Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Woman's heartwarming encounter with millionaire teen fisherman

<p>A mum has revealed her heartwarming encounter with Keegan Payne just moments before he caught the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/domestic-travel/this-is-crazy-teenager-goes-fishing-and-emerges-a-millionaire" target="_blank" rel="noopener">million-dollar fish</a>. </p> <p>Sarrita King, an artist from Darwin, took to TikTok to recall the moment when the teenager and his friends helped her and her family after they had crashed their car and became stranded.</p> <p>“These kids came and actually towed us back to safety,” she said in the video. </p> <p>“So it was an hour out of their time, they unhooked a buggy, they were on their way to go fishing for the Million Dollar Barra, and they were absolutely amazing.</p> <p>“They restored both my partner and I’s faith in kids these days.”</p> <p>The mum said that the group of teenagers made them feel “really safe”.</p> <p>“For a terrible situation - the car was wrecked - they were the best,” she said.</p> <p>“At the time we were like ‘I hope these guys have the best life’, they have so much going for them.”</p> <p>She then shared her surprise when she found out that Payne won the life-changing prize.</p> <p>“We have just been over the moon for him ever since,” she said.</p> <p>“And we just can’t stop smiling and thinking about it. So congratulations. Good karma.”</p> <p>King's followers shared their support for the teen and called it a "beautiful story". </p> <p>“His story just gets better and better, I think he’s going to be a full-on Aussie icon,” one wrote. </p> <p>“Darwin kids have a heart of gold,” another added. </p> <p>King later on told <em>NT News </em>about what a "wonderful young man" Payne was and how kind the teenager was. </p> <p>“He was kind, he spoke proudly about being from Katherine – where I’m from too, so we spoke about that.</p> <p>“He spoke about his family and his love of fishing. It was just what you want your own kid to be like that at that age.</p> <p>“The way he’s handled himself through everything, he’s going to be someone in the future with all the pressure and all the scrutiny, he’s got his head screwed on.”</p> <p><em>Images: TikTok/ Facebook</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

“The spirit of Australia”: Rival airlines' actions praised after Bonza collapse

<p>Thousands of passengers were left stranded across the country when budget airline Bonza cancelled all their flights and announced that they have entered into voluntary administration. </p> <p>“Bonza has temporarily suspended services due to be operated today, as discussions are currently underway regarding the ongoing viability of the business,” CEO Tim Jordan said. </p> <p>“We apologise to our customers who are impacted by this and we are working as quickly as possible to determine a way forward that ensures there is ongoing competition in the Australian aviation market," he later told news.com.au.</p> <p>Rival airlines, including Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin have all stepped in to help passengers and staff affected by Bonza's sudden collapse. </p> <p>Jetstar and Virgin Australia sprung into action when one passenger, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-trouble/not-good-enough-karl-takes-aim-at-airline-cancellation" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tracy Hilbert</a>, revealed her devastation after her morning flight to Melbourne got cancelled on the day that she was planning to be with her family following her father's passing on Monday. </p> <p>The two airlines helped her get to her destination without charging her for a ticket.</p> <p>Jetstar, which is owned by Qantas, also released a statement on Tuesday and said:  “We understand today’s news about Bonza will have a significant impact on many people’s travel plans.”</p> <p>“For Bonza customers who are due to travel today or who are stuck away from home, Jetstar and Qantas will assist by providing flights at no cost where there are seats available.”</p> <p>Qantas also released a statement offering employment support to staff affected by the budget airline's collapse. </p> <p>“We extend our thoughts to our aviation industry colleagues and their families – from pilots and cabin crew to flight planners and operations controllers,” it read.</p> <p>“If Bonza employees would like to discuss recruitment opportunities within Jetstar and Qantas, particularly in specialised fields which are unique to aviation, we’ve set up a dedicated page on the Jetstar careers website.</p> <p>“For any customers with a cancelled Bonza flight on a route we operate, to make sure you’re not further out of pocket, you can fly with us at no cost where we have seats available.”</p> <p>Virgin Australia also extended its hand to staff seeking employment, and offered support to any passengers stranded mid-journey with complimentary seats, where available. </p> <p>“When Bonza started in Australia, we welcomed its launch because competition makes us all better and benefits consumers. We are saddened to hear of Bonza’s current situation and the impacts on its people, customers and partners,” the statement read.</p> <p>“We will do what we can to support Bonza’s employees by prioritising them for any current and future roles at Virgin Australia, and encourage them to contact our careers team at recruitmentteam@virginaustralia.com if they wish.”</p> <p>The three airlines' responses have been applauded by the aviation industry and Aussies alike with many branding it “the spirit of Australia”. </p> <p><em>Image: </em><em>Lachie Millard/ news.com.au</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

"This is crazy": Teenager goes fishing and emerges a millionaire

<p>A 19-year-old fisherman has reeled in a million-dollar barramundi as part of a years long fishing competition. </p> <p>Keegan Payne, a self proclaimed "mad keen" fisherman, caught the fish that had been tagged as part of a nine year long fishing competition in the Katherine River.</p> <p>When the teenager from the Norther Territory was told that he had taken home the prize, he said he planned to use his winnings to help his parents pay off their home loans. </p> <p>"This is crazy for us, we're a big family, there's eight of us. This is more money than we could ever ask for. This is just great," Payne said.</p> <p>"It means so much. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I'm happy, really happy."</p> <p>"I can buy what I want, maybe help Dad and Mum out with the home loans," he said.</p> <p>Payne was on a fishing trip with family and a friend at the Katherine River when he caught the prized barramundi, and quickly made a call to the hotline for the competition. </p> <p>The organisers confirmed he had caught the million-dollar fish, and invited him and his family to collect the prize. </p> <p>The competition has been running since 2015, but until now, nobody had reeled in one of the million-dollar barramundi.</p> <p>Every season, more than a hundred fish tagged with special markings are released in waterways across the Northern Territory, and while most of the fish are worth $10,000, some are worth the major prize of $1 million.</p> <p>Keegan chose charity partner Cancer Council NT to receive $10,000 from Sportsbet, a sponsor of the competition. </p> <p>NT Major Events Company chief executive Suzana Bishop said organisers were "so happy and excited for Keegan".</p> <p>"We guaranteed a winner this season and we're delighted to see the prize go off," said Sportsbet chief executive Barni Evans.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Million Dollar Fish </em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Jetstar celebrates 20th birthday with "return for free" flights

<p>Jetstar is celebrating its 20th birthday with massive sales and “return for free” flights across Australia and the world. </p> <p>The budget airline is offering over 200,000 “return for free” flights to 64 domestic and 33 international destinations, including popular holiday spots like Japan and Thailand. </p> <p>“Since launching in 2004, Jetstar has enabled hundreds of millions of Australian passengers to travel to more places, more often for less,” Jetstar Group CEO, Stephanie Tully, said.</p> <p>The 20th birthday sale will run for 48 hours, starting at 12.00am AEST on Wednesday, May 1, and end at 11.59pm AEST Thursday 2 May.</p> <p>The travel dates will vary according to the route, but for domestic flights dates include mid-January to late March 2025 and mid-June 2024 to late March 2025 for international services. </p> <p>Club Jetstar members will have 12 hours of exclusive early access from midday Tuesday.</p> <p><strong>A few of the destinations included in the offer can be seen below: </strong></p> <p><strong>Domestic:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Sydney to Ballina Byron from $86</li> <li>Melbourne (Tullamarine) to Launceston from $87</li> <li>Sydney to Gold Coast from $99</li> <li>Newcastle to Melbourne (Tullamarine) from $124</li> <li>Gold Coast to Melbourne (Tullamarine) from $125</li> <li>Perth to Gold Coast from $262</li> </ul> <p><strong>International: </strong></p> <ul> <li>Gold Coast to Wellington from $243</li> <li>Brisbane to Auckland from $266</li> <li>Perth to Bangkok from $309</li> <li>Perth to Phuket from $329</li> <li>Adelaide to Bali (Denpasar) from $349</li> <li>Melbourne (Tullamarine) to Singapore from $399</li> <li>Sydney to Honolulu from $449</li> <li>Brisbane to Seoul (Incheon) from $479</li> <li>Sydney to Osaka from $548</li> </ul> <p>A complete list of all the destinations and details can be found on the <a href="https://www.jetstar.com/au/en/deals?pid=mainnav%3Adeals&amp;flight-type=2&amp;adults=1&amp;origin=SYD#deals-content" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Jetstar website</a>. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

