We have a winner! Megan Webb wins our competition with STA Travel

by Tom 06/02/2014 16:32:00

Megan is travelling to Australia with her friend Tess.

We at the Visa Bureau teamed up with our friends at STA Travel once more this year to offer one working holiday maker the chance to make their trip truly once in a life time.

All you had to do to enter our competition was to complete our online Working Holiday Visa application with us and you were automatically entered into a draw to win a £500 voucher from STA Travel!

We had plenty of entries and while there were ten runner-up prizes of a £50 STA Travel voucher, we could only have one main winner: Megan Webb!

We caught up with Megan and had a quick chat with her about her trip.

Megan's plans for Australia

Speaking on why she chose Australia as her destination, Megan had the following to say:

I've always wanted to go travelling, and Australia's always been a place I've heard great things about; my dad went to Australia 3 times when he was younger and my brother has also been there.

Also, I love the sunshine, so that was a big draw!

Megan's trip to Australia is also her first as a long-term traveller.

I have been on a lot of holidays abroad but have not been travelling long term. I am hoping to see new things have some fun and meet new people.

While many travellers choose to take their adventure Down Under alone, Megan won't be going alone, as she'll be joined by her best friend, Tess. While Down Under, she hopes to take advantage of every opportunity:

I just want to experience everything! I want to see a new country, meet new people and see different ways of living.

Ready to take your own adventure to Australia?

Want to follow Megan's path to Australia? You might not get a £500 discount from STA Travel to get you started, but you can still take the first step easily by getting your visa! Just go to our Working Holiday Visa page for more information and a link to the online working holiday visa assessment.

The assessment should only take five minutes or so, and once you're finished, you'll have begun the process. One of our consultants will give you a call back just to go through everything with you and you should get your visa grant within a week or two. 


- Tom Blackett is the Marketing Manager with the Australian Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

February Fun Down Under - Australian Events for February

by Tom 04/02/2014 21:27:00

It's still summer Down Under, which means there's still plenty of fun stuff going on for you to do while you're down there on your working holiday!

The weather's hot and so are the events! Well, some of them are, at least. Here's some ideas for things to do in Australia this month to get you started:



Sydney Mardi Gras

Sydney

Sydney Mardi Gras Fair Day

9 February
Green and leafy Victoria Park comes alive as Fair Day officially kicks off Sydney Mardi Gras season. Sydney Mardi Gras' biggest and most-loved community event is a fun, friendly picnic in the sun for family, friends and everyone's very besties - their pampered pooches. Best of all, it's free!

Byron Bay International Film Festival

From 28 February to 9 March
Byron Bay International Film Festival (BBFF) is a dynamic ten-day festival offering an amazing range of events and film options. It brings audiences and film together with its captivating, stimulating and entertaining programme. BBFF is an independent celebration of the world's best cutting-edge films that symbolise diversity, inclusion, authenticity and evolution. Entertaining, inspiring and thought provoking, BBFF showcases and supports the unique cultural melting pot that is Byron Bay and its avid film community, which is home to the greatest concentration of film makers in Australia outside metropolitan areas.

Sydney Mardi Gras Harbour Party

22 February
As the late afternoon sun makes its way behind the Opera House and the Bridge, thousands of gorgeous party goers from around the world make their way through the Botanic Gardens to the water's edge for one of the most spectacular dance parties on the international scene - Sydney Mardi Gras Harbour Party '14. Shady lawns, cocktails galore, sensational sounds and live performances set against an iconic picture postcard backdrop, Harbour Party is Sydney summer heaven on a stick. Just add you.

 



White Night Melbourne

Melbourne

White Night Melbourne 2014

22 February
After captivating audiences and attracting more than 300,000 people in 2013, White Night Melbourne is back! Commencing at 7pm on Saturday 22 February 2014, Melbourne's city streets, laneways, landmarks and cultural institutions will once again be transformed into a cultural playground from dusk-till-dawn. With an expanded event landscape, White Night Melbourne 2014 will offer a mix of free and ticketed entertainment for families to urbanites and everyone in-between. 

Apollo Bay Music Festival

From 28 February to 2 March
The Apollo Bay Music Festival is firmly on the map as a major annual tourist and community event for Apollo Bay and a significant Festival for Victoria. Over the years it has also established itself as a highly regarded Festival throughout Australia and on the international circuit. The Festival continues to develop a growing Melbourne, interstate and international audience, attracting a multi-age group attendance of families, couples through to retirees.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

From 28 February to 16 March
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival - Australia's internationally acclaimed celebration of food and wine. Each year in March Melbourne Food and Wine Festival unveils a world-class program of more than 250 events - a true expression of Melbourne's infamous love of food and wine that captures the attention of food-lovers in their hundreds of thousands. The 2014 Festival will fully investigate the theme of water taking food and wine lovers on a journey to appreciate the most precious resource on earth. The Festival spills through restaurant doors, onto the water, along river banks, down laneways, by the ocean and deep into picturesque wine country.

