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.

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.

Stuff to see in Australia in springtime September

by Dominic 30/08/2012 16:40:00

Meanwhile in Barnsley, it's
snowing, and not that decent
snow either, that grey slush
stuff everyone hates.

London, for about two weeks, was where it was at, in the world. We had Jessica Ennis winning, the Spice Girls miming and Usain Bolt proving why the word cool isn't enough anymore.

But that's over now, and the 10 minutes of sun we had as well, that's gone. The rain is back, the temperature's just starting to trickle downhill and the nights are drawing in. So just what's the point in life?

But in Australia...

It's the exact opposite: the days are getting warmer, the music is getting louder and the beers are getting larger.

If you're in Australia this September, you'll be wanting some stuff to do.

Get your swim on - Sydney - 1st September

What better way to kick off the season than with a swim? Sydney's Greenwich Baths reopens for the season on the 1st, and to celebrate everyone gets in free and there's a BBQ.

Make sure you get there early so you can be first to pee in the pool, if the staff haven't already.

Float your boat - Melbourne - 1st September

If you think that being drunk doesn't quite make it hard enough to walk around making bawdy comments at girls and starting fights with whoever, try doing it on a boat!

The Citibeatz Boat Cruise Two involves anyone jumping on a ship and drinking copious amounts, either in the 90s room upstairs, or the hip-hop room downstairs, until two when they turn the engines on and get the place churning to see who can go the longest without recycling the drinks offers.

(That might not happen)

Get your groove on - Sydney - 1st September

If you reckon you look dapper in a suit or when you're wielding a razor or another similarly lethal weapon, head on down to the Metro Theatre on Saturday for the Gangsters' Ball 2012 when you can compare the size of your guns and discuss your jury tampering and intimidation techniques without the threat of the whole thing turning into a blood bath.

This is the real one, probably.

You don't have to let go - Brisbane - 1st September

Michael Jackson sold approximately one billion records and was performing for four decades but anyone who saw him counts themselves in a lucky few. While it may be too late to see the King of Pop himself now, don't worry, you still have options.

Don't let anyone ever tell you you don't have options.

Kenny Wizz is widely recognised as the world's foremost Jacko impersonator, his HIStory tour sold out across Australia and the all new HIStory II tour promises to do the same. Wizz's fanaticism and unwillingness to just let go sees him take audiences through Jackson's entire career, from the early days as a precocious young child performer right through to the most famous musician in the world, best selling artist of all time and most discussed face ever.

Should be a decent gig.

Something for the ladies, but really for the fellas - Perth - 1st September

Pole dancing was once limited to dingy, sordid clubs where fat sweated unshaved men leered at the girls through clouds of dank smoke, but now it's a legitimate art, and that's great.

So while you might not be able to fling yourself round a fireman's pole faster than a chimpanzee who's left the oven on, swing by the Fly By Night Musicians Club on Saturday for the Amateur Pole Queen competition where 30 girls will be judged on their skills, costumes and sensuality.

Feeling festive - Brisbane - 8th to the 29th September

The Brisbane Festival is one of the largest music and cultural events in the country. For three weeks, there'll be enough dancing to cripple Michael Flatley and enough booze to drown a medium sized dog.

Particular highlights include a beat boxing competition and late night DJs setting the after party off.

Outdoor cinema, or is it - Melbourne - 12th and 26th September

Drive in cinemas are one of a few things that are in films and on TV, and nowhere else. Have you ever seen one? No, you haven't, don't lie. The fact is the reality of a drive in cinema is probably rubbish, you won't be able to see properly, the sound would be out of time, you're stuck in a car and it's probably going to start raining, even in Australia.

That's why the Outside-in Cinema in Melbourne is the perfect compromise. OK so you might get arrested if you back your car in (we said might) but you can still get everything you thought would be top about an outdoor cinema - deck chairs, food that doesn't cost more than hip surgery and some great films to watch - but inside.

Get on it, you won't need your car bonnet.

If you can tell this isn't a G6
you should get out more, we
both know you haven't got one.

Like a G6 - Adelaide - 25th September

Whether you like that song is really irrelevant, the only factor that matters is how much you hate yourself after you've finished loving every minute of dancing to it.

Tacky, cheesy, rip off and all other insults you can chuck at it, you can't say it's not a top club track. That's why even if you don't particularly like the Far East Movement or rather, you like to tell your friends you don't like the Far East Movement, no one is denying that the gig down at the HQ Complex won't be banging.

Either that or you can go see Hanson the week before, your choice.

