Month: January 2014

Happy Australia Day!

That great day has come around once again, and that means one thing – an excuse to throw a party! All around the country flags and glasses are being raised in celebration of a momentous occasion in the nation’s history, and, more importantly, a day off work.

“But what is Australia Day all about?” I hear you cry.

Well, kids…

Australia Day was invented to mark the anniversary of the first fleet of British ships to arrive in Sydney in 1788. Packed full of convicts, there was no way this was a bad idea. Luckily enough though, it worked out alright in the end, and those crafty Pommies thought they would quite like to stay for good. Yay!

Nowadays, Australians use it as a day to celebrate the country’s diversity, and has now become the nation’s largest public event, with families and friends alike gathering together for fun and festivities.

The holiday has also been nicknamed ‘Invasion Day’ by many in the Aboriginal community for, well, obvious reasons.

So that’s the history lesson over folks. Time to sit back, relax and enjoy the day.

Whether you’re beaching, boozing or barbecuing (or if you’re lucky, all three) I hope you have a fabulous Australia Day!

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Music Spotlight: Flume

This week’s music spotlight is the wonderfully talented DJ and producer Harley Streten, better known by his stage name, Flume. This Sydney born electric wonder released his self-titled debut album in November 2012, and he shot to fame from there, winning in 2013 ARIA’s Best Male Artist, Best Breakthrough Artist, Best Dance Release AND Producer of the Year. Not too shoddy for a 22 year old…

The top track off this album has to be ‘Holdin On’ – if you like electro, you’re going to love this. It’s the ultimate summer club song to get you going, or even just plug the earphones in, turn it up, and get a good head nod on.

If you’re a fan, give this remix ‘Sleepless Club’ a listen. It’s been reworked by WEKEED, and it layers the New Zealand singer Lorde’s vocals from her track ‘The Love Club’ over Flume’s track ‘Sleepless’. A great new song to get over those winter blues.

If you have any suggestions for Australian artists you think deserve the spotlight, let me know and I’ll be sure to do a post!

5 Tips For A Stress Free Flight

Flying. Whether you love it or hate it, if you’re travelling, you’re going to have to do it.

It doesn’t have to be so drab though, follow these tips and you’re guaranteed to have a great flight!

1. Check the details before you fly

A UK couple were recently in the papers because they bought what seemed like a ridiculously good deal on a flight from Birmingham to the Caribbean – unfortunately on turning up at the airport they discovered their flight was actually leaving from Birmingham ALABAMA, about 4000 miles away…

Moral of this story kids is to make sure you check the details before you head off for your flight! Even if you’ve got the right airport make sure to check which airline you will be flying with, and which terminal you’ll be leaving from; some terminals can be situated a good drive from each other, so it would be a hell of a walk!

2. Plan how to get to the airport

You’ve booked your flight, booked your next hostel, and even booked a table at that new fancy restaurant. What’s left? Oh yeah, book your transport TO the airport! Getting to your flight can be one of the most stressful parts of the journey, so that’s why it’s crucial to make sure you plan it well, not only to get there in time, but to also not get ripped off in the process.

Take a trip to your local transport advice centre to find out the best ways to get to the airport. Although a taxi can seem like the easiest option, you can often end up spending a lot more than necessary booking them when there are cheaper transport options available. In some places there are even regular local buses running to the airport that cost just a couple of dollars. Do your research and you can end up saving a bundle in the long run.

3. Arrive well in advance

This is going to sound like a silly one, but it’s amazing how many people miss their flights because they didn’t leave enough time to get there. You might only live a half hour’s drive from the airport, but don’t forget rush hour traffic, forgotten passports and the dreaded security checks. Get there early and the worst that could happen is you’ll be waiting a bit longer in the airport – better than forking out a load for another flight! The general rules are for domestic flights try to arrive 1.5 hours before you’re flight is due to leave, and for international flights leave about 2.5-3 hours, just to be safe.

4. Bring entertainment

It’s easy to forget how big Australia is, but it’s fair to say you could fit the majority of Europe inside it. Therefore, try to remember when you’re casually booking that domestic flight from Sydney to Perth for example, you’ll be setting yourself up for a 5 hour flight. Now, I don’t know about you, but for me that’s pretty long haul.

Nonetheless, as the flight is still technically domestic, you’ll be flying on a domestic plane. That means, if you book cheap like me, you’re going to be sat on a Ryan Air-esque plane for FIVE HOURS. No entertainment and you’d be lucky to get a small packet of peanuts to satisfy your hunger.

This is why it’s essential to bring some entertainment for the journey. Bring a book, listen to music, or if you’ve got a laptop watch a movie, and definitely bring some snacks. Anything to save you from hearing the life story of the businessman to your left.

