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Husband charged after wife’s tragic golf cart death on Hamilton Island

<p>A husband charged with the death of his wife has shared her chilling last words before she tragically died in a golf cart crash on their honeymoon. </p> <p>Robbie Awad, 32, and his new wife Marina Hanna, 29, were honeymooning in Queensland's Hamilton Island just 10 days after their wedding in June 2022, when the golf cart they were travelling in tipped over. </p> <p>Ms Hana died at the scene after doing into cardiac arrest.</p> <p>Ms Awad, who was driving the golf cart when it crashed and walked away uninjured, has pleaded guilty to three charges including not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone while driving.</p> <p>Appearing in court on Thursday for the first day of his hearing, he pleaded not guilty to the charge of driving without due care and attention causing death. </p> <p>Taking to the witness stand, Mr Awad said the couple had decided to leave the resort to get something to eat before the crash. </p> <p>“We were leaving Qualia [resort] in the buggy, I was driving, I drove toward the exit of Qualia, I waited for the [gates] to open. We drove out of the gates at 5 or 4 km/h,” he said.</p> <p>The 32-year-old told the court that at the time of the crash, he was using his phone to follow directions, even though his wife warned him not to look at his phone while driving. </p> <p>“I was looking for directions on how to travel to the marina.”</p> <p>“My wife said, ‘Get off your phone’. I said, ‘What is the worst that could happen? No worries,’ and I put the phone in my pocket.’”</p> <p>Mr Awad said the couple decided to travel back to their resort after noting that the golf cart wasn't working properly, as it started to slow down when it began travelling up a hill. </p> <p>“I would estimate it was travelling less than walking speed. A very slow walk,” he said.</p> <p>“’By the time I got to the top of the hill, it was barely moving.”</p> <p>“[Once I got to the intersection] I could see it was very steep and I couldn’t see around the bend. I looked straight and saw there were no cars, the buggy was moving one metre every two seconds, so I drove the buggy into the flattest part.”</p> <p>He claimed the buggy accelerated unexpectedly, as he was making the U-turn. </p> <p>“As I was accelerating, I was moving the steering wheel, but because the buggy wasn’t moving, I ended up doing full turns, then I heard ‘vrrrroom’ and the buggy accelerated very quickly,” he said.</p> <p>“I started to have the thought, ‘Oh, the buggy might tip over,’ but by the time I could have finished the thought, it had already tipped over.”</p> <p>Mr Awad’s defence lawyer argued the “tragic accident” was caused by an issue with the battery in the golf buggy. </p> <p>“It fell over and killed his poor wife and he was devastated — and still is,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Legal

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The sad state of Aussie ski resorts ahead of winter holiday season

<p>Ski resorts in Australia have had to get creative ahead of the tourist-heavy ski season after a lack of snowfall, despite plunging temperatures. </p> <p>The ski season begins this year on the June long weekend, running alongside the King’s Birthday on June 8th. </p> <p>Despite expecting a huge influx of keen skiers, there has only been light flurries of snow so far, according to WeatherZone, which melt away quickly and don't settle on the ground for long. </p> <p>In order to accommodate the busy season, Thredbo has had to resort to using fake snow for people to ski on. </p> <p>Manufactured snow happens by combining pressurised air and water through a ‘snow gun’ that gets blasted out into the air.</p> <p>The most ideal time to create the fake snow is on clear nights with low humidity, as the higher the humidity the colder it needs to be to make the flurries.</p> <p>Several photos from ski.com.au's cameras have shown popular ski sites with a disappointing lack of snow, in scenes similar to last year's ski season. </p> <p>“No significant snowfalls are on the horizon for the mainland Australian ski resorts before the official King’s Birthday Long Weekend season opening,” Weatherzone reports.</p> <p>“Snow-making began on the weekend at several resorts and has continued into the working week in the cold dry, air in the wake of the cold front.”</p> <p>According to WeatherZone, high-pressure systems, which have brought constant rain to the east coast recently, have been blocking the snowfall.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Xinhua News Agency / Thredbo</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Tourist fined after posting this one photo on social media

<p>A man has been fined after flouting the rules to get the perfect photo with a quokka at Rottnest Island. </p> <p>The tourist was visiting the popular nature reserve, off the coast of Western Australia, when he was tracked down by authorities after posting a photo of him holding the marsupial on Instagram, despite signs saying not to touch the vulnerable animals. </p> <p>"Feeding and touching quokkas is not permitted for the safety of visitors and the welfare of the animals," A Rottnest Island Authority spokesperson told <em>Perth Now</em>. </p> <p>The unnamed tourist copped a $200 fine and an infringement was issued over the weekend, but the spokesperson said he was not evicted from the island.</p> <p>The Rottnest Island website also clearly states the rules against touching the furry animals.</p> <p>"It’s important, for their safety and yours, that you don’t touch the quokkas," the website read. </p> <p>Tourists are also warned that touching the marsupials can make them sick, spread disease and cause mothers to abandon their young if they carry an unfamiliar scent. </p> <p>Samuel Cornell, a research fellow from UNSW, told <em>Yahoo News Australia </em>that these rules exist for a reason. </p> <p>"The rules are there usually to protect people's own safety, first and foremost. And then secondly, of course, we enact rules to protect the environment," Cornell said. </p> <p>"They are still wild animals, but because they're plastered all over social media and people are used to seeing pretty pictures with them, I think people then have this interpretation of them that they're just some fluffy, safe creature that you can just go up to and pick up."</p> <p>Cornell added that tourists flouting the rules is not just an issue in Rottnest Island, but "a problem across Australia," including popular tourists destinations like K'gari (formerly Fraser Island), Babinda boulders, and Wedding Cake Rock in Sydney. </p> <p>"Some people do just ignore rules or signs because they think they know better or they really want a photo in a certain place," he explained. </p> <p>"But there are a subset of people that will claim 'oh, I didn't actually see the sign or I wasn't really aware'".</p> <p><em>Images: PerthNow/ Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Tragic update on man buried alive on Bribie Island

<p>Vibrant and energetic 25-year-old Josh Taylor, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/family-of-man-who-was-buried-alive-breaks-silence" target="_blank" rel="noopener">who found himself buried</a> in the sandy depths of Bribie Island, Queensland, has succumbed to the severe injuries sustained during the tragic incident.</p> <p>After five days of battling for his life, Josh's family made the agonising decision to switch off his life support.</p> <p>Josh's untimely demise stemmed from a seemingly innocent gathering on Bribie Island, where he and his friends were digging a sand pit to cook a pig in the traditional Maori style of hangi.</p> <p>Witnesses recalled the horrifying moment when Josh, while standing on a chair, lost his footing, and the sand beneath him gave way. He stumbled backwards into the deep hole, disappearing from view. It took a team of 15 people to pull him out.</p> <p>An off-duty paramedic and loyal friends resorted to using ropes tied to Josh's feet, pulling him free from the suffocating grip of the sand, but despite their valiant efforts, Josh had already endured significant injuries during the ordeal.</p> <p>As they pulled him from the hole, the force of the rescue exacerbated his injuries, leaving him without a pulse for a gut-wrenching 45 minutes. The nightmare unfolded before the eyes of Josh's family, who were also on the scene.</p> <p>Josh's father, Peter, was among those frantically digging to free his son.</p> <p>In their grief, following the decision to switch off Josh's life support, the Taylor family expressed gratitude for the compassionate efforts of those who helped to pull him from the sand, attempted to revive him at the scene, and provided care at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. </p> <p>“Without these people, Josh would not have had the opportunity to recover or give our family and friends these last precious days with him to say goodbye,” the Taylor family said in a statement.</p> <p>“He fought as hard as he could and is the most courageous person we will ever know. </p> <p>"Unfortunately, the injuries he received were too severe for him to overcome. We will somehow find a way to move on from this terrible tragedy.</p> <p>“He was the best son, brother, boyfriend and mate we could all have wished for. We love you Josh and will miss you every minute of every day. Goodbye mate until we see each other again.”</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook / 7News</em></p>

