International Travel

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World Health Organisation "unlikely" to list COVID-19 as disease that needs proof

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>The World Health Organisation (WHO) is "unlikely" to list coronavirus as a disease that requires vaccination proof, a spokesperson has said.</p> <p>The comment comes after the Morrison government said that international travellers entering Australia will likely need proof they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 or face 14 days in hotel quarantine on their own.</p> <p>Dr Margaret Harris from WHO told<span> </span><em>Today</em><span> </span>it would be difficult to make the vaccine mandatory.</p> <p>"That would be unlikely. I think it would be a long way off from us listing that," Dr Harris said.</p> <p>"If that happened, that would be an external review group that would do that as part of the international health regulations.</p> <p>"That would take basically the countries involved in setting up that treaty to make that decision. In other words, that's a very theoretical and quite sort of distant concept."</p> <p>Dr Harris said that Prime Minister Scott Morrison can enforce the "no jab, no flight rule" without the approval of the World Health Organisation.</p> <p>"He can do that," she said.</p> <p>"Those decisions are all national decisions. We make overall recommendations. Generally most countries do follow them. But it is up to the national authorities to decide what regimes, what vaccines they want people to have had and where."</p> <p>They've said if it goes ahead, WHO can't enforce the matter.</p> <p>"It is not that we wouldn't necessarily support it," she said.</p> <p>"What I am saying is we would not necessarily make it (a vaccine) mandatory. That would be a decision for all the countries of the world to make. We as WHO, we are the advisers. We are not the police."</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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Qantas boss Alan Joyce slammed over COVID vaccination rule

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>Furious customers have vowed never to fly with Qantas again after boss Alan Joyce said that vaccinations against COVID-19 would be mandatory for all passengers on international flights.</p> <p>He made global headlines after he revealed that once a vaccine became available, it would be a condition of travel with Qantas.</p> <p>“For international travellers, we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft,’’ he said on<span> </span><em>A Current Affair<span> </span></em>last night<em>.</em></p> <p>“Certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BREAKING?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BREAKING</a>: QANTAS CEO confirms that proof that you've been vaccinated for COVID-19 will be compulsory for international air travel onboard his aircraft. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/9ACA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#9ACA</a> <a href="https://t.co/dhk3Hsnxn9">pic.twitter.com/dhk3Hsnxn9</a></p> — A Current Affair (@ACurrentAffair9) <a href="https://twitter.com/ACurrentAffair9/status/1330788260856131584?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 23, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Joyce also suggested that if people weren't happy with that rule, they might struggle to find an alternative airline to fly with.</p> <p>“I think that’s going to be a common thing, talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe,” he said.</p> <p>People immediately rejected the policy, with comments on Twitter flying.</p> <p>“What right does Alan Joyce have to demand that we will only be allowed to travel with Qantas if we first prove we have been vaccinated against COVID-19?” someone asked on Twitter.</p> <p>“My health and vaccination status is none of his concern.”</p> <p>"I will never use Qantas ever again and I hope the world boycotts any company that uses this behaviour," another wrote.</p> <p>“I’m no anti-vaxxer, but forced vaccination, especially of such a new drug, is NOT okay,” one person tweeted.</p> <p>“If Qantas really go ahead, we may have to seek judges’ ruling.”</p> <p>The Federal Government has said that a COVID-19 vaccine would not be mandatory in Australia, but could become a condition of entry or re-entry into the country.</p> <p>“While the Australian Government strongly supports immunisation and will run a strong campaign to encourage vaccination, it is not mandatory and individuals may choose not to vaccinate,” the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy says.</p> <p>“There may however, be circumstances where the Australian Government and other governments may introduce border entry or re-entry requirements that are conditional on proof of vaccination.”</p> <p>The International Air Transport Association has also said it is in the final stages of developing a digital health pass that would co-ordinate information about COVID testing and vaccinations to support the reopening of international borders.</p> <p>The IATA Travel Pass would “manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers”, the industry body said.</p> <p>“Testing is the first key to enable international travel without quarantine measures. The second key is the global information infrastructure needed to securely manage, share and verify test data matched with traveller identities in compliance with border control requirements,” the IATA’s director general and chief executive Alexandre de Juniac said.</p> <p>IATA’s senior vice president of airport, passenger, cargo and security, Nick Careen, said the main priority was to “get people travelling again safely”.</p> <p>“In the immediate term that means giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine program,” he said.</p> <p>“The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both.”</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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COVID-19 vaccination to become compulsory for international travel

<p>The CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, has warned international travellers that compulsory vaccinations will be required in the future.</p> <p>Mr Joyce noted that as soon as a vaccine becomes available, while domestic travel may be exempt, the terms and conditions will change for international journeys.</p> <p>"For international travellers that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft."</p> <p>"Certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that's a necessity."</p> <p>The Qantas CEO told A Current Affair that this will be something required all around the world.</p> <p>"I think that's going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe."</p> <p>Alan Joyce also mentioned that by Christmas, 60 percent of the flights from Sydney to Melbourne should be running. </p> <p>"Aussies love to travel, the two cities are unbelievably well connected, and we went from 45 flights a day before COVID, to one flight a day," Mr Joyce said.</p> <p>The route has just re-opened again.</p> <p>"Today we're back to 70 flights on the first day of opening up."</p> <p>And post-Christmas he hopes they'll be able re-activate 1000 jobs for the people who were stood down in the height of the pandemic in March. </p> <p>"If we can get Melbourne and Sydney back to where it was pre-COVID that will be 3000 people that didn't have a role, were stood down, were working at Woolworths, somewhere else that are working for the airline again."</p> <p>The CEO said domestic flights between Sydney and Melbourne have already proven popular, with 25,000 seats sold within 48 hours</p> <p><a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/coronavirus-exclusive-the-compulsory-conditions-for-australians-to-travel-internationally-as-lockdowns-ease/e4bf2f6c-faab-46dd-8528-b7f8120ede2f">Check out the full story here.</a></p>

International Travel

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Sky-high memories: Vintage Ansett Airlines menu causes a stir

<p>A person on social media site Reddit has shocked users by sharing a picture of a 1970s-era drinks menu from former airline carrier Ansett Australia.</p> <p>The menu shows cans of beer for 30 cents, a can of Coke for 10 cents and packets of cigarettes sold for a low price of 45 cents.</p> <p>For whisky fans, miniature bottles of imported whisky were sold for 45 cents, and specially selected red and white wines were sold at 40 cents a glass.</p> <p>These prices are incredibly low, especially by today's standards.</p> <p>People made jokes about the menu.</p> <p><img id="__mcenew" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838857/plane.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/d80895744fd44933beac0e89320e48a0" /></p> <div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>“No wonder they went bust with these prices,” one person commented.</p> <p>“I was born too f**king late,” another said.</p> <p>“Cigarettes on a flight. Yikes,” someone said.</p> <p>One person reminisced about smoking on planes.</p> <p>“I’ll never forget flying Qantas as a kid up the back of the plane with the smokers for 12 hours to LAX and back,” one person commented.</p> <p>“I’m just old enough to remember being in a plane when smoking was allowed,” another said.</p> <p>“Only a curtain separated the smoking and non-smoking sections. It was absolutely foul.”</p> <p>Ansett suddenly collapsed in 2001, leaving thousands of passengers stranded and around 16,500 people out of work.</p> <p>The collapse followed years of financial trouble, tough competition, cash flow problems and an ageing fleet.</p> <p>By the time the company went bust, it was said to be bleeding money to the tune of $1.3 million a day.</p> <p>It remains one of the most infamous airlines collapses in Australia's history.</p> <p><em>Photo credit: Reddit</em></p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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In the company of giants

<p>The remote, beautiful land at the head of Lake Wakatipu richly deserves to be called Paradise but I discovered, with some disappointment, that it is so-named not for the heavenly scenery but for the eponymous duck!</p> <p>Despite its remoteness, the magnetism of Paradise has been a magnet for adventurous travellers since the 1880s when hundreds used to sail up Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown by steamer. Disembarking at Glenorchy, they would travel by dray and coach to Paradise Homestead where owner Granny Aitken used to feed 120 for lunch and host as many as 28 overnight guests.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 300.78125px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838796/2-justine-and-her-brand-new-wisper-wayfarer-ebike-en-route-to-the-greenstone-valley.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/a814bbc3eee141b49bd22148347db7ed" /><br /><em>Justine and her brand new Wisper Wayfarer ebike en route to the Greenstone Valley. Picture by Justine Tyerman</em></p> <p>The spectacular landscape has also attracted the attention of film-makers from all over the world. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, Mission Impossible, X-men and Vertical Limit were all filmed amid the region’s breath-taking mountains, rivers, lakes and forests.</p> <p>The dramatic terrain was sculpted by glaciers in the last Ice Age. The deeply-weathered silver schist face of Mt Earnslaw, the tallest mountain in the area at 2,830m, dominates the landscape, while wedge-shaped Mt Alfred, 1,365m sits right in the centre of the valley, dividing the Dart and Rees rivers. Surrounding the valley are the magnificent Richardson and Humboldt ranges... and many mountains named after Greek gods.</p> <p>Over the next few days, Chris and I spent much time in the company of these mighty snow-capped giants and became familiar with their many faces – sparkling silver after a frost, rosy pink with the sunrise, glowing gold at sunset or veiled in diaphanous mist just before dawn.</p> <p>We explored the region on our brand new Wisper Wayfarer ebikes courtesy of Electric Bikes NZ. It was such a novelty for me to be able to cycle effortlessly uphill and keep up with my super-fit husband.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 300.78125px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838797/4.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/593e68b9701e45968c792c651b059aae" /><br /><em>Let me in - it's cold out here! Justine is keen to warm up at the end of a long day's cycling. Picture by Chris Tyerman</em></p> <p>We headed for Kinloch and rode along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to the Greenstone Valley. Lake Wakatipu is seldom like a mirror but that day, the whole lake was glassy calm.</p> <p>The only traffic we encountered on the back country road was a 4WD vehicle and a young mum out for a walk with her baby and dog.</p> <p>The undulating gravel road took us through beech forests and across clear mountain streams. I was busy congratulating myself for managing to stay dry while fording the streams but the last one was deeper than the rest and I panicked and stopped half way across. Hubby heroically came to the rescue so we both ended up getting wet. Fortunately, it was a mild day and we dried out fast in the sunshine.</p> <p>We also paid a visit to Paradise Trust Lodge to see the rebuild of the property after fire destroyed the historic homestead in 2013, a few months after we had stayed there on our first-ever cycle trip with Matt and Kate Belcher’s Revolution Tours.</p> <p>The lodge has been painstakingly rebuilt retaining three stone chimneys as a memorial to the original homestead.</p> <p>We cycled a loop track through the forest, past rustic cottages with outside baths and saunas to a vantage point high above the Dart River as it carves its way from deep within the Main Divide. Here in Paradise, we were literally in the presence of the gods, surrounded by mountains named Chaos, Poseidon, Nox, Cosmos, Minos, Pluto and Cosmos.</p> <p>Thanks to our zippy Wispers, we covered a huge distance in no time.</p> <p>While in Glenorchy, we were delighted to hear that Ngai Tahu Tourism-operated Dart River Adventures are due to reopen in December so their powerful Hamilton jetboats will once again be thundering up the river and deep into the heart of the Mount Aspiring National Park and the southern reaches of the Main Divide. Encircled by the magnificent mountain peaks of the Southern Alps, gleaming glaciers, frozen waterfalls and hanging valleys, the park’s outstanding natural beauty has earned it UNESCO World Heritage status. It’s an outstanding experience - I’ve done it twice and would do it again in a heartbeat.</p> <p>There’s a lake-edge DoC (Department of Conservation) camping site at Kinloch so we parked our Maui motorhome there for the night, keen to linger in this exquisite, remote and tranquil part of Aotearoa. Nearby Kinloch Lodge serves superb cuisine if you feel like dining out. The historic lodge, a mecca for travellers since 1868, retains its authentic, old-world charm... and it has an outside hot tub. Bliss at the end of a long day cycling.</p> <p><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/heading-for-paradise">Read story #1 here.</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/turning-greener-with-the-years">And story #2 here.</a></p> <p><em>To be continued.</em></p> <p><em>Justine Tyerman travelled courtesy of <span class="gmail-msohyperlink"><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://email.directgroup.com.au/owa/redir.aspx?C=-xHEHhRYAVw9CNAFNuTivSsD7VqzBFs6UUwpjSJ6L0sHdb_veYfYCA..&amp;URL=https%3a%2f%2fprotect-au.mimecast.com%2fs%2fCf4DCWLVV3CwNTK6ntP%3fdomain%3dmaui-rentals.com" target="_blank">thl</a></span> in a <span class="gmail-msohyperlink"><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://email.directgroup.com.au/owa/redir.aspx?C=Rr0taEuzZcVbO2f5WlI1D_SoDcA4oIeWlgg1HMTh9NQHdb_veYfYCA..&amp;URL=https%3a%2f%2fprotect-au.mimecast.com%2fs%2f99a6CXLWW8C7kIkVRdv%3fdomain%3dmaui-rentals.com" target="_blank">Maui 4-berth Cascade motorhome,</a></span> and rode a <span class="gmail-msohyperlink"><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://email.directgroup.com.au/owa/redir.aspx?C=ZLTL3hhOHzowCF2AeJcWywwC2Zc9WNGVxDK1KMtqClkHdb_veYfYCA..&amp;URL=https%3a%2f%2fprotect-au.mimecast.com%2fs%2fezm9CYW883HojIMAGFW%3fdomain%3dwisperbikes.co.nz%2f" target="_blank">Wisper Wayfarer ebike</a></span> courtesy of </em><span class="gmail-msohyperlink"><span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://email.directgroup.com.au/owa/redir.aspx?C=2qwV6bEr40LVS92yaaSA_-v9XJCxHJEEtlrbuC_DYGQHdb_veYfYCA..&amp;URL=https%3a%2f%2fprotect-au.mimecast.com%2fs%2fWNUBCZY117CnXfPtHR2%3fdomain%3delectricbikes.co.nz%2f" target="_blank"><em>Electric Bikes NZ</em></a></span></span></p>

