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AFF Gathering #14 in CBR on 4 - 6 December 2020

Added to Calendar: 04-12-20, 05-12-20, 06-12-20

**This event is now fully booked! For those who've already registered, this thread contains important information & updates about the weekend. We look forward to seeing you soon.**

Canberra has been chosen as the AFF Annual Gathering destination for 2020, occurring over the weekend of the 4th to 6th December; this will be the second time the event has been held in the final month of the year. The average temperature range for December is 11.9ºC to 26.3ºC. The average rainfall is 53.2mm with 7 rainy days. It is Australia's eighth most populous city (as of June 2018) representing 1.83% of Australia.

Canberra has previously played host to an Annual Gathering, as the fifth city chosen in the fourth year (2011). On that occasion, 13 attendees made the journey. Canberra is not the first city to play host twice, with Melbourne previously taking that honour as the first (2008) and eighth (2014); Adelaide as the second (2008) and twelfth (2018); and more recently Sydney as the third (2009) and thirteenth (2019).

Helping to organise this year will be @support & @Mattg.

If you're attending, we recommend downloading the Check in CBR App. Due to COVID-19, please be mindful to practice good hygiene and social distancing where possible. If you are unwell, please do not attend.




Schedule

Here is the itinerary for the weekend:

Friday 4th December
To start the weekend, we'll be holding a dinner at Southern Cross Yacht Club, Yarralumla. You are welcome to arrive between 6.30pm-7.30pm for drinks at the bar, and dinner will be served from 7.30pm-9.30pm. There will be a fixed 3-course menu (we can account for dietary requirements), and the cost is $59 per person. Drinks will be available for purchase from the bar on the night.

Saturday 5th December - morning activities

Saturday Activity Option 1 - Parliament House tour

We'll meet at Parliament House and join a 30-minute public tour of the building. There is no cost for this activity - you'll just need to make your own transport arrangements to/from Parliament House. You must be at Parliament House by 10.15am, in preparation for the tour which will take place from 10.30-11am. We'll meet outside the main entrance, before the security checkpoint.

Saturday Activity Option 2 - visit to Australian War Memorial
Join other AFF members for a visit to Australian War Memorial. Please note that tours are not currently available, so you'll be visiting as a guest. There is no cost for this activity - you'll just need to make your own transport arrangements to/from Australian War Memorial. Meet outside the main entrance at 11.30am.

Saturday Activity Option 3 - Full-day winery tour
This will be a full-day winery tour with a maximum of 10 people, running from around 9.30am until approximately 3.30pm. You'll be picked up from Pepper's Gallery Hotel in Civic in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle and visit 3 wineries in the Canberra region. The cost is $190/person and includes lunch at Olleyville as well as a professional guide for the day. Note: This tour includes visits to wineries in NSW and it is recommended that you eat breakfast before joining the tour.

Saturday 5th December - evening
On Saturday evening, we'll be holding a dinner at Kingston Hotel. Before the dinner, there will be an optional one-hour Frequent Flyer Points Masterclass + Q&A session hosted by AFF editor Matt Graham from 6-7pm. This event is sponsored by Frequent Flyer Solutions and attendance is free, but you'll need to register.

After this, the main dinner will commence at 7.15pm. There will be a guest speaker at this dinner. Members will be able to order and pay for food & drinks on the night - no pre-payment is required.

Sunday 6th December
On Sunday we're offering a sightseeing tour to some of Canberra's best outdoor spots.

Sunday Tour - Mt Ainslie, Lanyon Homestead & Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Departing from Pepper's Hotel at 9.45am on Sunday morning, we'll visit Mt Ainslie for panoramic views over Canberra before heading to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in the south of Canberra, where you'll see some of the local wildlife including koalas and we'll stop for a short walk. Along the way, we'll visit Lanyon Homestead for a homestead heritage tour and lunch at the Barracks Café. We'll return to the airport by 4.45pm & the city at around 5pm. The cost is $80/person excluding lunch. This tour will remain entirely within the ACT and we recommend bringing a bottle of water with you.
 
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I have been keeping an eye on the preparations for this event for some time in the hope that I could arrange one of our regular Canberra trips to occur at the right time. That has been sorted now.

So, please add Mrs. jxv and myself to your list of attendees who are waiting for the travel restrictions for (regional) Victorians to be relaxed.

I would like to make a suggestion for a change to the title of this event. I think it should be known as the: “Inaugural Annual Get-Together of the Australian Frustrated Flyers”.
 

Glider_

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Well I still have my trusty Rydges booking ready to go, but unless Clive gets his way I don't think us sandgropers stand a chance...
 

Bazzi

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A good offer through Luxury Escapes for the Hotel Kurrajong - $299 for two nights with breakfast and bottle of wine on arrival
 

Mattg

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We have been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to prepare for the CBR gathering. I'm pleased to say that we now have a fairly good plan for the weekend and will soon be able to start taking bookings!

