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

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:



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.



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.



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).



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.

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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.

Australia relaunches 'Best Job in the World' campaign - this time with SIX jobs

by Dominic 06/03/2013 02:00:00

If you're thinking about the best way to spend a year out from the grey world of the UK, there are few better options than a working holiday visa for Australia and, if you're looking to go soon, why not apply for one of the best jobs you can get anywhere? 

A couple of years ago Tourism Australia launched its first 'Best Job in the World' campaign, to be the 'caretaker' on Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef, a paradise-like tropical island where the duties included snorkelling, surfing and generally just relaxing.

Naturally, the position scraped a couple of applications but it was Briton Ben Southall who beat out 34,000 other applicants from 200 countries to secure the gig.

Ben did such a good job that he's since secured a position as Tourism Ambassador for the whole state of Queensland.

And now Tourism Australia is relaunching the campaign, but this time there are SIX positions available, here's Ben to explain:

Relaunched campaign - bigger and better

So, this time there are six, that's right SIX jobs available: lifestyle photographer in Melbourne, Outback adventurer in the Northern Territory, park ranger in Queensland, taste master in Western Australia, wildlife caretaker in South Australia and 'chief funster' in Sydney.

Which of these is the best remains to be seen but all are guaranteed to blow your mate's 2 weeks in Malia out of the water as a decent holiday and put the one kid who went to your school with a decent accountancy job to shame.

Andrew McEvoy, managing director of Tourism Australia, said the scheme was being reopened in the hope of bringing even more working holiday makers to Australia.

"The value to the economy [of working holiday makers] is good but I think the fact that these kids work and holiday and get deeply into regional Australia is really important," said Mr McEvoy.

"Capital city tourism has been going for a while but regional Australia has been struggling for a while and now we're seeing it bounce back."

Ready to give it a shot?

If you want to apply for one of the best jobs in the world, all you need to do is complete an application form and upload a 30 second video explaining why you need the job.

Given there was 34,000 applications for one job last time and there are six this time PLUS the massive success of Ben's campaign, you might be in for a little competition so you should probably steer away from words like 'banter', 'top laugh', 'messy', 'bubbly' and loads of other words you see on Facebook profiles in your video.

Any working holiday in Australia is almost guaranteed to be one of the best years of your entire life but you could lock that in.

"I didn't know if I was going to be diving or skydiving or cooking or bushwalking and I did all of them," said Ben.

"It's one of those things where you've just to go for it and see where it takes you."

Ben might be right but if you really need more encouragement to apply for a job that forms the bulk of most people's day dreams, there's also a six month employment package paying you AU$100,000 (£67,400) for your 'trouble'. Closing date is 10 April.

- 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.

March in Australia: What to do, what to do

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

Summer's almost done! Quick,
hit the beach before it cools
down slightly.

Visa Bureau and STA Travel's flight competition on for just one more month! Book your flights to Australia from STA Travel before 31 March and you could win the cost of your flight back, up to £1000!

Quick, panic - summer is almost over! Summer in Australia is in its final throes now, barely reaching 30 degrees and leaving people to make to do with a pathetic, PATHETIC 14 hours of sunlight.

What's the point? Might as well just come home now.

If not though, why not enjoy the last of the sunshine with these awesome events going on this month?


Future Music Festival - Various dates

In just six short years, the Future Music Festival has gone from being a one day independent gig based in Sydney - which consisted of one guy, a banjo, a malnourished dog and some copies of the Big Issue - is now one of the biggest festivals in Australia.

With dates in Brisbane (2nd), Perth (3rd), Sydney (9th), Melbourne (10th) and Adelaide (11th), this year's headliners include The Stone Roses, Dizzee Rascal, Prodigy, Bloc Party, The Temper Trap and even the Gangnam Style guy.


Sixto Rodriguez lived most of his
life not knowing he was a
massive star.

Sugarman - Various dates

If you kept up with the world of cinema in the last month, you'll know the Academy Awards might have had one of the worst hosts ever with the Family Guy guy but the field of nominees was one of the best ever.

The winner for best documentary went to a film called Searching for Sugarman in which a couple of avid South African fans went in search of their hero - known only as Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was an 'almost-was' musician that enjoyed a few mediocre hits in the 70s in his native US before giving up his musical career and going to work in something depressing, like sweeping up.

Fast forward 20 years and two South Africans track him down and reveal to him that not only do they know who he is, so does most of South Africa and his platinum selling albums there are massive.