International Travel

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Turning greener with the years

<div>A few years ago, when we stayed at Mrs Woolly’s Camping Ground at Glenorchy, we were fascinated by the construction of the multi-million-dollar Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat under way next door. Turning greener with the years, I’ve been keen to check it out ever since. We finally got to stay there on our recent South Island ebiking and motorhome road-trip.</div> <div></div> <div>Opened in March 2018, the story behind the camp is visionary and inspirational. It’s the brainchild of US philanthropists Debbi and Paul Brainerd who fell in love with the Glenorchy region 20 years earlier after tramping the Routeburn and Hollyford Tracks. Designed according to the Living Building Challenge (LBC), the most rigorous sustainability standards in the world, the camp is committed to “offering a unique opportunity to experience living in harmony with nature”. The seven categories of the LBC are represented as the petals of a flower – Place, Health and Happiness, Energy, Water, Materials, Beauty and Equity – and involve such factors as supplying their own water and energy, having a healthy interrelationship with nature, supporting a just and equitable world, celebrating design that uplifts the human spirit, using materials that are safe for all species, creating spaces that optimise health and wellbeing . . . all concepts close to my heart, especially the energy and water efficiency aspects.</div> <div></div> <div></div> <div><img style="width: 500px; height: 300.78125px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838654/2-early-morning-surrounded-by-snow-capped-mountains-at-camp-glenorchy-eco-retreat.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/525df7e39e2f49f78556dedbc7becc20" /></div> <div><em>Early morning, surrounded by snow-capped mountains at Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat. Picture by Justine Tyerman</em></div> <div></div> <div></div> <div>New Zealand's only net positive energy accommodation, clever technology allows the camp to generate more energy than it uses – in fact it generates 105 percent of the energy it uses each year.</div> <div><br />Facilities include smart bunkhouses and eco cabins, powered RV/motorhome sites, and shared spaces for guests in the Homestead with a fabulously well-equipped open kitchen, dining room, sunroom, lounge, conference rooms and an outside campfire.</div> <div><br />Eye-catching artworks are a feature of the camp. An entire wall in the Humboldt Room, named after the magnificent mountain range it looks onto, is made of driftwood by international landscape artist Jeffrey Bale.</div> <div><br />I loved the use of recycled materials from the demolition of local woolsheds, stockyards, a grain warehouse and buildings damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes.</div> <div><br />There are state-of-the-art bathroom facilities with fabulous fully-tiled showers and 100 percent odourless composting toilets that save a whopping 300,000 litres of water per year. Purified rainwater supplies the showers and solar power is the energy source.</div> <div></div> <div></div> <div><img style="width: 500px; height: 300.78125px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838657/3.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c65f986fae3c4c4395da1e7a560c2e01" /></div> <div><em>The Homestead building at Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat. Picture by Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat</em></div> <div><br />Photos in the Homestead tell the story of the camp’s construction. There’s also historical information about the Head of the Lake for guests to read. Maori began arriving in Aotearoa about 750 years ago and named the South Island Te Wai Pounamu, the ‘Waters of Greenstone’. The region is rich in pounamu, a stone highly treasured by Maori who carved it into adzes, chisels, knives, hooks, clubs and ornaments.<br /><br />European settlement in the area began in 1861 when William Rees established a sheep station there. Then came the gold rush of 1862, sawmilling of beech and totara, scheelite mining and tourism. Travellers in the 1880s came up the lake by steamship had a choice of three hotels. A road link from Queenstown was opened in 1962 and finally sealed in 1997.<br /><br />All profits from Camp Glenorchy go to the Glenorchy Community Trust, directed by leaders of the local community “to support initiatives that enhance the liveability and vibrancy of Glenorchy”.<br /><br />The retreat has recently been named in TIME magazine's list of the World's 100 Greatest Places. It’s seriously impressive, especially for those, like me, into sustainability.<br /><br />In the evening, we had our first night ride on our Wisper Wayfarer ebikes – just a couple of minutes to the Glenorchy Hotel where we enjoyed a hearty dinner by a roaring open fire. The place was packed with locals and visitors watching a rugby match. Such a warm, friendly environment.</div> <div></div> <div></div> <div><img style="width: 500px; height: 300.78125px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838658/4-the-communal-kitchen-at-camp-glenorchy-eco-retreat.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/8085163b3f9d4c23aa5d289ca10d1f36" /></div> <div><em>The communal kitchen at Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat. Picture by Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat</em></div> <div><br />As we cycled back to the camp, the dark night sky was studded with stars. Glenorchy’s isolation makes it one of New Zealand’s best star-gazing locations, especially on clear winter nights.</div> <div><br />Our motorhome was surrounded by Maui look-a-likes when we arrived home. New Zealanders had certainly heeded the call to explore their own backyard and were out in force. It was a frosty evening but we were cosy in no time, thanks to the efficient heating system.<br /><br />We lit the gas, boiled water for hot water bottles, left the heating on low and piled on an extra duvet, thinking we would freeze . . . but after five minutes the hotties and the extra duvet got the biff, we turned the heating off, opened a skylight and slept soundly.<br /><br />Talking of sleep, the bedding arrangement in the 4-berth Cascade was ingenious. At the push of a button, a queen-size bed appeared from the ceiling while another below was able to be made up from the squabs in the rear lounge. The upper bed recessed into the ceiling when not in use. Such clever use of space.<br /><br />We awoke to a perfect day. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, the view from our bedroom window was breath-taking. We couldn’t wait to jump on our ebikes and explore more of this place called Paradise . . .<br /><br /><em>To be continued.</em><br /><span> </span></div> <div><em>Justine Tyerman travelled courtesy of <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://email.directgroup.com.au/owa/redir.aspx?C=tWPA3DSjp88h92_m_yOej0Tyw3e6LI4rEYpaeNNn58pcBoKUAILYCA..&amp;URL=https%3a%2f%2fwww.maui-rentals.com%2fnz%2fen%3futm_medium%3dreferral%26utm_source%3djustine-tyerman" target="_blank">thl</a> in a <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://email.directgroup.com.au/owa/redir.aspx?C=T67CO7HaB4Hy8m49Jc0LTYu_fAqurQYwHDvzQwTYtjhcBoKUAILYCA..&amp;URL=https%3a%2f%2fwww.maui-rentals.com%2fnz%2fen%2fmotorhome-hire%2f4-berth-campervan-cascade%3futm_medium%3dreferral%26utm_source%3djustine-tyerman" target="_blank">Maui 4-berth Cascade motorhome,</a> and rode a <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://email.directgroup.com.au/owa/redir.aspx?C=D4fFGghFbcshDq0SojkHUYYtEIErEO2QmPI-NhfBaw9cBoKUAILYCA..&amp;URL=https%3a%2f%2fwisperbikes.co.nz%2f" target="_blank">Wisper Wayfarer ebike</a> courtesy of <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://email.directgroup.com.au/owa/redir.aspx?C=SoAD83WgCmviEe9KsPsHJwa1cyBdBdVIeFrgwi6WIeBcBoKUAILYCA..&amp;URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.electricbikes.co.nz%2f" target="_blank">Electric Bikes NZ</a></em></div>

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China takes aim at Australian government for racist policies

<p>China has taken a swipe at Scott Morrison, accusing Australia of enacting racist policies during the coronavirus shutdown.</p> <p>In an interview in the Chinese government mouthpiece, the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1205288.shtml" target="_blank">Global Times</a>, China Market Research Group founder Shaun Rein said COVID-19 spread globally because of the “failed policies stemming from Europe, the US and Australia”.</p> <p>“(Scott Morrison) banned immediately Chinese mainland people from visiting Australia,” Mr Rein said in the report.</p> <p>“But for months, he didn’t ban Italians from visiting Australia even when Italy was plagued with the virus.</p> <p>“Other countries were sinophobic when it came to containment of COVID-19.</p> <p>“(The) virus doesn’t care about your race or your rationality. It just goes after humans. That’s their first mistake.”</p> <p>Morrison praised the Chinese-Australian community in September for following home quarantine requirements at the beginning of the pandemic.</p> <p>“The risk was greatest where people were returning from mainland China and even Wuhan at one point,” Mr Morrison said.</p> <p>“That home quarantine was followed incredibly assiduously by our Chinese-Australian community and that, as I’ve said on many occasions, proved absolutely vital in Australia’s success in managing the impact of that first wave.” Meanwhile, Australian rock lobster exports were revealed on Monday as the latest product to come under the microscope of Chinese authorities as trade tensions grow between the two partners.</p> <p>Tariffs on barley, bans on some beef, restrictions on coal and investigation on wine have just been some of the impacts Australian produce has faced during the dispute.</p> <p>But Mr Rein accused some Australian politicians of “fearmongering” and becoming “more sinophobic”.</p> <p>“They are listening as lapdogs of the Trump regime,” Mr Rein told the Global Times.</p> <p>“There is no reason for China and Australia to have tensions.</p> <p>“Before COVID-19, China bought 38 per cent of Australia’s exports.”</p>

