Sydney Morning Herald - July 2011

Tripologist: Pre-dawn drop-off
Michael Gebicki
July 17, 2011

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North Beach, Gallipoli Peninsular, Turkey. Photo: Mike Bowers
Pre-dawn drop-off, not overnight in the trenches
My wife and I would like to attend the Anzac Day dawn service at Gallipoli next year. Are you able to advise on tour options? Our preference is for a tour that drops us off near Anzac Cove about 1-2am, rather than spending the entire evening camped out. R. Cook, Miranda.

The experts at Australian War Memorial Battlefield Tours (awm.gov.au/about/battletour) have the very thing. The official agent for the Australian War Memorial, AWM Battlefield Tours has been operating tours to Gallipoli for 17 years and if you want authenticity and expertise, they are unbeatable.

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Accommodation for the Gallipoli part of its tour is about 10 minutes away from the Anzac Cove site where the dawn service takes place on April 25. This site fills up hours in advance and your guide will wake you early to leave the hotel and obtain a good spot. AWM’s 11-day Gallipoli Battlefield Tour includes time in Istanbul and a week at the Gallipoli site, where you will have comprehensive tours with a battlefield guide from the Australian War Memorial. Places are available and you should register your interest now. You can phone them on 1800 035 350.

Your Rome away from home
We are looking at going to Dublin next April via Singapore, then to either Paris, Rome or Austria. There are seven of us (three adults, three children under six and one infant). Is Paris or Rome a better option for parks and things to do with the kids? What chance do we have of finding two- or three-bedroom accommodation in Singapore and Europe? L. Latham, Bathurst.

For me, the scales tip in favour of Rome simply because the weather is going to be warmer and with young kids in the picture, that will make your travels a lot easier. You should be able to sit outside at the cafe tables in Piazza Navona while they molest the pigeons and you won’t have to bundle them up in multiple layers.

The Villa Borghese Gardens might be a good place to let them off the leash. It’s a wonderful part of the city and central to a lot of attractions. Finding apartment-style accommodation should be no problem in Rome. Worldwide Accommodation (worldwide-accom.net) is operated by former Melburnians Leon and Jill Krammer. They have dishy Rome apartments on their books that would suit your needs and their prices are reasonable. Alternatives include Home Away (holiday-rentals.co.uk), Rental in Rome (rentalinrome.com) and Sunny Rome Apartments (sunnyromeapartments.com).

In Singapore, an apartment that would meet your needs is going to cost a bomb. You could probably fit into two hotel rooms and this will certainly be cheaper. Go to Wego (wego.com), key in “Singapore” and you can set the filters for your price range and other criteria. Don’t forget to click on the “Reviews” button before you book.

Short New England strolls, with a classical bent
My husband and I are travelling to New York for two weeks in late August-early September, spending a week in New York, then hiring a car for seven days to see parts of New England. Can you suggest some sights that will give us an overview of the area but won’t involve driving for more than one-to two hours a day? Would you recommend hiring a car from New York or getting a train to Boston and hiring one there? L . Freeland, Northwood.

Gorgeous scenery is to New England what whisky is to Scotland but if your driving is restricted to a maximum of two hours a day, your options are limited. If you can stretch your time behind the wheel, here’s a possible route. First of all, though, hiring a car from New York City is challenging. Take the train to Boston and hire from there. Also, a GPS will make your travels a lot easier.

From Boston, take the Massachusetts Turnpike Route 90 west as far as Stockbridge, which should take you just more than two hours. This is the heart of a heart-thumpingly glorious part of New England known as the Berkshires.

If you’re musically inclined, you might want to take in a performance at the Tanglewood Festival (bso.org) at nearby Lenox. This is one of the world’s big summer music festivals – Woodstock without mud and disrobing – and it attracts some of the cream of classical music. From there, slowly journey north along Highway 7 as far as Bennington in the Green Mountains of southern Vermont. Pick up Highway 100 as it meanders through the countryside until you reach the junction with Interstate 89, turn east to Montpelier, then take Highway 2, which will take you through New Hampshire and into Maine.

At Bangor, head south to Acadia National Park, one of the maritime glories of New England. From Acadia, drive north to the junction with Highway 1 and follow it on a wandering journey along the Maine coast until the intersection with Highway 95, which will return you to Boston.

The Labour Day weekend, from September 3-5 this year, is the last holiday period before school resumes, so many families will be on the road. If I were you, I would be bunkering down in Boston or NYC during that weekend and visiting the local sights.

Branching out on Cyprus routes
We are off to Greece, Cyprus and the islands next month. What is public transport like in Cyprus? We will be going to Larnaca, Nicosia and Paphos. Is public transport the best option between these towns or should we hire a car? If hiring a car, should we book from Australia or book on arrival? G. Harrison, Marayong.

If you only want to travel from one town to another you won’t need a hire car. If you want to explore off the beaten track – and if you feel confident coping with the thrilling danger sport that Cypriots know as driving – then a hire car is the way to go. If you decide to hire, do it from Australia.

Public transport, pictured, is limited to buses and service taxis, which are shared taxis or minibuses that run on fixed inter-urban routes. Service taxis can be booked in advance and they offer a door-to-door service. When on the island, phone the Cyprus Interurban Taxi Co on 7777 7474. Do an internet search for “media visit Cyprus” and you should find a Domestic Transport Services file with information on the island’s transport options with prices, by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation.