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Slater held by police after altercation

The venue: The Mojo nightclub in Bridge Street, Manchester, where the scuffle took place. Photo: Michael Carayannis .
Nanjing Night Net

Billy Slater’s wife defends star’s actions

Australian fullback Billy Slater was detained by British police – and then released without charge – following yet another incident involving the Kangaroos in Manchester.

Just weeks after Canberra enforcer Josh Papalii was robbed by two men while withdrawing £200 ($342) at an ATM, Slater was arrested and placed in custody after a scuffle outside a nightclub. After co-operating with police, he was released on Monday evening (Sydney time). Police say the Melbourne player was the victim and will not be charged.

“A verbal altercation took place between two men outside Mojos on Bridge Street,” A police statement said. “One of the men threw a punch at the other, so the victim retaliated and punched him back in self-defence. The police were called, and both men, a 30-year-old old man from Australia and a 40-year-old man from Manchester, were arrested on suspicion of affray.

“Officers have now viewed CCTV of the incident, and the 30-year-old man has been released with no further charge. The 40-year-old remains in police custody for questioning.”

The Kangaroos were given a night off to celebrate their 50-0 flogging of Ireland in Limerick. With a week between games, it’s understood some of the players had a few drinks. The evening appeared to begin harmlessly enough, with Slater posting footage of the festivities on Instagram. A 15-second clip shows teammate Greg Bird on the dancefloor performing a cartwheel. The Gold Coast forward then breaks into a spirited rendition of the Belinda Carlisle hit Heaven is a Place on Earth, with dance moves. However, the night took a turn for the worse.

“Australian Rugby League team management can confirm player Billy Slater was detained by police this morning and has been released without charge,” a Kangaroos statement said. “After reviewing CCTV footage of a scuffle outside a Manchester nightclub, police have determined that Slater was the victim who then acted in self-defence, and has informed him of his right to press charges.

“Billy was returning to the venue to collect his jacket that he left behind when he was attacked. Both men were detained for several hours while police reviewed footage of the incident. The Australian team players were free of official duties after returning from Ireland.”

Fairfax Media was told another player’s actions could warrant investigation but this could not be confirmed on Monday night.

In another incident a fortnight ago, Papalii was targeted by thieves. Papalli could not clearly recall what happened but it’s believed his assailants were armed.

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DVD: Man of Steel 

MAN OF STEEL (M)
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Warner Bros, 143minutes

MAN of Steel, the latest film version of Superman, is not just any origin story, it’s the origin story.

Deeply serious, it presents Henry Cavill’s grown Kal-El, the interstellar refugee from the planet Krypton who arrived on Earth as a baby, as a Christ-like figure. When exiled to save him from Krypton’s destruction, the infant’s mother, Lara (Ayelet Zurer), fears he will be considered a freak on the distant blue world, while his noble father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), believes he will be treated like a god. No pressure to deliver, then.

This 3D blockbuster was directed by Zack Snyder, whose previous films include 300 and Watchmen, but it was conceived, plotted and eventually scripted by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, the creative mainstays of a Batman reboot that gave us a stern Dark Knight trilogy obsessed with simplistic moral dilemmas and major cape fear.

The previous attempt to relaunch the DC Comics character, Bryan Singer’s now shunned Superman Returns from 2006, was very much in the tradition of Richard Donner’s Superman, the pleasurable 1978 film that possessed a healthy sense of humour when it came to Christopher Reeve’s Kal-El hiding out as bespectacled reporter Clark Kent and tangling with Gene Hackman’s villain Lex Luthor.

There are no gags to be enjoyed here, and even smiles are in short supply. This is as serious as a superhero movie gets – Tony Stark’s Iron Man would never hang with this guy – and, at a certain point, you may wonder if the stoic self-regard of Man of Steel occasionally stifles the picture. Even Nolan’s Batman, played by the intense Christian Bale, had a yen for gadgets and a cover as a playboy to lighten his dark demeanour.