International Travel

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Heading for Paradise

<p>Justine and Chris Tyerman set off on a road trip to Central Otago... with no idea where they will end up each day. </p> <p>‘Fancy a South Island motorhome road trip this winter... since we can’t travel overseas?’ I asked my husband while he was enjoying a beer by the fire one chilly evening in May.</p> <p>Knowing his hyperactive tendencies, I quickly added biking, hiking and skiing to the mix.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 300.78125px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838559/3-on-a-calm-day-the-mountains-are-perfectly-reflected-in-the-mirror-waters-of-the-lagoon-at-glenorchy.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/250001b025aa47f7909fef91f3310fef" /><br /><em>On a calm day, the mountains are perfectly reflected in the mirror waters of the lagoon at Glenorchy. ©Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat</em></p> <p>There was a flicker of interest, especially when I flashed a photo of a luxurious late- model Maui Cascade motorhome in front of him, hinted at the possibility of trialling a couple of brand new Wisper Wayfarer ebikes and reminded him that now we were both ‘seniors’, skiing had just got a lot cheaper.</p> <p>‘What about the weather?’ Chris asked. ‘We’ll freeze to death in a motorhome down south in the winter.’</p> <p>‘Nope. The Cascade has a super-efficient heating system... but we’ll take hot water bottles... just in case.’</p> <p>Fast forward to late August — we duly arrived at Queenstown Airport, collected our smart four-berth motorhome from the nearby Maui depot and set about finding storage for our all bulky ski gear, ebikes, suitcases and enough provisions to last a month. My husband has a fear of running out of food.</p> <p>‘If only you could learn to travel lightly,’ came the predictable comment from Chris, to which I replied, predictably, ‘If only you could learn to buy just what we need.’</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 300.78125px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838560/3-on-a-calm-day-the-mountains-are-perfectly-reflected-in-the-mirror-waters-of-the-lagoon-at-glenorchy-copy-2.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/defe5a53d85f43f583d7a86e0e3d013b" /><br /><em>Our four-berth Maui Cascade motorhome at the head of Lake Wakatipu. Picture by Justine Tyerman</em></p> <p>Investigating the motorhome, we discovered to our surprise and delight that the skis, boots and poles fitted perfectly in the spacious under-floor compartment, the clothes in the wardrobe and drawers, the empty cases in the over-cab storage, the food in the fridge and kitchen cupboards, one ebike on the rear rack, (sans battery because of weight restrictions), and one inside, wrapped in an old duvet with gloves on the peddles and handlebars.</p> <p>Mission accomplished, we were away laughing... literally. We had no idea where would end up that day. We had been advised to plug into a mains-powered site on our first night in order to fully charge the batteries but thereafter, being fully self-contained, we could freedom camp for up to three days using battery and gas power.</p> <p>After stopping briefly to cushion the cutlery, crockery and pots and pans with tea towels to stop the clattering, the big rig trundled along smoothly and quietly. Chris found the driving effortless with great vision from such an elevated position.</p> <p>The heady sense of freedom took a while to sink in. We had to reprogramme ourselves to the fact we had no fixed itinerary, no bookings or check-in/check-out times and no commitments. The sole focus of every day was to meander along at a leisurely pace driving no more than a few hours, and find stunning spots to stop for lunch, dinner, hiking, ebiking and overnighting.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 301.5625px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838557/gettyimages-1076492536-640x640.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/311c3553b6054a5cb22831244d4ff8dd" /><em>Justine on her Wisper Wayfarer ebike. Picture by Chris Tyerman</em></p> <p>At the Frankton intersection, we had the choice of left to Glenorchy or right to Arrowtown. Chris pointed left, I nodded, and we set off for the idyllic little settlement at the head of Lake Wakatipu, just 50 minutes from Queenstown on one the world’s most scenic lakeside drives. In the pre-Covid era, finding parking space to pull over at the popular observation point at Bennett’s Bluff to photograph the breath-taking view of the lake and mountains would have been well-nigh impossible but we had the road to ourselves that day. We’ve driven that route dozens of times but we’re always spellbound by the vast expanse of the teal-blue lake enclosed on all sides by jagged peaks and gleaming glaciers.</p> <p>We reached Glenorchy by mid-afternoon, leapt on our Wisper Wayfarers and explored the Heritage Trail, an excellent track and boardwalk that begins at the famous Glenorchy boatshed on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and weaves its way through wetlands and lagoons inhabited by native birds, across paddocks and the local golf course. On a calm day, the mountains are perfectly reflected in the mirror waters of the lagoon. The views of Mt Earnslaw/Pikirakatahi and the surrounding ranges are spectacular.</p> <p>No wonder they call this place Paradise... but ironically, it’s not named for the heavenly scenery. To be continued...</p> <p><em>Justine Tyerman travelled courtesy of </em><a href="https://www.maui-rentals.com/nz/en?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=justine-tyerman"><em>thl</em></a><em> in a </em><a href="https://www.maui-rentals.com/nz/en/motorhome-hire/4-berth-campervan-cascade?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=justine-tyerman"><em>Maui 4-berth Cascade motorhome,</em></a><em> and rode a </em><a href="https://wisperbikes.co.nz/"><em>Wisper Wayfarer ebike</em></a><em> courtesy of </em><a href="http://www.electricbikes.co.nz/"><em>Electric Bikes NZ.</em></a></p>

International Travel

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"All boarded up": Natalie Barr describes scenes in Washington

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>The US election is days away and <em>Sunrise</em> journalist Natalie Barr is on the ground in Washington D.C, describing the mood as "eerie and scary".</p> <p>Many businesses in the area are concerned about the possibility of violence and unrest after the announcement of the new U.S President and have boarded up their windows with plywood as a result.</p> <p>“I just didn’t expect it to be this bad,” Barr said</p> <p>“Shops, restaurants, cafes and government buildings right through the centre of D.C are all are being boarded up.”</p> <p>“It feels like they’re boarding up for a hurricane.”</p> <blockquote 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);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/tv/CHD_36oJjUI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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> <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;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/tv/CHD_36oJjUI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Sunrise (@sunriseon7)</a> on Nov 1, 2020 at 1:03pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Barr was in the US in 2016 to report on the election between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton and said the mood difference was "just scary".</p> <p>“It doesn’t feel like an election, like the sort of celebration mood that we saw four years ago,” she explained.</p> <p>“Last time they were baking biscuits, there were chocolates with little Trump and Hillary faces, they were doing BBQs with the ‘Trump Burger’ and ‘Hillary Burger, it was kind of like a carnival”</p> <p>“But this is just scary.”</p> <p>“The concern is that no matter who wins, there will be unrest”</p> <p>“It feels like a bit of a battleground.”</p> <p>“It’s pretty awful.”</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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Day of the Dead festival explained

<p>A celebration of life and death<br />If you’ve heard of Day of the Dead – known in Spanish as Día de Muertos or Día de los Muertos­ – but never celebrated it, you may wonder: How can death possibly be a cause for celebration? You have to go back 3,000 years for the answer. That’s when indigenous groups in Mexico and Central America – including Aztec, Maya, and Toltec – began celebrating their deceased relatives. They believed mourning them would be an insult to their memory. After the Spanish arrived, the ritual was intertwined with two Spanish holidays: All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (Nov. 1 and Nov. 2).</p> <p>Day of the Dead is not Halloween<br />Although Halloween is celebrated right before Day of the Dead, it’s nowhere near the same. For one thing, Halloween focuses on the scary aspects of death – namely, our fear of mortality. Day of the Dead, on the other hand, is a happy, joyous occasion.</p> <p>Originally called All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. During Samhain, people created bonfires and dressed up in costumes to ward off ghosts.</p> <p>“All Hallows’ Eve was believed to be a time when the veil between the earth and other worlds was thin,” says grief and death expert Dr Kriss Kevorkian. “Ghosts returned to earth and there were celebrations mostly among the Celts. Halloween, today, doesn’t include much honouring of the dead.”</p> <p>Honouring the dead with food, drinks, and dancing<br />During Day of the Dead, families invite the souls of deceased relatives to come back for a reunion. Traditionally, that includes temporary altars with offerings commemorating their loved ones (altares de muertos or ofrendas). It also includes lots of food and drink, dressing up, and dancing.</p> <p>The Day of the Dead is not a single day but actually a celebration from October 31st to November 2. The first day (November 1st), is to honour infants and children who have died, and the second day (November 2nd), is to honour adults who have passed on.</p> <p>Day of the Dead is celebrated mostly in Mexico and parts of Central and South America. But it’s become increasingly popular in Latino communities around the world. “There are benefits to mourning and celebrating the life of a loved one who has died,” says Kevorkian. “We want to mourn the loss, but also celebrate the fact that we had such a relationship.”</p> <p>“That helps us remain connected, grateful, and appreciative of the love that was shared,” she adds. “Celebrating also helps us to understand that we shouldn’t take our loved ones for granted.”</p> <p>Grieving has no time frame<br />According to a review of studies published in 2019 in Psychosomatic Medicine, the death of a loved one is the greatest life stressor we can face. Forcing a sense of closure only adds to the stress.</p> <p>“Sadly, we are limited in our grieving due to work schedules, bereavement leave, family obligations, and our own desire not to hurt,” says Kevorkian. “But grief manifests in its own time. Give yourself time to listen to your grief rather than trying to make it fit into a particular construct. It can be painful. But it can be reframed a bit. Acknowledge how fortunate you were to have had a love so great that to lose it caused so much pain.”</p> <p>A funeral can be fun (yes, really)<br />Most people tend to think of funerals as sad, somber occasions. But it’s possible to honour the memory of your loved one by celebrating their life.</p> <p>Day of the Dead traditions involve dressing up, dancing, singing, and preparing foods that the celebrated person loved.</p> <p>“Celebrations remind us of all that your loved one accomplished in life,” says Kevorkian. “That tends to help you move forward in your grief.”</p> <p>But don’t force it, she adds. “Create your own traditions. If celebrating your loved one helps you grieve, by all means, celebrate. But do so when and how it feels right for you.”</p> <p>Death is a normal part of life<br />“Cultural practices like Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, the Qingming holiday in China, or the Obon festival in Japan all emphasise, normalise, and ritualise the continuing bonds that link the living with the dead across generations,” says Robert Neimeyer, a grief specialist. That helps “people retain – rather than relinquish – life-defining attachments even across the boundaries of life and death.”</p> <p>One way cultures that celebrate Day of the Dead normalise death: They create temporary altars (ofrendas) and adorn them with things meant to provide the deceased what they need on their journey.</p> <p>Traditionally, according to the Smithsonian Latino Center, that includes paper banners, food like Mexican bread, a pitcher filled with water so the spirits can quench their thirst, and candles to help light their way.</p> <p>You can create your own ofrenda of sorts—any time of the year. Display a collection of snapshots, mementos, and other objects that were meaningful to your loved one.</p> <p>“You can accept that your loved one is no longer here,” says Kevorkian. “But that doesn’t mean you have to forget them.”</p> <p>Your relationship continues<br />Day of the Dead traditions support the idea that your relationship with the deceased isn’t over; it’s simply changing. Grief experts say that having a continued relationship can be healing. Look for ways to continue the relationship with your loved ones that are comfortable for you. Storytelling, for example, is a good strategy for coping with loss; so is journaling.</p> <p>“My grandparents died when I was younger,” says Kevorkian. “But I still celebrate their birthdays out of gratitude for having such loving people in my life. Some might want to celebrate once or twice a year. Others might not want to celebrate at all. Grief is unique to each of us.”</p> <p>You can learn from the loss<br />Loss is never easy. But grief can teach you how to value life and those you love. “We can all seek a broader sense of self, whether trans-situational, trans-generational, or transcendental,” says Neimeyer.</p> <p>“By living well, we prepare ourselves for dying well one day. Be friendly to the whole range of human experiences – joy and grief, security and fear, knowing and not knowing – without clinging to or resisting any of them. That can allow you to embrace life in all its pain, pleasure, and paradox, and accept what is both durable and impermanent in your life.”</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Kimberly Goad. This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/day-of-the-dead-festival-explained"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Air New Zealand resumes its famous "mystery breaks" to wild acclaim