It's been very difficult to plan ahead for this because we don't yet know which state/territory borders will be open in December and what COVID-19 restrictions may be in place. But it currently looks like people from ACT, NSW, QLD, NT, SA and TAS should be able to get to Canberra from 4-6 December. We're hoping that some Victorians and Western Australians might also be able to come, but this will depend on current restrictions being lifted.

I know many AFF members have already said they are planning to come in this thread. But clearly a lot has changed since this thread was started, so I am asking all AFF members that are still planning to come (and will be able to given the border restrictions) to fill out this Expression of Interest form ASAP. That will give us an idea of how many people to expect and which activities will be able to go ahead. Once we have a rough idea of what to expect, we'll open up full reservations & payments.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions in the ACT, many restaurants, tourist attractions & tours currently have capacity limitations (or are closed). For example, we will be limited to around 30-35 people at each of the dinners. And many of the Canberra attractions are not currently offering group tours.

I had originally planned to run a winery tour for 20-30 people on the Sunday. This is unfortunately not possible as most wineries cannot accept groups of more than 10 people at the moment. (Also, most of the wineries are in NSW which may be an issue for folks coming from QLD.) I've been speaking to the people at Canberra Winery Tours, and they are able to provide a tour for 10 people on either the Saturday and/or Sunday. If there's enough interest, we could have winery tours on both days. Otherwise, it may just be offered on the Saturday. The price would be around $225/person, which I realise is a bit expensive, but would include full-day experience with visits to at least 3 wineries and a professional guide, and lunch & transport is all included. 100% of the money will go to local Canberra businesses.

Since we can only have 10 people on a winery tour, I decided to organise an alternative tour for Sunday visiting Mt Ainslie, Lanyon Homestead and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to the south of Canberra. This tour would have a limit of 20 people.

Before the main dinner on Saturday night, we'll also be holding a Frequent Flyer Points Masterclass + Q&A which I will host. This will be free, and is optional. It will take place at Kingston Hotel, right before the dinner.

You'll now find a full draft schedule for the weekend in post #2 of this thread.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the weekend. Although it's been a bit of a nightmare trying to organise this, I think it will be a great weekend! I'm looking forward to seeing many of you there. :D

Once again, if you are planning to come please fill out this form -
 

oz_mark

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The optimistic me has filled the form in. But borders, and flights, may be my undoing. Still, there are 6 weeks to go, but hey, it's 2020, anything could happen
 

AIRwin

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We will be driving, so have space in car for 2 - 3 (back seat) to get to activities that we may be attending together.
War Memorial and Mt Ainslie + both dinners.
Can I wait list for a ride please?
 

Bazzi

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This will be a part of a week long road trip for us. As we visit Canberra regularly, I have registered for myself and +1 only for the Q&A and dinner on Sat night so we don’t take up space on tours where the numbers are limited. My +1 is prepared to relinquish her spot at dinner on Sat night if numbers get tight.
 

Bundy Bear

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The optimistic me has filled the form in. But borders, and flights, may be my undoing. Still, there are 6 weeks to go, but hey, it's 2020, anything could happen

Clives lawyers might have a win and WA might have to open up to at least allow its voters to travel.

I plan to be there Friday and Saturday night; better work out where to stay.

Also open to a wine tour on either Saturday or Sunday.
 
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Lynda2475

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I'm Platinum, my flights and hotel all booked.

I'm in for Fri Dinner, Saturday Wine Tour, Saturday Dinner and the Sunday Mt Ainslee trip - subject to be able to get back to CBR by 4pm as have a 5:10pm flight and luggage to check, so if there is anyone who is self driving on the Sunday and is also heading back to CBR for 4pm has a spare seat for me Id love a lift.
 

Mattg

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I'm Platinum, my flights and hotel all booked.

I'm in for Fri Dinner, Saturday Wine Tour, Saturday Dinner and the Sunday Mt Ainslee trip - subject to be able to get back to CBR by 4pm as have a 5:10pm flight and luggage to check, so if there is anyone who is self driving on the Sunday and is also heading back to CBR for 4pm has a spare seat for me Id love a lift.

Realistically, I don't think the Sunday tour to Mt Ainslie/Lanyon/Tidbinbilla will get back to the airport until around 4.30pm unfortunately. But there is every chance Qantas will cancel your flight anyway and rebook you on a later one. I think it's too early to call at this point!
 
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Lynda2475

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But there is every chance Qantas will cancel your flight anyway and rebook you on a later one. I think it's too early to call at this point!

This is what i have been hoping for, as QF cancelled my SYD-CBR and I was able to get on a earlier flight, so fingers crossed they cancel the 5:10 and I can get on a later one.

If not on the Sunday I will probably just go to the National Gallery and try and organise lunch with a Canberra based friend who I havent seen in forever.

Lesson learnt for future AFF gatherings I will book a late flight.
 

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