Now the man himself has restarted his career and will be playing many of the songs featured in the Oscar winning film around Australia. The Sugar Man will be in Melbourne (21st and 22nd), Adelaide (24th), Sydney (25th and 26th), Byron Bay (28th and 29th) and Brisbane (31st).



Mardis Gras - until the 3rd

Mardis Gras has been going on throughout February but comes to a fabulous, glittery and perfectly melodramatic climax this weekend with the gay parade on Saturday.

While you might not be taking part (and you shouldn't be offended at the suggestion), watching will be a great laugh, click here for some of the best spots in the city.


Byron Bay Film Festival - until the 10th

Spread over 10 days and 54 sessions, over 220 films from 42 different countries will be shown at the Byron Bay Film Festival; one of the most respected such festivals in Australia and the perfect place to find an underground gem.


It's getting a bit sexy in here.

Biba's Wizard of Oz Burlesque Show - 13th to the 17th

In what might sound like one of the strangest juxtapositions around, Biba's Wizard of Oz Burlesque Show does what - in creator Russell Beatie's own words - 'combines the best of being a kid with the best of being an adult'.

As you might expect, adults only and it might get a bit sexy.


Jurassic Lounge - 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th

The Australian Museum is already one of the coolest museums in the world but every Tuesday this month, the Jurassic Lounge will be opening its doors after hours to allow people to get boozed up in the cool, dimly lit grandeur of a museum at night.

As if that wasn't enough, each night will be themed, and not what you might think, with a Bollywood night and a masked ball going down.


Hoopla Festival - Easter weekend

Down at Darlington Harbour at the end of the month the Hoopla Festival rolls into town. A cross between a comedy show and a circus, you can see almost every activity you weren't allowed to do as a kid and now are too scared/fat/lazy to do now like acrobatics, fire eating, doing hand stands on your mates' heads. You know.



Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013 - Until the 17th

If you like fine foods and al fresco dining, what better place to toast summer's end than overlooking the water and sampling some of the finest fineries you can find at the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.


This looks so good it'd get
vegans hot under the collar.

Rare Breed Barbecue - 10th

The average time it takes for a working holiday maker to arrive in Australia and find a barbecue is roughly 38 seconds, which is how long it takes for the on board barbecue to warm up when your plane crosses into Australian waters.

But when barbecue becomes as ubiquitous to your life in Australia as rain does to your life at home, you need something a bit special to re-inject the charm of the whole thing - sort of like a massive thunderstorm that sets off all the car alarms and leaves people without power for a week.

If you need that lightning bolt, head on out to the Rare Breed Barbecue for some of the nicest food you can fit on a barbie.


Australian Grand Prix - 14th to the 17th

The behemoth that is Formula 1 (quite ironically) trundles into town this month in preparation for the big race on the Sunday. Fernando Alonso heads into the Australian Grand Prix at the top of the leader board but will have some pretty angry drivers in his rear view come race day if he's not careful.


L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival - 18th to the 24th

If you fancy yourself as a stylish smooth, sartorially sentient suave-ster then head on down to the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival and find out what beautiful people really look like and what they're wearing.

They might look ridiculous now, but you'll be buying budget versions of them from Primark before you know it.


Melbourne Comedy Festival - from the 27th

The Melbourne Comedy Festival gets under way this month with some of the biggest names in comedy heading Down Under for what is now one of the biggest comedy festivals going.

Old names like Stephen K Amos and Jenny Eclair have new shows but it's the new faces such as Mike Birbiglia and Arj Barker who'll be making the waves this year.


The other silhouette is the guy's
mum begging him not to go.

The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach - from the 27th

And speaking of waves, what's the point in being in Australia without a little surfing? Even if you're too chicken to wade out in the 10m high waves with a ridiculous undertow and loads of sharks looking for a snack, get down to the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach to see some of the bravest and best surfers in the world tear it up.


TOMA Tequila Class - 28th

Why you need a class to show you how to drink tequila is a mystery but the TOMA Tequila Class is probably more of just an excuse to drink tequila rather than anything instructional.



Quiksilver Pro Surfing Competition - 2nd to the 13th

More surfing, this time off the shores of Queensland. Quiksilver is the first and last name in surfing so hit the beach while you still can and make your own version of the Home and Away opening titles at the Quiksilver Pro Surfing Competition.


