Olympics? Schmolympics - August in Australia

by Dominic 27/07/2012 15:31:00

We can't all be geniuses.

The Olympics: the pinnacle of sporting events, the ultra in ultimate utmosts and other stuff beginning with u, the glory all athletes dream of, a quadrennial masterpiece celebrating the capabilities of nature's finest machine: man.

Does anyone really believe all that?

London 2012 is supposed to be a remarkable achievement for the UK, the first city in the world to host the Games three times, when we welcome the world to come and have a look around, perhaps say 'not bad not bad, we like what you've done with place'.

But in reality, the Games looks set to be a bit of a calamity; it cost £9 billion instead of £2.4 billion, London is about to be brought to a standstill as everyone asks everyone else which 'toob goes to Ly-chester Square?' and if you've actually managed to find a buyer for your kidney to buy a ticket you risk getting thrown out of the stadium if you dare ask for anything that isn't provided by sponsors.

With all that going on, why would anyone want to be in the UK, let alone London next week?

Australia on the other hand will be able to sit back in a nice cool room with a nice cool beer and watch some Olympians’ dreams crash and burn.

Where to watch the Olympics

Aussies are big sports fans so the atmosphere and spirit of the Games will be Down Under for all to enjoy without any of the bad sides, let's have a look at where you can indulge in a bit of Olympics hooliganism in Australia:

Sydney - Customs House

Every day from 6am 6pm throughout the Games, live screenings of most events and even some live sports in case the sports on the telly get boring (rifle shooting anyone?).

Melbourne - World Restaurant and Bar

Giant projectors splashing the action across the bar and plenty of food and drink to keep you quiet while you cheer British athletes past Australian ones (right?). 

Brisbane - Base Backpackers

Brisbane Base Backpackers Central's Down Under bar in the basement regularly fills to the brim with likely lads and lovely ladies drinking the night away during a regular backpacking stay but during the Olympics all the events will be on nine massive screens throughout the two weeks, what more could you ask for?

I'll tell you what more you could ask for, how's about a free night's stay at Base Backpackers for every Visa Bureau client? Just book yourself in for four nights and get the fifth one free!

That'll do.

The Olympics isn't the only thing going on in August though, here are some of the best things going on this month Down Under.

Simple Sophistication - Speech and sounds

How much can one man know
about one squirrel?

If you fancy yourself as a bit of an aficionado, of anything, then you might like to enjoy some of the finer things in life, perhaps a dip into the cultural pool of enlightenment every now and then by reading something a little more challenging than Nuts.

If that sounds like you this August and you happen to be in Brisbane, get your sophisticated suave on down at the Brisbane Powerhouse for Ten Hands on the 2nd and 3rd, a quintet of talented musicians who get their groove on a single piano.

Alternatively, if you can't get there on those dates or 5 people having a royal thumb war on one piano isn't quite experimental enough for you, the Brisbane Gypsy Jazz Festival is on at the same venue on the 15th and 16th.

For those on the Sydney-side this month, you could be in with an opportunity of a lifetime. Sir David Attenborough is holding a series of public events - for the first time ever in Australia - in which he discusses his career as a broadcaster. Given that man is like the granddad nobody had, expect this to be popular, expensive too, but worth it.

Drunken Debauchery - Gagging for gigs

Now you've had that little taste of the finer life and want to take a plummet back to down to good old hooliganism, read on.

If you are in Sydney on the 4th, get boozed up and stagger down to One22 for Brawther to see a host of DJs get.it.on.

And don't think that being in Melbourne, Australia's premier party city, you'll be missing out. American innovator Z-Trip will be tearing it up at The Prince Bandroom on the 9th.

Deranged Depravity - They do WHAT with WHAT?

This guy's mum is good at makeup.
At least she loves him.

Zombies are all the rage these days, whether it's in films, videogames, music videos or deranged people chewing off faces, what's not to like?

What has lots of people walking slowly and groaning, lots of blood and lots of scenes of horror? No it's not bingo night on the geriatric ward, it's Zombie Week down at Sydney's The Vanguard.

From the 1st to the 5th, there'll be horror film screenings, live performances and just generally a lot of hot zombie action.

If you want to really weird things out though, get yourselves over to WA for the strangest show of a lifetime: Puppetry of the Penis

As much as you might wish this wasn't exactly as it sounds, it is. A couple of dudes who clearly never got told it would fall off it they didn't stop playing with it when they were kids get up on stage and manage to turn their tackle to all types of tricks.

They've got the stick, the baseball bat, the upside down tree, the fencepost and anything else you can think of that happens to be similarly shaped.

No seriously though, the show features plenty of jokes too and some remarkably shocking 'genital origami' stunts that are likely to have you gasping and make any 'don't try this at home' notice quite redundant.

Don't say you weren't warned.

- 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.

Shark attacks lead to sharks ban

by Dominic 09/07/2012 12:11:00

Visa Bureau and STA Travel's flight competition still on! Book your flights to Australia from STA Travel before 31 July and you could win the cost of your flight back, up to £1,000!

The Western Australian government has said it plans to outlaw most forms of shark tourism after four fatal attacks in the past year.



While most people of sound mind would rather juggle a couple of chainsaws than choose to get in some shark-infested waters, it has taken the deaths of four people in the past year for the local government to step in and say 'we probably don't think it's a good idea'.

