Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Savvy Travel Tips for the Intrepid Adventurer

Adventure travel is a key holiday trend for 2016,[i] and Aussies are paving the way as adrenaline junkies. With summer on the horizon in the Southern hemisphere and blankets of snow set to descend in the North, now is the perfect time to plan an adventure trip – no matter what you’re into.

Claudio Saita, Deputy CEO and Executive Director in Australia for Tokio Marine, underwriters for World2Cover travel insurance, said: “Research shows the adventure travel market is worth around AU$343 billion a year worldwide,[ii] and a whopping 2.7% of Australia’s 12.9 million travellers reported engaging in some kind of adventure activity on their last holiday.[iii]

“Those who travelled overseas were substantially more likely to have done something adventurous while they were away compared to those who holidayed domestically, and activities can be anything from “hard” adventure such as trekking, bungee jumping or white water rafting, to “soft” adventure like birdwatching, camping or cycling.”

Whether you’re planning to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef this summer, one of the Natural Wonders of the World, or whizz down the world’s steepest zipline in Queenstown this spring, the team at World2Cover has these tips to keep your status as daredevil, not disaster:
  1. Do your homework – Accidents usually happen when you are not prepared. While planning your trip, research the month you intend to travel in as the season can greatly effect conditions. For example, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is not advised during the rainy season (March – May).[iv] Once you’re at your destination be sure to check out conditions before any adventure, such as when high and low tide are if in the water and how rough the waves look if you’re jet skiing. 
  2. Travel smart – If you’re travelling to volatile countries, such as Turkey or Egypt, you can register to be emailed updated travel advice from the Australian Government with Smart Traveller. This is completely customised, allowing you to register your travel plans so you only get updates on relevant countries. 
  3. Equip yourself – Whether you plan on skiing, snorkelling or mountain climbing, be sure you have correctly fitting gear from head to toe. Loose equipment will be uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst. If in doubt, its best to seek a professional for advice and a fitting. 
  4. Train – If you’re planning on activities that require physical exertion, such as hiking, biking, or running, or just have a lot planned for jam-packed trip, it’s a good idea to start a training routine. It doesn’t have to be rigorous, but it will prevent potential injuries down the track once you throw yourself into your adventure. [v]
  5. Check your cover – Make the time to read your insurance product disclosure statement to ensure you are fully protected for all your activities and the whole trip. Consider additional specialised cover if you are focussing your adventure on a particular type of activity – for example, winter sports cover. 
For more information on the comprehensive range of coverage options from World2Cover, visit www.world2cover.com.au.

Note: The information in this article is of a general nature. It does not take into account your specific needs or circumstances, so you should look at your objectives and requirements and seek financial advice before making any insurance decisions. Limits, conditions and exclusions apply to all policies. Please read the full PDS to ensure the cover is right for your circumstances.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The day Swedish drivers swapped sides

Get Up & Go guest blogger David Ellis says that when Sweden decided to change to driving on the right side of the road 49 years ago this month, more than 80% of drivers opposed the idea saying it would result in roadway carnage.

After all, they argued, Swedes had been driving on the left side of the road since the first horses and buggies hit the streets 233 years before in 1734.

But with all neighbouring countries driving on the right-hand side of the road, and the majority of Sweden’s vehicles being left-hand drive imports, the government swept aside public opposition, and decreed in 1963 that driving on the right-hand side of the road would become law at 5am on 3 September 1967.

A massive education program was initiated called Dagen H (Dagen meaning “day” and H for Hogertrafik “right-hand traffic.”) Dagen H logos were printed on everything from milk cartons to bras, 130,000 Dagen H reminder signs erected along roadways nationwide, and Dagen H stickers slapped on anything that moved.

CHANGING from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the
right-hand side had its confusion for drivers in Sweden in 1967, but the country survived.

One-way roads, crossings, roundabouts and flyovers had to be redesigned, and 360,000 road signs were changed country-wide. Traffic lights were reversed and road lines repainted during the night before the change-over– and buses had to have new passenger doors cut into their right-hand sides.

Then on 3 September only essential vehicles were allowed from 0100 to 0600, with these forced to stop at 0450, and at 0500 to cross carefully to the other side of the road.

And on the first “working Monday” after, there were 125 non-fatal traffic accidents nationwide – compared with 198 normally.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Southern Wonderland

Get Up & Go guest blogger David Ellis resides in the Southern Highlands, south of Sydney, and he says that if you’re a green thumb and into all things florally and Springtime, the place to head this month is the NSW Southern Highlands.

Just an hour or so south of Sydney, one of Australia’s oldest and most-visited floral festivals will attract something like 65,000 visitors for the 65th annual Tulip Time from 13-25 September.

Ablaze at Bowral’s famed Corbett Gardens will be 75,000 tulips and 15,000 annuals, and with a theme of Alice in Wonderland, garden bed displays will cleverly depict such scenes as the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, the Cheshire Cat, Big Clock, Playing Cards and more.

And a further 40,000 tulips will add more rainbows of colour to parks and gardens across the Southern Highlands’ other major towns of Mittagong and Moss Vale, and a score of surrounding picturesque villages.

On Saturday 17 September a Street Parade through Bowral will include marching bands, floats, vintage farm equipment, street performers, a procession of classic cars – and 140 cyclists who’ll have just pedalled down from Sydney raising money for brain cancer research.

As well a heritage steam train will bring scores of other visitors from Sydney for not just the gardens, but the region’s internationally-famed street dining and shopping, and a Tulip Time market-place crammed with local foodstuffs and beverages, home-wares, clothing and jewellery… while awaiting wine buffs will be the area’s famed boutique wineries.

