Prepare for a healthy holiday with this A-to-E guide

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Most ill health can be avoided on family holidays through research and planning in advance, plus smart packing. from
Irani Thevarajan, University of Melbourne

So your well-earned holiday is finally here. But before you pack your swim gear, magazines and camera, take a moment to think about your health.

Experiencing an illness in a foreign destination can be very challenging. Obviously it will reduce the quality of your trip, but it can also leave travellers with unexpected costs and exposed to a foreign medical system. On occasion, serious complications can follow.

More than nine million Australians travel internationally per year, with most trips undertaken by people between the ages of 25 and 55. The top ten most popular destinations for Australians are New Zealand, Indonesia, the USA, UK, Thailand, China, Singapore, Japan, Fiji and India.

A range of new health problems can be encountered during travel, and existing health problems can be exacerbated. Staying healthy is all about being informed, prepared and sensible.

The leading causes of infection-related illness during travel are travellers’ diarrhoea, respiratory infections and infections transmitted by mosquitoes.

Minimise your chances of experiencing these by following a simple ABCDE.

A: Allow time to prepare

Around popular holiday periods, it pays to allow plenty of time to book an appointment at a travel clinic, or a local medical clinic that offers travel vaccinations.

Some vaccinations have two or three doses and may need four weeks for the course to be completed. Examples include vaccines for Japanese encephalitis and rabies.

If travelling as a family, several visits may be required for preparing children for travel certain destinations.

Indonesia is a popular holiday destination for Australians. rueful/flickr, CC BY

Keep in mind that your travel medicine practitioner may need detailed information about your exact itinerary, your past childhood vaccinations, your medical history and medications. If you have all this information readily available, you can get the most out of your travel consultation.

If you have an existing medical condition, get checked out to make sure it’s being managed as expected. For example, blood pressure medications may need to be adjusted if your blood pressure is either too high or too low.

Yellow fever immunisations and other live vaccines – those that contain active components – should be avoided if you are on medications that reduce your immunity, such as steroids like prednisolone. You may need alterations to immunosuppressive medications some weeks before you travel, or an official letter exempting you from a vaccine that is necessary for entry into certain countries (as is the case with yellow fever vaccine).

B: Behaviour - think about it

Holiday makers often seek to get out of their comfort zones. But it’s worth avoiding the temptation to completely let your hair down: behaviours you would never entertain in the home setting should be avoided in a foreign setting as well. You may also need to alter some of your daily living behaviours.

Traveller’s diarrhoea can largely be avoided by using bottled water in any setting that you consume water, including staying hydrated, brushing your teeth, washing fruit and salads, and making ice blocks and other drinks.

Eat food from venues that appear to adhere to good food hygiene standards – although this can be difficult to judge. Avoid hawker food or street food where items may have been left for long periods at temperatures where bacteria can multiply. When uncertain of hygiene standards, selecting packaged food is the safest choice.

Respiratory infections are common in travellers. If you find yourself in a crowded setting where someone appears unwell and is coughing, create a distance to reduce the risk of being infected. Alcohol-based hand gels are useful to maintain hand hygiene and may protect you from infection due to common colds and other viruses that linger on surfaces.

Smart packing is also important. You should travel with sunscreen and clothes that protect you from sun exposure, and repellent that has an active component to repel insects if travelling to an area where mosquitoes can transmit infections such as dengue, Zika and malaria.

Dengue is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. echbirmingham/flickr, CC BY

Avoid acquiring a sexually transmitted infection by using barrier protection (condoms) for sexual intercourse.

C: Check safety, and have a check up

Review travel warnings at a reputable website, such as SmartTraveller.

A general check up is advised to ensure your health is stable. Health conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes or a lowered immune system may put you at greater risk of travellers’ diarrhoea. Cancer or recent operations can increase risk of developing a blood clot.

Check ups are also a good opportunity to ensure that your vaccinations are up-to-date (see below).