"Big one for shenanigans": Aussie larrikin paddles a giant pumpkin down a river

<p>In potentially the most Aussie story ever and a suspected world first, one bloke has pinched his mate's award-winning pumpkin to turn into a paddle boat and sail down the Tumut River. </p> <p>The enormous pumpkin was grown by farmer Mark Peacock, who grew the vegetable to a whopping 407kg and would regularly post updates on the gourd's growing progress on Facebook. </p> <p>The pumpkin even earned a fitting name, Tormund after a character in Game of Thrones, and was used to feed his livestock.</p> <p>After the pumpkin had served its purpose, Peacock's friend and local canoe club commodore Adam Farquharson saw a once in a lifetime opportunity. </p> <p>Sporting a sailor hat and pipe, he navigated the hollowed-out pumpkin, dubbed ‘Cinderella’, down the Tumut River in New South Wales’ Riverina region, much to the amusement of bystanders.</p> <p>“Barry Humphries said that he’s a big fan of the unnecessary, and I am too. I’m a big one for shenanigans,” he told <em><a title="www.abc.net.au" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-04-16/man-turns-mammoth-400kg-pumpkin-into-a-canoe/103708438">ABC Riverena</a></em><a title="www.abc.net.au" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-04-16/man-turns-mammoth-400kg-pumpkin-into-a-canoe/103708438">.</a></p> <p>While initially surprised by Farquharson’s antics, Mr Peacock acknowledged that it was characteristic of his friend’s sense of humour to do something out of the ordinary to make people smile. </p> <p>“He’s really hilarious. But he’s random, occasionally,” he said.</p> <p>“I intentionally grew this as a family project and then started doing Facebook updates every week.”</p> <p>For Mr Farquharson, the voyage was simply about enjoying himself and giving locals an opportunity for a laugh. </p> <p>Farquharson joked about potential future exploits but remained grounded about his brief moment of fame as “Popeye the Pumpkin Man.” </p> <p>“I think the worldwide fame will wear off pretty soon. I won’t end up like Taylor Swift. I’ll just get back to life as normal,” he said.</p> <p>Reflecting on the unusual journey, Mr Farquharson humorously considered preserving the pumpkin as a national curiosity by placing it on a pedestal among Australian sporting royalty. </p> <p>“It was a sad moment. I did jokingly say to my wife that I should petition the prime minister to have it preserved and put next to Phar Lap’s heart at the National Museum,” he told the <em>ABC</em>.</p> <p>“She thought I was an idiot.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Brothers' epic journey across Australia to raise money for cancer

<p>Brothers Stefan and Lachlan Lamble have firsthand experience on how devastating cancer can be.</p> <p>The brothers, both in their 20s, lost their grandmother to breast cancer eight years ago, and recently had their other grandmother pull through a difficult cancer battle. </p> <p>After being inspired by their family's hardships, the Lamble brothers have set out on an epic adventure to cross Australia by foot in just 100 days. </p> <p>Stefan and Lachlan began their journey in Perth in February, and have spent 66 days so far battling difficult conditions while pushing their bodies to the limit. </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/C5fNETERB0s/?utm_source=ig_embed&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/C5fNETERB0s/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Lambros (@lambrosarmy)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The pair are just days away from reaching Adelaide, and have had some trying times on their momentous journey so far. </p> <p>"One day reached 46 degrees and the soles of our shoes literally melted," Lachlan told <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/brothers-tackle-momentous-100day-cross-country-challenge-for-cancer-research/bcf7f2f5-482a-4ef3-9ca2-f4a0412beed9" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a>. </p> <p>Their unwavering commitment to raising money for cancer research has garnered widespread support, with a legion of fans across the country cheering them on. </p> <p>"It gives us a bit of hope that there might be some new research, and that's all we can really hope for," she said.</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/reel/C5z-9LaJtqS/?utm_source=ig_embed&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/reel/C5z-9LaJtqS/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by 9News (@9news)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The brothers aimed to raise $100,000 before they reach their final destination of Melbourne, but with the help of their dedicated supports, they reached their financial goal just after their halfway mark. </p> <p>Now, the brothers have their sights set on a new goal: $1 million before the end of the year. </p> <p>"We are doing it for everyone back home that has been impacted by cancer, so please find it in your hearts to donate at <a href="https://www.acrf.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ACRF</a> (Australian Cancer Research Foundation)," Stefan said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Man restores mate's dream pub after tragic death

<p>Kevin "Stumpy" Darmody ran the Peninsula Hotel in the Cape York town of Laura, Cairns for over 20 years before he was tragically killed by a crocodile during a fishing trip. </p> <p>The 65-year-old went missing on the Kennedy River at Rinyirru National Park in April last year, with his body recovered a month later, after wildlife officers shot and killed a crocodile during their search, discovering his remains in its stomach.</p> <p>Now, Darmody's best friend Stuart Wiggins has picked up where he left off, and travelled all the way to Cairns from Canberra to restore his mate's pub. </p> <p>"I've been coming up for 20 years myself and watched all the hard work Kev's put in and I thought I didn't want to see that get wasted," he told the <em>ABC</em>. </p> <p>He got to work and trimmed the three-metre long weeds that covered the pub. </p> <p>"The weeds were like trees. We've worked from day to night and it's looking really good now."</p> <p>Wiggins recalled how his best mate first moved to Laura, Cairns 20 years ago after he came across the town on a 4WD trip across northern Australia.</p> <p>Now, in honour of his late friend, Wiggins has renamed the hotel "Stumpy's Bar". </p> <p>"I've got a nice big sign out the front of the pub to remember him," Wiggins said.</p> <p>He also reminisced their friendship and how the pair "got on like a house on fire", saying that he too had "fished off the same spot" where Darmody was taken "so many times". </p> <p>"He was always warning people going out there, 'don't get too close to the water. If you fall in you're not going to get out,' so what happened that day we'll never ever know", he said.</p> <p>Wiggins shared that Darmody was known to for his tough exterior, but was the type of person that would "give you the shirt off his back and do anything for you".</p> <p>"Even the week before he passed, he bought a plane ticket to sneak down to surprise me for my 60th birthday," he said.</p> <p>Prior to Darmody's death Wiggins was working a "cruisy job" at Parliament House in Canberra, before deciding to leave his family behind to re-enter the hospitality industry.</p> <p>"It was a massive move to leave my family behind but even my lady Tanya knew it was something I needed to do," Wiggins said.</p> <p>"I couldn't just sit at parliament thinking the place was going to go to rack and ruin."</p> <p><em>Images: ABC/ Stuart Wiggins</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Flash droughts are becoming more common in Australia. What’s causing them?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/milton-speer-703091">Milton Speer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lance-m-leslie-437774">Lance M Leslie</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.drought.gov/what-is-drought/flash-drought">Flash droughts</a> strike suddenly and intensify rapidly. Often the affected areas are in drought after just weeks or a couple of months of well-below-average rainfall. They happen worldwide and are <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/377274397_Flash_drought_A_state_of_the_science_review?_tp=eyJjb250ZXh0Ijp7ImZpcnN0UGFnZSI6InB1YmxpY2F0aW9uRG93bmxvYWQiLCJwYWdlIjoicHVibGljYXRpb24iLCJwcmV2aW91c1BhZ2UiOiJwdWJsaWNhdGlvbiJ9fQ#read">becoming more common</a>, including in Australia, due to global warming.</p> <p>Flash droughts can occur anywhere and at any time of the year. Last year, a flash drought <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-20/dams-dry-up-as-drought-takes-hold-in-hunter-valley/102996364">hit the Upper Hunter</a> region of New South Wales, roughly 300 kilometres north-west of Sydney.</p> <p>These sudden droughts can have devastating economic, social and environmental impacts. The damage is particularly severe for agricultural regions heavily dependent on reliable rain in river catchments. One such region is the Upper Hunter Valley, the subject of our <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2225-1154/12/4/49">new research</a>.</p> <p>We identified two climate drivers – the <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/about/?bookmark=enso">El Niño Southern Oscillation</a> and <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/about/?bookmark=iod">Indian Ocean Dipole</a>) – that became influential during this drought. In addition, the waning influence of a third climate driver, the <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/about/?bookmark=sam">Southern Annular Mode</a>), would typically bring rain to the east coast. However, this rain did not reach the Upper Hunter.</p> <p>Flash droughts are set to get more common as the world heats up. This year, a flash drought developed over western and central Victoria over just two months. While heavy rain this month in Melbourne ended the drought there, it continues in the west.</p> <h2>What makes a flash drought different?</h2> <p>Flash droughts differ from more slowly developing droughts. The latter result from extended drops in rainfall, such as the <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/">drought affecting</a> parts of southwest Western Australia due to the much shortened winter wet season last year.</p> <p>Flash droughts develop when sudden large drops in rainfall coincide with above-average temperatures. They mostly occur in summer and autumn, as was the case for Asia and Europe in 2022. That year saw flash droughts appear across the northern hemisphere, such as the megadrought affecting China’s <a href="https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/acfe21">Yangtze river basin</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352340923000264?via%3Dihub">Spain</a>.</p> <p>The flash drought devastating the Upper Hunter from May to October 2023 developed despite the region being drought-free just one month earlier. At that stage, almost nowhere in NSW showed any sign of an impending drought.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=276&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=276&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=276&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=347&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=347&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586776/original/file-20240409-18-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=347&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Maps of drought conditions in NSW in April 2023 compared to the next six months" /><figcaption><span class="caption">NSW Department of Primary Industries’ combined drought indicator in April 2023 (a) and combined drought indicator for May–October 2023 (b) show how rapidly a flash drought developed in the Upper Hunter region.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Milton Speer et al 2024, using NSW Department of Primary Industries' data</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>The flash drought greatly affected agricultural production in the Upper Hunter region, due to the region’s reliance on water from rivers. Low rainfall in river catchments means less water for crops and pasture. It also dries up drinking water supplies.</p> <p>Flash droughts are characterised by abrupt periods of low rainfall leading to rapid drought onset, particularly when accompanied by above-average temperatures. Higher temperatures increase both the evaporation of water from the soil and transpiration from plants (evapotranspiration). This causes soil moisture to drop rapidly.</p> <h2>The Upper Hunter drought is part of a trend</h2> <p>Flash droughts will be more common in the future. That’s because higher temperatures will more often coincide with dry conditions, as relative humidity falls <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/377274397_Flash_drought_A_state_of_the_science_review_tp=eyJjb250ZXh0Ijp7ImZpcnN0UGFnZSI6InB1YmxpY2F0aW9uRG93bmxvYWQiLCJwYWdlIjoicHVibGljYXRpb24iLCJwcmV2aW91c1BhZ2UiOiJwdWJsaWNhdGlvbiJ9fQ#read">across many parts</a> of Australia and globally.</p> <p>Climate change is <a href="https://climate.ec.europa.eu/climate-change/consequences-climate-change_en">linked to</a> shorter, heavier bursts of rain followed by longer periods of little rainfall.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=196&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=196&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=196&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=246&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=246&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586777/original/file-20240409-16-n82npo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=246&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Map of Upper Hunter region showing drought indicators in December 2023" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Intense drought conditions continued in the Upper Hunter in December 2023.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Milton Speer et al 2024</span></span></figcaption></figure> <figure class="align-right "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=376&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=376&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=376&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=472&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=472&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586778/original/file-20240409-16-www3a.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=472&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Map of NSW showing average temperature ranges recorded for May–October 2023." /><figcaption><span class="caption">The sharp drop in rainfall coincided with the Upper Hunter’s highest average maximum temperatures on record for May–October 2023.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Milton Speer et al 2024</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>In south-east and south-west Australia, flash droughts can also occur in winter.</p> <p>In May 2023 rainfall over south-east Australia dropped abruptly. The much lower rainfall continued until November in the Upper Hunter. Over this same period, mean maximum temperatures in the region were the highest on record, increasing the loss of moisture through evapotranspiration. The result was a flash drought. While flash droughts occurred in other parts of south-east Australia, we focused on the Upper Hunter as it remained in drought the longest.</p> <h2>What were the climate drivers of this drought?</h2> <p>We used machine-learning techniques to identify the key climate drivers of the drought.</p> <p>We found the dominant driver of the flash drought was global warming, modulated by the phases of the three major climate drivers in our region, the El Niño Southern Oscillation, Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode.</p> <p>From 2020 to 2022, the first two drivers became favourable for rain in the Upper Hunter in late winter through spring, before changing phase to one supporting drought over south-east Australia. Meanwhile, the Southern Annular Mode remained mostly positive, meaning rain-bearing westerly winds and weather fronts had moved to middle and higher latitudes of the southern hemisphere, away from Australia’s south-east coast.</p> <p>Combined, the impact of global warming with the three climate drivers made rainfall much more variable. The net result was an atmospheric environment highly conducive to a flash drought appearing anywhere in south-east Australia.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=464&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=464&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=464&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=583&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=583&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/586248/original/file-20240405-16-ti5j3m.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=583&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Map of Upper Hunter region showing drought indicators in December 2023" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Intense drought conditions continued in the Upper Hunter in December 2023.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Milton Speer et al 2024</span></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Victoria, too, fits the global warming pattern</h2> <p>As for the flash drought that developed in early 2024 over western and central Victoria, including Melbourne, it continues in parts of <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/#msdynttrid=_ytsVsw1a3IFZ7xGCnQz8mw1Gum_n_0JUdQyt2hUVCo">western Victoria</a>. The flash drought followed very high January rainfall (top 5% of records) dropping rapidly to very low rainfall (bottom 5%) in February and March.</p> <p>It was the <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/maps/rainfall/?variable=rainfall&amp;map=decile&amp;period=2month&amp;region=vc&amp;year=2024&amp;month=03&amp;day=31">driest February-March period</a> on record for Melbourne and south-west Victoria.</p> <p>At the beginning of April, a storm front <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/severe-weather-storm-warning-for-victoria-and-melbourne-easter-monday/41d5d383-b70d-4d36-a649-38632bc607de">brought heavy rainfall</a> over an 18-hour period to central Victoria, including Melbourne.</p> <p>The rains ended the flash drought in these areas, but it continues in parts of western Victoria, which missed out on the rain.</p> <p>The pattern of the 2024 flash drought in Victoria typifies the increasing trend under global warming of long dry periods, interspersed by short, heavy rainfall events. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/227052/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/milton-speer-703091"><em>Milton Speer</em></a><em>, Visiting Fellow, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lance-m-leslie-437774">Lance M Leslie</a>, Professor, School of Mathematical And Physical Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/flash-droughts-are-becoming-more-common-in-australia-whats-causing-them-227052">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Surprising causes of most deaths on Australia’s beaches