Brisbane Comedy Festival - until the 24th

March seems to be the funniest month of the year; alongside the Melbourne festival (see above) the Brisbane Comedy Festival comes to town with tons of comedians, both famous and getting going, telling tons of jokes.



Sets on the Beach - 17th

Australians know that summer is coming to an end and is finding any and every excuse to spend every waking moment in the surf. The Sets on the Beach festival is one of the last parties of the summer, and one not to be missed.


It's a sculpture, but it's by the
right, it's not that difficult.

Sculpture by the Sea - 8th to the 25th

Anywhere in the world, this festival would just be called 'Sculpture' but the Sculpture by the Sea festival is a great change to see some truly mind bending exhibitions against a back drop no museum in the world can compete: the tide.



WOMADelaide - 8th to the 11th

The WOMADelaide Festival (World of Music, Arts & Dance) was started by Genesis founder Peter Gabriel in 1982 and enters its 31st year stronger than ever.

Spread over four days in Adelaide's Botanic Park, the program includes performances from a variety of acts including musicians like Jimmy Cliff as well as plenty of DJs and theatrical shows.


Adelaide Fringe Festival - until the 17th

While Melbourne might be where the established acts go to make the big bucks, it's the fringe festivals where new acts go to make their name or die on their arses - and Adelaide Fringe Festival is no different.

You're guaranteed to see either the next big thing in comedy or the blood curdling spectacle of someone asking if 'this mic is on' - yes it is mate, now go home.


Adelaide Festival - until the 17th

If comedy isn't quite your bag, remove the fringe aspect and you've got the Adelaide Festival which includes performances from much more than just the guy from HR who thought he'd be funny telling the knock-knock jokes he heard in the pub last night.

The Adelaide Festival includes theatre, music, dance and loads of cinema nights showing classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey.

- 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.

Jam Packed Feb Down Under

by Dominic 01/02/2013 15:36:00

February begins the Chinese year
of the snake, (even though this is
probably a dragon).

Firstly, Visa Bureau and STA Travel's flight competition is still on, book your flights to Australia from STA Travel before 31 March and you could win the cost of your flight back, up to £1000!

Summer in Australia is so hot that there doesn't really need to be all that much going on, you can just sit on the beach, in the garden, on a bench, next to your fridge or just on a bus and enjoy enough sunshine that you don't really have to do anything.

However, February is here now and even though it's still hot, your face won't melt if you venture out in the afternoon. And as it cools down to a manageable 30 or so degrees, that means everyone can come out to play again and there is a LOT on this month:

Chinese New Year - nationwide

First off, Chinese New Year - also known as the Spring Festival - takes place this month. That means that wherever Chinese influence can be found, you'll find celebrations this month. Pretty much every major Australian city has its own Chinatown so head down there at some point this month to see dragon parades, a myriad of food stalls and Chinese lanterns endangering some local birds' lives.


I like cleanin' win-ders

The Roaring 20s and All That Jazz Festival - until the 24th

The popularity of Boardwalk Empire has led to a resurgence in the roaring, prohibition, art-deco gothic style of the 20s. Where Gatsby fooled us all and people tap danced to work in full coat and tails. If this sort of melodrama excites you and you'd like a chance to try and talk as fast and accusatory as possible, the Roaring 20s and All That Jazz Festival takes place between the 2nd and the 24th of the month at a variety of venues across the city.

Cupid's Undie Run - 10th

I think we've done pretty well to get this far into a blog about February without mention Valentine's Day so far. Oh well. If you're lucky enough to have another soul to cling to this Valentine's Day then why not get down to Darling Harbour and rub your 'happiness' in everyone's faces? Alternatively, why not mask your terrible loneliness and fears about slipping in the shower (only to be found as a half decayed, naked corpse a few weeks later when the neighbours complain about the smell) by also heading down to the harbour and getting involve in Cupid's Undie Run.

Given it's hot enough to be in your fruit of the looms anyway, why not celebrate the weekend by jogging around the harbour in them for charity? Who knows, you might just meet somebody! Or, if you're already a couple, you might just meet somebody better!

AGWA Yacht Club - 23rd

What's the point in Sydney Harbour if you can't have a giant party right in the middle of it? Sitting on blankets around the edges is for pensioners. If you want to be in the middle of one of the world's most iconic sites in the world, completely unaware of that fact while you mangle the night away in some booze filled, strobe-lit paradise than the AGWA Yacht Club might just be for you.