Ziggy played the guitar - Sydney - 26th to the 28th September

No one is going to pretend the Far East Movement are anything but a flavour of the minute, they'll be on the tip of people's tongues as people tunelessly hum G6 within a year but if you appreciate music, and what one man has done for it then the Opera House at the end of the month is for you.

Ziggy is a night dedicated to the genius that is David Bowie, his musical genius that is. If it was a tribute to his acting prowess it would consist of a 3 second clip of crystal balls being juggled, and even that was a stunt double. 

Instead, join performers Jeff Duff, Steve Balbi and Brydon Stace as they play Heroes, Space Oddity, Changes, Jean Genie, Ashes to Ashes, Under Pressure...Ziggy Stardust, the list goes on and on.

If you like Bowie it's the place to be, if you don't like him, get down there anyway and better yourself.

- 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.

July events in Australia - The wintry mood for films and food

by Dominic 27/06/2012 16:54:00

Firstly, Visa Bureau and STA Travel's flight competition is 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 £1000!

This is winter Australia, don't know
you're born.

Winter? In Australia? Australia has winter like Britain has summer, in that it says winter on the calendar and that's it. Winter conjures images of snow, of dark nights and frozen windscreens but while Aussies might walk around an 18 degree Sydney dressed like it's The Day After Tomorrow, Brits are out there rocking the shorts and sandals.

So as the locals are drinking coco and rooting their electric blankets out of cupboards while you slap on the sun screen, you might need some stuff to do, here's a look at some very wintry events going on around Australia this month.

They've got an ice rink here, serious.

Ice Skating - Sydney - Until the 15th

Where else in the world can you ice skate while topping up your tan? An ice rink on a beach is so ludicrous it MUST be good; the Bondi Winter Festival Ice Rink site's description even says 'hot chocolate, gluwein, heart warming foods and a cosy fire in the Alpine Ski Hut will complete the "winter" experience'.

1, we don't know what the hell 'gluwein' is either and 2, "Winter" experience, on one of the most famous, sun kissed and beautiful beaches in the world, need we say more?

Light Show - Melbourne - 20th to the 29th

As winter in Australia might constitute the hottest day of the year in Britain, the Northern Lights of the North Pole might be a little farfetched but you can still catch some awesome light shows in Melbourne at the Gertrude St Projection Festival.

One of Melbourne's most famous shopping and nightlife districts will be transformed in July to a mesmerising display of lasers, projections and illuminations from some prominent artists in the world of projection art. Quick, name 10 projection artists!

It's OK if you can't name any because the installations speak for themselves, plus, it's free!

Secret Films - Melbourne - 21st and 22nd

This guy was AWESOME at keeping
secrets, and he has no friends.

If you like secrets, ones you swear not to tell anyone else and then tell everyone else while making them SWEAR not to tell anyone else, the Underground Cinema might just be for you.

Held at a secret location yet to be revealed, the Underground Cinema Presents Hope is a live celebration of film. While the film to be shown might be secret, it could be Citizen Kane (or the new Citizen Kane at least) or it could be Dude Where's My Car (the same Dude Where's My Car), the Underground Cinema incorporates live elements recreating scenes and secrets from the film they're about to screen.

Register on their site to be admitted into the inner circle, just don't tell nobody, or else.

More films - Sydney - 26th to the 29th

If you're a film buff but are too cool or not cool enough (we can never be sure) to get into the secret film festival, or are simply in Sydney at the time, you can try the Indie Gems Film Festival which, as it shows the best in new, independent films, also known colloquially as 'gems', is a riddle wrapped in a Dan Brown nightmare of misdirection.

For four days, the Indie Gems Film Festival showcases some of the best new films from around the world, but with a slight preference for Western Sydney based shorts. There'll also be networking events and workshops for those that quite fancy themselves getting someone's coffee on a film set one day.

Wed Wed Wine - Adelaide - 28th and 29th

As the Australians graciously allow us to call our three months of rain summer, we should really let them allow their three months of 'not scorchingly hot sun' winter. With that in mind, nothing warms the cockles, heats the heart and something else wintry (it's not really winter we don't have to try that hard), like some red wine in front of a blazing fire.

If this sounds like you (blazing fire optional), then the Winter Reds Wine Festival is a must. Spread over two days, the region's best wines (and while they might not know what the word 'nippy' means, they know how to pluck a grape) will be on offer for all to sample.

Be careful not to insult them though by asking for ice in yours.