<p>Worried about sharks at the beach? Turns out these fearsome fish are not the biggest killers on Australia’s coastline when it comes to non-drowning deaths.</p> <div class="copy"> <p>Instead, depending on a person’s age, it’s more likely that a heart problem or misadventure will lead to mortality, according to research from Surf Life Saving Australia, whose red-and-gold clad patrol teams provide patrol and rescue services for beaches across the country.</p> <p>More than half of non-drowning deaths in the decade between July 2012 and June 2022 were caused by cardiac-related conditions. These accounted for 319 of the 616 deaths along Australia’s coasts.</p> <p>Traumatic and collision injuries – such as blunt force trauma – were the next most common cause of death, accounting for fewer than 1 in 6 deaths.</p> <p>Falls accounted for 1 in 10 fatalities, with marine animal interactions 1 in 20.</p> <p>But the data has other insights beyond cause of death. Males were far more likely to be killed on the coast; victims in almost 9 out of 10 cases.</p> <p>And while people aged over 50 account for most deaths, primarily through cardiac conditions, those below the age of 50 are overrepresented in all other mortality cases.</p> <p>This, the researchers say, is an important consideration when interpreting the data, as deaths from any cause are highest among older people. </p> <p>“Our research showed that males were 5.2 times more likely to die than females, with younger populations found to die disproportionately along the coast with the primary causes being falls and traumatic/collision injuries,” says the study’s lead researcher, Sean Kelly.</p> <p>Kelly and the other SLSA researchers point to those all-cause mortality comparisons. People aged 70+ have 118 times greater all-cause death rate than people aged 16-24.</p> <p>But when looking at non-drowning coastal deaths, it’s only 6 times greater, highlighting disproportionate deaths among young people in these environments.</p> <p>They suggest this is due to higher levels of coastal visitation and the type of activities young people participate in. Where a person lives also matters.</p> <p>“Those living in or visiting rural and remote areas were also found to be at higher risk, largely due to poorer access to services and longer incident response times,” Kelly says.</p> <p>“<a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/nature/marine-life/shark-attack-triggers-shark-cul/">While sharks are often top-of-mind for those visiting the beach</a>, all marine creatures including sharks and jellyfish only made up 5% of non-drowning deaths and less than 2% of overall coastal deaths.”</p> <p><em>The study was <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anzjph.2023.100113" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">published</a> in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.</em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <div> <p align="center"><noscript data-spai="1"><em><img decoding="async" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-198773" src="https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/spai/q_lossy+ret_img+to_auto/cosmosmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/MICROSCOPIC-TO-TELESCOPIC__Embed-graphic-720x360-1.jpg" data-spai-egr="1" width="600" alt="Buy cosmos print magazine" title="surprising causes of most deaths on australia’s beaches 2"></em></noscript></p> </div> <p><em><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=300638&amp;title=Surprising+causes+of+most+deaths+on+Australia%E2%80%99s+beaches" width="1" height="1" loading="lazy" aria-label="Syndication Tracker" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /></em><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/australia/surprising-causes-of-most-deaths-on-australias-beaches/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/matthew-agius/">Matthew Ward Agius</a>. Matthew Agius is a science writer for Cosmos Magazine.</em></div>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

10 million animals die on our roads each year. Here’s what works (and what doesn’t) to cut the toll