This is just what she's wearing to get

Melbourne Latin Summer Festival - 9th

If you can't afford to get to Rio this month for Carnivale, don't panic. The Melbourne Latin Summer Festival makes for a more than good enough substitute and doesn't involve you travelling within feet of some of the most dangerous gangsters in the world's hot tubs. Not only will you have the chance to sample some of the best jerked and salsa'd to be found anywhere. There'll also be lots and lots of young, nubile flesh on display in some very elaborate (but little concealing) feathery outfits.

St Kilda Festival 2013 - until the 10th

One of Australia's best music festivals - and one of the world's best free music festivals - takes place in Melbourne this month. Now over 30 years, the veteran St Kilda Festival doesn't look like slowing down with over 60 acts spread over nine days and all the roads closed on the final Sunday.

Big Screen Gaming - 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th

You may think your 42 inch plasma TV, 7.1 surround sound, PS3 AND Xbox 360 makes you a bit of a playa in the entertainment system game but you might as well be playing on your Tamagotchi compared to the Big Screen Gaming on offer in Federation Sqare this month.

Cypress Hill Melbourne - 28th

If you spend significant parts of your youth under rainy bus stops in the 90s/early 2000s, chances are you had your Cypress Hill phase. Well, the old hip hop group are still going, still insane in the membrane from all those hits from the bong and will be playing Melbourne this month on the side of their appearance at the Soundwave Festival.


Tropfest is now one of the biggest
film festivals around.

Tropfest 2013 - 17th

Tropfest is quite quickly developing a reputation for itself as a name-maker. Now one of the most respected short film festivals in the world, some of the past year's victors have gone on to forge very respectable Hollywood careers after winning prizes at the worldwide festival. Get down there to see some of the names of the future sweat out critics' and repeated screenings of their pride and joy - nothing is good after the 5th viewing.

BrisAsia Festival - 8th to 23rd

Australia heads into the Asian Century with a sneaky advantage over its Western nation partners: it's almost next door. Australia's ties with its Asian cousin will only strengthen as the years go on and Brisbane is getting a jump on it with the BrisAsia Festival. A 16 day festival designed to highlight the burgeoning relationship with plenty of Asian-infused barbecue and games nights to make new friends over.

Brisbane Comedy Festival - from the 26th

If you need a few laughs to get over the grimness that is Valentine's Day alone or you're still caught up in the bubble of love that that delightful pair of socks so romantically conjured, the Brisbane Comedy Festival gets underway this month with tonnes of acts from all over the world ready to come and die on stage for your amusement.

Bleach Festival - from the 16th

What's the point in being in Australia if you can't spend almost every waking moment on the beach? Only returning to the safety of an airconditioned room to apply more Aloe to glowing skin? The Bleach Festival gives you the opportunity to do just that a variety of events - including gigs, pop up shows and exhibitions - taking place across the city.


Photo: The Color Run

The Color Run 2013 - 17th

We've written of the Color Run before - when it's visited other Australian cities and this month it's Perth's turn. Hundreds of runners, clad in nothing but gleaming white clothes they run around a pre determined track only to be pelted with various brightly coloured powders at various points of the course. Whether you're running for charity or just taking out your anger on humanity with a fistful of purple powder - it's a great day out for all involved.

Fringe World Festival - until the 23rd

Fringe festivals are where artists go to find out whether they're any good or not and at the Fringe World Festival - you get to be the judge. What more could possibly want than the power in your hands to determine whether someone goes home with a smile on their face and lifechanging career ahead of them or with their dreams crushed faced with the prospect of working in a call centre for the rest of their life because they can't explain the four year gap in their CV as anything more than 'mucking around'?

Perth Festival 2013 - from the 8th

Art is a bit of a generic term so the Perth Festival doesn't take any risks. Welcoming dramatists, circus performers, fire jugglers, modern dancers, cellists and filmers and every other type of artist in between the festival offers up one of the most diverse three weeks to be had anywhere in the world. Some of the highlights include the Chevron Festival Gardens and the Scattered Light exhibtion.


Brazil Film Festival 2013 - 21st to the 24th

Anyone who has seen the masterpiece that is the City of God knows that Brazilian film is rarely to be missed. With a culture and a level of diversity to be found in few other places, the 'average Brazilian film' is as oxymoronic as 'a decent Robbie Williams album'. With the country due to host not only the next World Cup but also the next Olympic Games, Brazil has got plenty to boast about at the minute and the Brazil Film Festival doesn't aim to disappoint.