5. Wrap up

So this is a sneaky trick I learned from a friend whilst travelling in Malaysia. When you’re flying with super budget airlines they do the most they can to squeeze that extra dollar out of you on the plane. It’s natural that when you’re in a hot country that your general attire would be shorts and t-shirt, why wouldn’t it? Well, those crafty airlines have a trick up their sleeves – once you get all strapped in the plane in your holiday gear they blast on the air-con until the temperature is bordering on winter in the North Pole. “Would you like to buy a blanket madam?”

Cheeky.

Save yourself from getting ripped off by bringing warm clothes so you can wrap up. Plus you’ll feel super smug turning to the air steward and giving them a defiant “No thank you, I’m fine.”

 

 

Follow these tips and you won’t go far wrong…I hope.

Enjoy your flight!

 

 

 

Getting Work – What NOT to Do…

Jobs aren’t so easy to come by these days, and finding the right line of work for you can sometimes feel like a job in itself. That’s why it’s so important when finding work that you know how to go about it, and, more importantly, what not to do.

So, in keeping with this, I’ve compiled a short list of the most common mistakes made that could make the difference between getting the job of your dreams or sleeping on a park bench…

  1. DON’T Dress like you’re off to the beach

I once went to apply for a job in a restaurant, and a guy had gone in before me, dressed in shorts, t-shirt and flip flops. When the manager came out, he just looked him up and down, said “Don’t even think you’re going to ask me for a job dressed like that” and walked off. It really is that easy to miss out on a job for something so simple, yet it’s amazing how many people make this mistake. You may love the beach-bum lifestyle, but your potential employers will not.

2. DON’T Make mistakes on your CV

It’s very easy whist travelling not to put as much effort in to your CV as you would at home…you’re not going to be working for that long so why bother? Well, for many reasons, but mainly because lack of care in a CV can lead to easy mistakes, and this can lead to no job. Accidentally putting your home number instead of Aussie mobile number, not updating your address, and silly spelling errors are all small mistakes that could cost you the chance to get that perfect job – so make sure you take care!

3. DON’T Be unprofessional

You’re living the dream, casually steaming through life without a care in the world…it’s easy to think that everyone around you should be this laid back too! Unfortunately, not everyone is, and when you’re being interviewed for your job it’s important to remember that your employer is going to be looking for someone who’s going to take their job seriously, not someone who’s going to turn up an hour late because they ‘forgot’. Pull your socks up, give a little, and you’ll get a lot back!

4. DON’T Ask for a job with a friend

Just, don’t. As perfect as it would be to get a job working with your best mate, in reality, it rarely happens. And if you apply at the same time the chances are even slimmer. Turning up with a friend makes you look unconfident, unprofessional and, to be honest, kind of lame. So do it by yourself, and you’ll more than likely end up working with awesome people that could become your new best mates anyway!

5. DON’T Have high standards

There comes a time in everybody’s life when you have to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty – so when it comes to work, especially in the short term, you can never be too fussy. Whether it’s scrubbing toilets or working all the graveyard shifts; if it pays, you should do it. When you’re sunning yourself on a holiday paid for with those hard earned savings, you’ll be thankful you accepted the job!

So that’s just a few tips for you…follow these and use a bit of common sense you’ll be guaranteed a job in no time!

Like free books? Well here’s one for you!

I’ve had some wonderful support for my blog and book since beginning ‘Work Anywhere: Australia’ in December, and so to say thank you to everybody, I’m running a super-duper promotion: from today until 8th January you can download the book from Amazon absolutely FREE. No cost. Zip. Zilch. Nothing.

Brilliant.

Get it here! http://amzn.to/1kgNx7H

The book is in Kindle format, so if you want to give it a read on an Android or iOS phone/tablet, just download the Kindle reader app and read away!

If you don’t know what the book is about, it’s a work and travel guide for Australia, packed full of information covering every aspect of your trip, including:

– Applying for your visa

– Getting set up on arrival 
– Insurance 
– Medical 
– Accommodation options 
– Getting a job 
– Tax and pension rebates 
– Saving money 
– Travel 
– Extending your visa

And loads more!

If you think that this sounds like your cup of tea, or you know anyone who’s planning on travelling to Australia, download the book – you’ve got nothing to lose!

All I ask in return is that you leave a review on Amazon after reading, to let all those other travelling folk know if it’s any good 🙂

Thank you all and happy reading.

Work Anywhere: Australia

Music Spotlight: San Cisco

This week’s band is the wonderful San Cisco, a cheeky indie 4-piece band all the way from Fremantle, Western Australia. With Jordi Davieson and Josh Biondillo leading the band with some gorgeous vocals, their happy-go-lucky style makes them a band that’s impossible not to love. Imagine if The Maccabees and Vampire Weekend got together and made sweet, sweet love – this would be their baby. Their self-titled album is only 40 minutes long, so well worth a sit down and a listen, but if I had to pick 2 favourite songs they would have to be ‘Awkward’ and ‘Rocket Ship’ – videos below. Give them a listen and roll on Summer!