Caring

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"She saw it and dodged it": Incredible scenes as tree plunges through seat in Schoolies crash

<p>In a harrowing incident on K'Gari, formerly known as Fraser Island, a group of teenage girls narrowly escaped a potentially tragic accident during their Schoolies celebration.</p> <p>The friends were exploring the picturesque island off the Queensland coast when a tree crashed through the windscreen of their car, plunging right through the headrest of the passenger seat.</p> <p>Miraculously, all occupants emerged unscathed from this near-miss, thanks to a combination of quick reflexes and the timely intervention of volunteers from the Fraser Coast Red Frogs.</p> <p>As the teens ventured through the island's terrain, their joyous celebration took a terrifying turn when a massive tree limb plummeted onto their vehicle. The impact shattered the glass directly in front of the passenger seat, creating a scene of devastation that could have resulted in serious injuries – or worse.</p> <p>Astonishingly, one of the girls was seated in the passenger seat at the time, and her quick thinking and agility allowed her to dodge the falling debris, narrowly avoiding a potentially life-threatening situation.</p> <p>Tim Winnington, the Fraser Coast Red Frogs coordinator, described the fortuitous nature of the escape, saying, "There was a girl actually sitting in the passenger seat. She saw it and dodged it. They were so lucky not to get injured."</p> <p>The Red Frogs, a charity organisation that provides support and education at events like Schoolies and music festivals, played a crucial role in the aftermath of the incident, with volunteers from the organisation waiting with the shaken teenagers until help arrived.</p> <p>Madhill Motor Group, the generous donor of the ute used by the Red Frogs team, highlighted the gravity of the situation with photos shared on Facebook to demonstrate just how close the call was. The teenagers, treated for shock by paramedics, were fortunate to walk away physically unharmed, a fact not lost on them or their friends.</p> <p>In the aftermath of the incident, a friend of the girls expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Red Frogs for their swift and effective response. “They were all so lucky to walk away with no one being injured, and very lucky the Red Frogs were on scene so quickly and helped them so much, getting them a room to stay, driving their car for them, cleaning up all the glass and calming them all down in this traumatic experience,” they wrote. “We are all extremely grateful that you were there.”</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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64-year-old man saved after crafting SOS symbol on remote island

<p>A sailor who found himself stranded on a remote island in the Bahamas due to his boat's mechanical issues has been successfully rescued after ingeniously attracting the attention of a passing plane.</p> <p>Recent aerial imagery provided by the US Coast Guard depicts the remarkable tale of a 64-year-old individual, whose identity remains undisclosed, crafting the letters "SOS" on the sandy expanse of the beach to signify his distress.</p> <p>The sailor's vessel had encountered mechanical failure during its voyage through the enchanting Bahamas archipelago, leaving him marooned for an arduous three-day stretch on Cay Sal Island.</p> <p>Prompted by the sighting of distress flares originating from a disabled sailboat, a vigilant coast guard aircraft sprang into action. Supplies including nourishment, water, and a radio for communication were air-dropped to establish a lifeline with the stranded sailor. Through this communication, he shared the details of his challenging ordeal.</p> <p>A coast guard ship was dispatched to retrieve the man, who remarkably remained in good health despite his trials.</p> <p>Cay Sal Island, an isolated landmass nestled within the Straits of Florida north of Cuba and west of the Bahamas, continues to stand as an uninhabited segment within the Bimini district of the Bahamas.</p> <p>Dev Craig, an officer within the coast guard, expressed a sense of pride in the team's accomplishment, stating, "We’re proud to have saved this man’s life. This case serves as a perfect example of why you must have the proper safety equipment on your vessel. Without seeing the flare, the case may not have had a successful outcome."</p> <p><em>Images: US Coast Guard</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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5 things to enjoy on Kangaroo Island

<p>There’s plenty to love in this South Australian gem. Here are just five things you can enjoy on a visit to Kangaroo Island.</p> <p><strong>1. Eat, drink and be merry</strong></p> <p>Kangaroo Island might only be tiny, but it’s absolutely stuffed with gourmet food and top notch wine. Take the Kangaroo Island Farm Gate and Cellar Door Trail to discover farm gates, artisan producers, wineries and breweries. Don’t miss unique Ligurian honey, fresh oysters and marron, chocolate lavender fudge, sheep’s milk cheese and rich olive oil.</p> <p><strong>2. Walk with the animals</strong></p> <p>As the name suggests, you’ll find lots of kangaroos on Kangaroo Island – western greys to be precise. But that’s just the beginning. Walk among a colony of around 1,000 Australian sea lions (one of the rarest species in the world) at Seal Bay. Little penguins will start waddling along the shore from April and glossy black cockatoos will be nesting above. Look out for shy echidnas, sleepy koalas and the tiny rabbit-sized Tamar wallaby.</p> <p><strong>3. Head out onto the water</strong></p> <p>As soon as you arrive on Kangaroo Island, you’re going to want to get right off it again and back out into the water. Take an ocean safari to spot seals, sea lions and dolphins – you can even jump off and snorkel among them. Fishing charters will head out into the deeper waters off the coast in search of King George whiting, snapper, trevally, tuna and more. If you’re a surfer, you’ll fall in love with the uncrowded breaks of the island’s five main surf spots. There’s something for all levels of experience.</p> <p><strong>4. Get your heart racing</strong></p> <p>There are a lot of adventure to be had on Kangaroo Island. Jump on a quad bike to explore inaccessible parts of the island, climb the dunes of the Little Sahara for some sandboarding or explore incredible natural underground formations with a canyoning and caving expedition. For something a little more sedate, there are plenty of walking and hiking trails winding through the island.</p> <p><strong>5. Indulge in a luxury lodge</strong></p> <p>One of the most luxurious hotels in Australia (and in the world) is tucked away on the southwestern shore of the island atop dramatic ocean cliffs. Southern Ocean Lodge has just 21 rooms with lavish interiors, bespoke furniture and sweeping views. The restaurant serves up exceptional ‘paddock to plate’ cuisine and the award-winning spa will have you floating on a cloud.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Instagram / Shutterstock</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Disturbing footage of dingo attacks revealed