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>Air New Zealand has recognised that New Zealanders are eager to explore the country again and has announced the return of its "Mystery Break" offer.</p> <p>This allows guests to book their entire holiday through the airline, including flights, accommodations and transport without learning where they're going until two days before departure.</p> <p>There are also three packages on offer from the carrier, including a "Luxury" option to the "Great" and "Deluxe" options already on offer.</p> <p>All three packages include flights to and from Air New Zealand's 20 domestic destinations.</p> <p>“We’re really excited to have refreshed Mystery Breaks. It’s part of doing our bit to boost local tourism,” Jeremy O’Brien, Air New Zealand’s general manager of brand and marketing, said.</p> <p>“Previously these had been mostly purchased by corporate customers, but we’ve developed the packages further to appeal to leisure travellers.”</p> <p>Customers are allowed to “nominate one place they would prefer not to go”, but apart from that, the destination is completely anonymous until two days before departure.</p> <p>The Great Mystery Break starts at $563 and offers three or four-star hotel accommodation, with breakfast and airport transfers included.</p> <p>The Deluxe package starts at $656 allows you to stay at four or four and a half star hotels with breakfast and the use of a rental car for your stay.</p> <p>Finally, the Luxury package starts at $1,530 and includes five-star accommodation, breakfast and dinner included as well as the use of a luxury Avis rental car included in your price.</p> <p>“(The Mystery Breaks) are also a great gift option because you don’t need a name or a date to buy a voucher – the recipient can decide at a later date,” Mr O’Brien said.</p> <p>New Zealand residents are currently not allowed to travel internationally, with the exception of NSW, the Northern Territory, South Australia and as of today, Tasmania.</p> <p>This is part of the first stage of quarantine free travel between Australia and New Zealand.</p> <p>The travel bubble, which went into effect on October 16th, is a step towards reopening job opportunities and tourism between the two countries.</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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Coronavirus reinfection cases: what we know so far – and the vital missing clues

<p>To date, there have been six published cases of COVID-19 reinfection, with various other unverified accounts from around the world. Although this is a comparably small fraction of the millions of people known to have been infected, should we be concerned? To unpick this puzzle, we must first consider what we mean by immunity.</p> <p><strong>How immunity works</strong><br />When we are infected with any pathogen, our immune system quickly responds to try to contain the threat and minimise any damage. Our first line of defence is from immune cells, known as innate cells. These cells are not usually enough to eliminate a threat, which is where having a more flexible “adaptive” immune response comes into play – our lymphocytes.</p> <p>Lymphocytes come in two main varieties: B lymphocytes, which make antibodies, and T lymphocytes, which include cells that directly kill the germy invaders.</p> <p>As antibodies are readily measured in blood, they are often used to indicate a good adaptive immune response. However, over time, antibodies levels in our blood wane, but this doesn’t necessarily mean protection is lost. We retain some lymphocytes that know how to deal with the threat – our memory cells. Memory cells are remarkably long-lived, patrolling our body, ready to spring into action when needed.</p> <p>Vaccines work by creating memory cells without the risk of a potentially fatal infection. In an ideal world, it would be relatively easy to create immunity, but it’s not always that straightforward.</p> <p>Although our immune system has evolved to deal with a huge variety of pathogens, these germs have also evolved to hide from the immune system. This arms race means that some pathogens such as malaria or HIV are very tricky to deal with.</p> <p>Infections that have spilled over from animals - zoonotic diseases - are also challenging for our immune system because they can be completely novel. The virus that causes COVID-19 is such a zoonotic disease, originating in bats.</p> <p>COVID-19 is caused by a betacoronavirus. Several betacoronaviruses are already common in the human population – most familiar as a cause of the common cold. Immunity to these cold-causing viruses isn’t that robust but immunity to the more serious conditions, Mers and Sars, is more durable.</p> <p>Data to date on COVID-19 shows that antibodies can be detected three months after infection, although, as with Sars and Mers, antibodies gradually decrease over time.</p> <p>Of course, antibody levels are not the only indication of immunity and don’t tell us about T lymphocytes or our memory cells. The virus causing COVID-19 is structurally similar to Sars, so perhaps we can be more optimistic about a more durable protective response – time will tell. So how worried then should we be about reports of reinfection with COVID-19?</p> <p><strong>How worried should we be?</strong><br />The handful of case reports on reinfection with COVID-19 don’t necessarily mean that immunity is not occurring. Issues with testing could account for some reports because “virus” can be detected after infection and recovery. The tests look for viral RNA (the virus’s genetic material), and viral RNA that cannot cause infection can be shed from the body even after the person has recovered.</p> <p>Conversely, false-negative results happen when the sample used in testing contains insufficient viral material to be detected – for example, because the virus is at a very low level in the body. Such apparent negative results may account for cases in which the interval between the first and second infection is short. It is hugely important, therefore, to use additional measures, such as viral sequencing and immune indicators.</p> <p>Reinfection, even in immunity, can happen, but usually this would be mild or asymptomatic because the immune response protects against the worst effects. Consistent with this is that most verified cases of reinfection reported either no or mild symptoms. However, one of the latest verified cases of reinfection – which happened just 48 days after the initial infection – actually had a more severe response to reinfection.</p> <p>What might account for the worse symptoms the second time round? One possibility is the patient did not mount a robust adaptive immune response first time round and that their initial infection was largely contained by the innate immune response (the first line of defence). One way to monitor this would be to assess the antibody response as the type of antibody detected can tell us something about the timing of infection. But unfortunately, antibody results were not analysed in the recent patient’s first infection.</p> <p>Another explanation is that different viral strains caused the infections with a subsequent impact on immunity. Genetic sequencing did show differences in viral strains, but it isn’t known if this equated to altered immune recognition. Many viruses share structural features, enabling immune responses to one virus to protect against a similar virus. This has been suggested to account for the lack of symptoms in young children who frequently get colds caused by betacoronaviruses.</p> <p>However, a recent study, yet to be peer-reviewed, found that protection against cold-causing coronaviruses did not protect against COVID-19. In fact, antibodies recognising similar viruses can be dangerous – accounting for the rare phenomenon of antibody-dependent enhancement of disease (ADE). ADE occurs when antibodies enhance viral infection of cells with potentially life-threatening consequences.</p> <p>It should be emphasised, though, that antibodies are only one indicator of immunity and we have no data on either T lymphocytes or memory cells in these cases. What these cases emphasise is a need to standardised approaches in order to capture the critical information for robust evaluation of the threat of reinfection.</p> <p>We are still learning about the immune response to COVID-19, and every piece of new data is helping us unpick the puzzle of this challenging virus. Our immune system is a powerful ally in the fight against infection, and only by unlocking it can we ultimately hope to defeat COVID-19.</p> <p><em>Written by Sheena Cruickshank. This article first appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-reinfection-cases-what-we-know-so-far-and-the-vital-missing-clues-147960">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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20 of the most surreal natural phenomena – explained

