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.

Surf’s up for an Australian surfing safari

by administrator 22/02/2011 13:41:00

Get a sun tan, learn to surf, travel, and make
some mates along with way with a surf safari.
Image: Tourism Australia

The sun is shining, the golden sands are glistening and your surfboard is waxed and ready. The cool, blue waves are breaking just offshore in an enticing crash of foam. Surf’s up in Australia!

If you want to learn to surf, or you are just keen to spend as much time as possible on the board, you can’t go wrong heading for Australia. You can take surf lessons across the country, from Sydney’s Bondi Beach to Perth’s Scarborough Beach.

You also get a free surf lesson with the guys from Manly Surf thanks to your Visa Bureau Platinum Card, check out the deets here.

But perhaps you were thinking something more like an adventure of epic proportions? Why not try a surfing safari?

Several companies offer multi-day trips that let you combine travel and surfing, even if you are more of a beginner, with the most popular area being the run north from Sydney to beachside Byron Bay.

Sydney to Byron Bay safaris

One of the major surfing operators on this route is MojoSurf which runs a series of surf camps, surf adventures, surf stays, and advanced training courses. Their most popular trip is the five-day Great Aussie Surf Adventure, which starts off at Sydney and ends in Byron Bay. In the opposite direction, the trip leaves from either Brisbane or Byron Bay.

From Sydney, the first stop is their remote Crescent Head camp, where you stay for three days and two nights in a modern four-star, hostel-rated surf hut just a few steps from the sand. From Crescent Head the coach heads north to Camp X, located in a secret spot somewhere north of Coffs Harbour and south of Byron Bay, where you spend two nights. There are seven surf lessons in all, each lasting between two and three hours, and most people are standing on their board and catching waves by the end of the trip.

Also following the route up to Byron Bay is Surfaris, with a popular five-day adventure that takes in up to 12 beaches, each with their own character.
They surf at places depending on the wind, tides and swell and actively search out the best conditions, and because they surf off national park beaches you get to see plenty of wildlife. You could spot dolphins in the waters, or even catch the same waves as one.

Another company that runs surf trips on this route is Waves Surf School, based in Byron Bay, which offers a five-day Sydney to Byron Bay trip, along with four-day and seven-day trips. You can travel the NSW North Coast living the surfer’s dream of freedom, travel, good waves and good times with Travel Aust too. This company also runs tours from Sydney to Byron Bay, and vice versa.

Queensland surf

Over the border in Queensland, Ride On Tours offers several great surfing adventures, including trips around the leafy North Stradbroke Island off Brisbane, and to the iconic Surfers Paradise.

Beach Bum Australia offers surf safaris lasting up to three days between Noosa, Brisbane, Surfers Paradise and Byron Bay.

Last but not least

In Victoria, Great Ocean Road Surf Tours offer multi-day trips to Torquay, the home of Australian Surf Culture and the birthplace of iconic surf brands Rip Curl and Quiksilver.

For South Australia, Surf Culture Australia does surf safaris to the Yorke, and Surf and Sun run three, four and five-day surf camps on the Fleurieu Peninsula, leaving from Adelaide.

In Western Australia, Discover West offers a South West Surfing Safari Tour. The four-day trip starts off with a bus journey from Perth to Albany, before heading back via some of the best surf beaches along the beautiful coastal route.

- Go gnarly bro with an Australian working holiday!

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 some adventure in your Australian gap year!

by administrator 14/10/2010 16:28:00

If you are keen for a bit of adventure, then you are in the right place. Australia’s dramatic outback, wilderness areas, mountain ranges and waterways give an exciting edge to some amazing activities!


Get started on your adventures by warming up a little, scaling the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge! You have the choice of three exhilarating tours with Bridge Climb. The original Bridge Climb takes you along catwalks, up ladders, and up to the bridge’s summit. There are panoramic views across the city, the harbour and to the Sydney Opera House. The Discovery Climb takes you inside the Bridge’s structural ironwork on your journey to the summit and the Express Climb is the newest climbing adventure and the fastest way to the top of the Bridge.

If you would rather go a little faster than your two legs will take you try zipping around the beautiful harbour at full throttle, before a sideward slide and a powerbreak stop on a jet-boat with either Ozjetboating, Harbour Jet and Thunder Jet Boating.

Another awesome experience is diving with huge grey nurse sharks, giant stingrays, sea turtles, wobbegong sharks, and moray eels at Oceanworld Manly.

Plus Australia is also one of the best places to learn to surf, and the guys at Manly Surf School in Sydney can help you catch some great waves. All Visa Bureau Platinum Card holders get a free surf lesson when you book three, so pretty soon you should be on your feet on the board.


One of the most visited areas on Sydney’s fringe is the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park. There are awe-inspiring canyons, thick rainforest, and plunging waterfalls to be discovered along the tracks. Take some sandwiches and water (and other essentials) and plunge into the wilderness!