Mmmm, can you smell that? This
picture is Scratch 'N' Sniff, give it a go.

What's that smell? - Sydney - 29th

The most evocative and nostalgia inspiring sense there is (out of 9, everyone can tell when there's a magnet nearby right?), smell is awesome. If you enjoy the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans or melting chocolate or baking bread, head on down to The Rocks at the end of the month for the Rocks Aroma Festival.

Spread across four global regions, The Oasis, the Continent and The Latin Quarter, the Aroma festival tempts you with everything from Indian tea to Italian coffee, from Belgian chocolate to Brazilian Springer spaniel sandwiches (just like school!).

You might want to try fasting for a few days (or weeks Mr Blaine) before heading on down.

Music festival - Sydney - 27th to the 29th

What does it say about Britain that even our so-called 'summer festivals' end up with hurricane strength winds blowing tents around with people still in them and every festival-goer having to be treated for trench foot after the ordeal?

What's more, what does it say about Australia when their 'winter festivals' are still drenched in sun?

A lot, probably, but it's probably really obvious too.

Anyway, we've kept the best Australian event in July until last because it's a biggie. The Splendour in the Grass festival at Belongil Fields in Byron Bay is a three day festival featuring some of the biggest names in music including Jack White, Bloc Party, Smashing Pumpkins, The Kooks and The Shins.

And you were wondering whether a Glastonbury ticket might be a good idea, wake up.

- 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.

Play us a tune in June - plus offer still on!

by Dominic 30/05/2012 16:33:00
Firstly, Visa Bureau and STA Travel's flight competition is 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 £1000! 
At almost any point in the calendar we can safely predict that not only is the weather in Australia hotter, lighter for longer and just a more pleasant place to be in general, it's also normally raining.

Not this month though!

London, definitely not THAT busy,

While the current temperature is averaging around a 20 degree C high in Sydney over the next few days, we're going through a heat wave in London. However, like every other variance of weather that dares to venture anywhere beyond 12 degrees and 16 degrees with a slight overcast, Britain is completely incapable of coping.

Public transport down, no air conditioning, people not sleeping, people being burnt to a crisp, wasps in drinks, hay fever, all before it reaches 20 degrees.

The inability for anyone to cope with anything but slight drizzle combined with the incredibly overhyped Diamond Jubilee this weekend, you can be forgiven for dreaming of being anywhere but Britain.

If you're in Australia this month, you'll be over the moon because it's June and we've got loads of things to do(on).

Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow - Across Australia - Throughout June

The Melbourne Comedy Festival is the third largest comedy festival in the world (if you know the other two then comedy probably isn't your thing anyway) and one of Australia's biggest events over all. With the biggest names in comedy from across the world, the festival is a weeks long extravaganza that is not to be missed.

But you have done, it finished in April.

You might have missed the festival itself but fortunately some kind souls committed to seeking out the darkest and miserablest (that is a word spell-check, grr) corners of Australia and shining the light of mirth on them. The Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow tours throughout June across the country, check out the site to find the closest date to you.

Derek likes ghosts.

Body, Mind & Psycho Expo - Adelaide - 2nd to 3rd June

If it was just called the Body and Mind Expo then we probably wouldn't have bothered with this event, body and mind suggests a bunch of middle aged women trying to sell each other bath salts and courses in professional confidence while a bunch of men feign interest in said bath salts to try and get closer to said women.

It's the 'Psycho' part that gets us.

A two day festival of tarot card readings, palm readings, readings of other everyday things that inform some people whether or not they'll get married, what's not to like?

Seriously though, it's horses for courses and if you have a spiritual side you'll definitely enjoy the Body Mind & Psycho Expo at the Adelaide Showground.

No sniggering allowed.

Truffle Festival - Canberra - 21st June to 31st July

There are certain foods posh and/or rich people eat and we lowly commoners have to deal with it: caviar, oysters, scotch eggs, lobster, Kobe beef, After Eight mints, you get the idea.

Truffles usually belong in that list; snuffled out by pigs (the one time the word snuffle is appropriate) and then flown on their own first class jet to the finest restaurants in London, New York, Bolton and Paris, you'll never get a sniff of the stuff in the truffle that pig snuffled.

Or will you?

The 2012 Canberra & Capital Region Truffle Festival gets under way on the 21st of the month in time for the Winter Solstice and the premier truffle hunting season. The festival gives you the chance to sample as many luxurious truffles as you like and features truffle hunts, cooking lessons and dining experiences.

Vivid Sydney transforms the city.
Not. To. Be. Missed.