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/graeme-coulson-1378778">Graeme Coulson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/helena-bender-98800">Helena Bender</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>There’s almost no warning. A dark shape appears on the side of the road, then you feel a jolt as something goes under the car. Or worse, the shape rears up, hits the front of your vehicle, then slams into the windscreen. You have just experienced a wildlife-vehicle collision.</p> <p>This gruesome scene plays out <a href="https://www.bbcearth.com/news/australias-road-kill-map">every night across Australia</a>. When these collisions happen, many animals become instant roadkill. An <a href="https://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/handle/2123/23121/Thesis%20updated%20for%20library%20submission.pdf?sequence=1">estimated 10 million</a> native mammals, reptiles, birds and other species are killed each year.</p> <p>Others are injured and die away from the road. Some survive with <a href="https://theconversation.com/10-million-animals-are-hit-on-our-roads-each-year-heres-how-you-can-help-them-and-steer-clear-of-them-these-holidays-149733">terrible injuries and have to be euthanised</a>. The lucky ones might <a href="https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/who-should-i-contact-about-injured-wildlife/">be rescued</a> by groups such as <a href="https://wildliferescue.net.au/">Wildlife Rescue</a>, <a href="https://www.wildlifevictoria.org.au/">Wildlife Victoria</a> and <a href="https://www.wires.org.au/">WIRES</a>.</p> <p>Wildlife-vehicle collisions also increase the risk to whole populations of some threatened species, such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1071/WR17143">Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo</a> on the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland.</p> <p>People are affected, too. Human <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/1742-6723.13361">deaths and injuries</a> from these collisions are rising, with motorcyclists at greatest risk. Vehicle repairs are <a href="https://www.mynrma.com.au/-/media/wildlife-road-safety-report--final.pdf">inconvenient and costly</a>. Added to this is the distress for people when dealing with a dead or dying animal on the roadside.</p> <p>How can we reduce the wildlife toll on our roads? Many measures have been tried and proven largely ineffective. However, other evidence-based approaches can help avoid collisions.</p> <h2>Evidence for what works is limited</h2> <p>Many communities are worried about the growing impacts of wildlife-vehicle collisions and are desperate for solutions. Recent reports from <a href="https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1822182/FULLTEXT01.pdf">Europe</a> and <a href="https://westerntransportationinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/4w7576_Huijser_etal_WVC_ConnectivityLiteratureReview_PooledFundStudyFinalReport_2021.pdf">North America</a> review the many methods to reduce such collisions.</p> <p>Do these findings apply to Australia’s unique fauna? Unfortunately, we don’t have a detailed analysis of options for our wildlife, but here’s what we know now.</p> <p>Well-designed fences keep wildlife off our highways but also fragment the landscape. Happily, animals will use crossing structures – overpasses and <a href="https://theconversation.com/good-news-highway-underpasses-for-wildlife-actually-work-187434">underpasses</a> – to get to food and mates on the other side of the road. Fences and crossings do work, but are regarded as too costly over Australia’s vast road network.</p> <p>As for standard wildlife warning signs, drivers <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4494358/">ignore most of them</a> after a while, making them ineffective. Signs with graphic images and variable messages get <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani3041142">more attention</a>, but we need road trials to assess their effect on drivers and collision rates.</p> <h2>Whistling in the dark</h2> <p>Some drivers install cheap, wind-driven, high-pitched wildlife whistles on their vehicles. Tests in the United States 20 years ago found humans and deer <a href="https://doi.org/10.1121/1.1582071">could not hear any whistling sound</a> above the road noise of the test vehicle. Yet these devices are still sold in Australia as kangaroo deterrents.</p> <p>The Shu-Roo, an Australian invention, is an active wildlife whistle. It is fitted to the bumper bar, producing a high-pitched electronic sound, which is claimed to scare wildlife away from the road. Sadly, <a href="https://rest.neptune-prod.its.unimelb.edu.au/server/api/core/bitstreams/3c3154e0-2f48-5b73-a6cd-a7423c2a75ee/content">our tests</a> show the Shu-Roo signal can’t be heard above road noise 50 metres away and has no effect on captive kangaroo behaviour.</p> <p>We also recruited fleets of trucks, buses, vans, utes and cars to field test the Shu-Roo. Nearly 100 vehicles covered more than 4 million kilometres across Australia over 15,500 days. The drivers reported just over one wildlife-vehicle collision per 100,000km travelled, but <a href="https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2021.042">there was no difference in the rate</a> for vehicles fitted with a Shu-Roo versus those without one.</p> <p>The virtual fence is the latest attempt to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. It uses a line of posts spaced along the roadside, each with a unit producing loud sounds and flashing lights aimed away from the road. Vehicle headlights activate the units, which are claimed to alert animals and reduce the risk of collision.</p> <p>Early results from Tasmania were encouraging. A 50% drop in possum and wallaby deaths was reported, but <a href="https://doi.org/10.1071/AM19009">this trial had many design flaws</a>. Recent trials in <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/9/10/752">Tasmania</a>, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/12/10/1323">New South Wales</a> and <a href="https://www.redland.qld.gov.au/downloads/download/292/virtual_fence_to_reduce_vehicle_collisions_with_wallabies_on_heinemann_rd_-_final_report_2020">Queensland</a> show no effect of virtual fencing on collisions with possums, wallabies or wombats.</p> <p>Our concern is that this system is being <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-02/wildlife-fence-trial-underway-in-queensland-and-phillip-island/12268110">rolled out</a> in <a href="https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-council/news-and-publications/media-releases/2023/june/councils-innovative-trial-helping-keep-local-wildlife-safe">many</a> <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-26/nsw-south-coast-council-first-virtual-fence-to-protect-wildlife/101571600">parts</a> of <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/the-stealth-tech-aiming-to-stop-roos-from-becoming-roadkill-20231222-p5etda.html">Australia</a>. It gives the impression of action to reduce collisions with wildlife, but without an evidence base, solid study design or adequate monitoring.</p> <h2>A very messy problem</h2> <p>The problem has many dimensions. We need to consider all of them to achieve safe travel for people and animals on our roads.</p> <p>At a landscape level, collision hotspots occur where wildlife frequently cross roads, which can help us predict the collision risk for species such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/aec.13465">koalas</a>. But the risk differs between species. For example, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01530">on Phillip Island</a> most wallaby collisions happen on rural roads, while most involving possums and birds are in urban streets.</p> <p>Traffic volume and speed are key factors for many species, including <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2306">kangaroos</a>.</p> <p>Driver training and experience are also important. In the Royal National Park in New South Wales, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/6/6/40">half the drivers surveyed</a> had struck animals, including wallabies and deer. Yet most still <a href="https://theconversation.com/10-million-animals-are-hit-on-our-roads-each-year-heres-how-you-can-help-them-and-steer-clear-of-them-these-holidays-149733">weren’t keen</a> to slow down or avoid driving at dawn and dusk.</p> <p>Road design has a major influence on wildlife-vehicle collions too, but the planning process too often <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2022.959918">neglects wildlife studies</a>.</p> <p>Smarter cars are <a href="https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1822182/FULLTEXT01.pdf">being developed</a>. One day these will use AI to spot animal hazards, apply automatic emergency braking and alert other drivers of real-time risk.</p> <p>To explore potential technological solutions, Transport for NSW is running a <a href="https://www.eianz.org/events/event/symposium-using-technology-to-reduce-wildlife-vehicle-collisions">symposium</a> at the University of Technology Sydney on May 21. The symposium will cover wildlife ecology and the evidence base for options to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions in Australia.</p> <hr /> <p><em>If you see an injured animal on the road, call <a href="https://www.wildliferescue.net.au/">Wildlife Rescue Australia</a> on 1300 596 457. for specific state and territory numbers, go to the <a href="https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/who-should-i-contact-about-injured-wildlife/">RSPCA injured wildlife site</a>.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/222367/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/graeme-coulson-1378778"><em>Graeme Coulson</em></a><em>, Honorary Principal Fellow, School of BioSciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/helena-bender-98800">Helena Bender</a>, Senior Lecturer, Environmental Social Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/10-million-animals-die-on-our-roads-each-year-heres-what-works-and-what-doesnt-to-cut-the-toll-222367">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

On a climate rollercoaster: how Australia’s environment fared in the world’s hottest year