If you are keen to learn a bit more about the area, see things differently with Aboriginal Blue Mountains Walkabout. Along the way your Aboriginal guide will show you ancient art and ceremonial sites, and recount dreamtime stories. Then there’s ochre bark and body painting, bush tucker tasting, wildlife spotting, and the chance to bathe in a crystal clear billabong.

There is a bit of an art to rolling down a hill in a big inflatable ball – but zorbing is something you have to try for yourself! Zorb Gold Coast will strap you in and give you a push. The wild ride also comes with a 20 per cent discount for Platinum Card holders, so take a look at the full deets here.

Australia is a big place, and among the most adventurous ways to see it is by hiring a motorbike and taking to the road. Several companies rent bikes, among them Motorcycle Holidays Australia.
Hop aboard a Harley Davidson Softail Heritage, or a BMW, and head off from Coffs Harbour on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales to explore local rainforests and unspoilt beaches. Or you could take a self-guided tour through the Outback to Uluru, or even head north to the Great Barrier Reef.



See things from a different perspective: try running down the side of the building in a forward facing abseiling technique! It’s called ‘rap jumping’ and you can do it at Urban Central.

Or head to Phillip Island, just outside Melbourne, for an adrenaline spin around the Grand Prix Circuit in a high performance rally car. Phillip Island is the home of the World Superbike Grand Prix, but it’s also the best place to see the morning march of the fairy penguins in the wild.


Delve into the deep wilderness of the island state of Tasmania from a two-person kayak and see nature as close as possible. Roaring 40°s Ocean Kayaking has a three-day Wilderness on Water experience with a unique journey to Tasmania’s remote south-west tip, at the centre of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. There are no roads, no settlements, and very few tracks but you will explore pristine bays, beaches and headlands in the best possible way: by paddle power!

Rafting the untamed waters of the Franklin River in Tasmania is one of the world’s greatest adventures. This World Heritage-listed waterway carves its way through rugged and inaccessible rainforest wilderness where platypus, wallabies, and marsupial cat-like creatures called quolls are plentiful.



Experience the open plains and huge blue skies in the South Australian outback, the red dusty landscapes that are iconic of Australia’s interior. You can go touring by yourself in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, or join a tour operator out of Adelaide.

A highlight is Lake Eyre, which was in flood in 2009. When there is water in the lake tens of thousands of waterfowl, including pelicans, arrive to breed and feed before the water evaporates and the lake reverts to a vast saltpan.

In Western Australia you can find the Kimberley region, a massive area of rugged red ranges, cooling water holes, and remote coastline recently immortalised in Baz Luhrmann’s epic movie ‘Australia’. A self-drive adventure along the famous Gibb River Road takes you through breath-taking landscape layered with Aboriginal spirituality.

In the Kimberley you can also explore ancient rock art and cave paintings, including the world-famous Bradshaw paintings. These are believed to be up to 50,000 years old.

Another self-drive adventure option is the Golden Quest Discovery Trail. This takes you through some of West Australia’s outback gold-producing areas. Running from Coolgardie to Laverton, the trail takes in historical mining towns, legendary country pubs, the fascinating Gwalia ghost town, and remote salt lakes.

If you would prefer to the outdoors as more of a blur, then off-road rally driving could be more your thing. You choose to be the driver or a passenger in the world beating Subaru WRX STii rally cars at WRX Experience in Pimpama, Queensland. You can go from 0 to 100kms in 4.5 seconds, so it is one high speed experience. You can also get 10 per cent off any of the activities offered the WRX Experience, so check out the details at the Visa Bureau Platinum Card site here.


In Queensland, the ‘Reef to Outback Journey’ links two of Australia’s most iconic natural attractions – the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef with the magnificent Queensland outback.

Start off by exploring the coral gardens of Lady Elliot or Heron Islands, or visit Mon Repos Conservation Park to see the largest turtle rockery in the Southern Hemisphere.

You can master the open sea with a proper Barrier Reef sailing adventure and see lush tropical islands, turquoise waters and pristine beaches – but best of all your Visa Bureau Platinum Card will get you a 15 per cent discount with Whitsundays Sailing Adventures in Airlie Beach. They also have racing yachts where you can take the wheel and hoist the sails as part of a team. Take a look at the discount offer at the Platinum Card site here.

Then make your way to Queensland’s outback for a spot of bush camping in one of the region’s 42 National Parks.
Along the way you can expect to see some of the finest Aboriginal rock art in Australia, plenty of kangaroos and koalas, and you can immerse yourself in real ‘Aussie’ outback towns.

- Check out the Visa Bureau Platinum Card site for full discount and offer details to make the most of your Australian working holiday!

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.