<p><strong>Behold</strong><br />I don’t know about you, but being cooped up in the house has made me yearn for the majesty of nature like I’ve never quite yearned in the past. Sure, prior to quarantine I might’ve gone weeks without seeing moss and not thought twice about it, but now that I cannot venture out of my home to see salt flats or rainbow eucalyptus trees, I am simply beside myself. But that doesn’t mean I can’t use this time to educate myself about them – I dare you to try to stop me from marvelling at Skógafoss waterfall in Iceland and other natural phenomena. Take a look at some of nature’s most dream-like creations, and maybe they’ll earn a spot at the top of your bucket list.</p> <p><strong>Moonbows</strong><br />Much like rainbows, these colourful nocturnal arches occur when light (from the moon, in this case) reflects and refracts off water droplets in the sky. But moonbows are much more rare than rainbows – the natural phenomenon happens only when the moon is very low, the sky is dark, and rain is falling opposite the moon.</p> <p><strong>Sun halos</strong><br />Similar to moonbows, sun halos, or a circle rainbow, form much higher in the sky when light reflects through ice crystals forming a perfect circle. They appear as a large circle of white or coloured light around the sun.</p> <p><strong>Brinicles</strong><br />What Alec Baldwin describes on Frozen Planet as “icy fingers of death,” brinicles are underwater stalactites, or hollow icicles, that form when cold salt water freezes. In the right conditions, brinicles can reach and pool on the ocean floor, eventually freezing slow-moving bottom-dwelling creatures like starfish.</p> <p><strong>Shooting stars</strong><br />Shooting stars are actually meteors, or small rocks that have entered the Earth’s atmosphere. The light you see is the particles heating up and burning. Stargazers can expect to see a shooting star every ten to 15 minutes.</p> <p><strong>Sinkholes</strong><br />A perfect example of how a natural phenomenon can be dangerous is the Florida man who was swallowed by a sinkhole under his bedroom. Sinkholes most commonly occur when water, made acidic by contact with plants or carbon dioxide in the air, erodes soft rock such as limestone, gypsum or dolomite underground, forming a deep cavern.</p> <p><strong>Whirlpools</strong><br />Formed at the meeting of opposing currents, whirlpools are often much more ominous in fiction than in real life. The most powerful whirlpools, called maelstroms, are formed in narrow, shallow straits with fast flowing water, or at the base of waterfalls, but the speed of the swirl rarely exceeds 30km/ph.</p> <p><strong>Glowing beaches</strong><br />Some beaches around the world glow at night. This natural phenomenon is caused by phytoplankton in the water that gives off light when agitated by the movement of waves and currents. These microorganisms can be seen at beaches in Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and many more around the world. The image above is a long exposure shot of a blue fluorescent wave of bioluminescent plankton in Thailand.</p> <p><strong>Light pillars</strong><br />Light pillars are colourful beams of light that shine down from the sky, typically during sunrise. They are sometimes also referred to as solar pillars or sun pillars. Light pillars occur in colder climates when light reflects off ice crystals in the air.</p> <p><strong>Waterspouts</strong><br />Some might mistake a waterspout for a tornado moving over a body of water, but in reality, a waterspout is a type of cloud. Waterspouts are rotating columns of air over water and are much weaker than tornados. They mainly occur in tropical and subtropical climates.</p> <p><strong>Volcanic lightning</strong><br />Thunderstorm lightning has nothing on volcanic lightning which appears during a volcano explosion. This lightning forms in the volcanic plume – the cylinder-shaped column of volcanic ash – after it erupts, according to National Geographic. The particles that make up the plume compress underground. Once these particles eject above ground the density changes. Plus, the friction between particles charges them. They separate as they go up, creating space for electricity or lightning to flow between particles, per National Geographic.</p> <p><strong>Blood falls</strong><br />In Antarctica, the famous Blood Falls – a blood-red waterfall pouring out of the Taylor Glacier, are found in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Scientists and geologists first thought that the water was the colour red because of algae, according to Atlas Obscura. Research by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, however, found the red colour is thanks to oxidised iron in the brine saltwater. We see the falls thanks to a fissure allowing the water to flow from the small, trapped body.</p> <p><strong>Frozen lake bubbles</strong><br />Lake Abraham in Alberta, Canada, features some beautiful frozen, trapped, bubbles of methane. Methane bubbles form in water when bacteria feasts on leaves and animals in the water. The bacteria eat the matter and ‘poops’ out methane, which turn into floating bubbles in frozen water, according to Smithsonian Magazine.</p> <p><strong>Salt flats</strong><br />There are some well-known and beautiful salt flats, also known as salt lakes in Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Victoria. No matter their location, salt flats are all thanks to the evaporation of water and the concentration and precipitation of salts and other minerals dissolved in it, according to the New York Times. They can differ in their water source which could be a lake, groundwater, or one of many other water sources.</p> <p><strong>Glow-worm caves</strong><br />Even worms, although small and slimy, are a natural phenomenon – especially glow-worms and their caves. Most of these caves are in New Zealand and Australia. The Waitomo Caves in New Zealand are the most well-known, having formed more than 30 million years ago. The science behind the glow-worm caves is interesting. In fact, they technically aren’t ‘glowing worms’ at all. According to the New York Times, fungus gnat eggs hatch, their larva constructing mucus. That mucus coughs up silk strings collecting droplets of more mucus. This is the net that illuminates and attracts flies or other victims for the worms.</p> <p><strong>Rainbow eucalyptus trees</strong><br />Rainbow eucalyptus or rainbow gum trees hails from the Philippines and Indonesia. The colourful tree stripes are actually strips of old and new bark. As the thin bark layers peel away, they reveal younger ones with brighter colours. The youngest bark is green then purple, red and brown as the tree ages and loses chlorophyll. Eventually, the bark becomes totally brown again before repeating the shedding cycle, according to nature.com.</p> <p><strong>Travertine terraces</strong><br />Travertine forms as a result of calcium carbonate precipitation from geothermal waters, according to New Zealand’s University of Waikato. The travertine builds up forming terraces over time. When hot water full of carbon dioxide flows through limestone, it dissolves. It carries calcium carbonate to the surface of the travertine, per Atlas Obscura. Still, more research shows there might be other reasons for their formation. Bacteria in the water could catalyse the minerals, forming the terraces, according to Science Magazine.</p> <p><strong>Sandstone waves</strong><br />These sandstone waves were originally dunes in Arizona, USA. Dating back more than 190 million years, the ‘waves’ are made up of intersecting troughs of sandstone turned to rock. According to Atlas Obscura, the dunes form vertically and horizontally, and slow erosion, thanks to wind and rain over time, reveals their wave-like look. Sandstone waves are a must for avid hikers in the American Southwest.</p> <p><strong>Desert roses</strong><br />Desert roses are a special crystal group formed by rain or flooding in desert regions where there are trapped sand particles. Switching between wet and dry conditions forms the crystals while trapping grains of sand. Although most form from gypsum, baryte and celestite roses exist, too.</p> <p><strong>Nacreous clouds</strong><br />Nacreous clouds look like light waves of various colours. They are rare since they’re only visible within two hours after sunset or before dawn. However, they’re more common during winter time in places with high altitudes, like in Antarctica, Scandinavia, Iceland and Canada.</p> <p><strong>Permafrost explosions</strong><br />This natural phenomenon is thanks to frozen, trapped methane, similar to the bubbles seen here in Lake Abraham, Canada. Heating these larger-scale bubbles results in huge bursts, according to Business Insider. The warming temperatures in Arctic zones thaw the ice, releasing the gas and creating permafrost explosions.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Beth Dreher. This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/20-of-the-most-surreal-natural-phenomena-explained?pages=1"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

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17 things you didn’t know about Prince George

<p><strong>He missed out on a royal birthday tradition this year</strong><br />Like many youngsters in 2020, Prince George had a low-key birthday during the coronavirus pandemic. And there’s one royal honour he didn’t receiving this year: the tradition of the ringing of the bells at London’s Westminster Abbey was a no-go, as the Abbey was closed until August. But the young prince might not even have noticed, as he’s currently spending time with his family away from London at their country estate, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk. His mum, Duchess Catherine, revealed in a podcast that the family enjoys the “simple things” like being “outside in the countryside and we’re all filthy dirty.” A recent pic taken by the Duchess is proof, showing Prince George and his siblings, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte, roughhousing in the grass with their dad, Prince William.</p> <p><strong>He has sibling rivalry with Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte</strong><br />As with any family, there are squabbles between Prince George and his younger siblings. Duchess Kate recently revealed at a gardening event that the siblings are having a sunflower-growing competition – and Prince George hasn’t exactly been happy with the results. “The children are really enjoying growing their sunflowers – Louis’s is winning so George is a little grumpy about that!” she said. And in typical older-brother fashion, he has also wanted to take over his sister’s school assignments. “George gets very upset because he just wants to do all of Charlotte’s projects,” Duchess Kate told ITV. “Spider sandwiches are far cooler than literacy work!” We’re not sure what spider sandwiches entail, although they do sound enticing for a little boy.</p> <p><strong>He volunteers</strong><br />Duchess Catherine and Prince William strive to teach the future king of England about the importance of giving back to those in need. Not even a spring rainstorm could stop Prince George and his family from delivering homemade pasta to the elderly and vulnerable near their Norfolk home, in a photo released for Britain’s Volunteers Week in early June. The young prince had even helped prepare the packages himself, along with his siblings. “They got drenched as it was pouring with the rain but I think they just wanted to do their bit,” one onlooker told The Daily Mail.</p> <p><strong>He’s a normal schoolboy</strong><br />At the school Prince George attends, Thomas’s Battersea in London, the young prince is just like any other student, which is exactly how his parents want it – Prince William and Duchess Catherine haven’t even told Prince George yet he’ll be king one day. “George is really happy at school, [and] his nickname is P.G.,” a classmate’s parent told Vanity Fair. “He’s very popular and has lots of friends, and there’s very little fuss made about who he is,” the parent said. “Either William or Kate do drop-off, and they are always very friendly.” Prince George’s little sister, Princess Charlotte, joined him at the school last year.</p> <p><strong>He loves the British cartoon Fireman Sam</strong><br />Although Prince George is not allowed to have an iPad, he still gets in screen time while he watches his favourite show, Fireman Sam, as his parents revealed in a BBC radio interview. “Fireman Sam is taking an awful lot of interest,” Prince William said, noting that he has to watch along with his son. “You have to pretend you’re really into [his shows] because George gets very upset if you’re not showing due diligence to the characters.” The creators of Fireman Sam even gave a nod to the young prince in their 30th-anniversary episode, “The Prince of Pontypandy,” in which an unnamed royal family makes an appearance.</p> <p><strong>He’s started wearing long pants</strong><br />Royal watchers know that following tradition, Prince George had always appeared in public in shorts, even in winter. But the youngster is growing up and has begun breaking this protocol. His first public appearance in long pants was at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Last December’s Christmas card also featured the young prince in laid-back jeans, described by one British newspaper as a ‘royal shock’. Then again, Prince William and Kate’s Christmas cards are always fantastic, regardless of what the young prince is wearing.</p> <p><strong>His sister wears his hand-me-downs</strong><br />Like any good big brother, Prince George has passed on his clothes to his little sister, Princess Charlotte. In that same Christmas card, Princess Charlotte is wearing a sweater Prince George wore in a 2016 photo with his great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Charlotte also wore the same hand-me-down sweater in a photo with their newest sibling, Prince Louis, following his birth in 2018. And this spring, Princess Charlotte was spotted wearing the exact same sneakers Prince George wore the year before, both without socks, no less – although whether she inherited his stinky shoes or is simply wearing a new pair of the same style has not been revealed.</p> <p><strong>He can be ‘naughty’</strong><br />As a toddler, Prince George was something of a handful – so much so that his parents decided to leave him at home when they went on a 2016 trip to India. When asked why the young prince was not with them, Duchess Catherine reportedly replied, “Because George is too naughty. He would be running all over the place.” Maybe now that he’s older, he can accompany them on their next trip there. “The next time we come we will definitely bring them,” the Duchess said.</p> <p><strong>He has seven godparents</strong><br />There are some ways Prince George is just like any other ‘normal’ boy – and some ways his Royal life is very, very different. For example, at his christening, he received not one, not two, but seven godparents to assist, counsel, and support him in his very important royal role. According to the Prince’s official royal biography, they are: Mr Oliver Baker, Mrs David Jardine-Paterson, Earl Grosvenor, Mr Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, The Hon. Mrs Michael Samuel, Mrs Michael Tindall, and Mr William van Cutsem. Just who are these people? They range from childhood and college friends of Prince William and Duchess Catherine to family and other members of the aristocracy. No Royals, though, made the cut, possibly so that the young prince will have others to turn to outside ‘the firm’ as he grows up.</p> <p><strong>He loves dancing, like his late grandmother</strong><br />Prince George’s grandmother, the late Princess Diana, was known for her dancing, such as when she took to the floor with John Travolta at the White House. And the grandson she never got to meet has apparently inherited her skills. “George is doing dancing as well, he loves it,” Prince William shared. “My mother always used to dance, she loved dancing.” Prince George’s school, Thomas’s Battersea, includes ballet class for young students, so he can enhance his natural talent.</p> <p><strong>He tailgates</strong><br />At a polo match last year, with his siblings and new cousin, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, Prince George looked like any boy having a fun outing. (Even though Harry and Meghan’s baby is being raised differently form the Cambridge children). While his dad and uncle, Prince Harry, played, Prince George decided he’d rather kick around a soccer ball than watch the game. At one point, his mother, Duchess Catherine, had to take away a polo mallet he was dangerously wielding near Princess Charlotte. Then, he and his sister had an impromptu tailgate, complete with snacks out of the cooler. They hopped up into the back of their SUV as their mum and brother, Prince Louis, lounged on the grass below.</p> <p><strong>He’s a picture-posing pro</strong><br />From a young age, Prince George was a natural in front of the camera. According to a photographer who took his picture for a special postage stamp when the Prince was only two years old, “he was absolutely charming, as you can see from the picture. You only have a short window of opportunity with small children, but Prince George was on good form and everyone seemed to enjoy seeing him enjoy the day.” Duchess Catherine, an avid photographer herself, also recently revealed her son loves having his picture taken. “Get outside with your camera as well – George and Charlotte love it when we do that,” she advised budding photographers at an event.</p> <p><strong>He goes on spider hunts</strong><br />Speaking of getting outside, Prince George loves being in nature, as his mother recently opened up about during a visit to a ‘forest school’. According to the head of the school, the Duchess “said she often takes her children on spider hunts in their garden, which they love. They can spend hours out there.” At another garden visit, Duchess Catherine talked about how much her children love to learn by exploring the outdoors. “That’s where George and Charlotte would love to be is learning outside of the classroom, not inside,” she said. And Prince George’s grandfather, Prince Charles, has said the youngster is “one of those characters who naturally, instinctively likes to be outside.”<br /><br /><strong>He helped design his mum’s garden</strong><br />With his love of nature, it’s not surprising Prince George actually helped Duchess Catherine design her woodland-themed, play-and-learn garden for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) this year. “We made the stepping stones because Prince George wanted them,” the landscaper the Duchess worked with told Hello!. “The kids loved jumping across [the stream].” Plus, the official Kensington Palace Instagram revealed, “over the past months, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis have helped the Duchess gather moss, leaves, and twigs to help decorate the RHS Back to Nature Garden. Hazel sticks collected by the family were also used to make the garden’s den.” The Duchess said her kids “played [in the garden] last night in a way I hadn’t imagined. They were throwing stones. I hadn’t actually thought that that was what they would be doing. They kicked their shoes off, and wanted to paddle in the stream…using it in a way that I hadn’t anticipated.”</p> <p><strong>He makes pizza dough</strong><br />What kid doesn’t like pizza? Prince George is no exception and even likes making his own personal pies. At a community centre lunch, Duchess Catherine said, “I’ve done that with George and Charlotte, making pizza dough. They love it because they can get their hands messy.” At a recent event where she actually made pizzas with children, Kate said of her own kids, “they would love to come and do this with you. They’ll be very sad that I’ve been out here making pizzas with all you and they haven’t been!” The budding chef also likes to make cookies, although the Duchess has said, “when I try to do this with George at home, chocolate and the golden syrup goes everywhere. He makes so much mess. It’s chaos.” So relatable!</p> <p><strong>He plays tennis – with Roger Federer</strong><br />Another of the sporty Prince’s interests is playing tennis – but not too many seven-year-olds get to take lessons from one of its top stars. At Wimbledon, Duchess Catherine said that Prince George has actually played with his favourite player, Roger Federer, according to the tournament’s Wimbledon Morning Coffee. And as reported in The Daily Star, Federer is also a fan of Prince George, “He’s a cute boy. I love to see they’re into tennis or into sport,” noting that George has “a good swing.” The tennis champ also said about being the Prince’s favourite, “I think I have a little advantage that I actually spent some time with him, so maybe I’m the only player he’s ever met. Then you have a little head start into who is your favourite player!”</p> <p><strong>He gets totally bored at formal events</strong><br />The future king may lead an extraordinary life, but he sure exhibits some pretty ordinary – if adorable – kid behaviour. At last year’s Trooping the Colour, which celebrates the Queen’s birthday, his priceless expressions, including a scrunched-up nose and facepalm, were just like any other bored little boy at a grownup event. Never mind the Royal Air Force fly-by: George is totally over it. This (almost) tops when his cousin, Savannah Phillips, shushed the giggling Prince and even covered his mouth. Whether smiling or scowling, Prince George steals the show!</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Tina Donvito. This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/17-things-you-didnt-know-about-prince-george?pages=1"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