D: Drugs (medications) and vaccines are vital

Medications that can reduce the time or severity of travellers’ diarrhoea are recommended for almost any destination, but particularly when travelling to developing countries where food hygiene standards can be variable. Examples include antibiotics such as azithromycin that treat bacterial causes of diarrhoea, and drugs such as tinidazole to treat parasitic causes of diarrhoea.

Medications such as doxycycline or malarone that protect against being infected with malaria are recommended in some regions within Africa, Asia, South America and the Pacific.

Zika virus infection generally causes a mild illness or no symptoms at all. Pregnant female travellers are advised to avoid travel to a Zika endemic area. Couples planning a pregnancy in the near future should seek advice from a health professional if travelling to a Zika endemic country.

Sunburn can easily be prevented with appropriate clothing, hats and sunscreen. nicksie2008/flickr, CC BY

If you’re travelling to destinations that are above 2500 metres (such Cusco in Peru), talk to your doctor about medications that help prevent or manage altitude sickness.

The normal schedule of vaccinations provided to Australians may not cover you for illnesses found in your holiday destination. Extra vaccinations are necessary for certain destinations.

For example, yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause anything from mild fevers to a severe illness involving multiple organs. Vaccination against yellow fever is required for entry into countries with known yellow fever transmission, and for returning back to Australia if visiting an area of known transmission.

Australians may consider vaccinations against the following diseases before travel to popular holiday destinations:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Rabies
  • Tuberculosis
  • Typhoid
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Yellow fever
  • Cholera
  • Measles
  • Polio
  • Tetanus

A full list of countries and recommended vaccinations has been compiled by the USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The ConversationEven if you’re previously been vaccinated for some of these conditions, as time passes you may require boosters to strengthen your immunity.

E: Enjoy your trip!

Relax, you’ve earned a break. from

Irani Thevarajan, Honorary Fellow Nossal Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases Physician, University of Melbourne

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Queen's Park Rotunda

The Jubilee Bandstand also known as Queen's Park Rotunda or Jubilee Rotunda is built in a Federation Carpenter Gothic style, displaying a vigorous and confident use of timber craftsmanship, with elaborate balusters, posts, capitals, brackets and bosses.

Image:  Jarrah Tree

Image:  Jarrah Tree

The Rotunda is an open-sided pavilion, situated on the south side of Stirling Terrace, overlooking the Memorial Gardens, the railway station and Princess Royal Harbour. It is positioned at pavement level approximately 3.5 metres from the kerb. A curved granite retaining wall forms the base of the rotunda and steps lead down to Proudlove Parade.

The rotunda is a decorative open sided pavilion on a half ellipse design. It is built in a Federation Carpenter Gothic style, displaying use of timber craftsmanship, with elaborate balusters, posts, capitals, brackets and bosses. A curved granite retaining wall forms the base of the rotunda and steps lead down to Proudlove Parade. It has a central gabled entrance, facing Stirling Terrace, and is the only entrance to the rotunda. This gabled section appears to be a recently added item. A perimeter timber balustrades is continuous around the rotunda interrupted only at the entrance. Timber posts and beams support a timber framed, zinc clad roof.

In 1890, the Mayor of Albany, John Moir, proposed that the embankment along Stirling Terrace be converted to parkland. The embankment on which the pavilion is located was a rubbish tip before the stand was built.The surrounds were converted to parkland, known as Queens Park, and were opened in 1897 to honour Queen Victoria on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.

Construction of the bandstand commenced in 1897. The bandstand was designed by Robert Greenshields and built local carpenter and joiner by Nobby Clark. The state government contributed £150, the council voted £90 with additional revenue raised by public subscription. It was opened in May 1898.

The Chairman of the Bandstand committee was John Moir, who handed the bandstand over to the new Mayor, William Grills Knight

The rotunda was used regularly for events such as concerts, public addresses and ceremonial occasions such as the reception of the official party for Great White Fleet in 1908. In the late 1940s the covered entrance to the bandstand was removed and the size of the park was reduced when roads and parking bays were introduced into the area.