Yet the strongly edited first 80minutes of this 143-minute epic are as good as Snyder has achieved. The digital effects are numerous, but for once Snyder has offset them with natural light and outside locations, and the film achieves a purposeful opening with Jor-El sending his newborn son (and Krypton’s genetic tree of life, the Codex) to safety even as a military coup rages against a ruling hierarchy that has condemned the planet to destruction.

On Earth, Clark wanders from the cornfields of Kansas to various extremes, reflecting on a childhood where he was urged to hide the great powers our sun bestows on him by his adoptive parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner respectively). They baldly reiterate themes that Clark also later muses on, such as how humanity will treat this messiah, but strong performances from the pair cushion the sometimes obvious material.

At the centre of it all, brooding even when he’s bare-chested, the 30-year-old English actor Henry Cavill is so impossibly handsome that it takes a while to appreciate how he underplays Kal-El/Clark.

As ace Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane, Amy Adams brings a welcome spark to the movie (nearly all the aforementioned smiles emanate from her), but there’s hardly a flirtatious bond between Lois and Superman.

The concept of a superhero turning his back on his destiny is a juicy one, but Man of Steel is too besotted with the character’s mythology to explore the notion.

Great mountains of rubble are generated, but the final act’s perpetual fighting is too loud and too desperate for the worthy comic-book movie that Man of Steel initially tries to be. It isn’t a failure but, in a movie fixated on explicitly contrasting choices, it ends up trying to please everyone.

Rating: ★★★

– Craig Mathieson

GOD COMPLEX: Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel.

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Perth Glory backs decision to sign former Arsenal captain William Gallas

New Perth Glory A-League recruit William Gallas Photo: Paul Kane New Perth Glory A-League recruit William Gallas talks to the media with club CEO Jason Brewer. Photo: Paul Kane
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Perth Glory manager Alistair Edwards has hit back to criticism of WA’s signing of former English Premier League star William Gallas.

Although he does believe that five international players per club is too many.

Gallas, 36, a former Arsenal captain, Chelsea and Tottenham defender and French international, arrived in to Perth over the weekend and signed to play for Glory this morning.

He is available for the clash against Adelaide United at nib Stadium on Saturday after passing a medical examination.

Edwards dismissed criticism from former Socceroo Craig Moore who suggested that the A-League should not be focusing on signing foreign defenders as marquee players who are at the end of their careers.

Moore said that he believes A-League club should be filling those positions with home-grown talent.

“I am a massive advocate for foreign imports into the league – particularly quality ones,” Edwards said.

“I believe the current number of five is too many and my preference is to decrease that so we can then develop our own Australian-based players.

“Having said that, we need the foreign talent to come in and it’s great that we can entice world class players into the competition.

“He’s coming in to an environment where we have a lot of young really driven players who want to make a success of their career and what better way to do that than with someone who has had or is still having such a great career.

“Some of the players in the backline in particular are pushing really hard for Socceroos’ selection and if they can harness some little insights in how to be a world class player and play in world class leagues, it’s going to be great for everyone.”

Gallas arrived in to the A-League from English Premier League club Tottenham, where he played 61 games. He also played 101 with Arsenal, 159 with Chelsea and 84 with the French national side.

The former Arsenal skipper played in the 2006 World Cup, where France finished runner-up to Italy.

He was also a senior member of the controversial 2010 team and scored the goal in the qualifying rounds to end the Republic of Ireland’s chances of reaching the finals, after Thierry Henry had handled the ball.

Around 100 Glory fans welcomed Gallas at the airport, which surprised him.

“I didn’t expect that. I want to say thank you to them. I hope at the end of the season, the fans will be very, very happy,” he said. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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OPINION Flow-on benefits boost wider community

Stephen Galilee is NSW Minerals Council CEO.
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The economic gains from mining have a long reach, writes Stephen Galilee.

IN some of the public debates about mining, it can be easy to forget the real people in the Hunter – the miners, their families and those working in businesses such as pubs, clubs, cafes and motels, and as electricians, plumbers and mechanics. They rely on mining to provide jobs and deliver economic stability.