<p dir="ltr">Disturbing footage of dingo attacks have been released by rangers following multiple attacks in a popular camping spot that occurred just weeks apart.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tourists have been warned to be wary of the wild animals after shocking footage emerged of a tourist being nipped while sunbathing.</p> <p dir="ltr">The video comes just weeks before a 10-year-old boy was attacked and dragged underwater by a dingo at K’gari Island – formerly known as Fraser Island – on June 16.</p> <p dir="ltr">The boy sustained puncture wounds to his shoulder and bruises to his collarbone because of the accident, which happened in front of a popular camping spot on the island.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The boy’s 12-year-old-sister who was nearby reacted quickly and ran to assist him,” Assistant principal ranger Danielle Mansfield said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The family treated the boy for puncture wounds to his shoulder and arms and scratches and bruises on his collarbone and arm.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mansfield also said that rangers were closely monitoring the dingo responsible for the attack, which had blood splatters across its face and paws following the attack, although there are currently no plans to euthanise it.</p> <p dir="ltr">Two months ago, a similar attack occurred where a primary school-aged girl was<a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/child-hospitalised-from-dingo-attack" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> hospitalised following a dingo attack</a> while swimming. The girl suffered bites to her head and fingers after the dingo attempted to drag her underwater.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rangers have also released dashcam footage of another dingo chasing a young boy and an adult male, in an area close to where the 10-year-old boy was attacked, just two weeks before the unfortunate incident.</p> <p dir="ltr">The dingo was euthanised for “poor behaviour”.</p> <p dir="ltr">This comes a few weeks after another dingo was euthanised following a string of attacks, including a sunbathing tourist, a seven-year-old boy and a 42-year-old woman.</p> <p dir="ltr">Dingoes are native to K’gari Island, but a few of them fail to show any wariness towards people, and are increasingly brazen as a result of people deliberately or unintentionally feeding them, rangers said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We have increased patrols in the region to monitor the wongari’s (dingo’s) behaviour and pass on dingo-safe messaging to campers and visitors,” Mansfield said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“These animals are capable of inflicting serious harm, and they have bitten children and adults, and some are quite brazen and are not fleeing when yelled at or when someone brandishes a stick.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“People think it won’t happen to them, but it can happen to anyone and that’s why rangers are providing dingo-safe information to as many people as possible,” she added.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We don’t want any incidents on K’gari, and people must understand that dingoes are wild animals and should never be fed or interacted with.”</p> <p><em>Images: Queensland Department of Environment and Science / News.com.au</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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"Just one snowfall away": Aussie ski resorts dismiss doom and gloom warnings

<p>Australian ski resorts have dismissed warnings about the possibility of a below-average snowfall this season as they prepare for opening weekend.</p> <p>Meteorologists have warned that if a number of climate factors combine this winter, the 2023 snow season could be one of the worst in decades.</p> <p>Although images have shown poor snow coverage at NSW and Victoria’s biggest ski resorts, staff have rejected concerns the season won’t pick up.</p> <p>Michael Fearnside, operations director at Perisher Ski Resort, the largest in the southern hemisphere, told <em>news.com.au </em>it is “certainly not doom and gloom” for the industry.</p> <p>According to Fearnside, only time will tell.</p> <p>“This is my 38th winter working in the snow industry and some of our best seasons have begun with low snowfall at the start,” Fearnside said.</p> <p>“Our business is weather dependent but we’re always just one snowfall away, it’s no different to a farmer waiting for the weather to break.”</p> <p>Similar to other resorts, Fearnside added Perisher had made significant investments in snow-making and as a result, they haven’t had to rely on snowfall, with snow guns ready to be deployed “as soon as the conditions are right”.</p> <p>“Our snow-making covers 53.4 hectares across the resort and sets us apart for having the most reliable ski and board experience all season long,”</p> <p>“It’s certainly not doom and gloom, we’ve seen this before and we’re just waiting for the weather pattern to settle down.”</p> <p>Snowy Mountains ski resort Thredbo will need to rely on its own snow-making, despite it and Perisher being the first to see snow in April.</p> <p>Meanwhile, in Victoria’s Alps, the Mount Buller Alpine Resort has been steadily producing a mass amount of snow since the beginning of May and has a network of 341 snow-making guns ready to “kick into action” when necessary.</p> <p>Resort spokeswoman Rhylla Morgan said it is “all hands on deck” to finalise preparations.</p> <p>“In recent seasons there have been bumper early snowfalls and we’ve been spoiled with plenty of natural snow from the beginning,” she said.</p> <p>“And as much as we love to see snowfall at any time, we are taking comfort in the fact that early snow doesn’t translate to a better snow season.”</p> <p>Morgan noted two of the best snow seasons on record at Mt Buller, 1956 and 1958, “had no snow for the season start in June”.</p> <p>“But we’ll leave the forecasting to the professionals and, like all snow enthusiasts, we’ll be watching the forecast closely and hoping for the best.”</p> <p>Victorian resorts, Mt Buller, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek are hoping to repeat the record-breaking 2022 snow season, the first full return after the Covid lockdowns.</p> <p>Mt Hotham’s general manager of operations Len Dobell said the mountaintop resort had its “best season on record” in 2022.</p> <p>Falls Creek Alpine Resort head of marketing Andrew Eckersley said the resort had “more than 500,000 visitation days” in 2022, and was already expecting similar numbers of bookings in 2023.</p> <p>“Last year there was massive pent-up demand from people not being able to ski as much as they want over the last few years in,” Eckersley said.</p> <p>“The fact there’s not a huge amount of difference shows there’s still the appetite to visit the snow.”</p> <p>Although those numbers could be attributed to earlier snowfalls leading to an earlier season opening, Eckersley said he was hopeful the cold front ahead would bring some snow.</p> <p>Sky News Australia meteorologist Alison Osbourne confirmed that despite there being a cold front shifting across the alpine regions, it is not guaranteed to bring snow.</p> <p>“The best weather systems for good snowfall have the most precipitation after a cool change, so it's cold enough for heavy snow,” she said.</p> <p>“This is the opposite, heavy rain is coming before the cold weather does. The freezing level is far too high.</p> <p>“This rain is very likely to wash away the existing cover and while it remains warm, windy, and wet, conditions for snow-making are unfavourable.”</p> <p>Cooler westerly winds are expected to push over the Alps on June 16, lowering the freezing level in time for the June 10 snow season opening, but not enough for significant snowfall.</p> <p>“The silver lining is that snow-making conditions improve for the rest of the weekend.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Reality TV star welcomes identical twin girls

<p>Reality TV star Dani Dyer has welcomed two baby girls with her partner, footballer Jarrod Bowen. </p> <p>The <em>Love Island UK</em> winner, who won the show in 2018 with her ex-partner Jack Fincham in 2018, shared the happy news on her Instagram on Thursday. </p> <p>Dani didn't reveal the identical twin girls' names, but confirmed the date of their birth, May 22nd, in the caption. </p> <p>Dani is already mum to Santiago, two, who she shares with with ex Sammy Kimmence.</p> <p>Her <em>Love Island UK</em> co-stars were quick to send their congratulations, with season one winner Cara De La Hoyde writing, "Congratulations Dan they are beautiful ❤️."</p> <p>"Congratulations to your beautiful family ❤️," Zara McDermott added, while season four winner Molly-Mae Hague added, "Congratulations beautiful 😭😭😭."</p> <p>Dani is the daughter of English actor and presenter Danny Dyer, who's well known for his role in British soap <em>EastEnders</em>.</p> <p>Dani shared the news of her pregnancy with a sweet announcement post, showing her son Santiago holding a letter board with the ultrasound pictures of her new babies. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CnpWIihrD1x/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CnpWIihrD1x/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by ♡ Dani Dyer ♡ (@danidyerxx)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"We have been keeping a little secret... Our little TWINS!" she wrote.</p> <p>"So excited to meet our babies and watch Santi be the best big brother.. The biggest surprise of our lives but feeling SO blessed.. our family is getting a lot bigger and we can’t wait."</p> <p>Just weeks after announcing the pregnancy, Dani confirmed the gender of their babies in another Instagram post. </p> <p>"A lot of you have been asking on the gender of our babies and we are so excited to share with you all that we are having identical twin girls. Half way our little darlings."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Pirates of the Caribbean island up for sale

