AT THE CLINIC

Your questions answered by our panel of travel experts, including a doctor and a lawyer

Wanted: Oz the hard way

I'm keen to do some trekking in the Outback of Australia but, serial killers aside, I've heard that the best routes are challenging to the point of being dangerous. Are there any good organised treks available (as manly as possible please - I need plenty of near-death experiences to report to my friends when I get home) or can you recommend any routes which are exciting but not life-threatening?

M Grady

Pewsey, Wiltshire

Jill Crawshaw replies: No problem about organised treks within Australia - there's a large choice varying from the relatively luxurious to the rough and ready, almost deprived.

Among Explore Worldwide's (01252 344161) selection, there's a 20-day Rain Forest and Reef tour using a special expedition four-wheel drive vehicle in the northern Queensland wilderness, camping in the rain forest and travelling back to the Barrier Reef by catamaran.

Groups are from about 15-20 people, and it costs pounds 2,195 from London back to London, or pounds 1,175 if you want to join the trek at Cairns. The company also has a new Kimberley wilderness tour combining the Northern Territories with the remote Kimberleys including the Bungle Bungles, travelling on rugged roads and bush camping. The 26-day tour costs pounds 2,l59 and pounds l,230 respectively.

If you fancy walking, specialist operator Sherpa Expeditions (0181 577 2717) has a new series of five to seven-day treks. A "Roof of Australia" seven-day walk among glacial lakes, snow gum woodlands and a climb up the country's highest peak, Mt Kosciusko (2,228m) costs pounds 591.

Quest Worldwide (0181 547 3322) has some great trekking ideas, particularly in Queensland. It runs special rain forest treks, wildlife tours and a six-day adventure trek (pounds 329) which includes white water rafting, hot air ballooning, jet boating or sea kayaking, a Karanda train trip and a Barrier Reef trip.

In South Australia, a seven-day camping camel trek to the Flinders Range costs pounds 465. If you want to play postman on the world's longest mail-run, you can hitch a ride (from pounds 545) on an air tour, visiting 28 small settlements and working stations in four days.

Jetset (0161 953 0920) runs carping adventures of varying length in four- wheel drive vehicles; a two and three-day safari from Ayers Rock costs pounds l00.

Lots of hip advice on downunder - where to "chill out, crash, stay cool and get the adrenaline buzz of your life" in The Great Escape available free from Austravel (0171 584 0202). The breaks last from two to 16 days. An eight-day Perth to Darwin trek costs pounds 412.

Other organisations well worth contacting are Trailfinders (0171 938 3939), which can tailor make any kind of trek for you, advise on itineraries and visas, travel passes and accommodation.

Also the Australian Tourist Commission (0990 561434) produces a useful free guide listing other trekking and camping companies, and factsheets on subjects such as bushwalking, camel treks, national parks, camping and other subjects.

2 Jill Crawshaw is a travel expert, writer and broadcaster

How to avoid sick children

My wife and I are planning to travel around Thailand for three weeks later this year and want to take our four-year-old son with us. We are naturally worried about him becoming sick during our stay and would like some advice on which jabs he would need, and whether he has to take anti-malaria tablets. Also, what sort of medications should we take with us? Finally, if he does get struck down by an upset stomach, what should we do?

John Signy

Ashington, Northumberland

Dr Gill Lea replies: With a small child it is worthwhile planning to avoid places where malaria tablets are required (nuisance of taking before, during and four weeks after the trip, possible side effects). In Thailand, main centres such as Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket are the lowest risk. Aim to keep away from border areas. If you want to go north, only visit rural or forested countryside by day and be back into Chiang Mai city by dusk. This reduces the malaria risk and you need not take tablets, but you should still try to reduce mosquito bites by wearing cover-up clothes and using insect repellant between dusk and dawn. It is also ideal to reduce bites in the daytime, as there can be mosquitoes carrying dengue fever. Seek medical advice about any unexplained fever, especially in the first month, but right up to a year after return. Check that your son is up to date with immunisations. Typhoid immunisation is advised. Most doctors don't recommend hepatitis A vaccine for small children - they get the disease mildly and gain life-long immunity.

