Archive for the 'General' Category

Sculpture By The Sea 2015

Last week, I took my annual early morning (sunrise) pilgrimage to the Sculpture By The Sea with David Conroy, of The Lone Drainer and Pronto. The art exhibit is along the beautiful Bondi to Bronte Ocean Walk. Even though I have been a Sydneysider for 15 years, the vistas still take my breath away – especially at sunrise with the contrast of the dramatic skies clouds and the ocean.
Sculptures By The Sea 2015

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Temporal distortion

Have you ever noticed how time warps when you’re on vacation?

Vacation Time Warp

The concept is called temporal distortion – one of many perceptual distortions we create – it’s a fascinating experience to have as our brain slows down or accelerates time as it sees fit.

If only we could control it… How cool would that be?!?!

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Top Blog Posts Of 2013

Top 10 Blog Posts 20132013 has been quite a year. Below is a list of the top 10 blog posts of the year. Enjoy a quick review and use the tips and techniques to make 2014 your best year ever!

  1. Willpower is like a battery – How to stick to your goals like New Year’s Resolutions.
  2. Hyperbolic Discounting – How to remain committed to long-term goals to achieve the success that might have been eluding you.
  3. Why Smart Business People Fail – Success is not the inverse of failure. In other words, not failing does not make you successful…
  4. From Motivation To Momentum – A must read if you slip and sabotage your goals and dreams (knowingly or unknowingly).
  5. Google Search Tips - These tips are priceless to get the most from Google, otherwise you’ll never quite get what you’re looking for.
  6. The Epic Split – This is simply AMAZING. The power of human focus and concentration combined with incredible athleticism.
  7. Good And Bad Habits Of Smart People - Success is not about how smart you are, but much more dependent on WHAT you do with what you know and HOW you do (or don’t do) certain things…
  8. Bobby McFerrin – Amazing Presentation – Every once in a while someone creates a magical moment. This is one such moment. Enjoy!
  9. Positive Twist On Negative Thinking – Attention small business owners… Don’t hire this type of person!
  10. The Power Of Why – The better the questions you ask yourself, the better the answers you’ll come up with.
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Happy Holidays*

A Lawyer's Christmas Wish

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Important Office Equipment for Starting a Business

You’ve made your decision, the dream will become a business, and that business will be a grand success, hopefully beyond your wildest dreams. Before signing a rental agreement and pondering the ergonomics of decorative furniture, consider the realities implicit to start-ups such as yours – Do you need space?

A furnished warehouse and kitschy feature wall hangings or will that come later, after you’ve tested the waters of your chosen industry and considered them ripe for fishing? For now, it’s best to clear out a room at home (or a convenient corner, if you’re not blessed with a spare study nook) and settle in for the fast and fearless first few months of bringing your brain child to life.

What do I need? You ask, sitting at a bare desk and staring at your keyboard, beyond the essentials (think computer, phone, internet etc), what quirky pieces of equipment will help you on your road to tactical victory? Strap yourself in and ready your wallet, these surprising staples will change the way you perceive your initial steps. And no, you don’t need another leather-bound planner!

Goal Files

Starting a business can be a disillusioning experience, particularly when untested ideas can be undone or debunked in a matter of weeks by an increasingly critical field of experts. Keeping track of your short term (3 months), medium term (six months) and long term (one year) goals in an easily accessible format will not only keep your eyes planted on the prize, but remind you about the importance of out-of-the-box thinking.

Charting your progress, needs and business wants will arm you with both determination and foresight, plotting the path you’d like to follow, unswayed by rootless criticism. If you find their perspective valuable however, it would useful to document why, how it applies to your current model and the implications of not taking the actions they suggest going forward.

Formulating the base mechanics of your business now will save you from filling in holes and putting out fires far into the future – Think long term.

Track Investments, Invoices and Progress

Capital is at the front and centre of your mind right now, as new businesses demand a substantial influx of money to get off the ground. Before you rush in, make a list of points requiring your direct attention and divide each month’s targets by folder, placing the current week on your desk – A stacked series of in-trays and out-trays will allow you to manage your financial goals across a five day cycle, transferring completed tasks to the folders of success to your right.

While many of us use websites and spreadsheets for such things (and again, we highly recommend backing everything up), the physical representation of achievement will maintain your motivation, complementing the tracking mechanisms provided by software like Excel and specialist applications. It may sound a little kooky, but the visual representation of completeness will reap surprising benefits long before you noticed their effects, from confidence to increased organisation.

