More than the price of bed and breakfast

Issue 

Women Travellers Accommodation Directory
Kaye Johnston & Andrea Lofthouse
A Moonraker Productions publication, 1995
P.O. Box 186, Berry, NSW 2535
88 pp., $9.95 postage paid in Australia
Reviewed by Kath Gelber
This project began when Johnston and Lofthouse became part of a network of women who liked to combine leisure with a little dirt under the fingernails work. They run an organic farm in Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales, and provide free accommodation for women who want to get away from it all in exchange for three hours' labour each day. As their farm is for lesbians, these helpers are called "Loofahs" — lesbians on organic farms as helpers. Their growing network of contacts led them to put together a directory of women-specific accommodation around Australia and New Zealand. As this is its first publication, the list is not huge and it is likely to expand over coming years. But in it you can find the holiday accommodation to suit you just about anywhere. Holiday spots are categorised according to facilities provided and the type of clientele. This includes general, lesbian only, women only and gay and lesbian. I was pleased to find one of my favourite weekend getaways included, and it looks like they have done quite a bit of homework — although they do caution that they haven't actually visited every entry in the book, but have had to rely on information provided to them. This, combined with the newness of the book, could lead to some surprises, but Johnston and Lofthouse remind you always to pre-book by phone. This also provides an opportunity to check out the validity of the written description. Entries include a variety of possible holiday activities, from bushwalking in secluded rainforests to walking on beaches, whale watching, skiing, horse riding and more. It's a useful alternative to your usual tourist directories which provide little information beyond the cost of a bed and breakfast. Once, travelling with my girl friend in Tasmania, I booked into a motel by phone only to discover they thought we were a Mr and Mrs and they were expecting to see us at the local church meeting! Discerning travellers will find this little book helpful in avoiding such holiday mishaps — even if they do provide you with dinner conversation for the next 12 months.