The important points for treating diarrhoea in a child is firstly to prevent dehydration by giving plenty to drink (using an oral rehydration solution if possible). Small amounts of starchy foods are fine if he feels like it. Secondly, seek medical attention early, certainly after 24 hours. Oral rehydration solution is made from sachets of salts mixed with boiled or safe water - essential to carry for children. Other useful medication includes paediatric paracetamol, calamine lotion, mild insect repellant and sun screen.

l Dr Gill Lea is chief medical adviser at Trailfinders' immunisation clinic, 194 Kensington High Street, London W8 7RG (0171 938 3999)

HK here I come

I am planning to visit China in the forthcoming summer and hope to be in Hong Kong on 1 July to witness the final lowering of the Union Jack and the transfer of sovereignty back to China. Will I, as a British citizen, need a Chinese visa to stay in Hong Kong after 1 July this year?

Julia Franklin

London EC1

The Travel Editor replies: Basically, the situation concerning visas for Hong Kong and China is set to remain exactly the same as it is. Visas will not be required from the citizens of most Western countries for stays of up to three months (though the special status currently granted to British citizens, enabling them to stay for up to one year, is likely to be dropped).

Visas to enter China will still be required and these will continue to be obtainable in Hong Kong in the normal straightforward way, through any hotel or travel agent or from Chinese embassies abroad.

One of the implications of this is that there will be no free movement of people between the two territories. Curiously, the border between Hong Kong and China will have to remain in place exactly as it is today, and travellers passing through in either direction will need to have their documents stamped. The vast majority of Chinese citizens, contrary to their own expectations, will still not be permitted to enter Hong Kong.

Top to bottom?

Is it possible to drive from the northern tip of North America to the southern tip of South America? My husband and I are wondering how to save our souls from the rat-race and this is one of the options.

C Hannah

Manchester

The Travel Editor replies: By road you will probably never make it. Theoretically, you can drive as far south as Panama from North America, but from Yaviza, deep in the Panamanian rainforest, the Carretera Panamericana comes to an end.

From here the only land option is to take a dangerous, lengthy walk (a week or two) through the Darien Gap. No. Put your car on the ferry between Colon, Panama, and Cartagena, Colombia. From Colombia follow the west coast through Ecuador and Peru to Chile.

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Finacial products from our partners
Property search

Scottish independence: How will kilt-edged stocks fare?

Scottish companies were caned when the separatists surged in the polls. Is this the future, asks Simon Read, and would they be any better together?

Two million first-time buyers are locked out

The drought in lending to people with low deposits has created legions of frustrated buyers, writes Emma Lunn

Leaving money to charity in your will could help reduce the tax bill for your loved ones

Next week has been designated "remember a charity in your will week", to put the focus squarely on the subject
Money is slipping through our fingers: the UK is falling behind other countries in the amount we put away

How to save money: UK is crashing down the European league table for putting money away

The UK has slipped to 11th in the latest European league table of savers. Rob Griffin checks out the best options

Energy firms found guilty of bad practice could have licences revoked under Labour government

Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, says a Labour government would create a new energy regulator

A student's guide to financial survival: You don't have to drown in debt at university

Fresh from A-level delight, the moment does not have to be soured by students resigning themselves to thousands of pounds worth of debt in three years' time. Rob Griffin sees how to pass the university challenge

'Dismal' eurozone data sparks concerns

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi is under pressure to launch promised stimulus before the EU slides further
Love but not marriage: property is one area where cohabiting couples are in danger of losing out

How couples can protect their financial interests when cohabiting

People who simply live together cannot assume they have the same rights to each other's assets as spouses or civil partners. Michelle McGagh sees how they can protect their financial interests
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

    Quantitative Risk Manager

    Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits