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News and Events October 2021

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CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF HISTORY

The Miles Back to the Bush Festival took place from 9–12 September this year, offering travellers a family friendly event and plenty of fun.

Since the 1950s, the Western Down Regional community of Miles and the smaller towns in the surrounding areas have come together biannually to celebrate the value of living in the bush.

The regional town opened up, including its country homes for travellers to tour the private, fascinating and quirky vintage collections of local residents. 

With plenty of markets, a street parade, chances to discover the region’s history, a tractor pull and cooking demos, the Miles Back to the Bush Festival offers plenty to do over the four-day event, with kids 12 and under entering the Saturday 11 September main event for free. 

Other events include World Record whip cracker, Nathan ‘Whippy’ Griggs’ nighttime and flaming show, the Rooftop Express Show and a new tour to explore the once-secret WWII explosive store holding bombs in concrete underground bunkers, Possum Park’s bunkers. 

Those stopping by can pre-register for the Beard Appreciation Event to win prizes for the best in numerous beard categories, including ‘The Nurtured’, ‘The Metro’, ‘The Mo’, ‘The Wannabeard’ and the ‘Beard in the Back (mullet)’, to name a few.

A free guided tour held on Friday 10 of a local gas production facility offers the opportunity to get an insight into the gas industry on the Western Downs, courtesy of festival sponsor, Origin Energy. 

The event will follow COVID Safe practices and asks visitors to do the same.


TRAVEL BOOKING ON THE RISE

Despite recent Australian lockdowns, Airbnb recently reported bookings increasing up to 52 per cent as COVID-19 restrictions ease around the world.

To help holidaymakers in their planning, Money.co.uk utilised Forbes’ bucket list of the top 50 places in the world to visit and searched each destination and review score Airbnb to create an overall average.

Waikato, New Zealand, took out the top score, with an Airbnb popularity rating of 100, closely followed by Beijing, China at 98 and Kerry, Ireland at 96.

Waikato is widely known for containing the longest river in New Zealand, the Waikato River, and the largest lake, Lake Taupo.

With the review of the suspended travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand to be reviewed in September, travel-hungry Aussies might have something to look forward to. 


STANTHORPE IS TURNING 150!

Returning for its 150th year, the Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival — held every second year — will run from 25 February to 6 March 2022. The Festival coincides with the town of Stanthorpe’s anniversary of 150 years, and the event will combine the usual harvest with a celebration of the town, its people and the stories of their history.

Must-see events include the Food and Wine Fiesta from 4 to 6 March, Busking Championships on 26 February, the Italian Long Lunch on 27 February and the Grand Parade on 5 March.

For some extravagance, the Apple and Grape Gala Ball will be held on 4 March for a must-do social event. Cellar doors to see grape harvest in action are open throughout the festival, along with tours of apple orchards. 

Accommodation should be booked well in advance as vacancies become scarce closer to the festival. 


PLATYPUS NUMBERS ON THE RISE

Following the 2019–2020 bushfires, a team, including researchers from the University of NSW, found that the platypuses on Kangaroo Island may be on the road to recovery.

Spending a week on the isolated Rocker River area of Flinders Chase National Park in late May, the researchers set traps to assess the species’ condition and population growth.

The traps caught healthy juvenile and adult platypuses, indicating their capacity to recover in the river. 

Dr Gilad Bino from the Platypus Conservation Initiative in the Centre for Ecosystem Science, at UNSW, said despite the positive findings, the results revealed the impact of the fires in some areas, such as at the Platypus Waterholes or East Melrose Track further upstream, with no platypus caught.

“This was likely a result of the dry conditions upstream which preceded the fires but also longer-lasting effects of the fires on the habitat and perhaps the platypuses,” he said.

The researchers successfully trapped two healthy juvenile females, two healthy juvenile males, and four mature platypuses, two of each gender, with the age of the juveniles meaning they were born after the 2020 fires.

This is great news for the recovering Kangaroo Island platypus population, with the researchers hoping to return to the island in September to complete the survey sampling to better understand the extent of recovery. 

“There is still so much to learn about the resilience and capacity of platypuses to recover from such extreme events which, unfortunately, are expected to increase under a changing climate,” Dr Bino said.

The Kangaroo Island community and visitors to the island are encouraged to help improve knowledge of the platypuses by reporting their observations using the iNaturalist app.

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