Transitions Film Festival

From 15 February to 23 February
Transitions Film Festival is dedicated to showcasing powerful, inspiring and ground-breaking films from around the world that highlight the awe-inspiring global transformations that are taking place every day. Covering topics such as social entrepreneurship, energy politics, climate change, social justice and technological innovation, the festival hopes to inspire the transition to a sustainable world. To encourage low emissions transport, audience members riding bikes to Transitions Film Festival screenings will receive cyclist's concession prices.

 

Perth

Perth International Arts Festival

From 7 February to 1 March
As one of Western Australia's premier cultural events, the Perth International Arts Festival is a feast of joyous, cutting-edge performances and activities for all ages. Experience some of the world's best international and contemporary theatre, dance, music, film, visual arts and literature. This international festival is a wonderful display of creativity and talent providing amazing entertainment for all. Please refer back to the website regularly for the 2014 program.

 



Adelaide Festival

Adelaide

Adelaide Festival 2014

From 28 February to 16 March
Held annually in the warm South Australian autumn, the Adelaide Festival is Australia's largest multi-arts festival. With a focus on the contemporary, each Adelaide Festival program features the best in opera, theatre, dance, music, literature and the visual arts. A purpose-built late night club hosts nightly events, including performers and DJs from around the world. The Adelaide Festival is also known for its high profile events such as the much-loved Adelaide Writers' Week, Adelaide International (AI), Artists' Week and the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. Contact event staff for all prices. 

Riverboats Music Festival

From 14 February to 16 February
The Riverboats Music Festival is the Murray River's premiere contemporary music event. Staged in the twin-towns of Echuca-Moama, the festival takes place under towering river red gums in a natural amphitheatre next to the mighty Murray. Historic paddle-steamers meander past all weekend, and occasionally the cockatoos get a bit raucous at sunset. There is one stage and plenty of room for dancing, brilliant artists and delicious regional food and wine. It's probably one of the prettiest, inexpensive, laid-back, family-friendly festivals in Australia - you'll love it.

 

Canberra

ActewAGL Royal Canberra Show

From 21 February to 23 February
Get ready to be entertained, excited and educated at the ActewAGL Royal Canberra Show! The award winning ActewAGL Royal Canberra Show features more than 150 attractions, 5000 animals, 450 trade displays and 1500 competitors. Stay for the day. Play under the night lights. Get in fast to buy your favourite show bags. There's something for all the family. Check their website for full details. Tickets now available from Ticketek.


Tom Blackett is Marketing Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau., an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia.  

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Still need to get your flights? STA Travel's January sale has been extended until February 6th!

by Tom 03/02/2014 17:49:00

Still need to get your flights to Australia? Good news! You've still got time to jump on board STA Travel's January sale. However, you'll have to be quick as it's only been extended to February 6th.


While STA Travel has great deals all year round, their January sale is always when the best savings are to be had. What's more, with an exclusive £25 DISCOUNT on flights to New Zealand and Australia for every Visa Bureau client when you book with them, it's definitely worth giving them a call or email.

Just make sure to contact STA by by either calling 0871 230 8542 or emailing visabureau@statravel.co.uk so you can be identified as a Visa Bureau client. Their friendly and helpful travel team will help you make the right choice for your working holiday, offering information & advice on flights and accommodation, as well as other vital topics like the climate, guides & work etc. 

Still need to get your Working Holiday Visa? 

Before you get your flights, you should probably get your visa sorted! If you still need to begin the process of the Australia Working Holiday Visa, also known as the WHM Visa, you can take the online Working Holiday Visa assessment to check your eligibility.

The visa gives young people between the ages of 18 and 30 the opportunity to go to Australia on a working holiday (i.e. an extended stay supplemented by working in Australia) for up to 24 months. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so make sure you don't miss out!

- Tom Blackett is Marketing Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau 

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Win £500 off your flights to Australia with STA Travel and Visa Bureau!

by Tom 03/10/2013 18:46:00

Apply for your Working Holiday Visa with
Visa Bureau and you could win a big
discount on flights with STA Travel!

It's competition time again! This time, it's easier than ever to enter - all you have to do is apply for your Working Holiday Visa with Visa Bureau and you could stand to win £500 off any flight with STA Travel!

As an exclusive competition, we're working with STA Travel to provide one lucky passenger the chance to win a £500 discount on any flight they book with STA Travel.

That's not all though - we love giving away free stuff so much that we're also giving ten runner-up prizes of £50 off any flight with STA Travel.

How can I enter the competition? 

Entering couldn't be easier, as anyone who completes payment for their Australian Working Holiday Visa through Visa Bureau before 30 November will be eligible and automatically entered!

How can I apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?

