Remember remember this stuff to do in November

by Dominic 31/10/2012 17:17:00

While the dark and gloom of the UK gets a bit darker and gloomier as the clocks go back, things are just hotting up Down Under as summer peaks its head around the corner.

Summer for Brits means disappointment; summer for Australians means what it says on the tin - it gets hot.

While as a Brit abroad you will undoubtedly be ridiculously underprepared for the temperature gauge straining the 20 degree mark and are definitely about to be sun burnt and dehydrated and just generally looking like a microwaved tomato.

But, that's your own fault, let's look at some stuff you can do in November before you get too hot.

Prob best not to take your dog

Sculpture by the Sea 2012 - Sydney - until the 4th

Bondi Beach is one of the most famous and iconic beaches in the world, probably only rivalled by Rio's Ipanema Beach and we're sure the locals would want it pointing out that the girls in Sydney rival their Brazilian counterparts too.

But what can you do to improve one of the world's best beaches? How about placing a few incredibly strange and incredibly massive sculptures all along the sea line for a couple of weeks each spring?

Sculpture is one of the most under rated art forms, right behind origami and one in front of 'playing the armpit' but the Sculpture by the Sea festival is a chance for some of the best known sculptors (presumably in the sculpting world) to show off their work.

You probably don't need an excuse to get down to Bondi but here's one anyway, so head on down there before the 4th and have a wander along the beach at the world's largest free sculpture exhibition.

Outdoor cinema and ice cream - Brisbane - until the 17th

Spring and summer are not the seasons to be sitting in dark rooms watching films so it's a surprise more companies don't have the required geniuses working for them to realise that simply bringing the screens outside and putting films on in the cool evening breezes.

However, if you’re in Brisbane before the 17th you stand to benefit from one such stroke of genius. The Ben & Jerry's Open Air Cinemas are exactly what they sound like: films - ice cream - outside.

What more could you want?

How about a cinema outside, on a roof?

Rooftop Movies.

Photo: Jarrad Seng

Rooftop cinema - Perth - 4th to the 18th

In what could be one of Perth's best kept secrets, the top floor of the City of Perth Roe St car park has been converted into a cinema lover's paradise: Rooftop Movies.

The whole floor has been astro-turfed, bedecked with palm trees and rows upon rows of deck chairs to be served food and drinks in while you enjoy one of the widest varieties of film anywhere on offer, from golden Hollywood classics, to enthralling documentaries to modern day blockbusters.

Not the Muppets - Melbourne - 7th to the 25th

If you grew up counting along with the Count on Sesame St or accusing Miss Piggy of having the same voice as Yoda, you might be interested in one of the world's most acclaimed ventriloquists and his little array of puppets on show in Melbourne.

However, going along and expecting nostalgic memories of the Cookie Monster is a bad idea; David Strassman's routines rely on foul mouthed, narcissistic characters like Chuck Wood and the perpetually bullied Ted E Bare.

It's not all just clever talk without moving your mouth action though either as Strassman's act descends down the rabbit hole of delusional insanity with massive screens, strobe lighting and booming sound effects adding much more to the expected image of a guy with no mates and his hand up a puppet's arse.

Posh nosh in the park - Melbourne - 15th to the 18th

The Taste of Melbourne food festival has moved outside for the first time this year and what could be better than chilling in Australia's coolest city with some of the finest food money can buy.

Spread over four days, Taste of Melbourne features a huge number of individual events demonstrating the virtues of a vast array of culinary styles for you to taste and even try your hand at cooking.

You may want to fast for a few days before going.

BIFF, no pun needed - Brisbane - 12th to the 25th

The Brisbane International Film Festival, or BIFF for short, returns this month for 12 days of some of the biggest names in cinema.

Films such as The Sweeney and Anna Karenina will have premieres at BIFF while countless other independent films desperately battle it out for various prizes and the recognition as the next big things in cinema.

Roller Derby - Sydney - 21st - Melbourne - 23rd - Brisbane - 25th

Sport is one of the few arenas of the 21st century that is still ridiculously dominated by men. While the London Olympics proved that women can produce just as much sporting drama and tension as the fellas, it's a sad fact that tennis remains practically the only sport where some level or parity is achieved.

So if you agree that the fairer sex should have the chance to go at each other in a truly un-gentlemanly fashion, head on down to Roller Derby Xtreme at the Sydney Olympic Park, the Hisense Arena in Melbourne or the Brisbane Exhibition Centre to see some armour clad warrior-esses go head to head on roller skates.

If you have any lingering doubts about the attraction of roller derby, perhaps it's not quite brutal enough for you, check out this video to see the lovely ladies who'll be smashing each other up on the 21st.