Walk With Confidence

Those of us who base our operations out of the family home may be confronted with the troubling questions of when and where much sooner than expected. Meetings are part and parcel of professional communication, and while you may pride yourself on the prominence and cutting edge personality of your small business (after all, who doesn’t respond to an edge of attitude?), inviting Mr or Ms Blue Chip into your lounge room may feel too intimate to stomach.

Indeed, professionals of yesteryear opted for the liquid lunch and shared airtime with tens of other diners, preferring a socially neutral ground over a personal haven; your options have since been expanded with the advent of hireable boardrooms, offices, and meeting cells – some companies do it better than others, providing flourishes of service and technology, and while clicking here might solve your meeting muddle for now, just think – Soon your idea will mature and an office of your own might just be on the cards, if you seal this deal, the next or a few more down the track.

There are accessories and technologies available to everyone with the right budget, and while a trove of stuff may help you make heads and tails of some of the finer details, real value comes from within and the best office extra you can invest in is the head mounted on your shoulders. Small moments make for big things, will you make the most of every day?

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We live in an awesome world: VIDEO

This video was produced for YouTube’s Geek Week — we do live in an awesome world!

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Car Trends in Australia

In Australia, $78.4bn is spent on cars every year, compared to $2.2bn on public transport. A number of trends are in evidence.

Fuel Efficient Subaru Liberty

Subaru Liberty

Cars are becoming more fuel efficient since petrol prices stubbornly refuse to fall. The Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla and Holden Cruze all sell well.

The Subaru Liberty is one of the most fuel efficient petrol engine medium-sized cars available. Diesel vehicles are becoming more attractive now that they are cleaner, quieter and more efficient.

Brad Wielstra, the Sales Manager for one car dealer, said, “Fuel efficiency is becoming a more frequently asked question.” Years ago, he remarked, people purchased large cars because they were safer, but small cars are now just as safe.

In 2011, 46,980 passenger and light commercial (PLC) vehicles were stolen in Australia, more than the year before. A car is stolen every ten minutes.

Thefts can be for short-term use, such as joyriding, or profit, with the former category comprising 71 percent of cases. The cars most often stolen for short-term benefit were the Hyundai Excel X3 and Holden Commodore VN and VT. The cars most frequently stolen for profit were the Holden Commodore VT, VS and VW.

Most short-term thefts take place between 8pm and midnight with peaks on Fridays and Saturdays. Vehicles stolen for profit are usually not recovered because they are rebirthed or stripped for parts. The number of cars stolen from outside homes has increased significantly in the last three years, and now represents nearly half of thefts. The doors of 20 percent of stolen cars were unlocked. The contents of a car can provoke theft, with the most-stolen items including work tools, sunglasses, smart phones and audio equipment.

Volkswagen Up

Volkswagen Up

70 percent of cars are fitted with an immobiliser, with this feature being standard in the Volkswagen Up. It’s possible to purchase a used Volkswagen Up at carsales. Given the prevalence of immobilisers, thieves break into homes. Ray Carroll, the executive director of the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, said, ”Nine times out of 10 the keys will be sitting on top of someone’s fridge or in the fruit bowl, then you can just drive away.”

When it comes to colour, Ford customers in the United States prefer the classic core colours of black, white, grey and silver. French and Italian motorists are keen on cream-coloured vehicles. The Irish gravitate to silver. In Denmark, black is preferred, while in Belgium the choice is grey. Almost half the vehicles sold in Turkey are white. Australians are sportier, living as they do a more active lifestyle, and they choose blue and intense citrus colours while prestige buyers choose richer metallics.

Emily Lai, Ford’s Colour and Materials Design Manager for Australia, said the country’s climate was bright and rich, which produced an intensely coloured landscape. She added that with Australia’s economy being healthy, people were more able to keep abreast of fashion. In Sydney and Melbourne, people prefer sporty colours and sophisticated metallics, while in the tropical north, customers choose lighter colours that reflect heat and provide a psychological perception of cool. Government and fleets prefer the more traditional colours of white, silver and blue.

In 2012, there were 94 fatalities involving cars on the roads of Australia, with the number falling for some years. 67 percent occurred on rural roads. 77 percent of the victims were male. 30 percent of people who died were not wearing a seatbelt, a point emphasised by the crash that killed Princess Diana: the three people who died weren’t wearing seatbelts, but the sole survivor was. 40 percent of fatal crashes involved alcohol or drugs. In 27 percent of cases, a car was speeding or otherwise driving dangerously.

Anyone wishing to follow the trends will buy a fuel efficient, small, citrus-coloured vehicle with an immobiliser. To avoid theft, keep the doors locked, don’t leave enticing items on display, don’t own a Hyundai Excel X3 or a Holden Commodore and don’t leave your keys in an obvious place. To avoid becoming a fatality statistic, wear a seatbelt and don’t drink and drive.

 

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Tips for Buying Used Clothing Online

Buy clothes online at Quicksales.com.au

Image courtesy of Photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Second-hand stores are big business these days. Whether it’s due to a downturn in the economy or a desire to wear a unique look rather than the same high street trends as everyone else, more and more consumers are shopping for used clothing.

Charity shops, vintage boutiques, estate sales, and consignment stores are all great sources of high quality used duds. Yet you can also find even better bargains online, even buying used clothing using your mobile phone with apps like the one provided by Quicksales!

This and eBay are two of the biggest names in resale goods, yet there’s a wealth of designer and vintage clothing available at low cost for savvy shoppers. The following are a few tips to keep in mind as you start your hunt.

Set a Budget

It’s difficult to set a budget when you’re not really sure what things are going to cost until you start searching.

However, it’s wise to set an upper limit on what you’re willing to spend or you could get carried away bidding on sites like eBay and end up spending more than you would have on brand new clothing!

Know your Measurements

Even in most charity shops, you can try on used clothing to see if it fits. There’s a certain gamble when you shop for used clothing online, however, because you not only can’t try it on but you may be purchasing a vintage or unknown brand.

Most sellers will list the measurements of garments for sale, or should be able to provide this for you if you send a request. This can be far more accurate than the size on the label.

Buy clothes online Quicksales.com.au

Image courtesy of Stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Try Different Keywords

One way to search for used clothing online is to browse through categories on sites like eBay. However, most ecommerce shops and online marketplaces also have a search function, so you can look for specific brand names.

Try different combinations of keywords to increase your chances of finding what you’re looking for. For example, instead of just searching for “women’s top,” you can look for “halter top vintage” to find a chic 70′s summer top.

Use Social Media

Many online shops will offer special deals or information about sales via their social media profiles or blogs. Big marketplaces like Quicksales.com.au have Facebook profiles which allow you to stay in touch with what’s happening. This could alert you to a sudden sale or new items of clothing coming in that match what you’re looking for.

Check the Shipping and Return Policies

If shipping and return policies aren’t made clear in a listing, it’s worth taking the time to contact the seller to find out more. Even with measurements and accurate photos, sometimes an article of clothing simply won’t be what you expected, and you don’t want to have to relist it yourself.

By shopping around and using all the online tools available, you can find some truly superb bargains online. Fill out your wardrobe with one-of-a-kind designer and vintage wear, or simply stock up on basics. The key is to have fun with it and don’t be afraid to keep looking for a better deal.

With the fast pace of the internet, one is most likely just a click away.

 

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How To Choose Car Insurance That’s Right For You

Choose The Right Car Insurance

Let’s cut to the chase; buying car insurance can be confusing.

Whether you’re a new driver looking to buy it for the first time, or you’re an experienced driver looking to renew your policy, all you want to do is find the right policy that will give you enough confidence that you’ve got the cover you need, at a price you can afford.

But, with so many insurance policies around, how do you know that the car insurance you’ve found is right for you?

Well, you’re not alone; because year after year, thousands of Australians are left unsure whether they’ve actually got the right car insurance or not.

So, to help ensure you get the right policy when you come to buy your car insurance, here are a few thoughts that will help you to feel more in control when you do so:

1. Shop Around

Whether you’re looking to buy the latest fashions or the latest technologies, everyone knows that the best way to get the best deal on any product or service, is to shop around – and this should be no different when it comes to buying car insurance.

But, one of the best things about shopping around for insurance is that it also allows you to talk to more people.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; “I don’t want to talk to more people, I just want to buy car insurance!” Well, hear me out – because if you take time to shop around for it, it will not only help you to find out about the different kinds of policies and prices out there, but it will also help you to find out more about what everything means.

Mystifying phrases like ‘voluntary excess’, ‘fully comprehensive’ or ‘third-party-only’ start to become less of a concern as you figure out what they mean, how they affect your safety and yes, what they cost.

2. Know What Brings The Cost Down

When you think about it, car insurance is a pretty simple process; if you’re a young driver with a fast car and not much experience, it’s going to be more expensive than your dad who has been driving his Ute for years.

But, there are lots of things you can do to bring the dollars down, and most of it is commonsense – when you see it from the insurer’s position.

Like increasing your voluntary excess, for example. Voluntary excess is the amount you as the driver must contribute to the repairs or damages if you get a bump. Currently, most insurance companies set a fairly standard amount, but if you can afford to pay more, then upping the amount that you agree to pay yourself if you do have an accident will lower the risk on the insurer – lowering your premiums as a result.

Second, think hard about how much mileage you’re going to do in a year. If you’re never going on a long roadie from Sydney to the Gold Coast, don’t include that kind of mileage in your yearly assessment – the fewer miles you drive, the lighter it is on your bank account.

Next, always garage your car or try and make sure you keep it in a secure location. Being locked up in a garage means you lock down fewer premiums, and if your car also has an alarm or tracking system (car electronics), these will also be useful for helping to lower your payments.

Fourth, steer away from motors that have super tuned engines, exotic modifications and any other items that may be expensive for the insurer to replace.

Last, pay in one go – saving monthly interest can mean significant reductions and you may find you get one or two months off for a lump sum up front.

3. Read The Small Print

The cheapest policy is not always the cheapest in the long run – or even the short run for that matter.

Look for things like how much legal cover is provided, and find out about breakdown cover and whether it is provided or not. Also ask questions such as “will I be offered a courtesy car if I do break down?” – because having one will certainly help to make your life easier in the unfortunate event that you’re left without your car for a few days.

Also, make sure you think about things like windshield cover. With some companies it’s a free replacement, while others may ask you to pay a portion up front.

And last but not least, never be afraid to ask simple, silly questions when looking to buy insurance. There are so many companies out there, such as Budget Direct Car Insurance Australia who will be more than happy to help you with any questions – big or small – that you might have. At the end of the day, the more you ask, the more you will know, which will all help to ultimately get the right policy – for you.

Lara Anderson, an experienced freelance writer, wrote this article. Lara specialises in providing useful and engaging lifestyle advice for others.

 

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The Facts About Workplace Injuries

If you work on a construction site, with dangerous materials, or regularly have to do heavy lifting as part of your job you’re probably very aware of the inherent dangers in the workplace and take measures to try to avoid accidents.

Work Place Injuries & Compensation Claims HCA Lawyers

But it’s a worrying truth that accidents could happen in every single workplace in Australia – even if you’re sat at a desk for most of the day.

For anyone who has had an accident at work, sustained a psychological injury from his or her workplace environment or been involved in a motor accident during working hours, you’ll know the importance of getting the right legal advice early.

Having to take time off because of a workplace injury can have a devastating effect on families, both financially and mentally.

It isn’t uncommon for injuries sustained in the workplace to affect someone for the rest of their life, and some people can never return to their normal duties again. Specialist companies are experts at making sure you’re given the right advice.

Employers Responsibility

The Industrial Relations Act (QLD) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (NSW & VIC) lets employers know what they should be doing to maintain a safe working environment for its employees.  This includes:

  • Providing a safe working environment for its employees, which includes facilities and work systems
  • Making sure that employees have had sufficient training to be able to safely handle job related equipment and substances
  • Providing the correct training, supervision, instruction and information to its employees

Employers always have workers compensation insurance

It is mandatory for all employers to take out Workers Compensation insurance to cover their staff.  It is the employee’s responsibility to notify their employer at the time of having an accident, and is also important to seek medical advice as soon as possible to have the injury investigated and formally documented.

Workplace injuries can be life changing so it is vital to discuss what options are available to you when in this position. Workplace dangers can often be avoided but in most circumstances not all risks are obvious and can be overlooked.

Types of Compensation Claims

There are three main types of compensation claims:

  • Workplace physical claims – these can be anything from stains, industrial accidents, heavy lifting injuries, and fatalities
  • Permanent Impairments – Usually assessed by WorkCover who will request an independent doctor to provide assessment
  • Common Law Claims – The most important part of the claims process if severely injured, which is why it is so important to discuss your legal rights and options with specialist personal injury lawyers before signing anything

What workplace injury law doesn’t cover

If a worker is injured because they failed to correctly carry out instructions on how to perform a duty or task correctly, it is very unlikely they’ll be able to claim compensation.  However, each case will be judged on its own merits.

Stress related injury as a result of demotion or disciplinary action taken by the employer isn’t generally covered.  The same applies for self-inflicted injuries.

Claiming for compensation

As a general rule, if you’ve been injured at work then you will be able to claim for compensation.  However, any amount awarded will vary from state to state and it’s very difficult for the average person to establish their legal rights.  Speaking to a legal professional can make a huge difference to an injury claim.

Experienced freelance writer, Lara Anderson, wrote this article. Lara specializes in providing personal injury advice to business owners and employees. 

 

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Australian Trends in Hybrid Cars

The move to more fuel-efficient vehicles looks to be here to stay. At the Detroit auto show in 2010, there were no trucks or SUV debuts, and Stefan Sielaff, Audi’s chief designer, said, “I have a feeling that there is a paradigm shift.” Australia certainly requires such vehicles. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission stated that Australia would probably become ever more reliant on imports of refined fuel.