<p dir="ltr">A Bahamian island, which was the backdrop for two iconic blockbuster films, is now up for sale for the eye-watering price of $150m.</p> <p dir="ltr">The island, known as Little Pipe Cay, was used as a backdrop for two Hollywood films: <em>Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl</em> and <em>Casino Royale</em>, a film in the James Bond franchise.</p> <p dir="ltr">Spanning across over 40 acres of land, the island boasts stunning white-sand beaches and what locals refer to as “Bombay-Sapphire Blue” waters.</p> <p dir="ltr">The main property has 11 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and four cottages, it’s basically like having a private mini resort.</p> <p dir="ltr">The property also has a deepwater dock that’s big enough for a superyacht, so you can host boat parties or simply cruise around with your peers.</p> <p dir="ltr">The lucky buyer will feel like they are on a never-ending getaway, as they can escape into the gardens or take a dip into the Olympic-sized infinity pool, the perfect place to appreciate the stunning tropical scenery.</p> <p dir="ltr">For those looking for some indoor activities, the island also offers a gym and spa, in the fully staffed island so that you will never need to lift a finger.</p> <p dir="ltr">The island is also home to many exotic plants and animals, including dolphins and sea turtles, so for those nature lovers it’s the perfect place to reconnect with mother nature.</p> <p dir="ltr">Alternatively, if you decide you’re bored of the same views, you can hop on a helicopter and fly off to another island or country, as the island also has a helipad for your travelling needs.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: realestate.com.au/ Engel &amp; Völkers Bahamas/ Getty</em></p>

Real Estate

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Glorious private island hits the market

<p>A private island, sitting on about 27 hectares of land with a magnificent home offering 360-degree views of the water, has been posted online for sale.</p> <p>The “luxury bespoke” property was built with high-end finishes, and designed so “abundant sunshine reaches every inch of the home”.</p> <p>“It’s an incredible opportunity. There’s a fantastic panorama, the water surrounding you. It’s a pretty awesome part of the world,” Peterswald For Property agent Nick Morgan said.</p> <p>Located on Ram Island in Little Swanport, Tasmania, the property is suited to those looking to get away from the chaos of the city, he said.</p> <p>It offers two kitchens, three bedrooms, a study, a media room and two bathrooms.</p> <p>Peterswald For Property has listed it for $7 million dollars.</p> <p>“Harmonious indoor to outdoor living transitions from the main lounge and dining to a wrap-around north-facing timber deck, from where the views are simply magical and unmatched,” the online advertisement read.</p> <p>The home has been designed with an eco-friendly mindset and is supposed to be completely self-contained with 45kW solar, and 250,000-litre capacity water tanks.</p> <p>Visitors can access the island via boat with private jetty access.</p> <p>“Entertain within complete seclusion anywhere on the island, where birdlife visitors include oystercatchers, rosellas, white-bellied sea eagles, wedge-tailed eagles, and owls. Wallabies and kangaroos also appear frequently,” the advertisement said.</p> <p>“Take a short stroll from the main house to the water’s edge, via the outdoor fire pit, where dolphins and seals are known to frequent close to the shore.”</p> <p>Morgan revealed the current owner had purchased the piece of land on Tasmania’s east coast about 20 years ago, and the home has never been lived in.</p> <p>“We’ve had some good inquiries. Our marketing reach has been fantastic. I’ve had a number of inquiries from both local and interstate people,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Peterswald For Property</em></p>

Real Estate

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I’ve worked at an all-inclusive resort for 10 years – these are 19 mistakes every traveller should avoid