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/albert-van-dijk-25318">Albert Van Dijk</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shoshana-rapley-711675">Shoshana Rapley</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tayla-lawrie-1517759">Tayla Lawrie</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>Global climate <a href="https://wmo.int/media/news/wmo-confirms-2023-smashes-global-temperature-record">records were shattered</a> in 2023, from air and sea temperatures to sea-level rise and sea-ice extent. Scores of countries recorded their hottest year and numerous weather disasters occurred as climate change reared its head.</p> <p>How did Australia’s environment fare against this onslaught? In short, 2023 was a year of opposites.</p> <p>For the past nine years, we have trawled through huge volumes of data collected by satellites, measurement stations and surveys by individuals and agencies. We include data on global change, oceans, people, weather, water, soils, vegetation, fire and biodiversity.</p> <p>Each year, we analyse those data, summarising them in an <a href="https://bit.ly/ausenv2023">annual report</a> that includes an overall Environmental Condition Score and <a href="https://ausenv.online/aer/scorecards/">regional scorecards</a>. These scores provide a relative measure of conditions for agriculture and ecosystems. Scores declined across the country, except in the Northern Territory, but were still relatively good.</p> <p>However, the updated <a href="https://tsx.org.au/">Threatened Species Index</a> shows the abundance of listed bird, mammal and plant species has continued to decline at a rate of about 3% a year since the turn of the century.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=357&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=357&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=357&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=448&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=448&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581821/original/file-20240314-22-p8uskx.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=448&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Environmental condition indicators for 2023, showing the changes from 2000–2022 average values. Such differences can be part of a long-term trend or within normal variability.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.wenfo.org/aer/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/2023_Australias_Environment_Report-1.pdf">Australia's Environment 2023 Report.</a></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Riding a climate rollercoaster in 2023</h2> <p>Worldwide, <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-2023s-record-heat-worsened-droughts-floods-and-bushfires-around-the-world-220836">77 countries broke temperature records</a>. Australia was not one of them. Our annual average temperature was 0.53°C below the horror year 2019. Temperatures in the seas around us were below the records of 2022.</p> <p>Even so, 2023 was among Australia’s eight warmest years in both cases. All eight came after 2005.</p> <p>However, those numbers are averaged over the year. Dig a bit deeper and it becomes clear 2023 was a climate rollercoaster.</p> <p>The year started as wet as the previous year ended, but dry and unseasonably warm weather set in from May to October. Soils and wetlands across much of the country started drying rapidly. In the eastern states, the fire season started as early as August.</p> <p>Nonetheless, there was generally still enough water to support good vegetation growth throughout the unusually warm and sunny winter months.</p> <p>Fears of a severe fire season were not realised as El Niño’s influence waned in November and rainfall returned, in part due to the warm oceans. Combined with relatively high temperatures, it made for a hot and humid summer. A tropical cyclone and several severe storms caused flooding in Queensland and Victoria in December.</p> <p>As always, there were regional differences. Northern Australia experienced the best rainfall and growth conditions in several years. This contributed to more grass fires than average during the dry season. On the other hand, the rain did not return to Western Australia and Tasmania, which ended the year dry.</p> <h2>So how did scores change?</h2> <p>Every year we calculate an Environmental Condition Score that combines weather, water and vegetation data.</p> <p>The national score was 7.5 (out of 10). That was 1.2 points lower than for 2022, but still the second-highest score since 2011.</p> <p>Scores declined across the country except for the Northern Territory, which chalked up a score of 8.8 thanks to a strong monsoon season. With signs of drought developing in parts of Western Australia, it had the lowest score of 5.5.</p> <p>The Environmental Condition Score reflects environmental conditions, but does not measure the long-term health of natural ecosystems and biodiversity.</p> <p>Firstly, it relates only to the land and not our oceans. Marine heatwaves damaged ecosystems along the eastern coast. Surveys in the first half of 2023 suggested the recovery of the Great Barrier Reef plateaued.</p> <p>However, a cyclone and rising ocean temperatures occurred later in the year. In early 2024, <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-great-barrier-reefs-latest-bout-of-bleaching-is-the-fifth-in-eight-summers-the-corals-now-have-almost-no-reprieve-225348">another mass coral bleaching event</a> developed.</p> <p>Secondly, the score does not capture important processes affecting our many threatened species. Among the greatest dangers are invasive pests and diseases, habitat destruction and damage from severe weather events such as heatwaves and megafires.</p> <h2>Threatened species’ declines continued</h2> <p>The <a href="https://tsx.org.au/">Threatened Species Index</a> captures data from long-term threatened species monitoring. The index is updated annually with a three-year lag, largely due to delays in data processing and sharing. This means the 2023 index includes data up to 2020.</p> <p>The index showed an unrelenting decline of about 3% in the abundance of Australia’s threatened bird, mammal and plant species each year. This amounts to an overall decline of 61% from 2000 to 2020.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=440&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=440&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/581823/original/file-20240314-16-yi6tr0.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=440&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Line graph of Threatened Species Index" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Threatened Species Index showing the abundance of different categories of species listed under the EPBC Act relative to 2000.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.wenfo.org/aer/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/2023_Australias_Environment_Report-1.pdf">Australia's Environment 2023 Report</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>The index for birds in 2023 revealed declines were most severe for terrestrial birds (62%), followed by migratory shorebirds (47%) and marine birds (24%).</p> <p>A record 130 species were added to Australia’s <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/environment/biodiversity/threatened/nominations">threatened species lists</a> in 2023. That’s many more than the annual average of 29 species over previous years. The 2019–2020 <a href="https://theconversation.com/200-experts-dissected-the-black-summer-bushfires-in-unprecedented-detail-here-are-6-lessons-to-heed-198989">Black Summer bushfires</a> had direct impacts on half the newly listed species.</p> <h2>Population boom adds to pressures</h2> <p>Australia’s population passed <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/population-clock-pyramid">27 million</a> in 2023, a stunning increase of 8 million, or 41%, since 2000. Those extra people all needed living space, food, electricity and transport.</p> <p>Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/climate-change/publications/australias-emissions-projections-2023">have risen by 18% since 2000</a>. Despite small declines in the previous four years, emissions increased again in 2023, mostly due to air travel rebounding after COVID-19.</p> <p>Our emissions per person are the <a href="https://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/report_2023">tenth-highest in the world</a> and more than three times those of the average global citizen. The main reasons are our coal-fired power stations, <a href="https://theconversation.com/australian-passenger-vehicle-emission-rates-are-50-higher-than-the-rest-of-the-world-and-its-getting-worse-222398">inefficient road vehicles</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2024/mar/11/how-many-cattle-are-there-in-australia-we-may-be-out-by-10-million">large cattle herd</a>.</p> <p>Nonetheless, there are reasons to be optimistic. Many other countries have dramatically <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/co2-gdp-decoupling">reduced emissions without compromising economic growth</a> or quality of life. All we have to do is to finally follow their lead.</p> <p>Our governments have an obvious role to play, but we can do a lot as individuals. We can even save money, by switching to renewable energy and electric vehicles and by eating less beef.</p> <p>Changing our behaviour will not stop climate change in its tracks, but will slow it down over the next decades and ultimately reverse it. We cannot reverse or even stop all damage to our environment, but we can certainly do much better.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225268/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/albert-van-dijk-25318">Albert Van Dijk</a>, Professor, Water and Landscape Dynamics, Fenner School of Environment &amp; Society, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shoshana-rapley-711675">Shoshana Rapley</a>, Research Assistant, Fenner School of Environment &amp; Society, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tayla-lawrie-1517759">Tayla Lawrie</a>, Project Manager, Threatened Species Index, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/on-a-climate-rollercoaster-how-australias-environment-fared-in-the-worlds-hottest-year-225268">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Dean Ingwerson | NSW.gov.au</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