For loads of handy information on making the most out of your Working Holiday Visa, check out ‘Work Anywhere: Australia’ the book on Amazon here.

Work Anywhere: Australia

Top Australian Road Trips

The Road Trip. These words alone conjure up visions of dusty roads off the beaten track, discovering hideaways and finding out ‘who you really are’. Well, if you’re into that kind of thing. Truthfully, road trips are simply one of the best ways to see a country on your own time, without the company of a hundred other pushy tourists.

Australia is notorious for it’s many stunning drives, unsurprising really for a country bigger than Europe. With so much to see, the real question is where to begin, and so to save you the trouble, I’ve compiled a wonderful list of the top trips you have to take when you’re Down Under…

The Great Ocean Road (Victoria/South Australia)

Easily one of Australia’s most famous drives, the Great Ocean Road spans from the small beach town of Torquay all the way through to South Australia’s Warrnambool. Now there are many variations of this trip, and you find different people telling you it ends in different places, but this is the core of the GOR drive. This has to be one of the the most sensational  ocean drives in Australia, if not the world, hence why it’s my number one Aussie Road Trip. It will take you through national parks home to some incredible waterfalls and walks, down to chilled beaches, big rocks, and the opportunity to see more wildlife than you can shake a stick at. And don’t forget the ‘I’m driving next to an ocean with my hand out of the car window’ picture. Classic.

Great Ocean Road

Snowy Mountains Drive (New South Wales)

So who would have thought that Australia had snow? Or even mountains? Well, luckily for you winter bunnies, it has both. The Snowy Mountains drive takes you around Australia’s highest mountains, showing you a side of the country you most likely never would have thought you’d see. Take your time to enjoy the views (and the snow) as you tour the area; just make sure to plan it well, as unlike the GOR it’s not just one long road, and it can sometimes take a while to get from one destination to the next! But hey, it’s all about the journey right?

Snowy Mountains Drive

Nullarbor Plain (South Australia/Western Australia)

Fun fact: This road was named in 1867 from the Latin words “nulls arbor”, meaning “no trees”. Standing true to it’s name, this tree-less road will take you all the way from Norseman to Ceduna, though it’s not for the faint of heart, as with a distance of 1201 kilometres between these destinations, you’ll have to be in for the long haul. As the road is incredibly flat, it does make for great driving though, and you’re bound to catch some amazing wildlife in their natural habitat. Ever wondered what Skippy the Bush Kangaroo did after retirement? You can probably ask him. Also, make sure to check out the Great Australian Bight – with the longest cliff face in the world it’s got to be worth a visit.

Nullarbor Plain

Fraser Island (Queensland)

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, and it’s great to drive on. Why? Because on this terrain you can only get around in a 4×4. It’s pretty awesome. You will need to get on a tour to make the most of this one as there are no real roads, and joining others to drive a 4×4 is much cheaper than renting your own. Oh, and there are dingos. Don’t forget the dingos. But it’s still pretty rustic as far as tours go – you’ll spend 3 amazing days camping, driving along beaches and swimming in the bluest fresh-water lakes in the world. Not too bad at all.

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The Great Tropical Drive (Queensland)

This is another drive that seems to be different lengths depending on who you speak to, but if you fancy a short(ish) trip I would recommend you do the drive from Cooktown down to Townsville, around 8 hours of straight driving that can easily be spread over 4-5 days. This really will give you a great insight into the tropical side of Australia, as this drive will take you through rain forests, past waterfalls, and most likely, through some of the most amazing storms you will ever see. It’s a great drive, and if you’re really enjoying it you can continue and do the whole loop back up to Cairns, a total journey length of 2080 kilometres and around 12 days to complete.

Innisfail

All that’s left to say is…happy driving!

For loads of handy information on making the most out of your Working Holiday Visa, check out ‘Work Anywhere: Australia’ the book on Amazon here.

Work Anywhere: Australia

New Year’s Resolutions…

The new year has arrived, and with most of us waking up with sore heads and empty pockets it’s time to start pondering our new year’s resolutions. I, for one, will not be boozing again until February, which is probably a good idea as over the last couple of weeks I appear to have consumed enough alcohol to kill a small horse. And with a £5 bet on it there really is no going back.

How about we just keep it simple this year and just hope for health and happiness? Oh, and a winning lottery ticket too. Obviously.

Writing with such a poorly head isn’t easy, so that’s enough babble from me for today. Hope you all have an amazing 2014, but if not, just remember, there’s always next year.

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