Archive for the ‘Rockhampton’ Category

Lessons from Peru


Dr Joan Chamberlain TMA member Rockhampton

Yes, yes I know we can’t travel overseas presently, but true travellers will still have passports, suitcases, and travel wish list handy. I recently had 2 comments that reflected this.

Lady early in the day, “You will never get me travelling again, it is just too dangerous, especially those cruises”.

Gentleman later the same day, “You know I have my next cruise booked. I cannot wait to get travelling again.”

Pick the traveller.

Last year on the 26th December 2019 we left to go to South America. This was the last big combined family holiday before the clan begins to break away, settle and possibly start to have families of their own. We chose South America as our children, Hubby and I have always wanted to travel to South America and particularly to see Machu Picchu and to visit the Galapagos Islands. So, we did, and now in retrospect, our timing could not have been better, arriving back in Oz on 25th January 2020, as the world was starting to spin out of control.

Our plans included 7 of the party of 11 trekking the Quarry Trail and the last day of the Inca trail into Machu Picchu, going to Lake Humantay and up to the amazing Rainbow Mountain, then in the Galapagos a boat cruise and snorkelling with the sea lions. Jealous yet? I hope so. I will provide pictures to entice. It was indeed a most memorable and wonderful experience from all aspects, the scenery, the cultures, the food experience, and the people we met on the way.


Group at Machu Pichu

Getting close to the Wildlife in Galapagos









There were some lessons on the way. As always Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Practical Performance.

Travel Advice.


1.     Research where you are going and understand the conditions and circumstances that may cause delays or changes to plans, allow a little extra time for such events. Leave a spare day here and there. The odd day unfilled can be easily filled with newfound activities, but in a country like South America, that day gives you a buffer day for the inevitable changes in plans, flights, and unforeseen delays. This allows you to be back on track and not lose the momentum of the rest of your trip.

2.     Research the insurance cover you may need. We discovered most insurance policies will not cover you above 3,000 m. Even Cusco itself is above this height, so a broken ankle, from a trip on cobblestones or at the ruins, or a trip to hospital with severe gastroenteritis is all on your pocket. We needed altitude cover (Rainbow mountain 5,000m). Then check out the medical cover, we had some in our party with well controlled chronic health issues (Epilepsy and inflammatory Bowel disease). Not all insurances covered these, and those that did, had a small loading.

3.     Research Phone cover and access. No one covered Peru for international roaming. So we found out how to use public and hotel Wi-Fi and this provided more than sufficient. Fortunately, we were prepared for this and did not get a nasty surprise bill on our arrival home. See if your insurance covers your phones and cameras. We had 2 phones go down over the trip and insurance helped a lot.

4.     Research your vaccinations. I soon discovered that some of our party had been less than attentive to the Government provided vaccines in their youth, and some had lower immune counts than I was comfortable with. Fortunately, we started the schedules early. Good cost saving with Intradermal Rabies as the entire 11 of us needed this. Allow for your vaccines in your holiday costings as this can be an expensive but vital part of the holiday preparations.

5.     Research the places you are going for local rules and safety issues, from water safety to risk of violence and personal safety. Get advice and up to date information for each area, and have a heightened sense for property and personal safety.

There is so much more we learned, but most importantly we learned that a well planned and exciting holiday is the most amazing experience you can have.

Experiences like this only heighten your desire to see and do more.

So, keep dreaming and planning. The world will eventually be open for the adventures to begin again.


Author at Lake Humantay







Group at Rainbow Mountain. Vinicunca — also known as the Mountain of Seven Colors, or more simply Rainbow Mountain — was discovered only recently when the snow covering it melted, revealing the natural beauty of the rock beneath. Formed by weathering, environmental conditions and sedimentary deposits over time, the mountain’s unique minerology created a marbling effect.



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Patagonia and Punta Arenas


Dr Leo Foong TMA member in Rockingham WA

Bucket lists are there to be crossed and this I have done after getting to visit Santiago for a week and the Patagonian region and then to Punta Arenas to fly to King George Island (thereby escaping the emetic Drake Passage) for an Antarctic Cruise.

Patagonia is a region encompassing the vast southernmost tip of South America and shared by Argentina and Chile. The Andes mountains divides the two countries and forms a geographic boundary. On the Chilean side there are temperate rainforests and glacial fjords.

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The Flu Vaccine


Should I have the Flu Vaccine?

Travellers risk coming into contact with influenza in airports where thousands of people gather from around the globe, bringing their various illnesses with them. The influenza vaccine, (flu shot) is a safe, killed derivative of three influenza strains. It is cheap and very effective against the strains in the vaccine. If you catch influenza it is certainly a holiday stopper and can even be fatal. Would I risk travelling without my “ Flu “ vaccine? No, not when for such a small inconvenience I could be saved from such a potentially dangerous illness.

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  prepared by Dr Joan Chamberlain, TMA member in Rockhampton.