It's easy! Just complete our online Working Holiday Visa application - it should only take five minutes or so - and you'll have begun the process. One of our consultants will give you a call back just to go through everything with you and you should get your visa grant within a week or two. 

When will the winners be notified?

The competition runs until 30 November, 2013, and the winner will be notified via email or phone within a few days after it ends. Also, even if you don't win, remember that all Visa Bureau clients are entitled to a £25 discount on all flights as part of our partnership with STA so it's still definitely worth using them to find the best prices for your flights Down Under.

Competition terms and conditions are as follows:

  • Only clients who have completed payment for their Working Holiday Visa directly with Visa Bureau between 04 October, 2013 and 30 November, 2013 will be entered. 
  • One entry per client. 
  • Prizes will only be given as a discount off any flight booked with STA Travel, and cannot be exchanged for a cash or credit alternative.

- Tom Blackett is the Online Editor with the Australian Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Bring on Spring - Australian Events in September

by Dominic 30/08/2013 02:00:00
Keep Calm and Summer

We're back! It's been a while since our last dip into the month's best Aussie culture but with the temperature beginning to creep up again and Australia's best features - the sun, sand and surf - begin to dominate everyone's diaries once more, we thought it best to give you all some fresh ideas for spending your money on.  

September in the UK means back to school, the end of what passes for summer and a settling in for another nine months of rain, dark nights and a bone-deep chill. But in Australia it's when the party only starts to heat up. Given the bitterest depths of winter are pretty warm for a kick off, you know the summer is going to be good. 

Here's some ideas to get you started before you get too sunburnt to move:

 

Sydney

Jurassic Lounge Season - Every Tuesday

The Jurassic Lounge is one of the Australian Museum's favourite rooms; piles and piles of history's largest and most impressive (and most nightmarish) creatures loom large in displays all over the place offering you a great insight into who would have developed the AK47 first - us or the velociraptor.

Gettin' sensual up in here.

If that wasn't enough, once a year the Jurassic Lounge opens its doors and - in a very popular move - bans children to bring a season of differently themed nights for you to enjoy.

Kicking off the season's sixth year is Time Machine on the 3rd, including a 20's Speak Easy, a disco and classic HipHop - all of the 20th century's coolest aspects brought back to life for one night only. The week after is Film/Photography night, a more cultured approach seemingly but still plenty of adult themes are included - even a burlesque performance.

On the 17th, the Jurassic Lounge becomes a sensual (literally) delight with 5 Senses - a chance to get blindfolded up and see which of your senses you rely on the most, a popular feature of this week's event is the Pheromone Dating game - head down there and see for yourself.

And finally, rounding off the month is Cowboy Night with plenty of mechanical bulls, Wild West shows and even a shooting gallery to see how quick your draw is.

Don't miss out, the Jurassic Lounge's season is (supposedly) its last. For EVER.

Festival of the Winds - 8th

We don't suppose you need a real reason to spend the day on Bondi at the start of September, any later in the year and us Brits and Irish get too hot after 8am. The second Sunday of the month however is the Festival of the Winds, which isn't anywhere near as spiritual and new age-y as it sounds.

Hundreds and hundreds of kites take to the impossibly blue skies to perform impromptu dances. Expect plenty of pocket kite-pretenders staring enviously at the gloriously huge animal kites soaring majestically and judgingly above all you land folk.

Glam Rock Roller Disco - 14th

We know you're sitting there on your working holiday, reading the collected works of Proust and wondering what reason you could possibly have to get blackout drunk for. Well, if 10 shots of Tequila don't make it difficult enough to walk, why not whack on some wheels on your feet?

Yes, the Glam Rock Roller Disco this month sums up everything that's great about parties, an excuse to wear spandex, get loaded AND show off your pirouettes (or break your neck).

Cabramatta Moon Festival - 15th

If the Wind Festival above tickled your fancy, try the Cabramatta Moon Festival next. Like the wind festival, the Moon Festival isn't what it seems and is in fact one of the best food festivals in Sydney's annual calendar.

Every year over 90,000 converge on Sydney's Cabramatta suburb, home to one of the largest Vietnamese communities in the world, to partake in some sampling of Asia's finest cuisine.

 

Melbourne

These are called vegetables, you
should eat some to avoid dying.

Spring Graze - All month

Spring is here so that means put down all those heavy pies and gravies, all those heart warming roasts and those glasses of mulled wine and get yourself down to The Spring Graze to lighten your diet and water down all that alcohol with something that's actually good for you.

Held across the city, tons of local suppliers offer the culinary minded amongst you the chance to sample the best and the freshest (and strictly locally sourced) foods to be found in Victoria.

Melbourne Spring Fashion Swap - 5th

All those jeans and light jumpers might be enough to see you through the unpredictable British summers as well as the mild Australian winters but chances are they'll cook you alive come Christmas in Australia.