The Smile Off Your Face - from the 28 Feb

Lastly we have something a little different than usual. The Smile Off Your Face is hard to categorise, it's not really theatre seeing as you're not watching, it's not really an exhibition seeing as you're participating. Whatever it is it has been travelling the world now for a few years and leaving profound reviews and changed people in its wake. Without ruining the surprise, it involves you relenting almost all control to other people and allowing them to find your comfort zone through a variety of means. Check out this review from the Guardian for a little more info.

- 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.

What to do on Australia Day

by Dominic 11/01/2013 15:14:00

Australia Day 2012, Christmas, New Year
and your cool, rich mate's birthday rolled
into one.

Australia Day is celebrated every year on the 26th of January. A public holiday, the celebration commemorates the arrival of the first 11 ships at Sydney Cove from England in 1788. Today, it presents a great excuse for a booze up, especially if you're Australian, and even more so if you're not.

As the biggest city and site of the First Fleet's landing, Sydney is the main hub of the celebrations but if you won't be in Sydney on the 26th don't worry, there's plenty to do.


  • AGWA Yacht Club - what better of enjoying the delights of Sydney Harbour than from a glass boat? Throw in a couple of DJs and a lot of alcohol and you might be lucky enough to not remember any of one of the best nights of your life.
  • Green Beats - If raving to some pretty hard dance music in the sun sounds like your idea then head to Green Beats. Plenty of cheap beer and barbecue are on offer to round off the day too.
  • MS Colour Run - Spending the public holidays is something we're all happy for someone else to do. However, colour runs have become one of the most popular forms of fundraising for a good reason: they're awesome. Whether it's a walk, a gentle jog or a run for your life, getting pelted with a myriad of coloured powder is enough to put a smile on anyone's face. Wear white, and don't expect the stains to come out.
  • Festival of the Voice - A budding tradition, the Festival of the Voice has grown in to six figure audience figures. Get on over to the Rocks to see some of the most famous Aussie musicians, not to mention getting good and boozed up in the process.
Sydney Harbour

Where else better to be than Sydney's most famous location on Sydney's most celebrated day? There is a full program of events taking place throughout the day including boat races, gigs and of course fireworks. Some of the most promising are the Ferrython boat race at 11am and an aerial display from some awesome fighter jets thanks to the RAAF.

All the people in Borat costumes have been
cropped out.

Australia Day Thong Challenge

The thong challenge (not the Sisqó type) is fast becoming an Aussie Day tradition. Thousands of people gather on the nearest beach in every city and try to set a record for the most people in the water on giant inflatable thongs. 

The Havaianas Australia Day Thong Challenges are taking place in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.

Sisqó type thongs are optional.


  • Big Day Out - One of the biggest, and many would say best, events going on this Australia Day is Melbourne's Big Day Out. With a massive line-up, the names don't stop coming including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, Band of Horses and plenty more. Tickets are still available but for how much longer who knows.
  • Australian Open Screening - If you fancy a bit of sport the Australian Open, one of tennis' big four events, takes place in January with the finals falling conveniently around Australia Day. If you've missed out on tickets, an open air screen will be set up on the banks of the Yarra for both men’s' and women’s' finals.
  • Australia Day at Docklands - Getting over to the river nice and early before the evening tennis starts will allow you to enjoy some of the other attractions on offer including barbecues, boozing, fishing and kite flying.
  • Elvis Costello at Day on the Green - If you like a bit of the silky smooth crooning from one of England's most enduring stars, head on out to Healesville for the Day at the Green.

- 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.

Get your tan in Jan - New Year summer events in Australia

by Dominic 02/01/2013 16:30:00

New Year is here, ready for some more?

photo: Hirsty Photography

Well, that's the Christmas season done for another year, you've worn your new socks and worn out your fake smile, you've eaten enough sugar and meat fat to dent third world hunger and drank enough alcohol to strip the paint off a 747.

Now what?

Well, if you're in the UK it's back to waking up in the dark, standing in the rain, freezing whatever bits you’ve got off and then going home when it's dark again.

With so much to look forward to, like the prospect of returning to work or forgetting what daylight looks like, it's little wonder this time of the year is the most popular for working holidays in Australia where it's just about reaching the sizzling peak of summer.

If you're Down Under this January, here's some stuff to do.