<p><strong>All-inclusive resort tips for the best trip ever</strong></p> <p>Heading to an inclusive resort is the best of both worlds: you get to go on an amazing holiday while someone else takes care of all the little details. But how do all those little details work, exactly? And how can you, as the guest, have an epic experience? As an entertainment director for more than a decade, I’ve gotten an insider look into nearly every aspect of these types of hotels, which means I know a few things that you’ll definitely want to know. My job may sound like a 24/7 party, but it’s a lot of work too. I joke that my ‘nightlife’ fills my entire day. But my lack of work-life balance is your gain, since my experience translates into all-inclusive resort tips that will help you have a blast and give you the most bang for your buck. Because let’s be honest, if you’re going to an all-inclusive resort, you’re spending a lot of money – and you deserve to get what you’re paying for.</p> <p>Over the years, I’ve seen thousands of guests, and there are some common mistakes people make – from the type of package they book to what they do (and don’t do) when staying at an all-inclusive. So memorise this advice because it can help you have the best holiday of your life.</p> <p><strong>Thinking that 'all-inclusive' means everything is included</strong></p> <p>Despite the title of ‘all-inclusive,’ most all-inclusive resorts don’t include everything. While the specifics will vary depending on the resort, your membership status and the package you booked, common exclusions include transportation to and from the airport, spa treatments, premium alcohol and Wi-Fi in your room (although it’s generally provided for free in common areas). Other amenities may be partially included. For instance, water sports may be included in your rate, but you might have to pay extra to rent motorised equipment like jet skis. While you’ll be told about extra charges when booking a service or activity, if you’re not really paying attention, you could end up with quite the surprise when you see the final bill at the end of your stay. This is also true of all-inclusive cruises.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: read the fine print of your package before you arrive (and ideally before you book), and be sure to ask staff if you’re unsure whether something’s included. You could easily add an extra 10 per cent or more to your bill if you don’t. You should also always ask whether resort fees – which can range from $25 to $100 a day, depending on the company – are included.</p> <p><strong>Not researching the resort before you go</strong></p> <p>Even within the same chain, every all-inclusive resort is different – from the culture and dining to the amenities and excursions – and the time to discover those differences is not the day you get there. Knowing what to expect can help you have a better experience, since you’ll know what you want to do and can jump on reservations quickly, as well as know what to pack for the weather and available activities. It’s also an important part of managing your expectations. Sometimes we have guests show up expecting everything under the sun and then are disappointed when all their expectations aren’t met – things they would have realised if they’d researched the resort first.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: Take an hour or so to check out the resources on the resort’s website, and go to online forums for that resort so you know what the can’t-miss things are. Come prepared with a list of activities, foods, cultural experiences and shows that you’re most excited about. Upon checking in, you can also talk to the concierge, entertainment director or other employees for their personal recommendations and for help making reservations.</p> <p><strong>Overtipping or undertipping</strong></p> <p>Tipping etiquette can be confusing no matter where you are, and the rules are different at all-inclusive resorts. One of the selling points of an all-inclusive resort is that gratuities are usually included in the package. But while this means guests aren’t expected to tip for regular services like housekeeping or dining, guests may still choose to tip for exceptional service or for special requests, such as having an item ordered online and delivered to them. Plus, certain ‘extra’ services – like spa treatments, deluxe excursions or butler service – may not be included in the all-inclusive package, which means that a tip wouldn’t be included either.</p> <p>In addition, tipping culture at resorts has changed since the pandemic, and even though tips for normal services aren’t required, in some countries and some resorts (for instance, in Mexico), they are now expected – even if it isn’t explicitly stated. That isn’t true everywhere, of course. In certain countries, tipping isn’t the norm. For example, in Japan, you shouldn’t tip at all at an all-inclusive resort.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: read the details of your package to understand which services are included and which require an additional tip. Bring $100 to $200 in cash for tipping, and ask the concierge upon arriving what is generally expected and appropriate. Some resort employees, especially those in poorer countries, depend on these tips to make a living wage, so while you may not have to tip them, it’s still the kind thing to do.</p> <p><strong>Overindulging in food and drinks</strong></p> <p>Just because you can eat a kilo of crab legs and a litre of ice cream, it doesn’t mean you should. (And yes, I saw someone do that!) Since most, if not all, food and drinks are included, some guests feel that the way to get their money’s worth is to overeat or drink to the point of inebriation. Unfortunately, I’ve seen guests stuck in bed for an entire day or two after a binge, making them miss out on all the other fun things.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: feel free to indulge, but be moderate in how much you eat and drink at once. Remember, it’s about enjoying the overall experience, and that’s about having fun while doing things you couldn’t do at home.</p> <p><strong>Staying at the resort the whole time</strong></p> <p>While you certainly can stay in your room and enjoy the peace and quiet, the draw of an all-inclusive resort is that it offers far more than just a place to relax. Yet you’d be surprised at how many guests don’t take advantage of all the resort and the surrounding area have to offer. Most resorts are in locations known for their beauty, culture, weather and opportunities for adventure, and it would be a mistake to not even check it all out.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: this is the perfect opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and try something new, whether that’s eating a local delicacy or going on a guided tour through ancient ruins. You might even make some new friends along the way. It’s exactly these types of things that will make your holiday fun and memorable.</p> <p><strong>Sticking to the standard buffet</strong></p> <p>We work hard to provide delicious, one-of-a-kind dining experiences that reflect the culture and flavours of the locale. This isn’t just about offering local delicacies; it may also include a special cooking method, watching the chef prepare your food, seeing where the food comes from or allowing you to participate in the dining experience in a unique way. Filling up on hamburgers and fries is fine, but the food is a big part of what you are paying for.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: look up the resort’s dining options in advance, and pick out a few adventures to try. Most resorts offer a chef’s tasting menu that encompasses the local cuisine – for example, in Bali, you can watch your fish caught fresh and then cooked on a traditional grill.</p> <p>Ask the chef or entertainment director for their suggestions for what’s best at the moment. And book your reservations as early as possible.</p> <p><strong>Not making a connection with the staff</strong></p> <p>Many guests are repeat visitors at specific resorts, and staff develop relationships with their favourites and will go out of their way to make sure you have everything you want and need. They might even provide little extras for free, like treats, drinks or early-access passes to shows. The employees are also an incredible resource for what to try in the surrounding areas, what you need to know about local cultural norms, how to prepare for certain excursions and other site-specific tips. But they can only do that if you’ve already built a good relationship with them.</p> <p>Even if you’ll only ever be at the resort once, a little kindness goes a long way with all the staff, ensuring that your stay is pleasant and that you feel taken care of. Honestly, a kind guest will find themselves being treated like a king or queen, so this is one of the all-inclusive resort tips that you really don’t want to skip!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: start by acknowledging staff with a smile, remembering their names and asking how they are. Do not be rude to staff, even if you’re upset; you’re much more likely to get help when you’re kind and calm. Ask questions about the area or the resort – they are a wealth of insider information – but steer clear of overly personal questions that could come off as creepy. For instance, do not hit on the staff, ask where they live or for their private phone numbers. If you want to keep in touch, they can give you their company email address.</p> <p><strong>Being glued to your phone</strong></p> <p>I’ve seen too many people miss out on the joy of the moment because their eyes are constantly on their phone. You’re on holidays for a reason – to get a break from daily life – so let this be a magical experience. Take in the beauty of the surrounding nature, watch your children play, have a cocktail with your spouse, check out a performance, go dancing at the nightclub.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: use your phone to snap a few pictures or videos for memories, but otherwise try to keep your tech use to a minimum so you can be fully present. (Plus, you’ll avoid a lot of frustration, since internet service may be spotty and limited to certain areas.)</p> <p><strong>Not getting traveller's insurance</strong></p> <p>When it comes to holidays, you have to plan for the unexpected, and that includes making sure you have adequate insurance coverage and knowing how to access it. Insurance coverage depends on where you are and what you’re doing, but expect the resort’s insurance to cover only things under their direct control, such as mechanical malfunctions, equipment failures, schedule changes and cancellations. It generally won’t cover weather-related disasters, personal medical emergencies, accidents, injuries, flight cancellations and other things that could seriously mess up your trip (and your budget) if you’re not prepared.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: consider buying separate travel insurance for the trip, and read through it carefully so you know what’s covered. You will most likely be offered travel insurance as an extra when booking, either through a travel agent or directly through the resort. You can also purchase travel insurance as a rider to other insurance policies, like a homeowner’s policy, and many credit cards offer travel insurance as a perk when you pay for the trip with that card. Also make sure to check with your personal medical insurance about what they cover while you are away, especially if you are out of the country.</p> <p><strong>Dressing too casually</strong></p> <p>You’re on holidays at an all-inclusive resort in Hawaii, so it’s swimsuits and flip-flops 24/7, right? While that is true for some areas of the resort, many all-inclusive resorts have upscale dining and shows that require, at the very least, trousers or a sundress and real shoes. You will be turned away if you don’t meet that dress code.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: read up on the dress code before you start packing, and make sure to bring at least one outfit that goes beyond beachwear on your packing list. A pair of khakis or trousers and a collared shirt will likely suffice for men, while women should bring a dress (beyond the all-cotton beach cover-up) or nice pants and a blouse. Some resorts have formal nights where suits and formal dresses are required. And don’t forget to pack a pair of dress shoes!</p> <p><strong>Ignoring safety guidelines </strong></p> <p>Some guests think weather advisories, public-health mandates (like masks), staying out of roped-off areas, only swimming in designated spots, wearing life jackets and other safety rules are for everyone else but not them. But our safety guidelines aren’t there to mess up your fun – they are to keep you safe so you can have more fun. Ignoring these guidelines can put you in danger and ruin your holiday.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: follow the rules, and avoid endangering yourself or others. This is true even if you ‘already know how’ to do an activity (like snorkelling or skiing). Guests ignoring the rules have been caught in dangerous riptides, attacked by wildlife, taken jaw-dropping falls or been stranded on land that suddenly turns into an island when the tide comes in.</p> <p><strong>Getting dehydrated </strong></p> <p>Too many tropical holidays have been ruined by heat stroke! You have delicious beverages (both alcoholic and regular treats) at your fingertips, so it’s understandable that you might forget to drink enough water – something that can be compounded by being outdoors more than usual, forgetting sun protection like hats or umbrellas, and loading up on salty snacks. But getting dehydrated can make you feel tired and irritable at best, or gravely ill at worst. This is especially important if you are travelling to a climate that is significantly hotter or drier than you’re used to.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: balance out each alcoholic or sugary drink with a glass of water. Take a reusable water bottle and a sun hat with you on excursions, and be on the lookout for signs of dehydration like exhaustion, being overly sweaty or unable to sweat, becoming very red in the face or very pale, disorientation, muscle cramps and weakness.</p> <p><strong>Not consulting the schedule </strong></p> <p>Not only does the resorts daily tell you when things are happening – it’s also a great way to see what is happening. Even if you did some research ahead of time, it’s not uncommon for a resort to add even more shows, excursions or dining experiences. Some are first-come, first-serve, while others require an advance reservation. Certain activities, like a riverboat tour through the city, will always be popular and can be fully booked by the time breakfast is over. Be sure to note events that happen only once during your stay – like a special show performance – and prioritise booking those first.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: download the resort app, and check it daily, first thing in the morning. It’s a goldmine of information. It usually has schedules, tips, previews and menus, and many resorts offer special events or deals through it too. You can also check the flyer that lists the day’s schedules, posted in common areas, or the informational binder in your room. In general, travel apps can make your trip better in so many ways.</p> <p><strong>Forgetting medications or vaccinations</strong></p> <p>Resorts usually have doctors or medical staff onsite, but they’re there to handle normal vacation maladies or emergencies. You can’t expect them to have a supply of your prescription medication on hand, nor can they manage any chronic illnesses. Also be aware that some resorts have vaccine mandates, and for the vaccine to fully take effect, you need to get it some time before you arrive. For instance, a series of two typhoid vaccines are required for most countries in South Asia, and the vaccinations need to be completed at least one week before your arrival.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: check out the medical section of the resort’s website or app, and make sure to pack anything you need for your health – and pack it in your carry-on. As a precaution, in case you lose your medication, have your doctor email you an electronic copy of your prescription. If you have a chronic health condition, talk with your doctor before leaving about how to manage it on holidays.</p> <p><strong>Booking the first resort package you find </strong></p> <p>All-inclusive resorts are more expensive than regular resorts because they take the headache out of planning every detail of your vacation. However, that means you need to be extra careful in how you select the resort, the package and your membership level (if applicable). If you’re on a budget and you don’t comparison shop, you might end up paying more than you’d like because what you want isn’t included.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: book through a travel agent, they often have access to exclusive deals and know the ins and outs of different resort packages. Also try to book as early as possible. While there are good deals to be had at the last minute, you’re more likely to get what you want for a good price by booking early; many places offer discounts or promotions for early bookings.</p> <p><strong>Forgetting sunscreen</strong></p> <p>You know what will really ruin a romantic holiday or a girls’ weekend getaway? A blistering sunburn. One common issue: women (or men in Speedos) who neglect to put waterproof sunscreen on their bottoms where their suit doesn’t cover when snorkelling. Sunburns gotten over a day of swimming in the ocean – the sun not only beats down from above but is also reflected up from the surface – can be incredibly painful and may make sitting and sleeping miserable.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: bring sunscreen, and check to make sure it’s reef-safe if you’re going to be swimming in an ocean. Also bring insect repellents (and use them regularly). If you forget yours, definitely ask the staff, as the resort will likely have some on hand, or you can make a quick trip to town to pick up what you need.</p> <p><strong>Not using your points or miles</strong></p> <p>Perks at all-inclusive resorts are a common benefit of many credit card, airline, hotel, corporate or other rewards programs. You can get free upgrades, extra nights, bonus excursions, transportation and other fun freebies. But they only work if you remember to use them. If you’re not prompted to enter the info when booking, be sure to ask customer service to make sure they’ve got your membership details on file.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: know what your perks are and how to use them, especially since many must be activated before arrival. If you’re using a credit card to book the trip, the perks should be activated automatically at the time of booking (but check your account to make sure). If you’re using a corporate reward or hotel loyalty program, look up the details before booking. You will likely need to book through their site or provide a membership number during the booking process.</p> <p>If you arrive and notice that you didn’t receive the extras you signed up for, talk to the concierge to see if they are on file with your reservation. If not, you’ll need to contact customer service for the rewards company. Combining points is one of the top tips for how to travel for free.</p> <p><strong>Expecting the staff to babysit your kids</strong></p> <p>All-inclusive family resorts exist so that families with kids of all ages can holiday together … and also have some time apart. Many resorts offer childcare and/or classes for kids, but make sure you know the rules (like age restrictions) and the times they’re offered. Please know that just because something is labelled as a ‘family’ and ‘all-inclusive’ resort, it doesn’t mean that any staff member will watch your kids or that babysitting is available at all hours.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Do this instead</em></span>: read all the details about what services and activities are offered for babies, young children, older kids and teens. Do not leave kids unattended, even in children’s areas, unless it is specified that they are being supervised by staff there. Bring your own baby monitor, as they generally aren’t provided, but do not leave young children alone in hotel rooms.</p> <p><strong>Not taking advantage of room service</strong></p> <p>You might skip room service at a normal hotel because of the price, but room service is one of the areas where all-inclusive resorts really shine. At most resorts, you can order anything off the menu 24/7 and have it delivered to your room for no extra charge. (Some items or services may incur an extra fee, like special meals, off-hours delivery or alcohol.) This is a huge bonus for families with young kids or people who like to have breakfast in bed.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead</em></span>: check with the resort before arrival, since what’s included in room service varies. One etiquette-based resort tip, though: while tipping isn’t necessary, if you do order room service in the middle of the night, consider tipping the staff a few dollars when they bring it.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/ive-worked-at-an-all-inclusive-resort-for-10-years-these-are-19-mistakes-every-traveller-should-avoid?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em> </p>