Photo: The Color Run

Colour me in - Melbourne - 25th

And lastly, a true world event takes place next month, and one you won't want to miss: the Color Run 2012.

Inspired by the Hindu festival Holi, the Color Run is a 5km race unlike no other. As the pristinely white-clad runners set off round the track, they are bombarded with different colour paints at different points around the track, meaning that win or lose, everyone crosses the line looking like a rainbow threw up on you.

Even if 5km might be a bit far for you and the site of a bag of skittles makes you go cross eyed, head on down to the course anyway and join in with the hurling of paint.

- 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.

Working Holiday Visa fees set to increase! Get yours fast!

by Dominic 24/10/2012 15:36:00

It's all about the Benjamins 

The Australian government announced this week its intention to increase visa prices almost across the board - including the Working Holiday Visa!

As of 1, January, 2013, the cost of processing a working holiday visa will increase from AU$280 (£180) to AU$360 (£232). The increase in price might not be as significant or severe as certain other visa streams (almost AU$1,000 for partner visas!) but nevertheless, price hikes are rarely welcome.

Why is the Australian government being so mean?

One of the keys to Australia's success has been its budgeting. While the UK and the rest of the world rode the boom time waves high, throwing money around at free services for all and turning the NHS into a labyrinth of bureaucracy, Australia played it cool.

During the boom times, most economies - the US, the UK and the majority of Europe - ran deficit budgets; Australia ran surpluses. So, now that the bubble has burst and most countries are left trying to balance gossamer budgets with a sledgehammer, Australia is in a much comfier position.

Comfier doesn't mean easy though, and Australia did in fact run a deficit of AU$55 billion in last year's budget but, with even more economic uncertainty looming, Australia wants to return to a winning formula again and plans to return to a AU$1 billion surplus this year.

In order to do this, among other things, they've increased Australia visa costs.

"We were gonna give Australia
our money anyway, but in
exchange for beer and other
hedonistic pursuits"

What have you got to say about that then?

Well, as you might expect, there has been outrage and uproar, welcome and thanking, all in equal measures, but not necessarily all from where you might expect.

Transport and Tourism Forum chief executive John Lee said the price will deter backpackers from visiting Australia.

"It's wrong to assume people will keep coming [to Australia] regardless of cost - instead of coming to Australia as a working holidaymaker they will go somewhere else."

Maurene Horder, CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia, says it's 'pretty lazy and pretty greedy' to increase costs:

"The fact you can get away with charging a bit more doesn't it is reasonable or fair that you have to do it."

Acting Immigration Minister Kate Lundy says Australia's popularity is such that a price increase will not deter people from coming:

"The government has made a targeted increase in the cost of visas where there are high levels of demand, and therefore areas that are less likely to be significantly impacted by the added costs."

For the extra cost of one night out
you can get to do this.

It's not that bad

The price increase really isn't all that bad, and that seems to be the attitude reflected in both Australian businesses that rely on backpackers and the backpackers themselves.

Carl Walker of the Bowen Gumlu District Growers Association in north Queensland says backpackers account for up to 80% of the workforce and earn a very healthy wage.

"A lot of the pickers are earning now anything from AU$20 [£13] to AU$50 [£32] per hour there on contract, the ones that get in and work hard," said Mr Walker.

"I don't think that 80 bucks is going to change their view on Australia because Australia has got a damn good reputation amongst the backpackers for a great place to come."

"I think I would pay it," said one friend on our Facebook page. "I have enjoyed my nine months so far and still have three more to go. Australia is amazing and you learn so much about yourself by taking a year off from normal life.

"It’s worth every penny. Not many people can say they have done this. Just go for it! :-) Happiest time of my life!"

They're not in the minority either, with another friend claiming it's 'worth every penny and more!' as '£50 or $80 is a night out back home'.

Is it still worth it?

The short answer is, of course it is!

Can I get round it?

Yes! The price increase does not come into effect until the New Year, so you’ve still got plenty of time to get your visa under the current price.

Since the terms of any working holiday visa state that you have a whole year after your visa is granted to enter Australia to make your first entry into the country and ‘activate’ it, that means even if you were to apply and be granted your visa now, you’d have until October 2013 to enter Australia and then you’d be able to stay out there until October 2014!

Therefore, even if you don’t intend to set off on your year out Down Under until 2013, we advise that you get your visa sorted out now so you can save yourself some money and still have loads of time to get things sorted.

Apply Here For a Working Holiday Visa Click Here to Apply Online for Your Australian Working Holiday Visa Now!

- 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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