West Side Story returns to Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

<p>Get ready to snap your fingers, tap your toes and experience the magic of Broadway in Sydney as Opera Australia presents t<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">he electrifying musical extravaganza <em>West Side Story</em> – making its triumphant return to the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour stage in 2024.</span></p> <p>The 2019 production of <em>West Side Story</em>, if you were fortunate enough to grab seats, was an absolute smash hit. With record-breaking ticket sales and rave reviews, it's no wonder this show stole the hearts of over 65,000 theatre and musical buffs. </p> <p>Directed by the incomparable Francesca Zambello, <em>West Side Story</em> promises to once again whisk audiences away to the bustling streets of New York City, complete with iconic songs, heart-pounding dance numbers, and enough drama to fill the harbour twice over. </p> <p>Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's musical masterpiece will once again take centre stage, accompanied by Jerome Robbins' legendary choreography – and this year, we were fortunate enough to be able to pose a few pre-performance questions to none other than Guy Simpson, the show’s musical director, and the all-singing, all-dancing Wayne Scott Kermond, who is playing “Doc” onstage.</p> <p>Let’s raise the curtain and see what they have to say!</p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/Guy-Simpson.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></strong></p> <p><strong>Guy Simpson</strong></p> <p>Guy Simpson, a seasoned musical director with nearly 45 years of experience, boasts an illustrious career spanning global productions. Notably, his involvement with iconic shows like <em>Miss Saigon</em> and <em>The Phantom</em> <em>of the Opera</em> has taken him across continents, from Australia to Asia and beyond. Simpson's extensive repertoire includes serving as Musical Supervisor and Director for Opera Australia's acclaimed productions such as <em>Evita</em>, <em>My Fair Lady</em>, and of course <em>West Side Story</em>. Additionally, his contributions as an orchestrator and producer of cast recordings further solidify his stature in the musical theatre realm. With credits ranging from beloved classics like <em>Les Misérables</em> to contemporary hits like <em>Muriel's Wedding</em>, Simpson's versatile talent continues to enrich the world of musical theatre on an international scale.</p> <p><em><strong>OverSixty:</strong></em> What memories do you have of your first time working on <em>West Side Story</em> – when was it and what was the experience like? </p> <p><em><strong>Guy:</strong></em> “I was a rehearsal pianist for the 1983 production of <em>West Side Story</em>. The conductor was Dobbs Franks, who came from the US to conduct the first production of the show in 1960. So I was lucky to learn the show from him. I wasn’t in the orchestra and had tickets to watch opening night but during the afternoon of that day I received a call to play in the orchestra that night because the pianist was unwell. I’ll never forget that! Since then I have conducted three seasons of the show and learn more and more about it each time.”</p> <p><em><strong>OverSixty:</strong></em> What were Bernstein’s influences and what impact did Bernstein’s score have when the musical first premiered? And why do you think it remains so recognised today? </p> <p><em><strong>Guy:</strong></em> “Bernstein was influenced by many things. There is an <a href="https://www.wrti.org/arts-desk/2018-08-23/the-surprising-backstory-to-west-side-story" target="_blank" rel="noopener">excellent article by Debra Lew Harder</a> that outlines these influences. I love the combination of Jewish themes, Puerto Rican rhythm, Mexican dance music and of course American jazz. His classical roots also come in here – especially the music of Aaron Copland and George Gershwin. The genius is Bernstein's ability to blend all this into a score that tells the story so brilliantly."</p> <p><em><strong>OverSixty:</strong></em> What’s your favourite moment in the music that audiences might not always notice but could listen out for?</p> <p><em><strong>Guy:</strong></em> I like what is known as ‘THE BALCONY SCENE’. Most people will know it as the iconic love duet ‘TONIGHT’. In the show this scene moves between spoken dialogue (with underscoring), into the song and back into dialogue in a wonderfully cohesive way. It is so well crafted and is quite a challenge for the conductor to fit the music with the dialogue in a seamless way. I also love the scene in the bridal shop that includes the song ‘ONE HAND ONE HEART’.</p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/Wayne-Scott-Kermond-as-Doc.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><strong>Wayne Scott Kermond</strong></p> <p>Wayne Scott Kermond, hailing from a rich lineage of Australian Vaudeville performers, epitomises the essence of musical theatre, comedy and cabaret. With a repertoire spanning from <em>Anything Goes</em> to <em>Hairspray</em>, including acclaimed performances in several productions of<em> West Side Story</em>, Kermond's versatility shines through. Additionally, he's showcased his creative prowess as the creator and star of captivating cabaret shows such as <em>Candy Man</em> and <em>Jive Junkys</em>. Beyond the stage, Kermond's talents extend to film, where he's contributed to projects like <em>Happy Feet 1 &amp; 2</em>, and as a respected scriptwriter and director for various musicals, cabarets and corporate events. With accolades including a Green Room Award and Mo Award, alongside nominations for Helpmann Awards, Kermond's exceptional abilities and esteemed showbiz heritage solidify his status as an extraordinary Australian talent.</p> <p><em><strong>OverSixty:</strong></em> You and Guy first worked on this musical 40 years ago, how does it feel to be coming back together on the Handa Opera version?</p> <p><em><strong>Wayne:</strong></em> “I first performed in <em>West Side Story</em> at the old Her Majesty’s Theatre (Sydney), 40 years ago playing the youngest member of the Jets gang, ‘Baby John’, and then again in another fabulous production touring Australia / New Zealand in the mid-nineties playing Arab. And so it was lovely to be reminded by Guy on the first day of rehearsals for this season how special it is to us both, here we are, doing it again, just a little greyer."</p> <p>“We shared a few laughs about ‘where did that time go?’, and how ‘young’ we still look after all these years. It’s so great to work with Guy again, I think the last show we did together was <em>Chicago</em>, back in the late nineties. So with Guy's huge amount of expertise and experience at the helm as our Musical Director the show is in great hands. Wait till you hear the amazing Orchestra.”</p> <p><em><strong>OverSixty:</strong></em> What about this musical’s story, lyrics, etc resonate with you and why do you think it keeps being seen on stage? Can it appeal to all ages?</p> <p><em><strong>Wayne:</strong></em> “<em>West Side Story</em> is as iconic to music theatre as <em>Swan Lake</em> is to ballet. All great musicals such as <em>West Side</em> have to have a great love story; <em>West Side </em>certainly has that. And to add to that, also an incredible score, dynamic original choreography and a beautifully written book makes it a triple threat. That's why it stands the test of time – it's an inter-generational piece, whose story and message still stands today, which is the reason why I’m now getting the opportunity to play an adult character ‘Doc’ in this OA production 40 years later, as it will be for another artist, in another 40 years' time.”</p> <p><em><strong>OverSixty:</strong></em> What’s your favourite moment in the show and why?</p> <p><em><strong>Wayne:</strong></em> It is very difficult to say there is a favourite moment as there are so many. The whole journey of the show is something everyone who loves theatre should experience. The Prologue, Dance at the Gym, America, Cool, Tonight, Something's Comin, and not forgetting the Quintet powerhouse... Every part of this show is special, whether you're seeing the show for the first time or for the tenth time, it’s exhilarating, poignant and moving."</p> <p>“It’s especially wonderful for me to have been given the opportunity to revisit the show, after all these years later as a performer. And it’s very exciting to watch another generation of performers being given the opportunity to experience such an exceptional piece of theatre.”</p> <p>So, mark your calendars, Sydney-siders, because Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is about to serve up a theatrical experience like no other. With world-class performances, breathtaking views of the harbour, and enough fireworks to make New Year's Eve jealous, this is one event you won't want to miss. </p> <p>So grab your tickets, grab your friends, and get ready to experience the magic of <em>West Side Story </em>like never before. See you at the opera!</p> <p>For more information and ticket sales, check out <a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/west-side-story-on-sydney-harbour/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">opera.org.au/harbour</a></p> <p><em>All images: Supplied</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Aussie street crowned "world's coolest"

<p>Global media company <em>Time Out</em> have released their official list of the world's coolest streets, with one busy street in Melbourne's inner north coming in first place. </p> <p>What makes a street cool? Well, according to the publication, each street's food offerings, drink options, cultural delights, nightlife and overall sense of community are the main factors that were taken into consideration when they made their list. </p> <p>To create the 2024 lineup, the publication had their global team of local expert editors and contributors each make a case for the coolest street in their city. </p> <p>Melbourne's High Street claimed the top spot local Time Out Melbourne editor Leah Glynn praising the road's "epic restaurants, hidden bars, live music venues and boutique shops". </p> <p>Glynn said that the street’s “bona fide cool status” comes down to one thing - “its unique, something-for-everyone local businesses”.</p> <p>The street itself is easily accessible from the CBD via the 86 tram line and criss-crosses the suburbs of Northcote, Thornbury and Preston. </p> <p>Hollywood Rd, one of the oldest streets in Hong Kong came in second. Pre-dating LA's famous entertainment district, the street itself is home to incredible restaurants including Michelin-starred Tate Dining Room.</p> <p>It's also home to the Man Mo Temple and the Mid-Levels Escalators, the world's longest outdoor covered escalator system.</p> <p>East Eleventh in Austin came in third, as it "encapsulates the city's spirit" for packing so many venues in a short quarter-mile. </p> <p>One other Australian street made it into the list of the top 30 coolest streets and that street is Sydney’s Foster St, which came in 23rd. </p> <p>“Along with neighbouring Campbell St, it’s part of the inner city precinct known as the Hollywood Quarter,” <em>Time Out</em> said. </p> <p>“Despite the dazzling name, the quarter brings low-key cool vibes, and is bordered by Central, Thai Town, and cool suburbs Surry Hills and Darlinghurst.”</p> <p><strong>Here is Time Out's Top 10 coolest streets: </strong></p> <ol> <li>High St, Melbourne</li> <li>Hollywood Rd, Hong Kong</li> <li>East Eleventh, Austin</li> <li>Guatemala St, Buenos Aires</li> <li>Commercial Dr, Vancouver</li> <li>Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur</li> <li>Rua da Boavista, Lisbon</li> <li>Arnaldo Quintela, Rio de Janiero</li> <li>Chazawa-dori, Tokyo</li> <li>Consell de Cent, Barcelona</li> </ol> <p><em>Images: </em><em>South China Morning Post via Getty Images</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Virgin Australia announces big news for pet owners

<p>Virgin Australia has made a major announcement for pet owners who worried about leaving their furry friends at home when they travel. </p> <p>Outgoing Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka announced on Thursday that they will be the first Australian airline to let small animals travel in the cabin. </p> <p>The revolutionary move is subject to regulatory approval, but if it gets through, Virgin will launch the pet flights on specific domestic routes within the next 12 months.</p> <p>Only small animals will be allowed to travel under the new rules, with specific rows on pet flights reserved for those travelling with their small dogs and cats. </p> <p>They will also be required to be held in a pet carrier under the seat in front of the owner for the duration of the flight, and will not be able to roam around freely or sit on people’s laps for the entirety of the journey.</p> <p>“Overwhelmingly, our guests tell us they want to travel with their pets, and we are now on a journey to make that a reality. It’s something that commonly happens overseas and is proven to work well,” Hrdlicka said.</p> <p>“Almost 70 per cent of Australian households have a pet, so this announcement is really significant for a large proportion of the country."</p> <p>“It’s also a great thing for pet-friendly accommodation providers who will benefit greatly from increased connectivity and the ease for travellers to fly with their pets. It really will be a whole new economy for pet travel in Australia.”</p> <p>This change will not affect existing arrangements for approved service animals, and passengers travelling with larger pets could still pay for them to be transported as cargo.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Virgin Australia</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Most popular Aussie city to visit in 2024 revealed

