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.

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.

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.

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.

New Platinum Card partner - Sky Dive the Beach at Sydney, Byron Bay and Melbourne!

by Dominic 15/11/2012 17:35:00

You don't have to be crazy to do this but
 - no, in fact you probably do!

Working holidays are all about trying new things, living life on the edge and discovering your own limits. While the more depraved among you could take that to mean see how many never-before-tried drinks you can mix while lying on the beach waiting for the tide to come in.

OR, you could be truly daring with our all new partner: Skydive the Beach!

We at the Visa Bureau are delighted to announce our newly formed partnership with New South Wales’ biggest and best skydiving operator Skydive the Beach!

As part of our new partnership, all Visa Bureau Platinum Card holders will receive $30 off a 14,000 ft tandem skydive at three of Sky Dive the Beach’s locations across Australia PLUS a free Skydive the Beach t-shirt to remember your experience!

What is this ‘sky dive’ you speak of?

Basically it involves lots of guts, some very secure straps, a couple of very experienced instructors and about three bedsheets’ worth of material.

Oh, and a plane, which you jump out of, at 14,000 feet.

You can choose to jump over the stunning North Wollongong beach at the original Skydive the Beach Sydney or over the opalescent Byron Bay and Ballina at Skydive the Beach Byron Bay.

Skydive the Beach might be the biggest name in skydiving in NSW but the guys are so popular, they're making waves in Victoria too. Skydive the Beach Melbourne offers adrenaline seekers the chance to arrive on the Moran Reserve which is just east of the hideously cool St Kilda beach.

And why would I want to do this?

To find out what you’re made of! To do something you’ll never forget! To feel what it’s like to fly! To see if you can keep your breakfast down at a million miles per hour! To tell your mum what you’ve done and watch her reaction!

Why WOULDN’T you want to do this should be the question.

I am now officially convinced, where do I sign up and how do I get my discount (and free t-shirt)?

You can claim your discount at three of the five Skydive the Beach locations (we’re working on the other two):

Skydive the Beach
  • Skydive the Beach Sydney
  • Skydive the Beach Byron Bay
  • Skydive the Beach Melbourne

Just show your Platinum Card on the day of your skydive or booking or, if you’re booking over the phone, mention you have a card and then scan or fax a copy over for confirmation – that’s 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.

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.

Olympics? Schmolympics - August in Australia

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

We can't all be geniuses.

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

Does anyone really believe all that?

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

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

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

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

Where to watch the Olympics

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

Sydney - Customs House

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

Melbourne - World Restaurant and Bar

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

Brisbane - Base Backpackers

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

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

That'll do.

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

Simple Sophistication - Speech and sounds

How much can one man know
about one squirrel?

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

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

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

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

Drunken Debauchery - Gagging for gigs

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

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

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

Deranged Depravity - They do WHAT with WHAT?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don't say you weren't warned.

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

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

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