Repairs to the bandstand were carried out in 1972 it was entered onto the Register of the National Estate in 1977, and in 1992 further restoration work was carried out on the bandstand.

The place has historic value owing to its association of the setting aside of Queens Park, Albany, as a public reserve in commemoration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee
example of a civic amenity partially funded by public subscription and As a former focal point for local entertainment, the place has landmark qualities owing to its location on the edge of Stirling Terrace commanding sweeping views of the harbour and railway station facilities.
The rotunda makes an important contribution to the street scape of Stirling Terrace and is part of a group of important heritage places.

Fernhook Falls - Walpole Wilderness

Fernhook Falls is more a series of cascades than a single waterfall, and is a lovely spot to visit in the rainy season. In a remote patch of native forest, the Deep River tumbles over rocks through a number of lush pools.  The Deep River has its beginnings 52 km north near Lake Muir and flows through forested areas of National Park including the Walpole-Nornalup National Park and meanders another 42 km before discharging into the Nornalup Inlet. Deep River is one of the purest rivers in the south West because 95% of its journey is through forested catchment areas.

The falls are easily reached up a good gravel road, about 6km from the main highway.  We hadn’t seen a single car all day.  At the car park a trail took us through the bush to the biggest cascade, where the river descends under the road bridge.  It wasn't really cascading, rather just a little trickle stream, but still very pretty, relaxing and peaceful.

The water may not drop a great height, but after rain in winter and spring the horizontal expanse of the main falls and surrounding rapids can be a delightful sight. And a delightful sound too; one not often experienced in the WA bush. It was so quiet with only the sounds of trickling water.  There were numerous small cascades which provided us the opportunity for us to go rock-hopping to find different viewpoints.

Continuing downstream, the trail passes other cascades and ends up at Rowel's pool.   There was a great trail/walkway to follow down the river with toilets and an interpretative centre at the carpark.


Walpole Wilderness

We recently had a few free days, after a very busy end to last year and a busy start to 2017.  We packed the car and headed to the Walpole Wilderness.

Mount Frankland National Park is a national park in the Walpole Wilderness, in the South West region of Western Australia, 327 km south of Perth.  Dominated by an impressive granite peak, Mount Frankland National Park covers approximately 31000 hectares of karri, jarrah and tingle forest as well as expanses of treeless heathland.

It covers the low granite hills to the north of the town of Walpole and is covered largely by forests of karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor) and red tingle (Eucalyptus jacksonii), two of the world's largest trees. The three tingle species are unique to the area between the park and the coast and the only eucalypts to be buttressed, a feature which reflects the moist conditions prevailing within the park. On exposed areas where continuous rain washes away soil, a low heathland is the dominant vegetation.

From the top of Mount Frankland you have 360 degree views of the Walpole Wilderness. The forests, wetlands and heathlands below you are home many unique plants and animals.  Mount Frankland National Park is home to a rich array of birds, from eagles that soar high above the peak to colourful fairy wrens and robins that flit through the forest.

We followed “The Summit trail” to the towerman’s lookout on top of Mount Frankland. While the walk was strenuous, the views made it worthwhile – on a clear day you can see the Porongurup and Stirling ranges in the east and the Southern Ocean to the south.  It was pretty cloudy when we were at the top but still worth the climb.  To get there we needed to climb a ladder and over 300 steep steps.  That was a challenge for Maggie as she has a fear of heights, but bravo!! She did it.

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From the opinions of those who have actually stayed to at HideAway Haven and Star Ratings Australia independent quality standards; you can trust HideAway Haven to exceed your expectations.

We know that travellers visit various websites before making their booking and that all of these sites feature guest reviews and ratings. That’s why the Gold List represents the ultimate form guide for Australian accommodation. and we are proud to be both REgional and State Winners.

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South Coast Region is a Biodiversity Hotspot

The Southwest of Australia Hotspot occupies some 356,717 km and our Amazing South Coast Region is part of this hotspot.  This hotspot is one of five Mediterranean-type ecosystems in the world, most rain falls during the winter months and the summers are characteristically dry.