New evidence shows the economic benefits of mining in the Hunter extend well beyond the mining sector and across the broader Hunter economy, helping to generate small business activity and support non-mining jobs.

Our recent survey of NSW mining spending found that mining companies spent $4.6billion in the Hunter last year with almost 5000 businesses that supplied goods or services to mining operations. This direct spending supported thousands of other businesses and jobs in a wide range of industries, from manufacturing and engineering to retail and hospitality.

Across the Hunter, another $1.7billion was directly spent by mining companies on the salaries of 12,000 miners, who spent at least some of this money locally.

The total of $6.3billion in direct spending by mining companies on wages, and goods and services in the Hunter, was estimated to have contributed 35per cent of the gross regional product of the Hunter in 2012-13. It’s a big contribution to the economic strength of a region that underpins the strength of the state.

This $6.3billion of mining money is being spent across the region by mining companies and workers, with flow-on benefits across the broader economy. It means mining trucks repaired at Mount Thorley, family cars serviced in Cessnock, beer bought for mates in Newcastle, motels booked in Muswellbrook, meals ordered at restaurants in Singleton, and hair styled and cut in Cessnock.

These are the types of businesses that contribute so much to the fabric of Hunter communities and make up the membership of chambers of commerce.

It’s businesses like these, along with the associated jobs, that make it critical for the state government to get the policy settings right for mining.

Good policies can foster opportunities for mining in NSW. Good policies include an efficient regulatory system, an uncomplicated and timely project assessment process, adequate public infrastructure investment, and a competitive tax regime.

Bad policies can strangle opportunity and cost investment and jobs. Bad policies include a lack of infrastructure investment, increased taxes, and a cumbersome regulatory system.

If we want mining to continue to drive economic activity in the Hunter, the NSW planning system must be fixed to provide certainty and stability for the future.

The government should also commit to an Industry Action Plan for Mining. In NSW we have such plans for professional services, manufacturing, education and research, the visitor economy, the digital economy, and the creative industries.

A plan for mining would be recognition of the strategic economic benefit of the industry for the Hunter and NSW economy, including for jobs, investment, trade, infrastructure, regional development and energy supply.

These policy measures will help ensure a strong and vibrant mining sector that continues to deliver economic strength and jobs for the Hunter and for NSW.

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OPINION Use of public land is under state scrutiny

Jacquie Svenson is a Newcastle solicitor who teaches at the University of Newcastle legal centre.
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THE Newcastle community is already fighting in the Land and Environment Court to prevent private development on an iconic piece of its Crown land heritage, in the form of a challenge to a wedding reception centre on King Edward Headland Reserve.

And now, as soon as the state government gets the numbers, the NSW upper house will debate legislation that, if passed in its current form, could fundamentally change the way you and I enjoy public land in NSW.

The Crown Lands Amendment (Multiple Land Use) Bill 2013, already passed in the Lower House, will give the government power to lease or license for any use it likes land that’s earmarked for public recreation, as long as it will not “materially harm” the public recreational use. And whether it does that will be a question solely for the Minister for Crown Lands.

The change will also give the minister the power to cure any current uses on public recreational land that are for a different purpose, but won’t “materially harm” that use. And if you want to bring a challenge to a private use as part of a planning challenge, you’ll have to give the Crown six months’ notice beforehand. Tricky when the limitation period on planning matters in the Land and Environment Court is three months at most.

At present the NSW government can only grant a private lease on public recreational land if it is in the public interest to do so, and “due regard” has been had to the principles of Crown land management.

To date, at least, it has mostly had too much political good sense to do so.

However, the tabling of this legislation suggests an alarming trend towards curing incompatibility with public use in the interests of income to the state, rather than addressing and preventing wrong use for the good of the people of NSW.

Much of the land affected would have been swallowed up long ago by development if it weren’t for protection under the Crown Lands Act.

The legislation has been expressly stated as being to prevent the perceived result of a Court of Appeal case (Goomallee) that, perhaps rudely, applied the NSW government’s own law to prevent grazing on public recreational land because grazing was “not” public recreation, nor was it “in furtherance of or incidental to” it.