Why not head down to the Melbourne Spring Fashion Swap then and save some precious booze cash by swapping your thick threads for some lightweight thin ones which will dissipate all your booze sweat effectively when the Mercury heads up around the 40° mark - which it definitely will, fast.

Murray Magic - 6th

Now that David Blaine seems to have finally left out screens, people are beginning to appreciate magic again for the spectacle of the illusion (or the illusion of the spectacle) instead of a whiny "mysterious" voice that puts your teeth on age.

Along with the arrival of Britain's very own Dynamo, Las Vegas magician Murray SawChuck is also making waves in the magic community and, for the first time, Murray Magic will be heading to Australia for one show only.

Get your tickets fast.

Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix - 18th to the 20th

MotoGP is like Formula One for people with slightly less regard for their own personal regard. With an average speed of almost 110mph, everything is heightened: the corners, the straights - and the adrenaline rush.

You might not be riding the bikes but that doesn't mean watching won't be insane and, given the fact the Aussie GP is traditionally where the champion seals his win, interest and tension will be running high.

Going dressed as Batman
doesn't count

Oz Kink Fest 2013 - 20th to the 29th

And if you're after a different kind of thrill, perhaps a little bit more on the naughty side as well as one that won't get you killed (it isn't that naughty) the Oz Kink Fest comes to town this month.

Whether you're into nipple clamps and cat o'nine tails in the bedroom or just looking for something to spice up your sex life, the Kink Fest is the place for you with a Fetish Expo and private party ready to get your ideas flowing - leather and latex are not optional (seriously). 

 

Brisbane

Brisbane Festival - 7th to the 28th

One of Brisbane's biggest events takes place this month, the Brisbane Festival kicks off on the 7th and going on for most of the month, Bris Vegas will be lit up throughout September with fireworks and enough lights to light up Liberacci's Christmas tree.

Particular highlights in this year's festival include Psycho Beach Party, a soon-to-be classic cult comedy horror play and the Brisbane Airport Light Garden.

Real Food Festival - 7th to the 8th

If the Brisbane Festival has wet your whistle for festivities, get down to the Real Food Festival the day after. Specialising in foods from various belief systems, new culinary experiences are almost guaranteed.

And if you're not really of the curious eater mould, get down there anyway to see Aussies' reactions to more than one kind of cheese, it'll be like Jamie Oliver's dream come true.

BIGSOUND - 10th to the 13th

It wouldn't be a proper month review if we didn't include at least one music festival and this month's best pick of the bunch (there are a lot these days) is BIGSOUND, now in its 12th year, so practically an ancient festival.

With over 120 bands playing across 12 venues throughout the city, BIGSOUND also includes guest speakers like Nick Cave elucidating on all the qualities that make him top. 

 

Perth

Tattoos, giving people an excuse
to each other for centuries.

Australian Tattoo and Body Art Expo - 6th to the 8th

While away on the other side of the world, off on your own exploring the globe, your mother is undoubtedly worried about the state of your wellbeing and whether or not you've made your bed. What better way of reassuring her that you haven't gone off the rails on your working holiday than getting a giant tattoo?

Head down to the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre for the Australian Tattoo and Body Art Expo to see the best tattoo artists WA has to offer and definitely not be tempted into getting a 12 inch tattoo of Michael Jackson moonwalking across your back.

Cirque du Soleil: Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour - 18th to the 22nd

And speaking of Jacko, the greatest show on Earth has turned its attention to the greatest performer the world has ever seen. Cirque du Soleil has turned their latest show into a tribute to the King of Pop without losing any of their own magic.

Cirque du Soleil: Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour hits Perth this month to bring Jackson's trademark moves and stage brilliance to a new generation of pop fans, but mainly to stop them from thinking Justin Definitely-Squeaky-Clean Bieber is nothing but a pretender to the throne.

 


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor with the Australian Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia.  

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

June events - Stuff to do in the frozen Australian tundra

by Dominic 04/06/2013 02:00:00
sand snowman

Australia in the darkest depths of
winter.
 

As Australia plunges into the darkest depths of winter and Australians, visitors and working holiday makers alike have to make do with a sultry 14 hours of sunlight a day, back in the UK we're tipping the rainwater out of our barbecues and baring the 15 degree weather with bare legs and open toed sandals.

So as the coldest spring in Europe draws to an end and the coldest summer ever to be gets set to roll in, the lovely, balmy Australian winter continues to set scenes for peaceful walks on beaches and alcohol fuelled nights of debauchery without the threat of hypothermia. 

Let's have a look of some ways of keeping warm in the bitter Australian winter:

 

Nationwide

Sir David Attenborough: A Life on Earth

Everyone's favourite granddad returns to Australia in June for a series of talks. Attenborough could literally talk about the fascinating ways paint dries and it would be enthralling, but throw the world's most famous naturalist in with the world's most diverse, dangerous and deadly flora and fauna and Sir David Attenborough: A Life on Earth becomes truly unmissable.