Honey Possums eat nectar from flowers. Photo Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies.

Honey Possums eat nectar from flowers. Photo Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies.

Our South Coast Region makes up part of Australia's only biodiversity hotspot - and is just one of 35 biodiversity hotspots around the world. Almost 80 percent of the plant species in our region are found no where else on earth. The diverse range of wild flowers, forests and native animals found in our Amazing South Coast all contribute to the rare and unique nature of the region. 

What’s a Hotspot?

To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot, a region must meet two strict criteria:

  • It must have at least 1,500 vascular plants as endemics — which is to say, it must have a high percentage of plant life found nowhere else on the planet. A hotspot, in other words, is irreplaceable.
  • It must have 30% or less of its original natural vegetation. In other words, it must be threatened.

Around the world, 35 areas qualify as hotspots. They represent just 2.3% of Earth’s land surface,but they support more than half of the world’s plant species as endemics — i.e., species found no place else — and nearly 43% of bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species as endemics.  

Southwest Australia is one of 25 original global hotspots for wildlife and plants, and the first one identified in Australia.

Since the first analysis identifying biodiversity hotspots in 2000, the list has expanded, and now 35 hotspots are recognised, two in Australia: the Southwest and the forests of east Australia.

Biodiversity hotspots are defined as regions “where exceptional concentrations of endemic species are undergoing exceptional loss of habitat”. As many as 44% of all species of native plants and 35% of all species in four animal groups are confined to the original 25 hotspots, which comprise only 1.4% of Earth’s land surface.

This opens the way for a conservation strategy, focusing on these hotspots in proportion to their share of the world’s species at risk.

According to Conservation International’s assessment, southwestern Australia is one of the biodiversity hotspots with the most opportunities to save species and habitats because of our relatively low population pressures. So it makes perfect sense to concentrate a large conservation effort here to protect those habitats and restore what we can of the losses.

Source: Conservation International

Our Amazing South Coast Region is home to some of Australia’s most iconic species, such as the tiny nectar and pollen-feeding Honey possum, the termite-eating numbat, western swamp tortoise (is one of Australia's most endangered reptiles. It has the smallest surviving population of any Australian reptile. The Western Swamp Tortoise is listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.), red capped parrot and The Brush-tailed bettong or Woylie (now currently listed as Critically Endangered)

There are places on Earth that are both biologically rich — and deeply threatened. For our own sake, we must work to protect them.

Southwest Australia, which harbours an astonishing 7,239 vascular plant species, almost 80% of which are found nowhere else in the world

Daring to Dream Big while Singing Loudly above the Noise

We headed off to Perth for the Telstra Business Awards.  We are finalists in the Micro Business Category.  With over 2,000 entries, we felt humbled to be one of only 23 finalists.

On one of my (Maggie's) early morning walks I met a magpie.  He was such a happy little bird.  There was construction going on all around, the noise of the lawnmower was deafening, but he was singing loudly over the noise.  This magpie had no control over his environment or personal space.  His challenge was to be heard above the noise and not let the noise spoil his day.

That was a special moment I collected that day.

As small business owners we have challenges to overcome in an environment of construction and noise, do we sing loudly in the morning?

As life partners, in our mid fifties we dared to dream big.  A life of being together and working together.  Our own successful business in a niche market while living in paradise.  Our dream is now a successful reality.

We have had to overcome challenges and obstacles, but every morning we dare to sing loudly above the noise.

At HideAway Haven we love love being part of creating special lifetime memories and emotional connections for our guests as they experience our beautiful corner of the world, which we call paradise.

Our goal is to continue to inspire others to sing loudly above the noise, to be heard in their small business, just as that special magpie did this morning.

Singing loudly above the noise HideAway Haven dreaming big

While you are travelling through our Albany Region, stay with us and discover and experience rather than just visit our beautiful corner.  With 5 star luxury starting with a warm room, big comfortable bed, top quality bed linen, big white fluffy robes and so much more you will leave leave with life time memories.