Previously, the general legal consensus had been that secondary uses were lawful as long as they were not “inconsistent” with the use; so grazing was fine as long as, for example, you didn’t mind camping among a few sheep.

Goomallee meant that, unless the sheep themselves were camping, grazing would not be allowed there. As a result of Goomallee, suddenly all the leases the government has granted on public recreational land that weren’t for the purpose of public recreational land (and going by its reaction, there must be a few) are in the spotlight – and on the hotplate.

In fact the legislation will take the management of public recreational land back to a much lower watermark than “inconsistency” before Goomallee. Really, the excuse for the legislation – to cure current leases that are potentially unlawful after Goomallee – seems to be a bit of a storm in a teacup: many of the examples of the “8000” interests given in the minister’s second reading speech (the CWA halls, the Men’s Sheds, the libraries and community halls) probably could be characterised as, or as “ancillary to” or “in furtherance of”, public recreation. So they are not under threat from the case. As for the preschools, council chambers and Rural Fires Service and Marine Rescue facilities, there aren’t 8000 of those; wouldn’t it be simpler and less Machiavellian to gazette an additional purpose for those reserves, in accordance with the transparent and publicly accountable process under the Crown Lands Act?

These are ‘‘Ma and Pa’’ uses that most Australians would want to protect even though they are on recreational land. But passing legislation of this breadth and impact just to regularise those situations is major overkill.

It has to be speculated: the real purpose of the bill is to protect the lease rents and licence fees for private uses on public land that have been quietly adding to Treasury’s coffers for decades. Exclusive wedding reception centre on one of the best views in NSW, anyone?

King Edward Park headland reserve

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Remembrance Day in the Hunter: photos

IN MEMORIAM: Wreaths laid during the commemoration of Remembrance Day at Newcastle City Hall. Picture by Simone De Peak Scenes from the Remembrance Day service in Newcastle. Picture by Simone De Peak
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PAYING RESPECTS: Ron Smith of Hexham salutes at the commemoration of Remembrance Day at Newcastle City Hall. Picture by Simone De Peak

PROUD RECORD: A former serviceman wears his medals at Newcastle City Hall, where 150 people attended the ceremony. Picture by Simone De Peak

STANDING TALL: Geoffrey Baigent and Joyce Foster pay homage to the fallen at the Civic Park War Memorial. Picture by Simone De Peak

NEVER FORGET: WRANS members Elaine Wallace, a radar operator in the ’60s and Rhonda Boag, a navy medic in the ’70s. Picture by Simone De Peak

Scenes from the Remembrance Day service in Newcastle. Picture by Simone De Peak

Scenes from the Remembrance Day service in Newcastle. Picture by Simone De Peak

THE Hunter stood silent for one minute at Remembrance Day ceremonies across the region yesterday, when thousands reflected on the brave sacrifice of those who lost their lives or were wounded fighting for their country.

The rain proved no deterrent for attendees with many ceremonies moved indoors, including the City of Newcastle RSL Sub-Branch ceremony planned for Civic Park relocated to City Hall.

A crowd of about 150 inside the venue sang and prayed before observing 60 seconds of silence at 11am – the time when the Allies and Germany signed the Armistice to officially end World War I on Monday, November 11, 1918.

Remembrance Day was originally known as Armistice Day, but was renamed after World War II to commemorate those who had died or suffered in all wars, armed conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

City of Newcastle RSL Sub-Branch President Ken Fayes was the third generation in his family to serve, following in the footsteps of his grandfathers – who served in World War I on the HMAS Melbourne and in the Light Horse Brigade in Palestine – and his parents who served in the RAAF and WAAF in World War II.

He said yesterday he was thinking of the mates he served alongside in Vietnam, where he was deployed with the army in January 1970.

‘‘I still see their faces every day,’’ he said.

‘‘But no-one remembers the bad things, we celebrate the friendships that have formed through thick and thin and have a laugh.