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The stories behind 12 abandoned mansions

<p>While we all love a good scary story, few of us are brave enough to live in a scary story. Sometimes home is where the heart is, but for some of the people on this list, home was exactly where the troubled started.</p> <p>The unbelievable stories of these mansions are chock full of strange histories, mysteries and even scandal. The owners of the once-lavish and magnificent mansions below knew that the price of the house was just one small part of the story. Of course, mansions are usually thought of as large, extravagant homes that convey wealth and status to all who behold them. Usually, mansions are sold or passed down in families for years, each loving and updating the sprawling property in a new way. So what happens to make someone run away from their dream home? These abandoned mansions have some incredible and almost unbelievable stories to tell.</p> <p><strong>Mínxíong Ghost House — Mínxíong, Taiwan<br /></strong>Ranked as the spookiest haunted house in 2019, the Minxiong Ghost House naturally lives up to its reputation. The stories surrounding this mansion run the gauntlet from affairs to suicide to simple relocation, but whatever you believe, this mansion definitely fits the creepy bill. Built in 1929 by Liu Rongyu, this baroque rival style mansion (sometimes called the Old Liu House) is hidden between overgrown greenery. One of the most popular tales states that a housemaid had an affair with the homeowner, leading to the wrath of the wife and eventual death of the maid by jumping down a nearby well. If the maid story was not enough, another story claims a soldier committed suicide in the home after hearing strange voices. Regardless of the truth long lost to time, the large mansion has some wild history within its beautiful, yet decaying walls.</p> <p>Halcyon Hall at the Bennett School for Girls — New York, USA<br />This creepy, gothic mansion was once the site of higher education for New York women. Founded in 1890 in Irvington, the school later changed its name to Bennett College. Originally, before becoming solely a junior college, the school was a six-year, woman-only institution. The school closed and declared bankruptcy in the wave of co-ed education, a few weeks after welcoming an entire class of freshman to campus. Halcyon Hall, a 200-room structure that functioned as a hotel before becoming an academic building in 1907, remains standing to this day. The abandoned property fell to decay and changed hands many times, somehow surviving multiple threats of tear-down. Imposing and overrun with greenery, the halls seem content to continue into disrepair without crumbling completely.</p> <p><strong>Villa de Vecchi — Cortenova, Italy<br /></strong>This beautiful mansion sits among the trees in the mountains of Cortenova, beside Lake Como. Known by many nicknames, including the “Red House, Ghost Mansion, and Casa Delle Streghe (The House of Witches),” this mansion touts a tragic history. In the late 19th century, Count Felix De Vecchi commissioned architect Alessandro Sidoli to build this Baroque-style behemoth. Unfortunately for the Count, Sidoli died a year before the top-of-the-line villa was completed.</p> <p>The Vecchi family spent very little time in the villa before tragedy struck—the Count’s wife was murdered and daughter kidnapped. After a number of search attempts, the Count himself succumbed to suicide. After passing hands around the Vecchi family for a few decades, the house fell to disrepair, nature intrusion, and vandalism. Still, the mansion lives on in lore to this day. Alongside the rumors of occult activities and sacrifices, locals still say the long-ago smashed piano still floats music outside of the house and down the countryside.</p> <p><strong>Lennox Castle — East Dunbartonshire, Scotland<br /></strong>Just north of Glasgow, this mansion and castle were built somewhere around the early 1840s. Initially, the castle was built for John Lennox Kincaid of the familial line of the Earl of Lennox. In 1927, the castle was purchased by the Glasgow Corporation and converted into a “hospital for the mentally ill.” Buildings cropped up around the main castle structure to eventually hold over 1,200 patients. Toward the middle of the century, however, fights, unrest, and riots began to break out among the patients. One such fight in 1956 resulted in some of the male patients attacking the nursing staff and being locked inside a small hut. In 2002, the Lennox Castle Hospital was officially retired and all other buildings on the property knocked down. In their stead, the Celtic Football Club attempted to make training facilities. Today, the castle has fallen to fire and nature and remains a beautiful, eerie ruin.</p> <p><strong>Chaonei No. 81 — Beijing, China<br /></strong>Built in the early 20th century, this mansion has a much darker past. Constructed in the baroque style by the Qing imperial family, this three-story mansion has been abandoned since 1949. The story goes that after the Nationalists’ defeat by the Communists, the Kuomintang official who owned the property abandoned his wife in the mansion. According to legend, she was so wrought with anguish and heartache that she hanged herself in the home. Some say that her spirit still haunts the house, as explorers and local children alike dare to take a peek inside the once elegant and now-decaying home.</p> <p><strong>Los Feliz Mansion — Los Angeles, California, USA</strong><br />The story goes that this hilltop mansion was the home of Dr Harold Perelson, his wife and his three children. As a respected doctor in the late 1950s, Perelson shocked the city and, to an extent, the world when he suddenly brutally murdered his wife with a ball-peen hammer in her sleep. After attempting the same cruel act with his young daughter, he ended his own life by drinking acid and taking tranquiliser pills. Many have speculated about his causes and the “hauntings” of the mansion thereafter, though it was purchased and sold multiple times over the next 60 years. What’s more spooky? Up until 2016, the owners let the house remain largely the same as it was in 1959 – same dust-coated decor and same eerie emptiness.</p> <p><strong>Lynnewood Hall — Pennsylvania, USA</strong><br />Built in the late 19th century, Lynnewood Hall is a Neo-classical, Gilded Age mansion with a regretful past. The unfathomably rich art collector and tycoon Peter A.B. Widener commissioned the 110 room mansion with 55 bedrooms from famous architect Horace Trumbauer. This lavish, limestone mansion was build shortly after the death of Widener’s wife and filled with famous pieces and paintings (some by El Greco, Rembrandt, and Donatello). Tragically, the eldest son meant to inherit the property was on the Titanic’s maiden voyage. George Widener and his son lost their lives while his wife, Eleanor, survived on a lifeboat. Ironically, the Wideners were a large investor in the RMS Titanic. The younger son, Joseph, managed the property until his death in 1943 left the house unclaimed, abandoned, and stripped of its valuable decor.</p> <p><strong>Odd Fellows Home — Liberty, Missouri</strong><br />This mansion was built for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, founded in 1819, as a central hub for the organization in Missouri. The fraternal organization resembled the Masons with the goals of promoting brotherhood, loyalty, and community outreach. The IOOF was also known for “secret rituals,” many of which were performed in the Odd Fellow Home throughout the 19th century. That is, of course, when they weren’t taking care of the at-risk members of their community at their 200+ acre complex with a school, nursing home, hospital, and orphanage, according to Atlas Obscura. While the complex fell to disrepair (aside from one building that now holds a functioning winery), the Odd Fellows left a skeleton of one of their members behind, “George,” which was said to be used in the strange initiation rituals.</p> <p><strong>Bannerman Castle — New York, USA</strong><br />This castle doesn’t have a morbid history so much as a historically interesting one. According to Jane Bannerman, granddaughter-in-law of the builder Frank Bannerman VI, the mansion was built on Pollepel Island in the Hudson River as a place to store arms for sale. A bit of folklore from the Native American tribes of the island survives, including the legend of naming the island after the story of a girl named Pell who was rescued and swept to safety on the island by her heroic sweetheart. The American Revolution saw the island and its surrounding waters outfitted with booby traps called “chevaux de frise” to block British ships.</p> <p>In 1900, once the Bannermans owned the island, they built the Scottish-style mansion (or armory!) and even allowed various charity groups to visit the beautiful island in the summer. Frank Bannerman’s wife maintained beautiful grounds on the island, some of which still exist even after the famous 1969 fire. Today, The Bannerman Castle Trust works to restore the building, promote tourism, and preserve the history of the island and structure.</p> <p><strong>Dundas Castle — New York, USA</strong><br />Sometimes called the Craig-E-Claire Castle, this eventual mansion was first a small lodge structure built by Bradford Lee Gilbert around 1880. In 1915, new owner Ralph Wurts-Dundas decided to construct a more castle-like structure, though he passed away only a year shy of its competition. His wife, Josephine Wurst-Dundas, was shortly thereafter committed to a mental institution against her will, also never living in the completed castle. Their daughter Muriel became the owner, but her due inheritance was said to be stripped and stolen from her by greedy castle care-takers. Sometime after, the daughter was married and left the property to be sold a few times before landing in the hands of a local Masonic chapter. Now, while still under Masonic-ownership, the castle is abandoned and falling apart. The lore implies that the ghost of Josephine still haunts the structure.</p> <p><strong>Wyckoff Villa (Carleton Villa) — New York, USA</strong><br />Predictably, of course, the Wyckoff Villa (located on Carleton Island in the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York) is yet another example of a tragic story. In what many call one of the first Gilded Age mansions along the Thousand Islands, the villa was commissioned of architect William H. Miller for William Wyckoff. Wyckoff, a Remington typewriter magnate, lived in the home for only one day after its 1895 completion. Why? Well, unfortunately, Mr Wyckoff suffered a heart attack that night on July 11th, only a month after his wife, Ives Wyckoff, passed away. After 30 years within the family, the villa was sold to General Electric. Though originally planning to tear down the villa to construct a golf course and retreat in its place, GE eventually stripped the house of all useful (and necessary) parts and left it in disrepair.</p> <p><strong>The Craig House Hospital — New York, USA</strong><br />This odd, gothic “mansion” was originally built as a part of the Tioronda Estate by Frederick Clarke Withers in 1859 for Joseph Howland. After Howland’s death, Dr. Clarence Slocum converted the mansion into one of the first licensed private psychiatric hospitals in 1915. The hospital treated big names in private, extreme luxury for a pretty penny, including Rosemary Kennedy, Zelda Fitzgerald and Jackie Gleason. However, toward the turn of the century, the reputation of the once highly-regarded Craig House Hospital became clouded by untimely deaths and suicides, a series of fires, and general disrepair to close completely in 1999. Once abandoned, the Craig House Estate (and the surrounding property) is now planning to be made into a luxury hotel and spa.</p> <p><em>Written by Johanna Neeson</em><em>. This article first appeared on </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/the-stories-behind-12-abandoned-mansions"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><em>here’s our best subscription offer</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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French Open rocked by match-fixing allegations