HideAway Haven luxury accommodation in Albany on the South Coast of Western Australia.

Swap the sound of noisy traffic for chirping birds

I love my early morning walks down to the beach and watching the sun climb out of the ocean as I welcome another amazing day in the Albany Region.  

But a sunrise in the middle of the bush is just another magical start to the day.  Away from the noise of traffic, people, dogs I love welcoming a brand new day with the chirping birds, calls of the wild and the breeze rustling through the leaves. I love listening to the magpies as they chatter to each other, the little birds singing in the trees, the kangaroos grazing in the distance and other Aussie Critters rustling through the undergrowth. 

Good Morning and welcome to another beautiful day in our town - our Albany

HideAway Haven 5 star hosted luxury accommodation in Albany on the South Coast of Western Australia.  Bed and Breakfast with a comfortable bed and gourmet breakfast.

Albany Region for the Experience Seeker

In every out-thrust headland,
in every curving beach,
in every grain of sand
there is the story of the earth. 

- Rachel Carson

John will take you closer to the awesome coastline of Albany than any other boat trip and at an exciting and exhilarating pace with his Wave Rider. Leaving Discovery Bay John will take you on a adventure around Bald Head towards the new viewing platform at The Gap. 

On your return John will take you to see Limestone Head, Bald Head, Isthmus, Salmon Holes, Peak Head, Jimmy Newells Harbour, Cable Beach and much more.  John is working on plans to make this a regular trip.

I love seeing the open ocean stretching forth endlessly into the distance and riding the waves on that open ocean was just awesome.

Thank you Skyprints for your awesome photo and video footage.

Autumn in the Albany Region

Autumn at HideAway Haven - our favourite season

"bliss in the bush"

"Yet Autumn is here, like another Spring, 
a ministering, kindly season, healing the wounds of that too ardent love
which Summer gave.  - C. J. Dennis

The mornings are cool and crisp with mist settling into the valleys. Watch the sun rise and mist lift as you sit on your deck, wrapped up in your cosy white gown with a warm cuppa in warming your hands.

With a huge variety of beautiful natural scenery and so many things to do and experience, Albany Region is a destination to discover and experience in autumn. 

Albany’s mild and mostly-sunny autumn weather is absolutely perfect for enjoying the outdoors on a picnic or a long hike in one of our many National Parks.  See our Walks and Hike guide.  Some days the weather is warm enough to spend the day at the beach and enjoy a swim in the crystal blue waters of the Southern Ocean.  

And to mix it up a little there will be some cool and rainy days to entice you to go for a scenic drive, wine tasting or maybe a long winery lunch at one of the many wineries in our region.

"Make the change from visiting to discovering and experiencing the Albany Region" 

Why the Albany Region is a compelling choice for a relaxing discovery break.

Dedicated Discoverer - Want to escape the daily grind? Looking for an authentic experience? Looking for adventure?

Aspirational Achievers - do you view travel and holidays as a reward for your hard work and success in life? Are you looking for a wine, food and activity based holiday?

Experience Seekers (International) - Do you want to challenge yourself? Visit authentic destinations off the tourist route?  Exposure to unique and compelling experiences? Grow as an individual and stay healthy?

Discover the Albany Region and enjoy a memorable experience in a nature based environment. 

Make the change from Visiting to Discovering and Experiencing.

Albany and our surrounding region offer tourists an experience like no other.
National and local attractions, beautiful natural surrounds and wildlife, farmers markets, events and festivals,  restaurants, bars and shops — Albany has it all.

Add to this the surrounding offerings all within an easy drive—  pristine beaches, national parks and a wonderful selection of regional wineries — Albany Region is a tourism destination which truly has something for everyone.