It’s a long way from Bowral’s first 500-bulb Tulip Time in 1960; for information and free assistance with booking accommodation call1300 657 559, or visit www.southern-highlands.com.au to book online.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Smile Cheese when you see the price

In his continuing search for the more weird and wondrous in this world, Get Up & Go guest blogger David Ellis says the world’s most expensive cheese doesn’t come from cows or goats, and you won’t find it in the plushest restaurants or finest delis in London, New York or Paris.

Instead this cheese comes from the milk of donkeys, just 100 jennies amongst a pack of 130 of them that live in a Special Nature Preserve outside the Serbian capital Belgrade.

And if you want to find out why it can command such a bizarre price, you’ll have to go to Belgrade to try it for yourself, because it’s not sold retail anywhere else in the world - and you’ll pay the equivalent of around AU$3000 a kilo for your little indulgence.

Serbian donkey cheese is white, crumbly and intensely flavoured - and the most expensive cheese in the world.

Called “Pule” it’s made in what’s said to be the world’s only donkey cheese factory, with 25 litres of donkey milk (6.6 gallons) required for each kilogram of cheese, and annual production a mere 200 kilograms. Those who’ve tried it in local restaurants, say it’s white and crumbly, intensely flavoured, has a natural saltiness to it, and is smoked in the final stages of production.

Highly nutritious donkey milk that’s beneficial to babies’ immune systems and is used in many European beauty and skin-care products, is also available at an equally pricey 40 Euros a litre (around AU$59) – because donkeys are simply not big daily milk producers.

And which reminds us that ancient Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra bathed nightly in donkey’s milk to preserve the beauty and youth of her skin… and to indulge her whim, needed 700 of the animals on stand-by no matter where she travelled.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Czech Republic's Kosher Wine Tasting

Guest blogger Catherine Marshall shares a special wine tasting with us . . .

This is the perfect place to host a kosher wine degustation: Trebic's Jewish Quarter which comprises, along with the city's Jewish Cemetery and the St Procopius Basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In a café near the Jewish Gate, Szabo Tibor pours a Riesling and points to the platters before me: there is cheese and bread, meat spread and blue cheese spread and – could it be? – a slice of chocolate cake.

“Taste the wine, eat something,” he says. “Taste it again and you will see the taste changes.”

And indeed he’s right: something happens to the receptors on my tongue when I follow the food with wine. I try it again, with the chardonnay and the rose and the black grape varietal called Svatovavrinecke.

They’re lovely-tasting wines, but undetectable as a kosher, for such wines are classified not by taste but by the method of production.

“From the time you pick the grape, to the moment the cork goes in, only Orthodox Jews can [be involved],” says Tibor, himself merely a Gentile wine lover. “The process is supervised by a rabbi from Prague.”

Just one Jewish family remains in Trebic – home to the largest and best-preserved Jewish Quarter outside of Israel, from which thousands of Jews were transported to death camps during World War II. And only two kosher winemakers remain in the Czech Republic. Yet locals are keeping the Jewish memory alive: Tibor holds his kosher wine tastings, while resident Linda Navratilova immersive Jewish experience tours.

Back at the café, it’s time to taste the dessert wine, Zweigeltrabe. I take a sip, and follow it with a bite of chocolate cake. How appropriate that this wine should be served during Shabbat, for it’s as though I’ve tasted a piece of heaven.

The writer was a guest of Beyond Travel. More information: beyondtravel.com.au;


Monday, July 11, 2016


Dive into the pristine waters off Sabah's Sipadan Island


The triangle between Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines is one of the most bio-diverse marine habitats in the world. Strong ocean currents, deep-sea trenches and sea mountains, combined with active volcanic islands have created a complex oceanographic environment that is paradise for nature lovers and divers alike.

The beauty of this region lies in its diversity, and the dive spots and marine life vary from island to island, but most people come for the world-famous Sipadan Island located off Sabah’s east coast.

Rising 700m from the sea floor and at only 12hectares, Malaysia's sole oceanic island is tiny, taking just 25-minutes to circumnavigate on foot. Declared a bird sanctuary in 1933 by the Colonial Government of North Borneo and re-gazetted in 1963 by the Malaysian Government, the island’s dense vegetation supports a large variety of tropical birds including sea eagles, kingfishers, sunbirds, starlings and wood pigeons. Exotic crustaceans including the amazing coconut crab roam the beaches and scurry among the undergrowth, with blue skies and tropical scenery Sipadan’s stock in trade.

But it is below the surface of the ocean where this island really excels. The late Jacques Cousteau, world-renowned oceanographer, once described the pristine waters around Sipadan as an untouched piece of art, helping to establish this dive mecca as the most famous scuba destination in Malaysia. The diversity of the island’s marine life is unparalleled, home to thousands of turtles, manta rays, schooling sharks, swirling barracuda, and awe-inspiring coral walls dropping more than 2,000m straight down to the sea floor. Its famed Barrier Reef is the largest in South East Asia and regularly voted by divers as one of the World’s top dive destinations.

So make sure you include this tiny gem – truly one of the last unexplored frontiers on Planet Earth, in any trip to Malaysia. Diver or nature lover, the experience is guaranteed to be unforgettable.

Getting There

The jump-off point for all Sipadan Island explorations is the town of Semporna, a one-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu, followed by a 30-minute speedboat to Mabul.

For information about tours of Malaysia, please contact:

Tourism Malaysia, Telephone: +612 9286 3055, Fax: +612 9283 8311, Email: malaysia@malaysiatourism.com.au or visit http://www.malaysia.travel

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