‘‘There’s virtually nobody out there who hasn’t had someone in their family make a sacrifice of some sort in the name of freedom.

‘‘We wouldn’t be who we are without them, regardless of where it [the conflict] was or when it was.’’

Hunter President of the WRANS Naval Women’s Association Rhonda Boag remembered her father Noel Barden, who served with the army in Papua New Guinea during World War II and later inspired his daughter to join the navy as a medic at 18.

‘‘He never spoke about any of the fighting, only the mischief the young servicemen got up to – everything else was too horrific.’’

Former WRANS radar operator Elaine Wallace paid homage to her father Tom Colquhoun, who was in the Air Force and maintained Catalinas at Rathmines, and his brothers George and Jack who served with the army in the Pacific Islands.

‘‘We must never forget, we need to carry this through to the next generation,’’ she said.

‘‘History governs the future and if you forget history, you end up in the same position again.’’

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Cruise director

Comfortable: A verandah suite on the Seabourn Odyssey. Relax: The spa pool.
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Degustation menu: Restaurant 2 on the Seabourn Odyssey. Photo: Michel Verdure

Were you among the thousands of passengers on board Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel for the Melbourne Cup cruise last week?

If you missed the boat this year, you can book now for the 2014 event on the same ships.

Carnival Spirit is also doing a Melbourne Cup cruise next year and there are some exciting big event cruises coming up, at home and overseas.

First up is the 2014 Australian Open Tennis, which runs from January 13 to 26. P&O Cruises is offering a four-night cruise to Melbourne on Pacific Pearl, a round-trip from Sydney departing January 20. Your fare includes transfers and general admission into the grounds, and for $100 you can get ticket upgrades to Rod Laver Arena.

If you’re a tennis fan who happens to be cruising on Silver Shadow from Melbourne to Bali on January 19, you can take advantage of the line’s three-night pre-cruise package to the Australian Open. It includes reserved seating in the Rod Laver Arena, and access to all outdoor courts, the Melbourne Park precinct for night sessions and exclusive bars.

The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s biggest parties. It attracts some 2 million spectators to its wild parades and legendary balls and takes place between February 28 and March 4.

It’s not too late to book a cruise on Holland America Line’s Maasdam, which will be in Rio for three days on its 26-day Amazon and Carnaval Explorer itinerary. MSC Orchestra will dock in Rio on March 1 after a three-night cruise that leaves the city on February 26.

Formula one fans also have a choice of ships that will be on the spot for the 72nd Monaco Formula One Grand Prix.

If you’re cruising on Silver Spirit, you could take a land package that includes Tribune K seating, right in the thick of the action, on Sunday, May 25.

Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey will rendezvous at the port on race day; Quest will be on a four-day round-trip from Nice; and Journey is offering an eight-day Grand Prix cruise from Rome

to Barcelona.

Star Clippers’ tall ship Star Flyer will be in town for the trials on May 22 as part of its seven-night round trip from Cannes – an interesting combination of traditional sailing and the world’s most thrilling race for petrolheads!

[email protected]南京夜网.au.

SEABOURN ODYSSEYShipshape: Seabourn Odyssey

LAUNCHED 2009. Seabourn Odyssey, pictured, is almost identical to sister ships Sojourn (2011) and Quest (2011). A fourth ship in the series is due to launch in 2016.

PASSENGERS & CREW 450 passengers (double occupancy); crew 330.

ACCOMMODATION Out of 225 suites, 90 per cent have verandahs. The Wintergarden Suites are the biggest and have their own private solariums; suites range from 30 to 120 square metres.

REGULAR HAUNTS Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe.

PERFECT FOR Sophisticated couples and singles, 40-plus.

DINING Four dining venues: The Restaurant (fine dining in a super-cool contemporary space); Restaurant 2 (degustation menus for 50 guests); The Colonnade (indoor-outdoor buffet and bistro); and the poolside Patio Grill. All drinks are included in the dining rooms and bars throughout the ship.