Chinese New Year - Nationwide - All Month

Chinese New Year doesn't actually fall until 10, February when the Year of the Snake slithers in. However, China is too big and too full to be able to cram all that celebrating into just one night so for almost an entire month before the big day, every Chinatown in every city in the world will be counting down the days.

Pretty much every big city in Australia has a Chinatown so find your closest one and enjoy some of the best food, fireworks and displays to be seen anywhere.

If you've gotten over your hangover from the last New Year that is.

Moonlight Cinema - Nationwide - All Month

With the Oscars just around the corner, all the best films are released this time of year. If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, people are happy to watch Jedward tunelessly frolic across a foam filled bouncy castle if it means getting out of the cold. In Australia however, it better be a damn good film to coax viewers out of the sun and off the sand.

Thankfully, that doesn't have to be the choice this year with the Moonlight Cinema offering a different movie every day, from the classics to the latest blockbusters. Plus, they're pretty much nationwide too.

Southbound - Perth - 4th and 5th

What a better to kick off 2013 than with a music festival? Southbound festival offers punters the chance to get drunk in the sun and listening to some of the biggest names in music like The Hives, Hot Chip and The Vaccines.

Not though are you. 

Surf n' Ink - Queensland - 11th to the 13th

Tattoos are quite a particular interest - rarely do you find people with one or two who aren't planning to cake themselves in any more. More than likely you'll find tattoo fans plastered head to toe with skulls, pirates, tribal markings and thousands of other varieties.

While tattoos might be a niche, surfing - particularly in Australia - is not.

So if you're not a fan of tattoos, head on down to Miami, Queensland for the Surf n' Ink Tattoo festival anyway to ooh and aah at some of the best surfers carving the waves to pieces and some of the best tattoo artists carving some people's bodies to pieces.

Splash Adelaide - Adelaide - All Month

Splash Adelaide is an almost four month long festival dedicated to lighting up the city with the best in music, food and just general frivolity. With so much going on throughout the festival it's impossible to cover everything, but if you're in South Australia this month, you definitely won't be stuck for things to do.

Beers, blondes and...other things
beginning with B.

Beer o'clock - Adelaide - 18th and 19th

After spending New Year in Australia just the mention of alcohol might be enough to make you gag but don't worry, that'll pass, and even if it doesn't, what better than hair o' the dog?

The Schutzenfest German Festival is one of the oldest (it was first celebrated in 1865 - that's nearly as old as your mum) and best German booze festivals in the world, get down there to see some buxom wenches in traditional German gear serve up some of the finest ales in a land usually reserved for Fosters and Castlemaine XXXX.

Big Day Out - Sydney, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth - 18th to the 28th

Big Day Out has become one of the biggest names in the festival calendar in recent years, and with stop overs in five Australian cities this month, you should really need a decent excuse to miss this one.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers, Band of Horses, Vampire Weekend and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are just some of the names appearing at this year's festival; best get that doctor's note ready if you can't make it.

Sydney Festival

Melbourne has its effortless cool, Perth its polished new money smell and Queensland its natural beauty but its Sydney where the real party is, and always has been, at.

If you're in Aus' biggest city this January, ask yourself whether you can really afford to miss the Sydney Festival?

On for three weeks until the 27th, tens of thousands will gather for gigs, shows, exhibitions and parties across the city.

There aren't many things we write about that genuinely aren't to be missed, don't disappoint us 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.

New Year's Eve in Australia

by Dominic 14/12/2012 00:01:00

No where else does NYE quite like

New Years Eve is THE party night of the year and if it's good enough, of two years. If you're in Australia for NYE chances are you won't be doing your usual Auld Lang Syne hand in hand with your nan while you think of all the things you didn't manage to accomplish in the past year.

In 2012, you made it to Australia! That alone is worth celebrating, let's see what's on where:


  • ShoreThing - What else could be better than welcoming in the New Year loaded up with alcohol on the best beach in the world?
    Tickets: AU$138 - Direct tickets link
  • Pacha Sydney - A more subdued affair, that lasts 10 hours and has 10 bars, and four floors, and lots of LEDs, and music, and people.
    Tickets: AU$99
  • NYE On The Harbour 2012 at Cargo Bar - NYE in Sydney is all about the Harbour and the fireworks. Cargo Bar's prime location on the waterfront makes it one of the hottest tickets around.
    Tickets: AU$99
  • Delight NYE at Bradleys Head - Another great view of the Harbour can be had from Bradleys Head within the Sydney Harbour National Park. This one is a family friendly event though so view vs debauchery here.
    Tickets: AU$50
  • Hedkandi, Bungalow 8 & theloft ‐  Combine the Harbour view with the hard party (almost rhymed).
    Tickets: AU$89
  • NYE2012 @ Taronga Zoo - Another family friendly event but one to remember for sure, ring in the New Year alongside the lions and tigers of the zoo at night. A great harbour view too!
    Tickets: AU$165 