Sir David will be conducting two speeches in Sydney on the 19th and 20th followed by Melbourne on the 21st and 22nd.

Supanova Pop Culture Expo

Several members of the Planet
Express crew will be at the expo.

Pop culture is as relevant to a generation as music yet it's a shame that the vast majority of pop culture gets bundled in with pop music - which rarely stands the test of time. However, much of pop culture goes on to define childhoods and teenage years, creating a sense of nostalgia in later years much stronger than music or movies.

So, if you fancy taking a stroll down a recent memory lane to the toons of your teens and the toys of your tweens, the Supanova Pop Culture Expo will be in Sydney between the 21st and 23rd before moving on to Perth on the 28th.

Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker may have found his worldwide fame making high pitched performances in big budget ridiculous-fests like the Rush Hour films and Fifth Element but after a charming turn in the Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook, his star is once again on the rise and Tucker has taken the chance to return to his first love: stand-up.

Following in the footsteps of fellow comedian-turned-actor Tracy Morgan in bringing his show Down Under (although hopefully with much more successful consequences), Chris Tucker will be performing shows in Brisbane on the 13th and 14th before moving to Perth on the 21st.

 

Sydney events

Vivid Sydney - until the 10th

Vivid enough?

Vivid Sydney has become a genuine global event, held every winter in Australia, the country's most famous city's iconic skyline is digitally converted into a myriad of colour thanks to the modern marvel of a couple of fancy lasers.

The sails of the Opera House are an obvious target for the festival's biggest canvas and the Opera House predictably is the centre of attention as the sails are manipulated into dozens of different designs.

Sydney Film Festival 2013 - 5th to the 16th

It seems like two dudes with a widescreen TV and a couple of Blu-Rays of Fraggle Rock are enough to start a film festival these days but the Sydney Film Festival is one of the original and best.

Celebrating its 60th year in 2013, the Sydney Film Festival will be screening over 250 films, including 12 vying to be crowned in the Official Competition, an award that is accompanied by sixty thousand big ones.

Terminal Projekt 2 - 9th

Terminal Projekt is back again during Vivid to melt minds and mash imaginations as the kaleidoscopic lasers of Vivid are combined with the dance-pop reworkings of Tensnake at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney.

 

Melbourne

The Light in Winter - all month

Seeing as Australians allow the British to call a few months of slightly warmer drizzle summer, it seems only fair that we allow them to call a few months of slightly cooler sun winter, how fair that is is upto you but the Light in Winter festival will attempt to spread a wintry feel across the city's Fed Square in June.

With art installations, musical performances and lots of chill-inspiring motifs on display, you'll be convinced you're at home in the cold - until you look down and realise you're wearing sandals.

Burlesque and Swing - 7th to the 10th

Try not to act too much like
a phoney.

With The Greaty Gatsby - directed by Australia's own Baz Lurhmann - fresh in the cinemas, the style and glamour of the Jazz Age is about to be back in a big way. Get your jitterbug on down at the Melbourne Swing Festival or, if you prefer your 1920s a little more Holden Caulfield-esque, the Australia Burlesque Festival, nipple tassles and all, rolls into town on the same weekend. 

Carnivores' Ball - 21st to the 22nd

Australians and barbecues are as cliche as the English and tea or the French and snails but despite Australia's famed prowess at grilling dead stuff on coals, they're still outdone by one nationality: the Americans.

However, Australian Burger Mary (she didn't enjoy high school) has been made an honorary Texan thanks to her own skills at the griddle and they'll be on show for two days of artery clogging bliss at the Carnivores' Ball.

 

Brisbane

Slava's Snowshow - 26th to the 30th

Clowns aren't really funny, that's been established for so long now no one even has to point it out anymore (see what I did there?). While that might have put an industry of birthday party performers out of business forever, one man has taken it in his stride and defied the world (and their childhood nightmares) with his own show.

Slava's Snowshow, taken from the Russian's appearance in the Cirque Du Soleil, is an award winning adventure of magic and emotion (or something less cheesy and much cooler).

 

Perth

Glitter, Garters and Tease - 29th

If you were getting all hot under the collar at the thought of some booming Burlesque action in Melbourne a little further up in the article but can't quite make it don't worry as the Glitter, Garters and Tease promises all that and more.

Coolio - 29th

He might have only had one song (quick, name another) but unlike most other one hit wonders, Gangsta's Paradise has stood the test of time and legions of kids who had never even seen Michelle Pfeiffer take them kids on that rollercoaster know every single word to the song. Coolio might have had a bit of a varied career since, even venturing into the culinary world for a time, but his original hit is still his calling card and rightly deserves its place up there with the very best in the hiphop genre.

All together now, "As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I take a look at my life...."


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor with the Australian Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia.  