Vivid Sydney - Sydney - until 11th June

We included Vivid Sydney on our last events blog but as the event extends through until June and is more than just a hallucinogenic kaleidoscope played out on the blank canvas of Sydney's Opera House, we thought we'd include it in this month's blog in a little more detail.

Vivid Sydney is a six week celebration of innovation and creativity; central to the festival's attraction is the light installations which are set up across the city and convert the whole place into the aforementioned hallucinogenic kaleidoscope.

However, that isn't all the festival is with dozens of individual performances, art installations and light exchanges taking place every day. Some of the best include Light Sculptures taking place at the Circular Quay, the Temper Trap and their sweet disposition playing the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Film Festival taking place across the CBD.

The best of the best though, and held every night, is URBANSCREEN's the Lighting of the Sails. For six hours a day, the award winning design collective URBANSCREEN lights up the sails of the Sydney Opera House with everything from cool flashing lights to the absolute best in projection technology.

And it's free, don't miss it.

- 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.

It's play time in May time, plus an all new offer!

by Dominic 30/04/2012 15:37:00
We often like to kick these blogs off with a little comparison about why the cold, dark wintery gloom of Britain is in such stark juxtaposition with the summer sun and lovely girls in lovely thongs strutting the beaches of Sydney.

Yet as we approached May and, despite years of conditioning to the contrary, we got our hopes up that a beautiful British summer was hiding behind those clouds, just waiting with scorching 15 degree temperatures, irritable wasps looking for a cider to sit in and tattooed football fans looking to fight over whose pint the wasp's drowning in, you can understand our worry over this month's working holiday blog.

But then the rain came.

So, we've had nearly a month of rain here but, in true British fashion, we are also in a drought. Nearly constant, torrential downpour for almost a month and we still can't use our hosepipes, only in Britain. I don't know who wants to use their hosepipes when even the pavement is getting soggy but still, if they wanted to, they couldn't, under penalty of death (or moderate fines).

In conclusion, has our description of why being in Britain in May isn't a good idea ever really been this easy?


Platinum Card members can get across
Australia for just 4 cents a kilometre
with Greyhound buses.

New Offer - Get a Greyhound 500km pass for AU$20!

Didn't think so, so if you're in Australia in May, not only are you the place to be right now but we also have a brand new offer for our platinum card members to add to all this cool stuff going on Down Under in May!

As usual we've got plenty of stuff to do across Australia but this month, for Platinum Card members only we've got Greyhound bus passes for just AU$20!

So what, I hear you say, we don't know how much they normally cost so how is that a saving?

Well, they usually cost AU$107 so I'm sure the quick witted amongst you..........and now the rest of you, have figured out that's a saving of AU$87 and the pass will get you 500km across Australia, that's 4 cents a kilometre!

To capitalise on this most awesome of awesome offers, just go to Greyhound and enter the code VISAKM in the 'promo' code box at checkout!


This might be dead, it might not be.
Grab your fork and find out.

Sea food and eat it.

First up, we've got a lovely bit of grub to kick off May with a bang. If you're sick of discussing whether or not Marmite is nice (it's not), if Kangaroo tastes good (it does) or if Fosters is a decent beer (it's not) then you might be ready for something a little different.

Well if you happen to be in Queensland this week, head on down to Brisbane for the 18th annual Caxton Street Seafood and Wine Festival on the 6th of May for some great seafood and wine on the street, beat that for a description.

15,000 people turned up last year to sample some of the amazing delights on the menu as well as see the great line-up of performers.

It'll definitely be better than drinking Fosters and discussing Marmite.

Killin' it with St Kilda

Film festivals are top places to be, you can watch trashy films that would never make it on TV let alone the cinema and see some incredibly J list celebrities before bragging shamelessly to your friends later that you just watched the new Citizen Kane while being best man at Kevin Spacey's wedding at 'a really underground indy film festival you won't have heard of'.

If you're in Melbourne between the 22nd and the 27th you could have that very opportunity, while you might not meet the K-Space or see the next Citizen Kane, the St Kilda Film Festival 2012 still has plenty of great films from all genres and cultures on show for you to not fully appreciate, and then brag about later.


Them feathers are all natural baby. 

I would go out tonight, but I haven't got a stitch to wear

Backpacking is scruffy business: living out of an ageing backpack, washing your clothes as a Christmas present and spending months at a time in Saharan levels of heat probably isn't doing the best for your limited collection of threads.