PARTYING The Club on Deck 5 is the spot for dancing the night away; for a quieter ambience, there’s piano music in the Observation Bar. The Grand Salon hosts a variety of shows.

DOING Odyssey has a smallish water sports marina stocked with kayaks and other water toys used when the ship is at anchor in hot climates. There is a large, two-deck spa that has six treatment rooms, saunas, steam rooms, a fitness studio with a Kinesis Wall, and a gym.

DID YOU KNOW? Frequent Seabourn cruisers earn Seabourn Club Benefits – including a free cruise after ten 14-day cruises.

THE DETAILS Fares from $5499 per person for Seabourn Odyssey’s Auckland to Sydney voyage, January 10, 2014. Calls include Tauranga, Wellington, Picton, Akaroa and Oban; cruising Fiordland; stops at Melbourne, Geelong and Burnie. Phone 13 24 02, see seabourn南京夜网.Deals

OFFER OF THE WEEK

When you’re looking for value for money it’s hard to beat this 22-night fly/cruise/stay package from Sydney to Hong Kong for $2439. P&O World Cruises’ Aurora departs on February 16, 2014, and the package includes a 20-night cruise, two nights at the Marco Polo hotel in Hong Kong and return airfares to Sydney. Phone 1300 369 848, see ecruising.travel.

OTHER DEALS

UNIWORLD Save $300 per person on 14-day cruises from Vienna to Amsterdam on luxury vessels River Duchess or River Princess, when you book and pay in full by November 29. All-inclusive fares from $7299 for departures between April 28 and November 1, 2014. Phone (02) 9028 5199, see uniworldcruises南京夜网.au.

AURORA EXPEDITIONS The 20-day ‘‘In Shackleton’s Footsteps’’ voyage to Antarctica and South Georgia (round-trip from Ushuaia, Argentina) departs March 11, 2014, on Polar Pioneer. Experts will lead tours. Book and pay a deposit by December 31 and save 20 per cent. From $US12,415. 1800 637 688, see auroraexpeditions南京夜网.au.Tip

It’s getting harder to be a smoker on cruise ships, but it is still legal – you just have to abide by the rules, and these vary from ship to ship. If you’re on a ship where smoking is allowed on your balcony (very few of those nowadays, although the new Europa 2 is one of them), show consideration to your neighbours and book a cabin at the aft end of the ship so the smoke blows out to sea and not into the next-door cabin. Most ships have a cigar lounge and designated areas where cigarette smoking is permitted, but be warned, if you break the rules you can expect a hefty fine.

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Shore excursion

Bob Henry and his wife Rhonda with a staff member at the St Kilian Kellerei.WHAT Visiting a historic Bavarian distillery.
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WHERE The town of Miltenberg, via the port of Wertheim in southern Germany.

THE SHIP Bob cruised with his wife, Rhonda, on Scenic Ruby (scenictours南京夜网). They chose the popular 14-night Jewels of Europe river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam.

THE EXPERIENCE

“The St Kilian Kellerei cellars are a real gem in the beautiful Bavarian region of Germany,” says Bob.

“We docked in the quaint, mediaeval town of Wertheim and took a short coach ride to Miltenberg, where the cellars are in the centre of town.

“We had been offered a huge range of shore excursions, from hiking and mountainbiking to a German biscuit-making workshop, but having the Stone Pine Distillery in our hometown of Bathurst gave us an interest in visiting the St Kilian Kellerei.

“We toured the historic vaulted cellars, which can be traced back to 1482, when tunnels up to 100 metres deep were constructed in the red sandstone.

“The temperature in the cellars is below 10 degrees Celsius all year round, so the conditions are optimal for storing alcohol. With the addition of nearby winter ice, further cooling down to zero degrees was possible, in the days before fridges and freezers.

“After our tour and history lesson we went to the tasting room where you can taste up to 20 samples of schnapps and brandies, predominantly made from local fruits, berries and nuts.

“The blueberry schnapps was our favourite, so we purchased a bottle to take home. We were told it was very good with ice-cream, so we were keen to experiment.”