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Australian farmers call for wage increase

by Dominic 25/05/2013 02:00:00

Fruit picking in Australia

The National Farmers' Federation
are pushing for a wage bump for
farm workers.

Completing your regional work requirement in order to obtain your second year visa is never going to be the most fun part of your working holiday in Australia, usually finishing somewhere between getting sunburnt and skydiving. However, it should be one of the most straightforward parts at least but that rarely is the case given the competition for places and pressures on farmers.

Yet that could be about to change as the National Farmers' Federation has called for the national minimum wage level to be increased in order to attract more workers to agriculture, meaning more farmers will be able to get the workers they need to be profitable and therefore offer more opportunities for workers.

The current situation

The current minimum wage is AU$606.40 (£390.70) a week for a full-time average joe but the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) says an increase of AU$9 (£5.80) a week would attract more entry-level workers to the industry.

The farming industry in Australia struggles with its remote locations - and no one does remote quite like Australia. Combine this with the threat of drought and the occasional suspension of live exports for one political reason or other and farming businesses can struggle to attract the necessary staff members during periods of intense labour such as harvests.

This unfortunately leaves a fair few businesses on the ropes and not in much of a position to offer jobs to backpackers.

The proposal

The NFF put their - few would disagree - humble proposal to Fair Work Australia yesterday and spokesperson Brian Duggan - in true pragmatic farmer fashion - is hoping a compromise can be reached even if the influential council does not completely agree.

"Our principal concern is the commodity prices within agriculture are softening, just like the economy," Mr Duggan said.

"Going by the past practice of the panel, they would probably pick somewhere in the middle [of several proposals]."

The NFF's proposal shouldn't face too much derision after the haughty workers' unions called for a AU$30 a week increase (£19.33) in an effort to put a halt to a decline in living standards and everyone in BMWs.

"We say if the panel is to maintain a fair and relevant safety net, we cannot allow this decline in relative earnings to continue," said a spokesperson for the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

The outcome

The annual National Minimum Wage Order will be released early next month but Jenny Espiner, working holiday visa processing manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, says any minimum wage increase will be great news for backpackers looking to secure their second year visa by completing three months of regional work.

"There aren't many working holiday makers who fancy coming home after just one year in Australia but plenty struggle to find work due to increased competition and the remote location of businesses compared to the cushiness of their Bondi-facing pads," said Ms Espiner.

"An increase in wages will allow more employers to attract workers and remain operational through difficult times, this would undoubtedly trickle down to offer more opportunities for backpackers."


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor with the Australian Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Visa Bureau and STA Travel Winner - Jamie Priest!

by Dominic 20/04/2013 03:00:00

Visa Bureau and STA Travel's
lucky winner Jamie Priest!

We at the Visa Bureau teamed up with our friends at STA Travel once more this year to offer one working holiday maker the chance to make their trip truly once in a life time.

All you had to do to enter our competition was to process your Working Holiday Visa with us and book your flights to Australia with STA Travel before the end of March and you were automatically entered into a draw to win back the full cost of your flights - up to £1,000!

Naturally, we had plenty of entries but we could only have one winner: Jamie Priest!

Jamie joins our last winner Kara Lyons as exclusive members of competition winners, scooping a massive £1,000 to put in his travel kitty.

We caught up with Jamie in the middle of his hectic planning before he leaves next week and, after we finally convinced him it wasn't a scam and he really had won, we had a quick chat before he went back to packing.

From entering to winning

Jamie said his luck isn't normally the best so his decision to use the Visa Bureau and STA was based on friends' recommendations rather than the possibility of winning a competition, so naturally it came as a huge surprise.

Visa Bureau and STA were recommended to me by numerous friends and I found the process very straight forward and easy. I'm I used Visa Bureau and STA, they helped me plan my travels and give me advice.

I never thought I stood a chance of winning the competition so I am absolutely over the moon to be the lucky winner - finally I have some luck on my side :)

In this day and age, scams are like rats - you're never more than 10 feet away from them and Jamie first wanted to make sure he hadn't been taken in my news that really was too good to be true.

I was with my parents at the time I received the news congratulating me on my win. They couldn't believe it either!

After a couple of hasty phonecalls and emails though we managed to convince Jamie he really did have an extra £1,000 to spend on his working holiday.

Jamie's working holiday

Jamie's working holiday in Australia isn't his first time travelling but he'd heard so many good things about the land Down Under, that he couldn't resist the chance to go.

I have been travelling once before, about four years ago. I went to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Bali. It was the thing I've ever done (to date) and I definitely still have the travel bug.

I've never been to Australia before but I have had a few friends go in the past and they had the best time of their live so when my best friend said they wanted to, I thought why not?

Jamie's working holiday is not
his first adventure.

As Jamie is yet to leave, it might be tempting to blow the whole lot on a jewel-encrusted pair of shades or enough cans of Fosters and Marmite to make Harold Bishop sick, but Jamie insists his winnings will be put to good use.