<p>French prosecutors have come forward to confirm that an investigation into suspected match-fixing at the French Open has begun. </p> <p>On Wednesday, reports claimed the allegations involve a women’s doubles match.</p> <p>“It’s a first-round match featuring players that are not well-known,” a source within France’s National Gaming Authority (ANJ) explained to AFP. </p> <p>French sports daily L’Equipe and German newspaper Die Welt have said that the match that is suspected is the first-round encounter on September 30 between Romanian pair Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig and opponents Yana Sizikova of Russia playing with US player Madison Brengle.</p> <p>Suspicion surrounds the fifth game of the second set. </p> <p>The Romanian duo won by love after Sizikova served two double faults.</p> <p>L’Equipe reported that large sums of money were bet on the Romanians winning that game and that the wagers were placed in several countries. </p> <p>The Romanians went on to win the match 7-6, 6-4.</p> <p>Prosecutors said they were probing possible “fraud in an organised group” and “active and passive corruption in sport”.</p> <p>A source within the investigation said that the bets that had been placed on the match were “abnormally large” and amounted to “tens of thousands of euros”. </p> <p>“They must have been afraid to bet in France. They tried to spread the bets around other markets but the betting industry bodies know how to do their sums,” the source said.</p>

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Top national parks in the US

<p>Feeling a bit caught up in the bright city lights and chaos? Nothing sounds more grounding than turning off the devices and heading on a family trip to a US national park.</p> <p>But with 58 beautiful parks to choose from, this magical outdoor vacation needs some planning.<br /><br /><strong>Grand Canyon National Park</strong></p> <p>Majority of the Grand Canyon’s six million yearly visitors flood to the central lookout. But the national park hosts a further 4926 km² of sublime beauty to explore.</p> <p>From gentle day walks to the arduous RIM2RIM, the park has a large variety of trails. Even better, under 16s stay free at all Grand Canyon lodgings.</p> <p>Kids can become Junior Rangers by completing the activity book and taking a pledge at the visitor centre – it’s free. Interactive drawing and writing activities encourage the little ones to learn about nature, history and preservation.</p> <p>While the North Rim does have an abundance of trails, the South Rim is recommended for travelling with kids. There’s more to do on this side, and day tours run from Phoenix and Las Vegas.</p> <p>The Rim Trail offers spectacular views of the inner canyon, and shuttle buses can help manage the length of your hike. For an easier trek, Cape Royal is a gentle yet rewarding hike on the South Rim, perfect for sunset picnics.</p> <p>The park has plenty more to do than hiking. Try horseback riding, white water rafting or hire bikes and ride the greenway trail.</p> <p>For those driving, 4×4’s can descent the bottom of the Canyon and stay at the Bright Angel Campground. It takes about five hours to drive around the national park.</p> <p>Size: 4,926 km²<br />Average accomodation: $350<br />Recommended Time: Three days<br />High Season: May – Sep<br />Best time to go: April, September – October<br />Great for: 6 and up</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Olympic National Park</strong></p> <p>How did mum ever expect you to conquer a national park without a Discovery Backpack? At Olympic, little adventurers are equipped with binoculars, a whistle and a torch to explore the one million acres of diverse wilderness.</p> <p>Nestled in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, two hours from Seattle, the national park is great for overnight trips or a full week of adventure.</p> <p>Most of the parks campsites don’t take reservations so there’s no need to commit to a certain route. It is one of the cheaper and easier parks to get a permit, making it perfect for the more spontaneous of planners.</p> <p>A coastal cycle is a great way to tour the beautiful beaches, or explore the rainforest and mountains trails on foot.</p> <p>Hurricane Ridge is one of the most scenic climbs in the US. There are varied routes for different hiking abilities, so you’ll have no trouble getting there.</p> <p>Rialto Beach and Hall of the Mosses are both great day walks for confident hikers. For something more gentle, the Ruby Beach trail rewards a well deserved dip in the water.</p> <p>Size: 3,734 km²<br />Average accomodation: $191<br />Recommended time: A week<br />High season: May – Oct<br />Best time to go: April – May, July – Sept<br />Great for: All ages</p> <p><br /><strong>Yosemite National Park</strong></p> <p>With some of America’s most beautiful alpine tree views and rainbow skies, Yosemite is perfect for families who don’t want to travel too far off the beaten track. Nestled in the Western Sierra Nevada mountains of California, the National park covers 3027 km² and is accessible from San Francisco and Los Angeles.</p> <p>There are plenty of short hikes for families with younger kids, meaning less blisters and less grumbling.</p> <p>The Lower Yosemite Falls Trail is a magical (but wet) 1.6km round trip that rewards sensational views. It can be tackled easily in a day, with plenty of time to stop at the many exhibits and learn more about the natural and cultural history of the area.</p> <p>Head to the Swinging bridge after a long day of walking for a much deserved cool off in the swimming hole.</p> <p>For a more difficult hike, the Mist Trail continues to the Nevada falls and on a clear day boasts double rainbows. The hike is mostly stairs though, so bring plenty of water and a good pair of boots.</p> <p>If you’re driving, it’s worth getting up before sunrise for the 62 kilometres of scenic alpine views on Tioga Road.</p> <p>Size: 3027 km²<br />Average accomodation: $357<br />Recommended time: Three days is enough to do everything, but a week is great for those who want to take it slow.<br />High season: May – Sept<br />Best time to go: March – May, Sept – Oct<br />Great for: ages 7 and up</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Arches National Park</strong></p> <p>Arches, true to its name, is a mystical oasis of red rock formations. While you can take several days to see the park, it is perfect for those who have 2 or 3 hours to detour.</p> <p>The national park is located in Eastern Utah and stretches 310 square kilometres. The 29km drive through Arches is one of the most scenic in the US and can be done in about three hours. This allows for multiple stops throughout the journey with short walks to popular attractions along the way.</p> <p>Arches is great for beginners, or those who aren’t up for long and strenuous hikes.</p> <p>Stops such as Balanced Rock provide great half kilometre round trips that let you gauge how far the little ones can go. For a more difficult hike, Delicate Arch is a 4.6km back trail that features beautiful wild flowers and scenic views.</p> <p>If you are staying for longer, you can also try mountain biking, rafting or horseback riding.</p> <p>On the way home be sure to stop at Cisco for some creepy photos of the ghost town featured in Thelma &amp; Louise and Vanishing Point.</p> <p>Abandoned house in the ghost town of Cisco. Picture: Elizabethmaher / Shutterstock.<br />Size: 310.3 km²<br />Average accomodation: $121<br />Recommended time: A day<br />High season: May – Sept<br />Best time to go: April, Sept – November<br />Great for: Toddlers and young kids. Aches beginner trails are perfect for parents that may need to carry the little ones.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Zion National Park</strong></p> <p>Utah’s first national park is adored by little adventurers for it’s supernatural rock formations and vibrant mazes of water. Hike through 150 million years of history – Zion’s hanging valleys and canyons full of wildlife mean I spy with my little eye isn’t limited to the same three things.</p> <p>Zion is not a drive through park, but the Canyon Scenic Route provides spectacular sunset views on the way in and out.</p> <p>The parks free shuttle system loops Zion Canyon and drops you to the most popular areas, including Checkerboard Mesa and Weeping Rock.</p> <p>Family ranger programs are also free and specially designed to teach kids about wildlife and human history.</p> <p>The Emerald Pools trail guides you through three kilometres of fairytale forests, and as the name suggests, leads to caves full of glittering mermaid pools. For a more adventurous trail, The Narrows is a rewarding maze of rocky gorges and pink sandstone walls.</p> <p>Size: 593.3 km²<br />Average accomodation: $229<br />Recommended time: 5 – 7 days. Avid hikers may wish to stay longer and try the more strenuous hikes.<br />High season: April – October<br />Best time to go: April, Oct<br />Great for: ages 7 and up</p> <p><br /><strong>Yellowstone National Park</strong></p> <p>Yellowstone has always be known as the home of Yogi Bear. But America’s oldest national park is also brimming with hiking trails, heavenly waterfalls and forests full of natural wonders.</p> <p>The park is a diverse 8,991 km² spread of volcanic and alpine wilderness that stretches across three states. It’s scale means there is plenty to do with kids of all ages.</p> <p>Natural hot springs and thermal features fill the park, a great way to relax after a long day of walking or cycling. The Boiling River is a popular spot for bathing, or for something a little colder; you can try brave the Firehole River further upstream.</p> <p>The Grand Prismatic Springs are a must-do in Yellowstone. It’s well worth the wait for a parking spot at midday when the colours shine the brightest. The Upper Geyser Basin Trail is flat trail accessible for strollers, and you’re guaranteed to see geyser eruptions. See how many Byson you can spot in large range of wildlife at Lamar Valley, just outside of Yellowstone.</p>

International Travel

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Top things to do in Dubai with your grandkids