VALUE FOR MONEY

Shore excursions are included on Scenic cruises.

“We have previously travelled with other tour operators where you are constantly reaching into your pocket to pay for extras, including shore excursions, but everything was included with Scenic,” says Bob.

“Having it that way gives you genuine opportunities to select experiences based on your level of interest, rather than price.”

As told to Jane E. Fraser

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The Tripologist

Papers in order: Make sure you have enough time left on your passport before travelling.MY THREE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER AND I HAVE A DUST MITE ALLERGY SO WHENEVER WE STAY IN A HOTEL WE ARE OVERCOME BY DUST AND OTHER IRRITANTS. MY DAUGHTER ALSO HAS A PEANUT ALLERGY WITH AN ANAPHYLAXIS RISK, WHICH ALSO AFFECTS OUR ABILITY TO GO ON HOLIDAY. ARE THERE HOTELS OR CHAINS IN AUSTRALIA THAT SPECIFICALLY CATER FOR PEOPLE WITH DUST ALLERGIES AND OTHER ALLERGIES?
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A. BARNES, GOONELLABAH, NSW

Accor (accorhotels南京夜网.au) has a number of hotels with dedicated allergy-free rooms. Allmitee Healthy Sleeping (allmitee南京夜网) is a South Australia-based cleaning specialist that can provide you with a list of hypoallergenic guest rooms in Adelaide and surrounds. Check the Healthy Hotels Guide (healthyhotels南京夜网.au) for a list of hotels that might fit your criteria. Ideally, you want a hotel room with no carpet, but with anti-allergy pillows and mattresses, blinds, no soft furnishings, good natural ventilation and where housekeeping staff use only scent-free cleaning products. The Allergy Friendly Hotels website (allergyfriendlyhotels南京夜网) has useful tips. Most hotels are conscientious when serving diners with an anaphylaxis risk. However, peanuts and peanut oil are frequently used in some Asian cuisines. These restaurants may be best avoided.

MY HUSBAND IS IN GOOD HEALTH, BUT HE USES TWO WALKING STICKS TO GET AROUND. I HAVE ASKED IN LOCAL TRAVEL AGENTS AND FIND THEIR ANSWERS TO MY QUESTIONS ARE NOT REALISTIC, E.G. A RHINE CRUISE WITH WALKING SHORE EXCURSIONS AT A MODERATE TO FAST PACE, OR SOUTH AFRICAN GAME SAFARIS. DO YOU KNOW OF AN AGENT OR A COMPANY WHO MAY BE ABLE TO HELP? HE IS INTERESTED IN EUROPE.

S. PIPER, WAHROONGA

If you and your husband have a hankering to see animals on the tawny plains of Africa, go for it. In my experience, the staff at game lodges will care for your husband as if he is their flesh and blood. If getting your husband on a safari vehicle is the extent of your worries, you really won’t have a problem. Talk to Bench International (benchinternational南京夜网.au) or the Classic Safari Co (classicsafaricompany南京夜网.au). Europe is not so easy. Everywhere requires walking. A cruise that involves scenery, rather than foot slogging, might be a good option. Special Care Travel (specialcaretravel南京夜网.au), Leisure Options (leisureoptions南京夜网.au) and Clubmates Travel (clubmatestravel南京夜网) are just a few of the operators that specialise in disabled travel.

A GROUP OF US WAS HEADING TO BALI FOR A WEEK; ONE OF US HAD SIX MONTHS AND ONE DAY LEFT ON THEIR PASSPORT AND WAS REFUSED A BOARDING PASS. A FRANTIC DASH TO PERTH WAS MADE – BUT THEY MISSED OUT ON THE HOLIDAY AND THEIR AIRFARES. IF A 10-YEAR PASSPORT IS ONLY USABLE FOR NINE YEARS AND SIX MONTHS, IS THAT A BREACH OF THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND THE TRAVELLER? WHY WOULD A PASSPORT VALID FOR SIX MONTHS AND ONE DAY BE REFUSED FOR A SEVEN-DAY TRIP TO BALI?