Generally we felt reasonably secure but all bags must be held close and be closed firmly. Pick pockets do well. Loose items disappear quickly. We let our guard down in the last 15 minutes before leaving the conference hotel (5 star) and were rewarded with one of our bag being stolen: Camera, chargers for phones, power converters, medical kit and coats. Take care with your goods.

Madrid is more metropolitan and Spain’s largest city. You can taste all of the flavours of Spain here. We found the smaller places of good value and with a very large variety of good wholesome, well priced food. We found free Flamenco bars where the passion was as strong as the alcohol in the beverages. Parks open at 10am and people are flooding in at 8-9pm while the daylight still shines.The bigger cities come alive from 9pm onwards. 

The art word reigns supreme in Madrid, followed closely by the History of Spain in both Museums and architecture. There are amazing shops that sell genuine armoury still made in the famous Toledo factory. Cross bow 25E, just don’t expect to get it through customs. Your local shopping mall has the men’s section complete with underwear, suits and leather coats, selection of fishing gear, knives for hunting as well as a full Gun collection. Everything a real man needs.

Central Spain. We had a brief one day visit to Avila and Segovia. The change in foods, wine and scenery was incredible. You first pass near the highest mountains in Spain, complete with ski resorts, then along amazing cliffs and ravines. Out from here lies the fertile central Spanish plains. Central Spainproduces some of the most amazing wines in Spain, re-noun especially for their Red wines, the whites are not to be dismissed. Their suckling pig, plethora of hams, cheeses and extensive variety of Horticultural produce is impressive.

Lessons learned on the Trip:

  1. Be prepared and know the area you are going to. You will appreciate better what you see and find.
  2. Many of the best experiences are not far away or too expensive. But be prepared to pay for inside knowledge when needed.
  3. Most people will help you and appreciate you making the effort to speak at least a few basic words in Spanish eg hello, thank you, please, good buy and their name.
  4. Never leave your possessions unattended and be vigilant.
  5. It’s a long way to fly from Australia to Spain.



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Travel Right, Travel Light

… Provided by Dr Joan Chamberlain, TMA member Rockhampton


Often people put a lot of time into their itinerary and flights but forget about pre travel advice and preparation. Also forgotten at times is consideration to your luggage and packing.

Consideration should be given to your destination, activities, length of flight and luggage requirements.

1. Choosing Luggage

Although each traveller will have different needs some principles remain the same. Choose a good quality bag. You will get what you pay for and you want to get your best mileage out of it. If for under the plane, light weight, two sets of handles, and preferably with wheels and pull out handle. You will not always have trolleys or assistance at your destination. If back pack for under plane, ensure you bag does not have straps or portions that can get caught or torn on automated conveyers or transport belts. Be careful not to have baggage tags that can also be caught. Find another way to ID you luggage. Also ensure that zippers do up well and are unlikely to undo with handling. You do not want to own the bag on the carousel with the under pants taped to the outside.

Put your contact details inside the bag or ensure it is well covered. You don’t need to advertise your details. E.g. If you have a bag with a name place, put your card with details towards the inside.

Watch your luggage. Never leave it. More luggage is stolen from the ground than lost from transportation.

2. On flight bag…what to carry

You and your under plane luggage can be parted. Your onboard luggage and your handbag are easier to keep tabs on. Make sure the bag complies with the airlines limits. They can refuse to carry, charge hold fees etc if not compliant. Name everything. Ensure your bag is well labelled. Enclose eye wear, tooth brush and paste, hair brush or comb, moisturiser and a change of underwear. Lost luggage and arrival clothes are not fun for 2 days waiting for lost luggage. A fresh set of under clothes is vital. Ensure medications, travel letters and a copy of documentation is also kept on board. Valuables should not be stored in the hold, take them on board. Phone, camera, jewellery, passports, money, travel checks etc should be carried in your hand bag or in a body belt. Pack a book or activity for in flight.

3. Carry what you know you need, not the spares

Most people just carry too much. You really only need a minimal number of underpants, not one for every day. Most times you can rinse or wash. The same with day clothes, evening wear, rationalize. Spare toiletries? Try buying them. What about the accessories. Do you want to carry these everywhere just in case? Get a seasoned travel friend to revise your bag and show you how to pack it, or read a book on it.

4. Travel with expectancy, good attitude and flexibility

I am yet to have a travel experience where all goes well and according to plan.

Take your attitude and flexibility pill before you go, especially with lost luggage. Handle schedule changes gracefully and ask for assistance with ongoing flights etc as needed.

Don’t harass the ones trying to assist you. You may be surprised to know that when the customer’s attitude is aggressive, accusing and harassing to the ground crew at the arrival destination, where they had nothing to do with the luggage becoming lost, some luggage will JUST never be found. A pleasant and polite attitude asking for their assistance without accusation will do more to track down your luggage than anything else. Always report lost luggage early and with good attitude.

Trauma with time becomes humour and a good story at the next party!

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