  • Insert to Play - Fully fledged music festival to see in the New Year on the West Coast with masive names like 360, Drapht, Urthboy and Ladyhawke.
    Tickets: AU$104
  • Sail Away at the George - Very classy affair that looks set to get very messy indeed come midnight.
    Tickets: AU$130
  • NYE on the Foreshore - Sydney may have the harbour but Perth's beaches and waterside views can compete with any.
    Tickets: $70
  • Rumble in the Jungle at Wolf Lane - Jungle themed party where best costume wins a prize!
    Tickets: AU$15
  • The Aviary Rooftop Party - Get your whites on for the rooftop party of the year.
    Tickets: AU$150 


  • Fireworks at Federation Square - Fireworks display in the heart of Australia's coolest city.
    Tickets: Free 
  • Rubiks Cube Party - Prizes for the best dressed!
    Tickets: AU$20 (pre-sale) 
  • Pyramid Rock Festival - 29th to the 31st. Festivals are an excuse to get drunk, mixed with NYE and you've got a recipe for chaos. Top bands on offer at the Pyramid Festival including Friendly Fires, Beni and 360.
    Tickets: AU$314 (three day pass including camping and booking fee) 


  • Brisbane New Year's Eve Ball - Heroes and Villains themed with prizes for best dressed.
    Tickets: AU$145
  • White Paradise NYE - 2,000 people clad in white, a fleet of boats, two stages, fireworks, what else do you need?
    Tickets: AU$150
  • Musicology: New Year's Eve - Travel through time at Musicology with music from the 60's right through to the present day.
    Tickets: AU$125
  • NEW YEARS EVE featuring The Stafford Brothers - Ring in the New Year with Australia's number 1 DJs 
    Tickets: AU$23.50


  • NYE Latino Carnival - Spice up the start of 2013 with a carni-val-ay! Look out for the giant pinata loaded with goodies.
    Tickets: AU$24.30 to $29.40
  • 90's Incredibles Extravaganza! - Will anyone ever get bored of partying like it's 1999? Not unless you plan to reach 2999!
    Tickets: AU$25 in advance, $35 on the door
  • Carte Blanche Masquerade - Is there anything at all more suave, sexy and sophisticated than a masquerade ball? In the world? No, get down there and bring the tone down then!
    Tickets: Free entry
  • Summadayze - What do you do when one of the best festivals of the year happens to coincide with the best party night of the year? Get in there and go wild, obviously.
    Tickets: AU$135


  • Stay at Base Full Moon Party - Base Magnetic Island - Thailand might have made the Full Moon Party famous but our own friends over at Stay At Base are living up to the competition, especially when it coincides with NYE. Get your tickets booked and get your free night's with your Platinum Card membership!
    Tickets: AU$85
  • Falls Festival - Another great festival held in Marion Bay from the 29th to the 1st. Acts include Coolio, Jaguar Skills and The Hives.
    Tickets: AU$226

- 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.

What to do in decidedly December Australia

by Dominic 04/12/2012 14:27:00

No caption required.

December in the UK is cold, wet, busy, dark and plenty of other things to make you miserable - let's not forget the torture that is Christmas shopping.

In the UK, we need open fires, mulled wines and ludicrous sweaters to jar us into a jolly mood but in Australia, you get all the trimmings of a great Christmas season - carols, presents, trees and stockings - but presented in a glorious welcoming basket of blazing sunshine.

So if you're in Australia and missing the nostalgic Christmases of your childhood that never really happened - good news! Because Australia's sun-kissed December is so out of place for Christmas, the country goes ALL out to make it as festive as possible.

However, if you hate Christmas and are sourer than a lemon dipped in battery acid, there's still plenty to do to remind you have no friends to buy stuff for and a family on the other side of the world not missing your company.

Let's have a look at some great stuff to do this December!