P. OLDMAN, ARMADALE, WA

It seems to me the check-in staff got it wrong, and your friend should not have been denied boarding. According to the website of the Embassy of Indonesia in Canberra, the requirement for a tourist visa is “Passport still valid at least 6 months from the date of entry”. By the barest of margins, therefore, it appears that your friend’s passport would have qualified.

Regarding your other question, an adult Australian passport is normally valid for 10 years, and the bearer is entitled to leave and return to Australia until the very last day of that 10 years.

What the Indonesian government requires is another matter. But on the basis of the facts as you’ve presented them, the airline check-in staff were clearly wrong. I’d be pressing your case with the airline in question.

As well as asking for a refund of the ticket, your friend should consider the value of the holiday in Bali that he or she was denied, and include that in any claim for compensation.

Get everything in writing, and if you do not get a satisfactory response, contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (accc.gov.au).OVER TO YOU

The question was: “Do you use a search engine such as Hipmunk or Kayak to book flights, or for information only?”

“Skyscanner lists free flight comparisons worldwide, including the cheapest fares,” writes K. Shanahan. “I frequently use Skyscanner to book and pay for short internal/domestic flights in Asia and Europe.”

P. Markson says, “I really like the Momondo search engine because it seems to find cheap flights that are overlooked by others and it shows me exactly which dates within a month offer the cheapest fares. It’s especially good for flights within Europe.”

“Kayak gets my vote,” writes J. Reddy. “I can filter the results by cost, departure time, flight duration and airline among other factors.”

“I’ve just discovered Routehappy and it’s a real gem for finding the best flights,” according to K. Lim. “Not only does it give me fares, flight times etc in a simple readout, I can also get a ranking for factors such as seat pitch, on-board entertainment and flyer ratings.”

Next question: Have you got a clever way of beating the extortionate parking fees at Sydney Airport’s car parks? Send a response, or your travel question, to [email protected] com.au. All published responses will win a Lonely Planet guidebook.

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Famous Flyer

‘Locals give you insider tips – places to eat, hidden gems’: Damien Leith. Photo: Louisa Kirby Luxurious: The pool at the Taj Mahal Hotel.
Nanjing Night Net

WHICH WAS YOUR BEST HOLIDAY?

A birthday celebration in Stockholm, Sweden in 2002. It was winter so the whole place was covered in silky white snow and we stayed in a boat hotel on a lake that had turned to ice so you could walk and ice skate on it. We discovered these great little vodka bars, trendy cafes and restaurants and partied all night on a sleek nightclub boat. It’s so special sitting by an open fire drinking warm glogg (mulled wine) and eating pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies).

AND THE BEST HOTEL YOU’VE STAYED IN?

My wife and I backpacked for months around India in 2003 and one night decided to splurge at the luxurious Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai (pictured above). We met an Indian fashion designer and had a very indulgent night drinking cocktails and swimming in the grand pool until the early hours of the morning. I even sang with the jazz band.

WHAT DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE WITH YOU?

A pen and notepad and my guitar. You never know when you’ll get inspired to write a song or have a good jam session.

WHAT’S YOUR BEST PIECE OF TRAVEL ADVICE?

Locals give you the best insider tips, places to eat and off-the-beaten track hidden gems. On a holiday to Italy in 2001 a local told us to go to Caorle, near Venice. No one spoke English, it had a beautiful beach and a gorgeous old town with colourful restaurants, bars and gelaterias. Magic.

AND YOUR WORST EXPERIENCE ON HOLIDAY?

Getting conjunctivitis in India was gross. I’d sit in the restaurants at night with my sunglasses on to cover my weeping, swollen eyes – people must have thought, “Who does he think he is?”

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?

South America. I’d love to go to Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Peru to visit Machu Picchu and the Incas, and of course Rio for Carnival.

Damien Leith’s new album, Chapter Seven, came out on November 1. He is touring main cities and regional centres, finishing December 14 in Sydney.

Interview by Nina Karnikowski

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