Bali is still on Year 12 plans

BALI or bail?

That's the big question facing dozens of Year 12 students from Coffs Coast high schools who have been planning 'schoolies' holidays in Bali, near where three bombs killed 22 people and wounded 120 on Saturday.

Just two weeks out from their first Higher School Certificate exam, politics and current affairs have swept aside history and geography as the students face the quandary of whether to go ahead with their plans and risk arriving on an island which is in no mood to party or lose hard-earned dollars by swapping destinations or cancelling.

Coffs Harbour High School girls captain Shanan Beesley is one of a group of 11 girls from her school who have paid $1200 each for a Bali trip and already have their tickets.

The girls were planning to leave for Bali on November 28 and were to be followed by two more groups of boys and girls from Coffs Harbour High School and John Paul College, making a total of more than 30 students planning to meet up and party in Bali.

After spending all morning yesterday at the travel agency, Shanan said they were still undecided whether to leave their booking in place or change to somewhere else, possibly Phuket in Thailand.

"It's not the threat from bombing we are concerned about, I'm sure we will be quite safe, but the atmosphere and the clean-up ? there may not be a lot of other foreigners there," she said.

She was hoping to hear by late yesterday what agreements had been hammered out between the Australian Government, travel wholesalers and travel agents' representatives but said many parents wanted their daughters to pull out of the Bali trip.

Hugh Amos and Toby Clare are taking a more relaxed approach.

"We'e going to see how much it cools down in a month," said Hugh, the Coffs Harbour High School boys captain, who is helping to co-ordinate a big group of travellers from the two high schools.

"We can't worry about it now and we don't have time to organise anything."

He said they had been planning to stay close to where the Kuta bombs went off.

"It costs the same to go to the Gold Coast (for schoolies) as to go overseas," he said.

John Paul College student Toby Clare said he would be waiting to see how much of their money they could get back and watching the news for the next month to see what stories emerged.

The Australian Government has re-issued its travel warning for Indonesia, saying tourists should defer all non-essential travel to Indonesia, including Bali. Travel agents say this travel warning has been in place since the 2002 Bali bombings. The Government says those already there should consider leaving and Australians in Bali should stay in their hotels.

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