Travel Tips

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Remote Scottish island hits the market

<p>If you’ve ever dreamt of escaping the rat race and living a life of complete isolation, then look no further.</p> <p>A remote island situated off the southern coast of Scotland, Carlocco Island is up for sale, priced at offers over £150,000 ($A280,317).</p> <p>“There’s still a very romantic sentiment attached to owning your very own Scottish private island, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some peace and tranquillity in the most beautiful scenery around,” Aaron Edgar of Galbraith Group, the agent handling the sale, said in a statement.</p> <p>The nearest town is almost 10km away with the closest train station Dumfries an hour bus ride from that town. London is more than 563km away with Edinburgh over 160km away.</p> <p>With lush green grass and rocky outcrops reaching the sea, the island covers an area of around 10 hectares, but there are no buildings, only a flood pond providing water to livestock and wildlife in the colder months.</p> <p>According to the listing, no one has ever applied for permission to build on the island, so it would be up to the buyer to investigate any development possibilities with local authorities.</p> <p>At low tide, the island can be reached on foot, by tractor or quad bike. As for the rest of the time, a boat is required for travel, with a pebble beach for them to be anchored, “the perfect base to explore the island, partake in some cold water swimming…and enjoy a waterside picnic,” Edgar said.</p> <p>The island sits in a Site of Special Scientific Interest, an area in the UK defined as of particular interest due to the rare species of fauna and flora it’s home to, and is also a shelter for all types of wildlife, including great black-backed gulls, and rare plants like rock sea lavenders and fragrant orchids.</p> <p>Mr Edgar expects a lot of interest in the unique property, “We have witnessed strong demand from domestic and international parties for entire private islands, having handled the sale of several in Scotland,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Galbraith Group</em></p>

Real Estate

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Child hospitalised from dingo attack

<p>A primary school-aged girl has been hospitalised after getting attacked by a dingo while swimming at Queensland’s K’gari-Fraser island.</p> <p>It is understood that the girl was swimming in shallow water on the eastern side of the island on April 3 when the dingo launched at her in an attempt to drag her underwater.</p> <p>Family members on the island were able to free the girl, however, she suffered bites to her head and fingers.</p> <p>A RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter arrived at the scene and she was treated by paramedics and a critical care doctor before being flown to Hervey Bay Hospital where she remains in a stable position.</p> <p>The girl was pictured sitting upright and holding a stuffed toy when the helicopter arrived at the hospital.</p> <p>The incident comes after a five-year-old boy was attacked by a dingo and suffered a bite to his arm, head and buttocks while playing on a beach at K’gari-Fraser Island.</p> <p>The boy was with his nine-year-old brother in the sand when the incident occurred.</p> <p>Authorities said the attack was unprovoked and the boy’s father “quickly intervened” to pull the dingo off his young son.</p> <p>An off-duty paramedic rushed to the boy’s aid before he was flown to hospital to be treated for his injuries.</p> <p>K’gari dingoes are protected by law as native species on the island.</p> <p>There are an estimated 20 to 30 packs of the animals in K-gari, with each consisting of three to 12 dingoes.</p> <p>Visitors are urged to use caution as the wild animals are unpredictable and dangerous.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

News

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What is myrtle rust and why has this disease closed Lord Howe Island to visitors?

