Eleanor Barker answers your travel questions.
In heavy turbulence it can feel like the airplane is dropping and rising in a dramatic fashion, when in reality it is often less than a metre. We humans are much more sensitive to the rate of change, how fast you are going up or down, than the depth of the dip. Turbulence can very rarely cause a change of up to 100 metres, but it is almost always less than 30m.
In 2017 a scary study by Universities of East Anglia and Reading, published in Geophysical Research Letters, suggested that instances of extreme turbulence might be on the rise because of increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. The study predicted turbulence in the skies above Australia will increase by 50 per cent by 2050-2080. Do flyers need to be afraid? Probably not. There have only been six reported fatalities because of turbulence since 1980. All were caused by people not being buckled into their seats when the plane hit dangerous weather conditions.
I would love to do a short introductory cruise, maybe from Australia to New Zealand for a few days. Is this possible?
I had a wee hunt around for a three- or four-day cruise incorporating both New Zealand and Australia.
I quite like the looks of Cunard Line's MS Queen Elizabeth, launched in 2010 and refitted in 2018, which mostly cruises around our neck of the woods. The spacious vessel is described as a step back into the glamorous heyday of cruising, with "heritage not glitz, lawn bowls not waterslides". The interior design is reminiscent of the 1930s, with curved staircases and striking artwork lending to the opulence.
If you've never been on a cruise before you'll be as stunned as I was when I learned all the amazing possible distractions on board. Some of the highlights include the brand new spa complex, ballroom, in-house Royal Court Theatre, the Garden Lounge with vaulted glass ceiling and the games deck's croquet and bowls facilities. If you're a parent, you'll like that fully supervised programmes are included in the deal for 3 to 17-year-olds. Very specifically, I found a good deal on a four-day Queen Elizabeth cruise departing Melbourne on the February 2 on Cruise Sale Finder. Check it out.
If you're not too fussed about including Australia in your journey, your options open up. P&O's Pacific Aria does a three-day loop from Auckland with different themes such as "Food and Wine" and "Comedy". They're a bit more affordable than the MS Queen Elizabeth, too. If you feel that New Zealand could be dropped from your itinerary, P&O Cruises offer a wide range of shorter cruises sailing around Australia.
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