Night Markets - Melbourne - 6th, 13th and 20th 

Let's face it, Christmas shopping is a nightmare, you either brave the throng, the heat, the frustration, the waiting times and out of stock notices or, you can do it in person. Even if you do choose to do it 'the easy way' - online - there's still three people left to buy for who have everything under the sun and pre-programmed eBay auctions set up to sell whatever you give them.

Well, here's your answer: the Kris Kringle Night Markets on Thursday 6, December as well as the 13th and 20th include over 50 stalls selling everything from hand carved hand carving kits to self immolating banana flambé makers.


Luna Park - Melbourne - until the 13th

"Yes, do come in, you'll definitely
be coming out alive"

While amusement parks in the US and Japan continue to try and set records for the biggest, highest and fastest death traps known to man, the golden oldies remain the best; rickety wooden rollercoasters sounding like they could splinter and collapse this time round even though they've been going for a million years, candy floss served from old timers in candy striped shirts and mascots that gave kids nightmares, what more could you want?

And where else could fulfil all these ideals then at Melbourne's Luna Park, one of the oldest continually operating theme parks in the world which celebrates its 100th birthday this month.

The iconic theme park is running all sorts of specials in the run up to the 13th so head on down there and party like it's 1912 when you could drink and drive 'without the law on your back' and money really did make you a better person!

More Markets - Brisbane - 14th

Outdoor markets are as much of a staple in the Christmas experience as pigs in blankets, family arguments and fire hazardous Christmas puddings - you can basically never have enough..

The BrisStyle indie Twilight Markets set in the heart of King George Square offers punters a relaxed Friday night where they can take in some of the soothing sounds of live jazz, feast on some festive foods and pick up a trinket or two for some people you don't really care about but need to have something to show for yourself.

Not-your-average-fairy lights - Perth - 14th

The true Christian meaning of Christmas got buried under generations of ungrateful kids and uncooked turkeys way before we came along so it's not our fault our associations of the festive season like in Coca-Cola trucks, half melted snowman, cheap plastic gismos and above all, lights.

Christmas lights line the streets of any decent size town in most countries but if you want to see a truly spectacular show and enjoy Illuminites Festival of Christmas at the Culture Centre in Perth where the extravagant displays and 6 metre walk in snow dome all lead the way to the bar.


Movies, on the roof - Perth - until the 16th

Rooftop Movies.

Photo: Jarrad Seng

What is it about where you watch movies that influences the experience so much? The dark room, giant screen, sticky floors and more popcorn than you could ever wish to eat seems to have become the universally accepted model as the best film-absorbing experience but there are more and more emerging all the time: watching Avatar on an iPod nano on a train, lying in some twisted, wrangled position to keep the charger in the laptop and of course, the classic: the drive in movie theatre which only exists (ironically) in film.

However, a new trend is emerging: the rooftop cinema. For some reason sitting atop a few-storey building in a deck chair with the evening breeze teasing your popcorn is the new in thing and nowhere does it better this month that Rooftop Movies in downtown Perth, particularly because of their schedule, showing classics like Leon the Professional and the Goonies.

Just don't wander off the edge trying to find the toilets in the dark.

A life of Riley - Sydney - 7th to the 16th

Thanks to all pervading media prying into every 'celebrity' and the minutiae of their personal lives, we can get a glimpse of the high life on a regular basis. But it's almost always framed in a 'these people are scum, look how great their lives are, yours will never be this good' sort of way.

However, every once in a while us common folk get a genuine taste of the life of the upper classes; whether it's a ride in a Bentley at a motor show, an upgrade to first class on a flight or you simply decided that 'escort' isn't all that degrading of a profession if you go about it in a Pretty Woman sort of way.

If you've tasted the highs and now aren't satisfied with regular life, head along to Bondi Beach between the 7th and the 16th for the The Cool House: Pop-Up Boutique when the penthouse suite at the spankingly new Pacific Bondi Beach apartments will be turned into 'The Cool House'.

While you might not be able to afford anything on sale, let alone the penthouse, taking a few quick posey pictures to whack on Facebook will certainly assure all those jealous back home you can.

Christmas Carols - Sydney - 22nd

And lastly we have something truly Christmassy: Woolworths Carols in the Domain. What is now a 30-year-old tradition, Australia's largest free Christmas concert features some very respectable names singing all sorts of songs you hate at any other time of the year but might just strike a sentimental chord when sung by someone who can actually hold a tune just three days before the big day itself.

Head on down to the Domain on the Saturday for some truly festive cheer.

Ho ho ho!-ly hell there's only three weeks to go!

- 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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