<p>The most popular city in Australia for 2024 travellers has been revealed, with locals and international visitors alike all adding the capital city to their destination bucket lists. </p> <p>In new research commissioned by the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), Melbourne has shot to the top the list of most popular cities to travel this year, beating out Sydney, the Sunshine Coast and Adelaide for the top spot. </p> <p>In the TTF report, a sample of 2,000 travellers between the age of 18-65 revealed where they plan on visiting both domestically and abroad in 2024.</p> <p>While Queensland came out on top as the most popular state or territory to visit, followed by NSW and Victoria, Melbourne beat the other capital cities as the most sought after city across the country.</p> <p>“It’s not surprising more Australians are planning to head to Melbourne for a holiday this year, with its thriving music and arts scene and world-famous events year-round,” TTF CEO Margy Osmond told <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-ideas/best-of-travel/australian-city-named-best-in-the-country-outweighing-sydney-and-brisbane/news-story/6e69272d37b62eada10b6bedf2bb88f5" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a>.</p> <p>“Already this year Melbourne has hosted Taylor Swift and the Australian Open and will draw thousands more visitors for the upcoming Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Fringe Festival and much more.”</p> <p>Known for the delicious coffee, abundance of shopping options, thriving food scene and bustling culture and nightlife, Melbourne has long been a hotspot destination for many travellers. </p> <p>The crown is another win for Victoria, with the city of Bendigo walking away with the top prize of ‘best town’ in the annual <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/domestic-travel/why-disbelief-as-best-aussie-towns-crowned-for-2024" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Wotif travel awards</a>.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Climate change is forcing Australians to weigh up relocating. How do they make that difficult decision?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/justine-dandy-121273">Justine Dandy</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/zoe-leviston-823">Zoe Leviston</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/climate-whiplash-wild-swings-between-weather-extremes/">Big environmental changes</a> mean ever more Australians will confront the tough choice of whether to move home or risk staying put.</p> <p>Communities in the tropical north are <a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/three-aussie-towns-set-to-become-unliveable-due-to-extreme-heat/news-story/a96b36d1be5054d9fe3282ebf18c3431">losing residents</a> as these regions <a href="https://theconversation.com/study-finds-2-billion-people-will-struggle-to-survive-in-a-warming-world-and-these-parts-of-australia-are-most-vulnerable-205927">become hotter and more humid</a>. <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/weather-is-growing-more-extreme-the-pressure-is-on-the-bureau-of-meteorology-to-keep-up-20240111-p5ewms.html">Repeated floods</a> have communities along the east coast questioning their future. Others face <a href="https://theconversation.com/yes-climate-change-is-bringing-bushfires-more-often-but-some-ecosystems-in-australia-are-suffering-the-most-211683">rising bushfire risks</a> that force them to weigh up the <a href="http://www.ohscareer.com.au/archived-news/bushfire-risk-for-those-who-move">difficult decision</a> to move home.</p> <p>However, the decision-making process and relocation opportunities are not the same for everyone. Factors such as socio-economic disadvantage and how we are attached to a place influence decisions to move or stay, where people go and how they experience their new location.</p> <p>Our research, working with other researchers at Edith Cowan University’s <a href="https://www.ecu.edu.au/schools/science/research/strategic-centres/centre-for-people-place-and-planet/overview">Centre for People, Place &amp; Planet</a> and Curtin University, seeks to document when and why people stay or go, and what this means for places and communities. In particular, our research suggests <em>who</em> is more likely to go may leave those who remain even more vulnerable.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oCeYJPwUaTg?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Darwin is already losing residents because of rising heat and humidity.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>We’ve been slow to adapt to increasing impacts</h2> <p>Climate change is global in scale and <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/">has compounding effects</a>. It is increasing the frequency and intensity of disasters and extreme weather events such as heatwaves, fires, storms and floods. It is also accelerating environmental changes such as soil erosion, salinisation of waterways, loss of biodiversity, and land and water degradation.</p> <p>Both sudden disruptions and gradual pervasive decline <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10113-019-01463-1">have impacts</a> on the places where we live, work and play. So far, there has been <a href="https://thefifthestate.com.au/urbanism/climate-change-news/ahuri-rips-into-federal-government-inaction-on-helping-cities-adapt-to-climate-change/">little effective government action</a> to improve <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/411">climate change adaptation in Australia</a>.</p> <p>As we have seen in recent times in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/apr/09/land-swaps-relocations-or-rebuilds-lismore-community-grapples-with-its-future">Lismore</a>, New South Wales, and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-01-17/mooroopna-shepparton-flood-residents-consider-staying-or-leaving/103324882">northern Victoria</a>, for example, living in some flood-prone locations will become <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-23/flood-insurance-costing-30000-dollars-where-not-to-build/13268966">unaffordable due to insurance costs</a> or simply uninsurable.</p> <p>In other locations, different reasons will force residents to leave. It might be because environmental change threatens their livelihoods, or they can’t tolerate new conditions such as more long heatwaves or less reliable freshwater supplies. Others might not be able to endure the threat of another disaster.</p> <p>In sum, living in the place they called home will not be sustainable.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eqafq5UV5Iw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Repeated floods are forcing people in towns like Rochester in Victoria to contemplate whether they can afford to stay.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>What factors affect the decision to stay or go?</h2> <p>Not everyone can relocate to cooler or safer places. Systemic inequalities mean some people are more at risk from environmental change and have <a href="https://wires.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/wcc.565">less capacity</a> to respond than others. These vulnerable people include children (both <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2024-01-25/climate-change-threatens-health-of-babies-in-utero/103362510">before and after birth</a>), women, older people, people on low incomes and/or with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other cultural and/or linguistic minorities.</p> <p>In addition, housing is more affordable in areas that are hotter or flood-prone. This makes it more likely to be owned or rented by people with fewer financial resources, compounding their disadvantage.</p> <p>For First Nations peoples and communities, connections to and responsibilities for places (Country) are intimately intertwined with identity. For them, the <a href="https://www.cell.com/one-earth/pdf/S2590-3322(20)30250-5.pdf">impacts of climate change</a>, colonisation and resettlement interact, further complicating the question of relocation.</p> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10113-019-01463-1">Place attachment</a> – the emotional bond between people and their environment – might suppress the urge to move. But environmental change might fundamentally alter the characteristics that make a place unique. What we once loved and enjoyed <a href="https://wires.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/wcc.476">has then disappeared</a>.</p> <p>This sort of change <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277953612003255">impacts human health</a> and results in feelings of <a href="https://www.cell.com/one-earth/pdf/S2590-3322(20)30250-5.pdf">loss and grief</a>. It can prompt people to decide to leave.</p> <h2>So who stays and who leaves?</h2> <p>In our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666623523000028#sec0014">research</a>, we found that when residents imagined the loss of what they valued about Perth’s environment this significantly increased their intentions to move away and significantly decreased place attachment. They nominated bushland, beaches, fauna and flora, and the climate/weather as characteristics they valued and feared changing or losing as climate change progressed.</p> <p>One study participant wrote: "It would be hotter and much more unpleasant in summer. I would miss the trees, plants and birds. I would hate living in a concrete jungle without the green spaces we have here. I would miss being able to cycle or walk to the local lakes to connect to nature and feel peaceful."</p> <p>But social factors matter too. We found people who valued characteristics of Perth such as social relationships and lifestyle were more likely to stay as they tended to have less reduction in their place attachment.</p> <p>We also found place attachment was associated with people acting to protect that place, such as protesting environmentally destructive policies. Yet people who were more likely to take such actions were also <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10113-019-01463-1">more likely to leave</a>.</p> <p>This could make the remaining community more vulnerable to further unwanted change. That’s because those who can afford to relocate are usually the ones with the resources – psychological, social, political and financial – to take action to protect their homes, neighbourhoods and cities.</p> <h2>Proper planning for adaptation is long overdue</h2> <p>Climate change impacts everyone. It causes significant economic and non-economic losses for both individuals and communities.</p> <p>Many locations are becoming unliveable. A changing climate and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-21/dark-roofs-raising-the-heat-in-australian-new-suburbs/102990304">inappropriately built or located housing</a> interact to create conditions where some people can or should no longer stay.</p> <p>Some will be prompted or forced to move, but not everyone has that capacity. Furthermore, relocation pressures have environmental, infrastructure and social <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/">consequences for the places to which they move</a>.</p> <p>The housing crisis in Australia adds to resource constraints and their impacts for individuals and communities. Relocating can also disrupt psychological, emotional, social and cultural connections that are crucial for people’s wellbeing.</p> <p>We need co-ordinated, well-governed, long-term planning for people to move in the face of environmental change to ensure equitable and positive transitions for individuals and communities.</p> <hr /> <p><em>The authors wish to acknowledge the following contributors to this research: Professor Pierre Horwitz and Dr Naomi Godden (Centre for People, Place &amp; Planet, ECU), Dr Deirdre Drake (School of Arts and Humanities, ECU) and Dr Francesca Perugia (School of Design and the Built Environment, Curtin University).</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221971/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/justine-dandy-121273">J<em>ustine Dandy</em></a><em>, Associate Professor, Centre for People, Place &amp; Planet, and School of Arts and Humanities, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/zoe-leviston-823">Zoe Leviston</a>, Research Fellow, College of Health and Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-forcing-australians-to-weigh-up-relocating-how-do-they-make-that-difficult-decision-221971">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