The win means I can do all the thing I have been dreaming of for years. My plans are remaining the same despite the win but it means I can do the diving course I always wanted to do which I wouldn't have been able to afford without this win.

I want to go diving on the Great Barrier Reef. I love being on the sea and I have seen pictures of what you can see diving in Australia. Looks incredible!

But it's not all about what the money can do for Jamie and he has plenty of plans to do more than just spend his money.

I just want to experience things I've never experienced! I want to see the world, meet new people and see different ways of living.

Getting ready to go

With just a few days left before he sets out on the trip of a lifetime, Jamie cannot wait to get away from the excuse of a spring in the UK to the excuse of a winter in Australia:

I'm looking forward to the clear waters in the Great Barrier Reef, and the beautiful beaches! I am trying to avoid the cold winter in Australia as I'm getting away from England due to this :)

I am flying into Melbourne, but doing a road trip over to Queensland! Looks beautiful!

And finally, Jamie has just one tip for all budding travellers.

Take a Lonely Planet book! I used one in Thailand and I would highly recommend them to anyone travelling!


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor with the Australian Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Brits top table in best jobs in the world applications

by Dominic 04/04/2013 13:30:00

Tourism Australia's exceptionally popular 'Best Jobs in the World' competition has reportedly been inundated with applications, and none more so from Brits.

It's not hard to see why spending six months as Sydney's chief funster, or Western Australian taste master would appeal to anyone, but the fact that it's still snowing in the UK is an obvious added incentive.

Tourism Australia announced recently that they would be re-launching its Best Jobs in the World campaign, but this time with six jobs:

  • Lifestyle Photographer in Melbourne
  • Outback Adventurer in the Northern Territory
  • Park Ranger in Queensland
  • Taste Master in West Australia
  • Wildlife Caretaker in South Australia
  • Chief Funster in Sydney

Each 'employee' will be given a 6 month contract and paid around £67,000 for their 'troubles'.

To apply, each applicant must submit a short video of themselves explaining which job they want and why they deserve the position. So far Tourism Australia has reportedly received over 300,000 applications, with over 75,000 from the UK alone.

"The huge response to the 'Best Jobs' recruitment drive and the increasing demand for working holiday visas shows that young Brits are looking to live the Aussie lifestyle, swapping the challenging economic environment here for a new adventure Down Under," said Tourism Australia's UK-based manager Rodney Harrex.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor with the Australian Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

April in Australia

by Dominic 03/04/2013 02:00:00

These blogs can get harder to write as the year goes on and the UK begins to get a bit tepid, just how we like it. In contrast, Australia drops to a freezing 20 degrees or so, making it hard to draw comparisons about the sun kissed weather beaches Down Under and the miserable, grey rain of Britain.

However, we're not at that point yet with one of the coldest Marches on record drawing to a close juxtaposing nicely with the still gloriously warm and sunny Australian weather.

It might be true that you'll struggle to get a darker tan than 'milky latte' before around September or so in Australia, you'll struggle to get anything more than just plain 'milk' back home. Seriously, there's still snow here, and it's April.

In short, you're not missing much back here so let's have a look at what's going on this month in Oz instead.

 

Nationwide

Birdy was just 14 when she
gained international fame.

Birdy - Various dates

When Jasmine van den Bogaerde reached number 17 in the British charts in January 2011 with a cover of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love, it came as rather a surprise to find out she hadn’t reached that high herself - she was just 14.

Still only 16, Birdy has since released a debut album and featured on the soundtrack to the blockbuster hit The Hunger Games: a stellar career all but cemented.

Birdy will be touring Australia in the first half of this month, hitting Brisbane (3rd), Perth (6th), Melbourne (8th and 9th), Adelaide (10th) and Sydney (12-14th).

 

The XX - Various Dates

The XX emerged from nowhere in 2009, blowing everyone away with their Mercury Prize-winning debut album. The soft-spoken trio recently released their second album, Coexist, and will be hitting Australia at the start of the month with gigs in (4th and 5th), Sydney (6th and 7th) and Brisbane (9th).

Plus, if you can’t get enough of the group, the band’s DJ, Jamie XX will be playing a gig on his own in Sydney on the 6th.

 

Pillow Fight - 6th

This Saturday is International Pillow Fight Day (we didn’t know there was one either) when hundreds and hundreds of people will gather in almost every major city on Earth and have a giant pillow fight, it’s not complicated.

Fights in Australia will be taking place in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. It’s free; all you need is a pillow, preferably one not filled with batteries.

 

Tracy Morgan - Various dates

Tina Fey’s critically acclaimed 30 Rock came to an end this year after 8 polarising seasons. Despite never gaining any real foothold in the TV ratings it won awards by the bucket load. Star of the show and Tina Fey’s fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus Tracy Morgan is using the show’s end to reacquaint himself with his first love: stand up.