Shark tourism

Shark tourism is a popular choice among people who like flinging themselves out of planes or licking cheese graters or changing their hairstyles by setting their heads on fire but tourism operators' use of attracting sharks to certain marinas or boats has led some to believe it is a possible reason for the spike in attacks.

Six Facts about sharks which may or may
not be true:
1) Sharks are immune to cancer.
 The Swell Shark, from New Zealand barks
like a dog, but only when it eats a Twix.
3) All Tiger Sharks are conceived as twins
but the larger one eats the small one, no one
knows why.
4) Sharks don't have bones, they're made
up completely of cartilage and their skin is
covered in teeth known as denticles.
 5) A man from California managed to train a
reef shark in the 1960s to catch him lobster,
it was called 'Lobby', his imaginatiion was
worn out after training the shark.
6) Not all sharks die if they stop, the nurse
shark can.

"While such ventures may generate direct or indirect economic benefits, there are also concerns that sustained activities to attract sharks to feeding opportunities have the potential to change the behaviour patterns of those sharks," said Fisheries Minister Norman Moore, who announced the changes.

The truth

By "sustained activities to attract sharks" he means 'throwing a couple of kilograms of bloody chunks into the water to attract some of the largest and most finely tuned predators ever to have existed before chucking some overly-enthusiastic crazy people clad in nothing more than rubber into the water straight after'. And by "behaviour patterns of those sharks", he means 'giving them the taste for blood and then expecting them to just amble by some tasty looking people without even having a gentle nibble'.

And by 'gentle nibble', we mean 'making you look like you fell into a wood chipper for about half an hour'.

Sharks aren't that bad

You might say that there are plenty of species of sharks out there, some small and adorable enough that they'd struggle to brutally tear apart anything more than your average cat or child and therefore present no danger to a swimmer with arms and legs that can definitely move out of the way of an animal which has evolved over hundreds of millions of years to catch and kill things which can swim faster than Usain Bolt can embarrass Dwain Chambers.

With all that sensible logic you might feel that it's perfectly reasonable to get into the water with a couple of Labrador sized sharks that are full to the brim of some tasty chunks of chum but no, we're not talking about the harmless blacktip reef shark that struggles to fend off a rambunctious puppy with a stanley knife, we're talking about the great white shark.

Yes they are

The great white shark: the apex predator of the seven seas, capable of growing to over 6 metres in length and two tonnes in weight, the great white managed to put an entire generation off going into the sea.

It is also ranks first in the number of attacks on humans and Western Australia is ranked as the most deadly place in the world for shark attacks.

So if you want to get in the water armed with nothing more than a snorkel to face these things thinking that a bucket or two of chum is going to 'fill up' an animal which dines on about 19 people-sized seals for breakfast, thereby making it safe to swim with because they 'won't be peckish', you're a bit deluded.

Outlaw swimming with them, and call them mean names

Mr Moore is clearly in agreement with us at the Visa Bureau as there aren't even any tour operators in Western Australia which allow people to get in the water with these things , but he doesn't want to risk it either way.

"White there was no determination from the study about the longer-term effects on shark behaviour or outside the study area, I would prefer to take no risks until more is known," he said.

If you still want to see one of the most fearsome sights in the animal kingdom up close and have a death wish, shark tourism still operates in South Australia.

Or you could just go to an aquarium.

We at the Visa Bureau value our clients highly and would hate to see any of you or your friends get chewed up a bit so we've got a few things for you to do in Western Australia that will give you the same thrill without the risk of death, mutilation or urination.

Swimming with dolphins - the anti-shark

Look how happy they are!
If that was a shark that guy
would be dead, so would the
photographer and so would you
just for looking at the picture.

Dolphins are the opposite of sharks, instead of smelling your blood in the water from 5 miles away and investigating what's going down with a few hundred rows of teeth, dolphins will come and see if you're feeling ok and whether you might fancy a Sprite.

There are countless stories of dolphins helping stranded or struggling swimmers and boats and it's little wonder that swimming with dolphins is almost always top on bucket lists of stuff to do before you die, why not do this rather than swimming sharks, unless of course swimming with sharks is on your bucket list, just make sure you do everything else first.

If you do want to swim with dolphins, Rockingham Wild Encounters is one of the best places to go. You can swim with dolphins at Rockingham, or go and meet some penguins, nature's butlers.


No one ever got hurt by a paint stroke (apart from that guy who told me I couldn't use his turquoise) and perhaps you'd prefer to paint than swim with sharks, to water colour rather than colour the water with your own blood, to saturate your hues rather than saturate your wetsuit, and that's fair enough.

But if you genuinely are looking for a thrill and are quite content with your limbs (even your legs) then paintball might be for you; instead of losing your mind in the water waiting for a silhouette to appear out of your nightmare, why not just arm yourself with a harmless firearm loaded with paint and indulge in some gentle, but chillingly deranged, mind games with some weaker people than you? You could be the shark in this situation.

WASP Paintball is your best source for all your action packed unleashing of the demons within in Western Australia; you might find where your own limits lie by swimming with sharks, but finding out where other people's lie through dark mind games is much more fun.


Rollercoasters were invented so people didn't have to do things like swimming with sharks, or poking tigers with sticks or eating glass. Experience the thrill of what feels like a life threatening situation without actually putting your life and limbs at risk.

In Western Australia, Adventure World is where it's going down with plenty of rollercoasters and a water slide where you can race your mates.

- 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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