Early Morning Beach Walk from HideAway Haven

HideAway Haven - destination for food experiences

Research shows that Australia’s strongest associations with food and wine suggests fresh produce, fresh seafood, high grade meat and unique outdoor dining most heartily tempt the tastebuds of international travellers.  The research also showed that for people who have never visited Australia, only 26 per cent associate the destination with a good food and wine offering. However, for those who have visited, Australia is ranked second across the 15 major markets for its food and wine experiences (60 per cent) behind France and ahead of Italy (third). More importantly though, for visitors from China, USA, France, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the UK and South Korea, Australia is ranked as the number one destination for food and wine.  (Source Tourism Australia)

The enjoyment of food and wine is integral to the experience offered by HideAway Haven. Quality ingredients and fresh organic produce,  are a common theme enjoyed by all our guests.

Albany holds one of the richest, most undiscovered wine and food regions in Australia.  Why not enjoy the ultimate in food and escape to HideAway Haven,  and enjoy an incredible undiscovered food, wine and landscape experience.  

Gourmet Platter from Oranje Tractor wine

Hands on private cooking classes can be arranged with appropriate notice at an additional cost.  These include


It's variety that makes it so exciting

There is nothing monotonous or boring about our Albany weather, and it's because of its diversity that we have such wonderful landscapes and countryside. 

While most of Australia will be experiencing record temperatures with no end in sight, we will be “enjoying” another cool summer. 

The relentless blue skies and hot burning sun became very exhausting.  In Albany even on a warm day our sea breeze kicks in early afternoon to bring refreshing relief from the heat.  No need for air conditioning, just open up the windows.  

We think "cold" is when the white flakes come down, and we don't experience winters like that in Albany, unless you are on top of Bluff Knoll. Albany winters are quite mild and you can often find a sunny spot on a beach somewhere that is sheltered from wind to enjoy hours of real warmth. 

Most days are very comfortable, but it's important to be prepared for both cold and warm weather. Pack wisely, dress in layers and you will be able to enjoy Albany whatever the weather conditions.

Photo ©

Albany Region for the Aspirational Achievers, Dedicated Discoverers and Experience Seekers

Have you been working too hard lately?

Stress levels through the roof?

Do your energy levels need a serious boost?

It sounds like it is time for you to take action and put your well-being, health and happiness top of your priority list.

Booking and planning a holiday, even if it is still months away, will give you something to look forward to and you will be surprised at how good it makes you feel now.

Our time is limited and as such very precious and our holiday time even more so. For many busy working professionals it is important to book a holiday that can tick lots of boxes – an ultimate combination holiday, complete with experiences, discoveries and achievements. Being able to explore a destination that you have always wanted to go to is a wonderful way to reinvigorate yourself to the wonders of the world and its people. Of course you will need some time to rest and have relax in order to recharge those exhausted batteries. Add in some  feel good factor for your body and soul –yoga is great for your body as well as your mind and soul.

Why not book yourself an Rest and Relax Long Weekend at HideAway Haven.  Try Sup Yoga at one of our many stunning beaches, or Flying High Yoga on your deck, indulge in a massage and end the day with a RAW Food cooking class.  

During your stay why not try one of the many Experiences or Discoveries that our Albany Region has to offer, from Sailing to Abseiling, walking or cycling or just discover some of Albany's rich history, ocean wilderness, food or wine.

Albany Region for the Experience Seeker - Abseiling

You are standing on a completely safe platform. Everything inside you is telling not to do this; you stay where you are. But everyone else around you is yelling at you ‘go for it!’.

Your heart is racing; your palms are starting to feel a bit sweaty. You go through the instructions again. You check your gear one last time, procrastinating for just a few more moments. For the hundredth time in 5 minutes you ask your instructor ‘Do you have me, right?’

You take a long deep breath in and against all logic, you step backwards off that completely safe platform. Backwards into that perfectly empty space, connected only by 11mm of high tech nylon and polyester rope, a harness, a helmet and a gadget called a descender.

Welcome to the sport of abseiling.

Scary as it sounds, abseiling is one of the great adventures that thousands of people enjoy every year in Albany region.

Abseiling programs are run by Outdoor Discoveries in the Torndirrup National Park or with Adventure Training Consultants

Editorial Joslyn van Nieuwkerk