<p>Some 70% of the World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island has been <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/mar/17/most-of-lord-howe-island-closed-to-visitors-after-outbreak-of-plant-fungus">closed to non-essential visitors</a> in response to a recurrence of the plant disease myrtle rust.</p> <p>Myrtle rust, native to South America, was <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/environment/invasive-species/diseases-fungi-and-parasites/myrtle-rust">first detected</a> in Australia on the Central Coast of NSW in April 2010. It is caused by a fungus that belongs to a group of plant pathogens known as the rusts.</p> <p>Rusts are among the most feared of all plant pathogens. They spread rapidly over thousands of kilometres on wind currents and can cause huge losses in plant production.</p> <p>For example, wheat rust research over the past 100 years at the University of Sydney has shown clear evidence of wind-borne rust spores travelling from central Africa to Australia. Wheat production losses due to rust have at times totalled <a href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/biosecurity/biosecurity-economics/potential-impact-wheat-stem-rust">hundreds of millions of dollars</a>.</p> <p>Myrtle rust rapidly invaded the entire east coast of Australia in the years after it was first detected. It has caused the near extinction of at least three rainforest species, including the native guava (<a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=19162">Rhodomyrtus psidioides</a>) and the scrub turpentine (<a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=15763">Rhodamnia rubescens</a>).</p> <p>The disease was detected at Lord Howe Island <a href="https://islandarks.com.au/files/2017/12/I-think-we-dodged-a-bullet-Implementing-a-Rapid-Response-Plan-for-a-Myrtle-Rust-incursion-on-Lord-Howe-Island-in-October-2016.pdf">in 2016, and eradicated</a>. Now it has managed to spread there once again. There are concerns if the disease is left unchecked, it could seriously alter the unique ecology of the island. Lord Howe is home to some 240 native plant species, of which more than 100 are not found anywhere else.</p> <h2>How can the disease be controlled?</h2> <p>Rust diseases in agriculture are controlled by the cultivation of genetically <a href="https://csiropedia.csiro.au/rust-resistance-in-plants/">resistant plants</a>, or by use of fungicides. These fungicides can kill existing recent infections and provide protection for up to four weeks. In other situations, such as horticulture and native plant communities, fungicides are used together with removal and destruction of infected plants.</p> <p>The 2010 detection of myrtle rust in Australia followed its detection in Hawaii in 2005 and China in 2009. It was later found in New Caledonia (2013) and New Zealand (2017). <a href="https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:13b49a4">Research</a> has shown the same strain – known as the “pandemic strain” – has appeared in all of these countries. Several other strains occur in South America.</p> <p>It is likely the fungus spread to Lord Howe Island from eastern Australia on wind currents. The especially wet conditions along the east coast of much of Australia in 2022 led to an increase in the disease there. This, in turn, increased rust spore load and hence the chance of long-distance spore dispersal.</p> <p>In addition to being spread on the wind, the rusty coloured spores produced by these fungal pathogens stick readily to clothing. These spores remain viable for at least two weeks under ambient conditions. Several wheat rusts of exotic origin are believed to have been accidentally brought in to Australia on travellers’ clothing from North America and Europe.</p> <p>The chance of inadvertent spread of myrtle rust on contaminated clothing is why access to Lord Howe island has been restricted since last week.</p> <p>The second incursion into the island clearly shows how incredibly difficult rust diseases are to manage once they reach a new region. It points to possible recurrences of the disease there in years to come even should current efforts to eradicate it succeed.</p> <p>On top of the ability of rust diseases to spread rapidly over large distances, a further complication in controlling myrtle rust is it infects a wide range of native plants. Some of these species hold great cultural significance and/or are endangered.</p> <p>Endemic species of the myrtle plant family <a href="https://www.britannica.com/plant/Myrtaceae">Myrtaceae</a> that are dominant in many of the plant communities on Lord Howe Island are highly vulnerable to myrtle rust infection. Of critical concern are two species that occur only on the island: the mountain rose (Meterosideros nervulosa) and the rainforest tree scalybark (Syzigium fullagarri). The rust infects young leaves and also flowers, where it causes sterility.</p> <h2>Australia brings expertise to the battle</h2> <p>Australia has some of the best plant pathologists in the world and has long been a leader in controlling rust diseases in agriculture. This expertise, combined with world-leading scientists in the ecology of Australian native plants, has enabled solid progress in understanding myrtle rust in the Australian environment. Australian scientists have joined hands with New Zealand scientists to boost efforts to control the pathogen in both countries.</p> <p>Research is also under way at the University of Sydney and Australian National University to develop new DNA-based diagnostics to allow rapid identification of the different strains of the pathogen. These tests are especially important given only one strain of myrtle rust occurs in the Asia-Pacific and Oceania regions.</p> <p>The success of managing the impact of myrtle rust on the region’s iconic flora against a backdrop of climate change will rely heavily on undertaking the research needed to gain a much better understanding of this damaging plant pathogen. Recognising this, staff at the University of Sydney have convened a conference for June 21-23 this year. It will bring together myrtle rust experts to exchange their latest research findings and identify priority areas for research.</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-myrtle-rust-and-why-has-this-disease-closed-lord-howe-island-to-visitors-202045" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Couple’s hiking trip thrown into jeopardy days before take off

<p>When US-based couple Neil Lapetina and Denise Cordero spent $20,000 to explore the world - and one of its most unique locations - they had dreams of a once-in-a-lifetime hike through Lord Howe Island’s stunning scenery. </p> <p>But days before their departure, their excitement turned to horror when the pair learned that a large number of eco-destinations had been suddenly closed off - up to 75 per cent of them. </p> <p>The reason? The Lord Howe Island Board [LHIB] were working to contain an airborne fungus with potentially devastating consequences for the World Heritage-listed destination, and the 241 species of Indigenous plants to which it is home - 47 per cent of which can only be found there. </p> <p>Additionally, those can primarily be found along the island’s numerous hiking trails in the Permanent Park Preserve [PPP], prompting the mass closures for three-quarters of its total area. </p> <p>However, this meant that Neil and Denise - as well as any other traveller with tickets to visit - were in some trouble, as compensation wasn’t being offered to them. </p> <p>“We were told that they knew about this on February 3,” Neil said, “by their own admission, and if they knew about it [then]), then there’s a chance we might have not have paid our non-refundable balance due.</p> <p>“First and foremost, myrtle rust has hit the island hard — our first concern is with the island. We’re confused: if it’s as bad as they say it is, then don’t have people come out.”</p> <p>Myrtle rust has the potential to destroy entire Australian ecosystems, and spreads at rapid pace as its spores can be carried by wind, animals, insects, and humans alike, so it’s no small wonder the LHIB took immediate action to combat the threat. </p> <p>Fellow traveller Ian Freestone - who has visited the island numerous times before - had plans to celebrate his birthday there with 30 guests. After forking out a staggering $60,000 for the trip, they were informed that the trails would not be available to them, with closures to the PPP. </p> <p>Ian told <em>7News</em> the whole thing was like “going to Luna Park but not [being] allowed on all the rides.”</p> <p>And for those who had been left on the island after the LHIB’s “effective immediately, the PPP is temporarily closed” announcement, the situation was not much better, with some claiming they - and their holiday funds - had been “left in limbo”. </p> <p>And while the island’s initial closure had been sudden - and crucial - it was only 10 days before the LHIB announced that the PPP would be partially reopening. </p> <p>“After extensive monitoring, no new sites of myrtle rust infestation have been located on the island. Importantly, as of yesterday (March 23), there were no active spores at known sites,” they said. </p> <p>But for some, this wasn’t enough, with many noting that they just would have appreciated “a bit of notice”, especially after spending so much to visit in the first place. </p> <p>Neil - and assumedly Denise - were of a similar opinion. Although they value the island’s flora, they pleaded for some compassion from the LHIB in the wake of their snap decision, and its consequences for themselves and the other impacted travellers. </p> <p>“We’re putting $20,000, between the two couples, into this. I’ve worked hard all my life for this, for money - this doesn’t grow on trees,” he said.</p> <p>“We’re nature lovers ... we get it. But communication has been lacking. To hear about this first through word-of-mouth, that’s not the way to do it.</p> <p>“Please, show your visitors some respect.”</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Private island on sale for a price cheaper than most homes