Don't worry though as anyone in Adelaide between the 24th and 26th you can restock your depleting threads on the cheap, the very cheap. The Salvos Stores MASSIVE Clothing Sale takes place across almost all of the South Australian stores and, best bit, everything is AU$2,99!

Nearly nudity, tassles and boa feathers

We didn't need a more poetic title than that, we've got you now.

Burlesque is a traditionally sensual and evocative art form dedicated to the beauty that is woman which has, unfortunately, been high jacked by stripping and the whole art form has been lumped in with the clear heels, unwashed thongs and slight desperation that all men really see at strip clubs.

At least that's the flawless argument you can use when going to the Perth International Burlesque Festival between the 24th and 27th of this month.

The first annual Burlesque Festival celebrates everything about Burlesque with lessons, live shows, workshops and some of the best names in Burlesque.

Admit it though, we had you at the headline.

The Sydney Opera House during Vivid
Sydney, you're alright, you'll be alright, it'll
wear off soon.

Delight in light in the Sydney sky at night

Sydney's iconic harbour sits comfortably in a list of the world's best sites to see: Times Square, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Visa Bureau offices, the Great Pyramid at Giza, Lassie's gravesite, any self respecting listmaker will always include the Opera House.

So, no doubt if you're over that way you'll already have seen it, perhaps even taken some hilarious picture where you're leaning against it or have your fingers on the top, you're so clever and original.

But if you haven't done that, or even if you have then get yourself back down to the harbour any time after the 25th to see Vivid Sydney, when for 18 days, the city becomes a blank canvas to be covered with light and music in a kaleidoscopic of architecturally epic proportions.

It'll be like an acid trip you can't escape, doesn't that sound nice?

- 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.

Fab Feb fun in the Down Under sun

by Dominic 09/02/2012 16:47:00
February in the UK is dark, damp and, if you're single, depressing. Still broke from Christmas and still stuck in the depths of winter, it's no wonder girlfriends, wives and boyfriends get upset when the one good thing about the month, Valentines Day, is forgotten.

But if you're in Australia however, then February is still the height of summer, temperatures rarely drop below a FREEZING 25 degrees across the country and the only cold people moan about is the temperature of their iced vegemite lollies (these definitely might exist).

So if you're Down Under this month and are keen to rub it in your British friends' faces, then here's a look at some of the best stuff going on this month.

This guy only went out for some
bread. Good job he had his
surfboard with him. 

What would an Australian summer, or an Australian Wednesday for that matter, be without surfing? The Australian Open of Surfing takes place between the 11th and 19th of February and doesn't JUST include some of the world's top names in surfing cleaving through some of the world's top surfing waves but also features plenty of live music, fashion shows and skateboarding events for those moments when you're glancing away from the water.

Nearly finished the swim, only got
a 50 mile bike ride and a
marathon left. Easy.

The Australian summer is the time for late nights on warm porches, cold beer on hot beaches and spicy barbecues on neighbours' porches (when they're not in), it is NOT the time for swimming 2 km, cycling EIGHTY THREE km and then rounding the day off with a nice gentle MARATHON.

The Jervis Bay Triathlon Festival offers plenty of different race options between the 17th and 19th, but if you're sensible, or just obese, you can do the proper thing and just sit back on the beach with a nice cold beer (or vegemite lolly) and indulge in that most popular of pastimes: watching other people work.

Canberra is the place to be in February as the world's largest short film festival comes to town on the 19th. Tropfest, which regularly attracts a whopping 150,000 a day started life as a simple screening in a Sydney cafe but has since grown to one of the most popular events in world cinema with events not just in Australia but London, Berlin, New York and Bangkok.

You couldn't get more dangerous
than this if you were running with
scissors across a road without

If you're in or around Melbourne between the 24th and 26th, why not head down to Phillip Island to witness the best fusing of man and machine since Darth Vader took his helmet off and scared you behind the couch (your mum told us): Superbikes. Taking place over two days on Phillip Island the Superbike World Championship is fast, furious and about as dangerous as playing with fireworks on a level crossing; superbikes make Formula 1 look like the kid with glasses and asthma on cross country day.

The Adelaide Fringe Festival runs from the 24th February until the 18th March is now the largest arts festival in Australia with 52 years' worth of history to back it up. While it may be not as famous as its Scottish cousin the Edingburgh Fringe Festival, it packs just as much of a punch with hundreds upon hundreds of comedy shows, circus events, dancing events, film screenings and so much culture you'll need a cold compress and a Jeremy Kyle marathon to get over it.

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is 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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