The ineffable Morgan will be doing sets in Brisbane (10th), Sydney (11th and 12th), Melbourne (13th - two shows) and Perth (15th and 16th), bringing his own brand of the absurd Down Under.

 

Sydney

Art After Hours - all month 

If you like a bit of culture but are wary with what it might do to your hardcore party reputation, try a blend of the two with Art After Hours. Set in one of Sydney’s most prestigious art galleries, you can enter during the evening after the bored, screaming kids have left and enjoy the odd drink while eyeballing some modern day classics.

 

Game of Thrones has sent plenty
of fans into withdrawal.

Game of Thrones - until the 25th 

If you’ve missed your weekly dose of Westeros over the past few months then don’t despair, the new series is underway but if that isn’t enough, Gastro Park will be hosting its second Game of Thrones feast throughout the month to celebrate.

 

Gum Ball - 25th to the 27th 

If you’ll be missing your annual Glastonbury trip to the mud on your working holiday, you can get your fix this month. The Gum Ball is first up, set in the Hunter Valley over three days, catch bands like Turin Brakes, Money for Rope and the Hillbilly Killers and top off each night with a silent disco.

 

Arrested Development Trivia - 4th 

Few TV shows have ever been so great and so ignored as Arrested Development. With a cast which has pretty much all gone on to bigger things – most notably Jason Bateman and Michael Cera – Arrested Development never got 10% of the ratings it deserved.

With a laugh-a-minute ratio unparalleled before or since and characters which have redefined the sitcom, its cancellation has been an outrage since it was announced.

Thankfully, it’s coming back. Whether or not the Netflix series followed by a feature film will be any good remains to be seen but you can get your fix in this week with the Arrested Development Trivia night.

 

Melbourne

Banned from Ikea for life.

Leap of Faith - Circus in Motion - 4th to the 6th

The circus is in town this week and not just any circus, Circus in Motion is directed by a former Cirque du Soleil artistic director and represents the finest in the modern day art form.

Expect few clowns and lots of flexible women in skin tight clothing swinging from the rafters on some curtains.

 

Melbourne Latin Festival - 5th to the 7th 

This weekend is the fifth Melbourne Latin Festival and this year's event boasts a specific emphasis in this year’s festival on Arabian Nights, you can't get much more exotic than that.

Dancers from Italy, the Dominican Republic and the US as well as plenty of Kiwis and Aussies will be strutting their stuff in workshops, shows and parties.

 

Rag Trade - 6th 

Backpacking is many things but elegant and clean it is not. If you’ve been trekking across Australia for more than about half an hour, chances are you could do with a few new threads or at least some more money for beer.

The Rag Trade is a flea market offering you a great opportunity to offload some of the heavier stuff in your bag and pick up the odd gem on the cheap.

 

Melbourne Comedy Festival - Until the 21st 

The Melbourne Comedy Festival is now one of the biggest comedy festivals in the world and the marathon event comes to a close this month. This means the majority of shows have already been on for weeks and already either bombed or been a runaway success.

Check out the reviews of what’s on offer and either see some of the hottest names in comedy right now or some of the cheapest shows around.

 

Darbotz: Monster Inside Us - all month 

If you’re a Banksy fan, or were before he became too mainstream for the likes of you, Darbotz, an up and coming graffiti artist from the streets of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta is quickly making a name for himself in the rapidly developing street art scene.

His first show, Darbotz: Monster Inside Us, will be playing at MiFA all month.

 

Brisbane

You couldn't do this.

Banff Mountain Film Festival - 17th to the 20th

Australia might not be the first place which comes to mind when you think of snow capped mountains and fresh powder but you’d be wrong. With a country as large as Australia, almost every type of terrain and landscape can be found and Oz is no different, and neither is Aussies’ love of winter sports.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival showcases the best films from around the world of people trekking across Antarctica, surviving in the American Rockies, canoeing Kiwi rapids and plenty of other adrenaline fuelled adventures.

 

Hip Hop Festivals - 28th

Australia’s hip-hop scene might not be that well known outside its own shores but Australia’s love of the genre is no secret and if you’re a rap fan, Brisbane is the place to be this month.

First up, headlining the Movement Festival is one of the greatest MCs of all time: Nas. His 1994 debut Illmatic still ranks as one of the best and most original albums of all time.

Meanwhile, across town on the same day the Supafest gets underway with some of the biggest names in modern music including 50 Cent, Neyo and Akon as well as one of the most respected up and comers in the game, J. Cole.

 

Perth

Yacht Club DJs - 12th

Finding a party is never hard, stand still long enough and eventually you’ll hear the bass. Finding a good party is the hard part.

Fortunately, if you’re in Perth this month, you should be hard pressed to be disappointed when the Yacht Club DJs come to town.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor with the Australian Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia.  

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

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