Discover Indigenous Australia in the heart of Melbourne

by Stephanie 24/09/2010 14:59:00

Discover Indigenous culture - right
in the heart of Melbourne!

One of the great things about taking a gap year in Australia is discovering a new culture and a different way of looking at things. To get a real look at the culture, history and ties to the land try going walkabout with an Indigenous guide.

The Melbourne central business district around the Yarra River was once a vibrant wetland; its skyscrapers were large river gums, tenanted by sugar gliders.

In fact, near what is now Southbank, where modern Melburnians feast on their sushi and burgers and sip their cappuccinos, the original Australians gathered for trade and fellowship in a wetland f bulrushes, swamp wallabies and rainbow lorikeets.

With a little imagination and an Indigenous guide, you can take a walkabout back into time and see Melbourne through the eyes of an original Australian!

Walkin’ Birrarung (meaning 'river of mists') is a two-hour tour back to the ancestral lands of the five tribes of the Kulin, the collective name for the south-eastern Aboriginal People.

Tour guide Dean Stewart greets walkers with a warm "womin jeka", or “welcome to my beautiful country” and leads the group in a brief moment of recognition of the traditional owners before setting off. To get your imagination started, Dean uses a series of paintings and sketches by early settlers depicting the area to show the contrast between then and now.

The two-hour tour begins at Enterprize Park where you will follow the river upstream, stopping at significant sites and landmarks to the Kulin people and the colonial settlement of Melbourne. The tour ends at Princes Bridge and Federation Square but a short walk further on into Birrarung Marr and the new ‘Common Ground’ Aboriginal public art space is an optional but very worthwhile addition.

As well as the Walkin’ Birrarung tour there is also an introduction to Koorie Culture tour, to give you an insight into south-eastern Indigenous culture.

These tours are projects of the Koorie Heritage Trust, a mid-city cultural centre in Melbourne where you can learn more about Indigenous life, beliefs and history. There are more than 4000 artefacts, photos and artworks on display, as well as a gift shop (perhaps a postcard for mum? Hay, I’m just saying!), and a modern gallery showcasing Koorie artists.

You can find out more information about Koorie culture and where to join the tour at

- See the real Australia with an Australian Working Holiday.

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.

Welcome in the new year with a new experience

by Stephanie 08/01/2010 15:01:00

See mountain, get cuddles.
Please note: cuddles not included in tour.

It’s a sparkling, new year, and if you are anything like me you probably have spent your last clams on the fabulous party week between Christmas and New Year’s. 

Anywoo, there is a new deal for Visa Bureau Platinum Card holders for a day trip out to the Blue Mountains with Adventure Tours Australia. They offer a few one-day tours already as part of the exclusive programme, including tours of the Hunter Valley and the Tablelands, but they have just added the Blue Mountains tour ... *deep breath* ... at 50% off!

You may be enjoying the Sydney summer and just chilling on Bondi beach, but the Blue Mountains is well worth getting off the sand.

The mountain range juts up behind Sydney, and is practically vertical in parts, with gorges and waterfalls carving through the sandstone and secluded valleys below.

Early European settlers thought it was impassable (although the Aboriginals did know of passes through the range) but that rich, farming land lay behind it. China could have laid behind the mountains for all anyone knew, but at least the seemingly impassable mountains kept the convicts from escaping ... that often.

The Blue Mountains get their “blue” haze from the oil given off from the eucalyptus trees (that’s eucalyptus oil brainiac), and still today there are valleys and gorges in the ranges that are almost pristine. A living dinosaur was discovered in 1994 in a remote gorge in the area by a national park field officer: the Wollemia or colloquially dubbed Wollemi pine.

The oldest fossil of this tree has been dated to 200 million years ago, and that one gorge is the sole known place it’s been found in the wild. It’s a living fossil!

Of course now we propagate them, and give mini Wollemi pines as gifts to countries and dignitaries. You can even buy them in special garden centres. But hay, who knows what else lies in those hills.

On the Adventure Tours Australia trip you will take in a 2-3 hour loop walk near the famous Wentworth Falls to see waterfalls, lookout points and walk through hanging swamps and under rock ledges before a pretty decent lunch (which is included).

After lunch is the historic Furber Stairs into Jamison Valley, through lush rainforest and the Katoomba Falls to view the incredible Three Sisters rock formations. From the bottom of the Jamison Valley is the Scenic Railway (fare included), the steepest railway in the world and ride up to the valley rim.

It will be a big day out, and with the 50% deal for Visa Bureau Platinum Card members the clams will go further.

Check out the offer in full, and read about all the other single-day trips on the Adventure Tours Australia single-day tours page on the Platinum Card site.

- Don't forget that you can send in your working holiday stories by via email, with photos or edited video attached and the word “Australia” in the subject box, to and win prizes!

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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