys, giving you a good taste of the culture.
This itinerary is rated three (introductory trekking). It involves tented accommodation but the views of peaks such as Lhotse, Nuptse and Everest are worth it.
Otherwise, you could have a custom-made, marriage-saving itinerary created to include exactly what you want to see and do. This way you could perhaps hike part of the way and hubby could meet you at the end of the day having travelled by private transport.
A family member has been diagnosed with end-stage cancer. We want to take them on holiday but haven’t found any travel insurance that covers this pre-existing condition. Can you suggest options for travel but with peace of mind so that if any medical emergencies occur, we won’t be left with a hefty bill? We have heard of reciprocal health care in New Zealand.
The Australian Medicare system has a reciprocal agreement with countries including the United Kingdom, Italy, Norway and New Zealand. This agreement provides some essential health services and subsidised medicines to Australians travelling to these countries, if needed.
However, the level varies with each country and cannot be relied upon to replace private travel insurance.
It is designed for simple GP visits or subsidised prescription medicines. Ambulance, dental, elective treatment and non-immediate treatments are not covered. Medical evacuations to Australia and funerals are also not covered.
The best way to enjoy some quality time on holiday together is to choose somewhere tranquil in Australia. This way you will all be close to home and covered under the Medicare scheme or their private health cover.
We are arriving in Sydney on a cruise ship next month about 7am but our interstate flight isn’t until 8pm. Is there a safe place to store our luggage for the day?
There are two options: the Visitor’s Centre (australianvisitorcentres.com.au) or Smarte Carte (baggagestorage.com.au), both at Circular Quay. Smarte Carte offers a handy transfer service.
You can drop your bags with them at Circular Quay, then pick them up at any nominated terminal at the airport. Book online for discounts.
My beautiful friend and I are off to Uluru for a weekend to celebrate a special birthday. Our flight stops in Alice Springs and we will have two hours to see some of the town. Can you suggest what we could do in that short time? DOC ¿ The township of Alice Springs is 15km from the airport, roughly a 10-minute drive. With two hours, you could jump in a taxi and do a whirlwind drive into town and back. Speak to the taxi driver to be sure he or she is clear about what time you need to be back, then ask them to show you around.
Also, confirm at your departure point whether your baggage is being through-checked to Uluru. Jetstar, for example, does not do this, so you would need to collect your bags in Alice Springs and re-check them for your next flight, encroaching on your time available to sightsee. CANBERRA’S CITY COMFORTS
My husband, our nine-year old and I are travelling to Canberra in January. Can you recommend a family/self-contained unit in the city centre?
The Mantra on Northbourne (mantra onnorthbourne.com.au) is central and has self-contained one- and twobedroom apartments. The BreakFree Capital Tower (breakfree.com.au) also has large self-contained apartments, with views of Lake Burley Griffin. The Capital Executive Apartment Hotel (ceahotel.com.au) should also be on your list for affordable family rooms with well equipped kitchens. Note: if you are an automobile club member in your state you could receive better rates.
We are travelling by air to Singapore to join a cruise ship. We arrive at Changi airport at midnight but we do not board the ship until after lunch. Can we get a room at the airport?
The Crowne Plaza Hotel (changiairport.crowneplaza.com) is next to terminal three at Changi Airport. It is linked to terminal three via a walkway and terminals one and two via the airport Skytrain.
Hikers trek past a shrine deep in the Himalayan mountains of the Everest National Park in Nepal.