<p>We asked a few Dubai locals what they think kids will love in their city. It turns out, Dubai has loads for them to do. You may need a whole week here to see it all.</p> <p><strong>The Big Bus Tour</strong></p> <p>If you’re after a fun but super easy way to get around the city, a Big Bus Tour is top of the list. Families can pick one of three routes through Dubai’s most famous landmarks and attractions. The red tour takes you through the city, the blue tour through the Marina and the green tour goes past the beaches. The red has English-speaking guides. On the blue and green tours, you will get a pre-recorded commentary in 12 languages.</p> <p>Choose red to see the Dubai Mall, the City Walk, the old Souk and the Dubai museum. Choose blue to see the Mall of the Emirates, the Marina Walk, Atlantis the Palm and Al Ittihad Park. Choose green to see Jumeirah Public Beach, Burj Al Arab, the Souk and the Mall of the Emirates, home to Ski Dubai.</p> <p>With a big bus ticket you can hop on and hop off at any attraction you like. The tickets also include various museum admissions, night tours and a dhow cruise.</p> <p><strong>Aquaventure</strong></p> <p>Just when we thought the Atlantis Dubai couldn’t get any better – we remembered there’s a waterpark. And it’s just about as insane as they get.</p> <p>The vertical drop slide Leap of Faith sees daredevils slide nine stories to floor. And because that just wasn’t scary enough, the slide plummets through an enclosure of sharks and rays. You can also try your luck on the ultimate Zoomerango, or on the Slitherine.</p> <p>And there’s no need to worry if waterslides aren’t your cup of tea. Aquaventure has over 700 metres of pristine private beach. Splashers Play Area is the perfect place for little madcaps, filled with mini slides, climbing frames and plenty of other water games and activities. There’s also a gentle wave pool and lazy river for those who would rather chill out.</p> <p><strong>Wild Wadi Waterpark</strong></p> <p>For those who can’t get enough of the waterpark madness, Wild Wadi is a similar but smaller – and slightly more relaxed – waterpark in Jumeirah. It’s the perfect place to escape the Dubai heat, this water extravaganza home to 17 water slides and three pools.</p> <p>The waterpark has over 100 kids rides, including inflatable raft slides and water rollercoasters. Splash in the man made beach and enjoy spectacular views of the Burj Al Arab. At Wild Wadi, you can try stand up or lie down surfing at the Wipeout Flowrider, currently one of few indoor surf experiences in the world.</p> <p>You can also chill out at Juha’s Dhow, a whopping 360 metres of lazy river for those after something more relaxed. Face the rapids at Flood River, or head to Dubai’s highest ride. Jumeirah Sceirah is a 33-metre vertical drop beginning in a launch chamber with a trap door fall.</p> <p><strong>Ski Dubai</strong></p> <p>At Ski Dubai, there’s always snow much to do.</p> <p>Transport from city chaos to winter wonderland in this replica world of European chalet style grounds and snowy pine tries. This indoor ski resort is a 22,500 metre snow paradise of jumps, slopes and chairlifts.</p> <p>Situated in Dubai’s Mall of Emirates, the ski area has fully functioning chairlifts and is set to a permanent -1 degree. Ski and snowboard instructors and slopes cater for all ages and abilities, so anyone can have a go. For little ski devils there are plenty of jumps, and beginners can enjoy multiple snow plow areas.</p> <p>There’s an ice train maze, a donut spin ride, snow bumpers and wall climbing. Join in the fun with bobsledding, tubing, tobogganing and even zorbing. There's also a penguin march at Ski Dubai every single day.</p> <p><strong>IFly Dubai</strong></p> <p>It’s 2019 and apparently, human flight is a reality. Dubai’s ultimate indoor skydiving experience IFly Dubai hovers you four metres in the air of a vertical glass tunnel.</p> <p>Indoor skydiving is said to be similar to bungee jumping, skydiving and base jumping. Instructors are there to guide you during the process, but it shouldn’t take you long to get the gist. The trick is to be gentle with your manoeuvres, as any movement is amplified in the tunnel.</p> <p>The unique design of IFly Dubai stands 10 metres tall and is surrounded by acrylic glass walls. IFly Dubai takes all flyers: beginners and pros.</p> <p><strong>Kidzania</strong></p> <p>Fast track your way into the exciting adult world in this child-sized city. With realistic uniform dress ups and guided tasks, the little ones can participate in fun activities and earn their wage.</p> <p>Kids aged 4 to 16 can learn all about jobs, money and the real world in this 7,000m2 scaled replica of a city. The mini world has over 40 role play activities to choose from.</p> <p>At Kidzania Dubai there’s a kid-sized hospital, bank and radio station, as well as a mini dental clinic and hospital. Star FM Radio Station produce radio shows and report news bulletins that play on the airwaves throughout the city for everyone to hear. Little ones can join in the fun and become a radio host. There’s also options to build a house on a construction site, do the weekly shopping or become a cashier at the supermarket. You can even ride safely home on the public bus. Become a dentists or healthcare practitioner, learn to bake at the Tiffany Cookie Station, or even get your driver’s license at the Emirates Driving Institute.</p> <p><strong>The Burj Khalifa</strong></p> <p>The Burj Khalifa is the tallest structure and building in the world. Also known as The Vertical City, the magnificent building stands at 828 metres tall. And you can visit the top.</p> <p>Conquer the 160 storeys to the Sky Lounge by elevator. Feel as if you’re flying across global landmarks with the specially designed projections inside. And when you reach the top, the projections become a reality.</p> <p>Spectacular 360 degree views of the magical city of Dubai can be seen from the top. You can enjoy a meal, or just sit back and take in the view.</p> <p>Packages begin at $38/child and $51/adult for a sunrise breakfast.</p> <p><strong>Arabian Adventures: Sandboarding</strong></p> <p>It’s time to attempt the ultimate Arabian survival challenge: sandboarding. Just like snowboarding – but on sand – this desert adventure activity is a 30 minute drive from the city. Feel the wind in your hair as you fly down the slopes; starting as a beginner and finishing as an absolute pro.</p> <p>Fly over sand dunes and hurtle down steep hills: strap in your feet and you’re set to go. For the less daring, sitting and lying on your board are still great fun.</p> <p>Sandboarding takes place in the morning, so there’s always a spectacular view as the sun rises across the rolling dunes. Packages also include camel strolls and 4-wheel-drive bashes through the Arabian desert.</p> <p><strong>Visit Old Dubai</strong></p> <p>Dubai is known for its modern architecture, skyscrapers and activity. But the prosperous city that we see today didn’t come from nowhere. The historic district known as Old Dubai is located on the Western side of the Dubai Creek and is covered in winding walkways, classical buildings and traditional eateries.</p> <p>It’s worth wandering the streets of the Al Bastakiya Quarter and admiring the traditional buildings of Dubai. You can also visit the XVA Gallery for some contemporary Middle Eastern art, or stop for lunch in a traditional Arabic Tea house.</p> <p>Old Dubai is also home to the Gold Souk; a traditional Arabian marketplace spread through covered walkways. Whether you’re trying to barter the price of gold jewellery or you’re just there to join the hustle and bustle – it’s well worth a visit. It’s also famous for the resident Guinness World Record holder, the largest gold ring in the world.</p> <p>Old’s Dubai’s spice marketplace the Spice Souk is still popular with the locals. Wander the lanes to find colourful spices and other souvenirs.</p> <p><strong>Visit a souk</strong></p> <p>Even if you don’t make it to Old Dubai, it is worth visiting a souk at some point on your trip. The traditional marketplaces are a great place to search for gold, spices, perfumes, textiles and more.</p> <p>The Dubai government legally assures the quality of all jewellery pieces, so shopping in comfort is a no brainer.</p> <p><strong>Take a water taxi</strong></p> <p>Dubai’s popularity comes at a cost – it’s hard to get around. Why not escape the traffic and catch a Water Taxi? With 43 stations spread across the city, it’s one of the easiest and most popular ways to travel.</p> <p>And it’s more than just a mode of transport. Speeding through the heart of the city by water offers sweeping skyline views and the opportunity to see landmarks up-close.</p> <p>The taxis also have reclining seats and LCD monitors, so there’s really no reason to say no.</p> <p><strong>Shopping at Dubai Mall</strong></p> <p>The world’s largest and most visited mall is located at the foot of the Burj Khalifa and is home to 1,200 retail stores, two anchor department stores and hundreds of food and beverage outlets. If shopping isn’t your thing, there is also an abundance of leisure and entertainment venues such as the Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. In fact, there’s not much you can’t do.</p> <p>The 5.9 million square foot mall hosts fashion names such as Valentino, Gucci, Chanel and Ralph Lauren.</p> <p>The world’s largest aquarium and aquatic zoo live here, complete with a 270-degree fish tank tunnel to walk through.</p> <p>The mall is also home to the indoor Dubai fountain – the most photographed spot in the mall. Stop by The Village, which features an open roof in the winter months to offer an outdoor shopping experience.</p> <p>Don’t miss the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink, the mini world ‘edutainment’ concept Kidzania, and the giant indoor cinema complex.</p> <p class="p1"><em>This article first appeared on <a href="https://familytravel.com.au/kids-dubai-tips/"><span class="s1">Family Travel</span></a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Which Australian destinations lose, and which may win, without international tourism

<p>But it seems increasingly likely international borders will remain largely closed until at least mid-2021. The mothballing plans of airlines such as Qantas further suggest international travel will take years to recover to pre-pandemic levels.</p> <p>For any tourist attraction primarily geared to international visitors, and for the hotels, restaurants and shops that cater to that tourist traffic, this spells trouble.</p> <p>In 2019 more than 9 million international tourists injected an estimated A$47 billion into the Australian economy.</p> <p>On the other hand, local destinations that primarily attract local tourists could be in for boom times, attracting those who might otherwise have gone overseas. (In 2018-19, more than 10 million did so, spending A$65 billion in the process.)</p> <p>Tourism, though, is not a zero-sum game. Not all of the money that might have been spent overseas will necessarily be spent on a local holiday. Even if it was, and the boom in domestic tourism more than made up for the loss of international tourists, the impact would be different across cities and locations.</p> <p>That’s because local and foreign tourists tend to opt for different holiday experiences. International visitors are more attracted to the sights of Sydney and Melbourne, and the tourist hot spots of Queensland. Locals disproportionately want to get away from the city and avoid the tourist traps, relaxing in the country or on the coast.</p> <p><strong>Measuring international attraction</strong></p> <p>To get a better sense of how closed international borders will affect local economies, we calculated locations’ reliance on international tourists using data distilled from TripAdvisor, a popular travel booking and review website.</p> <p>As a proxy for how many foreigners visit (and then review) a location relative to the number of domestic visitors, we looked at the number of reviews written in English relative to other languages.</p> <p>Obviously this is an imperfect measure. A lot of foreign visitors come from New Zealand, Britain and Ireland, for example. Non-English speakers might use a different platform entirely. Nonetheless the results give us a basis to see where the absence of international tourists will likely be felt the hardest.</p> <p>Using the data from TripAdvisor, the following chart shows the relative importance of tourism to local economies as well as the relative importance of international tourists.</p> <p>At a glance, Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, stands out as the having the most to lose, due the relative importance of tourism, and international tourists, to its economy.</p> <p>Sydney attracts the greatest proportion of foreign visitors, but is less dependent on tourism.</p> <p>Regional towns like Tamworth in NSW and Bendigo in Victoria (bottom left) should be least affected.</p> <p><strong>The biggest losers</strong></p> <p>About two-thirds of all international passengers touch down in Sydney and Melbourne. Our data from Tripadvisor also suggests this is where foreign visitors spend most of their time and money.</p> <p>In Sydney the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach are magnets for foreign tourists. Melbourne has the Eureka Skydeck and its Royal Botantic Gardens. Any business attached to the traffic for these attractions will face a tough year ahead.</p> <p>The only upside is the big cities have more diverse labour markets. So those losing tourism jobs in these areas have a slightly better chance of finding work elsewhere.</p> <p>The bigger risk comes to Cairns and other smaller tourist hubs with star attractions that attract a large flow of international tourists. For many businesses in these local economies a closed border could be an existential challenge.</p> <p><strong>The potential winners</strong></p> <p>While our results are more robust for predicting where lost international tourism will hurt most, we can also see some possibilities of boom times for destinations that provide the experience local tourists are seeking.</p> <p>Two examples are Echuca in Victoria and Busselton in Western Australia. These are very different towns. Echuca is an historic inland town on the Murray River often associated with paddle steamers. Busselton is a fishing town south of Perth long associated with lazy beach holidays.</p> <p>Locations offering the more relaxed “getaway” experience might find their bookings overflowing this holiday season as Australians unable to visit Barcelona or Bali look to holiday closer to home.</p> <p><em>Written by Misha Ketchell. This article first appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/which-australian-destinations-lose-and-which-may-win-without-international-tourism-146395">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

International Travel