"WHY?!": Disbelief as "Best Aussie towns" crowned for 2024

<p>The top ten Aussie towns to visit in 2024 have been revealed, with some locals surprised to see their hometowns at the top of the list. </p> <p>Each year travel experts at Wotif release the top spots to visit across the country, narrowing down destinations based on the platform’s data index of accommodation affordability, quality and traveller feedback.</p> <p>This year’s top 10 list featured a number of regional towns over coastal escapes, with Bendigo in Victoria taking out the top spot. </p> <p>The small Victorian town, home to plenty of paddock-to-plate cafes, vintage trams and the famous regional Art Gallery, has been praised by visitors for its cultural experiences, and lively food and beverage scene.</p> <p>Also making the top 10 list are Katherine in the Northern Territory and Coober Pedy in South Australia, alongside Broken Hill and Bathurst in New South Wales. </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/reel/C3RO7pDycQX/?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/reel/C3RO7pDycQX/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Wotif.com (@wotifcom)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Despite their top ten rankings, one savage local commented on the official top ranking video on social media writing, "Have ya’ll ever been to Katherine &amp; Coober Pedy? Because they aren't on anyone’s top 10 list," while one confused Bathurst local simply asked, "Why?"</p> <p>Wotif travel expert Sarah King said trends of heading away from the coast this year indicate a demand for “inland educational experiences”, meaning the top 10 towns in this year’s awards feature a diverse mix of regional towns not typically included in “best of” listings.</p> <p>“Aussie travellers are driven by a curiosity to experience the world around them and it’s fantastic to see that pursuit of discovery leading many to find culture close to home,” Ms King said in a statement.</p> <p>Check out the entire top 10 list below. </p> <p>1. Bendigo, VIC</p> <p>2. Broken Hill, NSW</p> <p>3. Stanthorpe, QLD</p> <p>4. Katherine, NT</p> <p>5. Bathurst, NSW</p> <p>6. Tanunda, SA</p> <p>7. Griffith, NSW</p> <p>8. Stanley, TAS</p> <p>9. Exmouth, WA</p> <p>10. Coober Pedy, SA</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Robert Irwin's favourite Aussie holiday spot

<p>Robert Irwin is a Queenslander through and through, and despite all the attractions and things to do in his hometown, the young conservationist is surprisingly a huge fan of Tasmania.</p> <p>When asked what his favourite destination was, Irwin said that it was a "very tough question" but narrowed it down to two spots: North Queensland and Tasmania.</p> <p>“I know what you’re thinking – two of the most polar opposite places, but they both have such rugged and raw natural beauty,” Irwin told news.com.au.</p> <p>He added that Cradle Mountain, one of Tasmania's most iconic sights is one of his favourite spots and that it is a must-see destination.</p> <p>“I also enjoy the Tasman Peninsula, Launceston, Swansea and the stunning Tarkine Wilderness just to name a few spots.”</p> <p>In North Queensland, he lives up to his role as the son of 'The Crocodile Hunter' as he loves exploring the mangroves and estuaries.</p> <p>“At a good distance away from the water’s edge of course,” he added.</p> <p>“Surprisingly, Cairns also has some top-notch mountain biking, so if you love an adrenaline hit, it has got you covered.”</p> <p>Irwin added that all Aussies need to explore the far north and far south at least once in their lives.</p> <p>“To sum it all up, Tasmania has Tassie devils, and North Queensland has crocs. What more do you need,” he said.</p> <p>The young conservationist will soon be heading to South Africa to film the newest season of <em>I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!</em> as he replaced Dr Chris Brown as a co-host for the show.</p> <p>He shared that he will definitely bring his own camera.</p> <p>“We have supported wildlife conservation efforts there for many years and have spent so much time photographing the unique wildlife of South Africa,” he said.</p> <p>“My new I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! hosting role will definitely give me the opportunity to further pursue my passion for photography.”</p> <p>Images: Instagram</p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Pink spotted at Bondi ahead of national tour

<p>In a dazzling spectacle of beach vibes and sun-soaked fun, pop sensation Pink has graced the shores of Bondi Beach ahead of her highly anticipated Australian tour.</p> <p>The iconic singer, known for her powerhouse performances and unapologetic personality, was spotted basking in the Aussie sun with her adorable children, making waves Down Under.</p> <p>The excitement was palpable as Pink, with her trademark pink hair, took to social media to express her joy at being back on Australian soil. "Bondi Beach, it's been too long!!!!!!! Bills was delicious, too. ️Soooooooo happy to be back on this side of the world! Thank you beautiful Australia for being our home away from home. Kids are stoked," she gushed alongside some envy-inducing beach pictures.</p> <p>It seems Bills, a popular eatery in Sydney, left quite the impression on the star. If Pink says it's delicious, it's practically a culinary endorsement for the ages. (Move over food critics; Pink's tastebuds have spoken.)</p> <p>But this isn't Pink's first love letter to the Land Down Under. The singer has long expressed her admiration for Australia and has been a staunch supporter during challenging times. In 2020, she pledged a generous $500,000 donation to the country's fire services during the devastating Black Summer bushfires, proving she not only rocks the stage but also has a heart of gold.</p> <p>As Pink gears up for her stadium tour in Australia, aptly named the Summer Carnival tour, fans are eagerly anticipating a spectacle that will undoubtedly leave them smiling and singing until their cheeks hurt. Kicking off at Sydney's Allianz Stadium on February 9, the tour will then take Pink and her musical carnival to various cities, including Newcastle, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.</p> <p>It's been nearly six years since Pink's 2018 tour, Beautiful Trauma, which wowed almost 560,000 Australian and New Zealand fans. Eager to share the joy once again, Pink expressed her excitement, saying, "I can't wait to bring the Summer Carnival tour to my home away from home and smile and sing together until our cheeks hurt. Summer 2024 can't come soon enough!"</p> <p>The tour is not just a celebration of Pink's electrifying stage presence but also a nod to her ninth album, Trustfall, released in February the previous year. The anticipation is building, and fans can't wait to witness the magic unfold live on stage.</p> <p>Adding a touch of whimsy to the excitement, Pink <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/music/my-home-away-from-home-pink-s-dream-down-under" target="_blank" rel="noopener">teased the possibility</a> of making Australia her permanent home last year. In an interview with <em>60 Minutes</em>, she revealed, "Last year, I was thinking about applying for citizenship; I am not even joking. I was like, 'If we're going somewhere Carey, [Australia] is where we're going'." Australia, get ready to welcome Pink with open arms – she might just become our newest citizen!</p> <p>So, as Pink readies to paint Australia with her musical colours and contagious energy, fans are counting down the days until the Summer Carnival kicks off, promising a tour de force that will linger in their memories long after the final note fades away. Bondi Beach, Bills, and a Summer Carnival – it's a Pink party, and everyone's invited.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Restaurant's kind act for struggling Aussies

<p>As Aussies continue to adapt to the rising cost-of-living, one restaurant owner took it upon herself to give back to the "struggling" community. </p> <p>Aleeya Hamidan the owner of Manoosh & Co in Eagle Vale, southwest of Sydney, realised that a lot of people in the community are struggling to afford food.</p> <p>"Prices are going up in rent, and there are a lot of large families that live here as well. They don't have much spare money to go out and eat with their kids after school,"  she told <em>Yahoo News Australia</em>.</p> <p>So, she decided to implement a system where customers in need can get a free meal that has been paid for by other customers. </p> <p>The text: "Please take one if [you're] in need!! Already paid for from our beautiful customers" is written on a whiteboard, with six receipts containing various orders valued at around $10-$12 attached to it. </p> <p>Hamidan was the first to put up an order on the board a few weeks ago to encourage other customers to do the same, and the system has grown in popularity since. </p> <p>"One man came in a few weeks ago and took one of the free meals, but the following week when he did have money, he purchased one for someone else," she said. </p> <p>"We just didn't want it to be intimidating for people who can't afford our products.</p> <p>"It was just something we started doing for a little but have now continued to do. We've had such amazing feedback on it."</p> <p>The restaurant owner's kind deed was praised after local woman Amanda Mauga posted a picture of the board on social media. </p> <p>"If you are having a hard time and need a meal or coffee, go down to Manoosh Eagle Vale," she shared in a community Facebook page. </p> <p>"People buy food for people who need it. So if you're in need head down there, I have left you a coffee. Enjoy."</p> <p>Mauga said that she "felt inspired to help" after seeing the thoughtful gesture, and wanted to help those who were homeless and struggling in their community "in some small way". </p> <p>The post racked up thousands of likes and comments from people impressed by the "great initiative". </p> <p>"What a great idea! We need more like this. So many people are struggling, bravo," one wrote. </p> <p>"Well done folks... nice there are caring people around," another commented</p> <p>"What an amazing shop for even doing this," a third commented.</p> <p><em>Images: Manoosh & Co</em></p> <p> </p>

Domestic Travel

Our Partners