<p dir="ltr">A private island is up for grabs in Queensland, for a price that is cheaper than an average home in most Australian cities.</p> <p dir="ltr">Poole Island, situated in the Whitsundays, comes with two homes that were built in the 1800s and 1980s, and has an asking price of just under $1 million.</p> <p dir="ltr">This comes after a contract fell through when a would-be buyer couldn’t be contacted, so the 20ha island is back on the market.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I can confirm that we have not been able to contact the purchaser,” Private Islands Online Australia’s Richard Vanhoff told <em>7NEWS.com.au.</em></p> <p dir="ltr">“We have tried ourselves, and we are also going on advice from the purchaser’s solicitor, who has also not been able to contact him.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The island is now accepting offers over $995,000.</p> <p dir="ltr">Other features of the island include a handmade rock swimming pool and a 215m runway to cater for small aircraft or a helicopter that flies in from Airlie Beach or Bowen.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the listing, the pool itself is equipped with a new windmill pump that continuously pumps water into the pool so there’s “no need for chemicals or cleaning as the crystal clear water is in abundance”.</p> <p dir="ltr">The island also has a slipway for any boat owners or those who love to fish, and a stone shed where you can store various machinery including tractors and slashers.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Private Islands Online Australia</em></p>

Real Estate

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Aussie tourist makes disturbing claim about Fiji resort where young boy was killed

<p>An Aussie tourist has spoken out about an injury he sustained while holidaying at Club Wyndham Denarau Island resort in Fiji, where an 8-year-old boy died last week. </p> <p>Cairo Winitana passed away while on holiday with his family, after he was chasing frogs in the five-star resort’s flower garden when he allegedly touched a light that delivered him a fatal electric shock. </p> <p>Now, an Aussie tourist who visited the resort last year says he too received an electric shock on the grounds of the luxury villa. </p> <p>The unnamed holiday-goer says he was shocked by an exposed light fitting, where wires were draped between two lampposts where they got wet from the rain. </p> <p>The damaged light delivered a hefty shock to the tourist, but he walked away relatively unharmed. </p> <p>After Cairo was found unresponsive in the gardens of the resort, desperate guests tried to revive him, as they shared the distress for the young boy. </p> <p>Thomas Meier told <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=DTWEB_WRE170_a_NEW&amp;dest=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailytelegraph.com.au%2Fnews%2Fnsw%2Fsydney-boy-cairo-waitana-dies-at-fiji-resort%2Fnews-story%2F0da28333a98b983059b5e07871498679&amp;memtype=anonymous&amp;mode=premium&amp;v21=dynamic-low-control-score&amp;V21spcbehaviour=append" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Daily Telegraph</a> that he found the youngster unconscious in a garden bed.</p> <p>He told the publication he believed the child had been fatally injured after innocently playing with frogs near a bolt which was screwed into the ground where a live current was coming from.</p> <p>“As we were walking through the gardens we just saw this boy face down in the garden,” Mr Meier, 24, said.</p> <p>“My uncle went up to him and we were trying to tap him on the shoulder to see if he was responsive and he wasn’t moving.”</p> <p>He explained that his uncle received an electric shock as he assisted Cairo, before bystanders rushed to help.</p> <p>The child’s mother, Amber de Thierry, was soon found by resort guests, with Mr Meier describing her intense distress.</p> <p>“Eventually the mum turned up and she was screaming, crying, calling out to her son Cairo. She had one of her relatives hugging her,” he said.</p> <p>“We were all just sitting around hoping this little boy is going to wake up after a couple of shots of this defibrillator.”</p> <p>A post-mortem examination on Tuesday day confirmed Cairo’s cause of death was electrocution, as previously suspected.</p> <p>A devastated Ms de Thierry has also shared an <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/my-heart-aches-mum-of-young-boy-who-died-in-fiji-speaks" target="_blank" rel="noopener">emotional tribute</a> to her beloved boy on social media.</p> <p>“I loved you my son, from the moment I found out I was carrying you and will love you forever more my beautiful blue eyes,” she wrote.</p> <p>Loved ones have since set up at <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/qte4ja-help-bring-our-boy-home" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> page to help Ms de Thierry and her partner Clarke Winitana bring Cairo’s body home.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / GoFundMe</em></p>

News

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“An exciting place to be”: Carmen becomes first opera performed on Cockatoo Island

<p dir="ltr">Operas as we know them conjure up images of concert halls with soaring ceilings, tiered, cushiony seats, and singers projecting their voices for the whole audience to hear.</p> <p dir="ltr">To take opera beyond the theatre and into the great outdoors comes with plenty of challenges, many of which conductor Tahu Matheson has become all too familiar with while conducting the orchestra for <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/domestic-travel/fireworks-motorbikes-and-opera-carmen-on-cockatoo-island-review"><em>Carmen </em>on Sydney’s Cockatoo Island</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s quite tricky,” he tells <em>OverSixty</em>. “In particular, it’s the distance. The orchestra is a long, long way away from the grand outdoor stage.”</p> <p dir="ltr">With the orchestra located in one of the island’s historic buildings and the opera’s main stage on the water’s edge, Matheson and the cast rely on monitors to see each other and stay in time.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I can see the stage but only really from a distance,” he explains. “So really, I just listen, basically, and try and follow the singers as much as possible.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And they've got a big monitor, and when they can they take note of the monitor.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Naturally, the elements present another challenge to be overcome with the help of microphones, and the help of sound designer Tony David Cray, who Matheson describes as a “sound genius”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He never stops working. When we’re all having a break, we hear moments of stuff that we’ve just done, and then he's just working on the sound and seeing if we can make this clearer and more beautiful, and more articulated,” Matheson says.</p> <p dir="ltr">But the most interesting part of this production for Matheson has been how it has changed from the original under the guidance of director Liesel Badorrek.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Carmen, probably one of the strongest women in opera, is being sort of interpreted just slightly differently, from a woman’s point of view,” he says.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There’s always a little bit of Carmen where, yes, she’s an incredibly strong character, but it’s definitely been written by a man, so a man’s idea of a strong woman.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And so Liesel just interprets that in a slightly different way… a strong woman from a woman’s perspective. I think it’s timely and it’s also slightly more interesting than we’ve had in the past.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Opera Australia’s version of <em>Carmen </em>draws attention to themes of violence against women at a time when sexual violence and coercive control have been in the spotlight.</p> <p dir="ltr">It also modernises the appearance of <em>Carmen</em> through costuming and set design, opening up questions of whether future productions could follow suit in a bid to appeal to modern audiences.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, Matheson says this can be tricky when dealing with an artform like opera.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think there are some things about opera, just the artform itself, that are so thrilling and exciting that I don’t think you're going to experience them in any other artform,” he says.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s very difficult because it’s a hybrid of three or four different artforms, each of which, in itself, is capable of reducing the audience members to tears, whether it’s just the spoken word alone, or just music in a concert, or just a singer with a piano.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And then you bring all these things together and then you add a dramatic plot to it - it has the ability to be something so thrilling and so amazing.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But it also has this fragility because it depends on all four or five disparate parts working together. And so it can fail, and sometimes it does.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And I think it’s worth remembering as a member of the public that it has the possibility to be the most stunning experience that you’ve ever had in your life. </p> <p dir="ltr">“At the same time, we do need to modernise, think forward a little bit and [think]: How do we engage with people as well as wanting them to engage in the artform itself?’</p> <p dir="ltr">“I don’t think it’s as simple as going, ‘We’ll add more people in jeans and t-shirts so that people empathise with characters’, but somehow a mixture of both, I think it’s what we need.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Carmen </em>on Cockatoo Island is showing Tuesday through Sunday nights from November 25 until December 18, with tickets available <a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/carmen-on-cockatoo-island" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-307abfe6-7fff-5780-c848-baefb1e73f21"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Prudence Upton / Opera Australia</em></p>

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