Worldwide, sales of hybrids will increase eightfold by 2018, according to the research firm, IHS Automotive. Pure electric vehicles, it added, could be only two-thirds as popular. They can run for only between 20 and 50 miles and have larger batteries. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation said that electric and hybrid cars would play an increasing role in the fuel industry within the next three decades, eventually becoming the dominant element.

Australia could become a centre of excellence for electric and hybrid vehicles. A government-sponsored plan, Automotive Australia 2020 – a Technological Roadmap, said that Australia had some strengths in the area but recommended 32 measures to secure the future of this aspect of the automotive industry.

Among these were the development of supercapacitors that store energy and more efficient and lightweight batteries and electric motors. The report predicted consolidation and restructuring of Australian companies involved and greater competition from low-cost producers such as Russia, India, Brazil and Thailand.

Volkswagen (VW) was initially reluctant to enter the market for cars using electric power, but will now deploy a “considerable” proportion of its $9.2bn annual budget in this area. It will launch a minimum of two high volume hybrids over the next few years. Its subsidiary, Porsche, will act similarly, so there will be sporty hybrids targeted at wealthier customers. VW’s electric car chief, Rudolf Krebs, said that hybrids were a trend that could not be reversed.

Toyota Prius Green Motoring Trends in Hybrid Cars

Toyota Prius

Australians have been less enamoured of hybrids than was foreseen. In 2012, Peter McGregor, Toyota’s Australian Divisional Manager, said sales had fallen short of expectations, but hoped the situation would improve due to a facelifted Prius, a $1,000 price cut for the Prius and the new Camry hybrid.

Hybrids, he said, were a vital component of the future of his company and the industry. The global marketing information company, JD Power, said that reductions in cost would be key to converting interest in hybrids into sales.

As reported by the Herald Sun, hybrids could already be benefiting from the trend. Glass’s Managing Director, Santo Amoddio, declared that hybrids were already selling more than twice as more to fleets than to private buyers but were now increasingly on the shopping lists of private buyers due to growing awareness and appreciation of their reliability. He saluted Toyota’s re-pricing of the Prius and Camry.

 

Toyota Camry Hybrid Australian Trends in Hybrids

Toyota Camry Hybrid

Research into the kind of person who buys a hybrid was reported by www.smartcompany.com.au. JD Power found, after interviewing more than 40,000 car owners, that people who purchase hybrids tend to be older, richer and more educated than the average car buyer: 54 years-old, university-educated and with above-average wealth.

They are also proud advocates of green vehicles all-too-keen to tell others of their benefits. Another study, this time by Mindset Media, discovered that hybrid drivers were free-thinking, spontaneous and creative.

 

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Aussie Rules to Car Hire

Car Rental, Rental Car, Car Leasing

Hiring A Car In Australia Via Expedia

Hiring a car can be a pretty daunting prospect and it’s no wonder why; All of the small print and multiple insurance options, what have I signed up for? Was breakdown cover included? What happens if I have an accident? All this isn’t helped by those horror stories of unscrupulous companies piling on extra charges that you need a degree in advanced algebra to understand.

However, using online companies means that you can compare car hire prices from different rental companies from the comfort of your laptop rather than ringing around or walking into the nearest rental company at the airport. And, in order to wade through the minefield of terms and conditions, we have created an Aussie rules guide to car hire, which will help to translate any of the lingo you may come across, into something resembling understandable.

Check The Fuel Policy

Different companies have their own policy when it comes to fuel. A common one is that you pick up the car with a full tank and return it as empty as you can. This is good if you are not feeling confident enough to use a petrol station abroad but, if you don’t travel enough to empty the tank, it means you are paying for fuel you don’t use. So decide what’s best for your circumstances and be aware of this policy when shopping around.

Common Extra Charges

Companies that do require the hire car to be returned with a full tank will charge you much more than the same amount at a gas station, so make the effort to find a gas station near to where the car is to be returned and do it yourself for less. Insurance excess, this is the same as your own car insurance excess if the vehicle is damaged on return.  It’s so, so important to check the vehicle thoroughly for any existing damage before you drive it off the lot so you are not held liable for it. Some companies offer an extra insurance to even cover the excess, so regardless of damage, you won’t be liable for any charge.  In Australia this is commonly termed a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). A similar policy is the Excess Reduction Fee (ERF) which, as it sounds, just brings down the price of the excess. Make sure you take an accident report telephone number from the rental company at the time of booking.

Road Rules

These vary slightly from state to state, so if you’re travelling through more than one state, do your research on the driving laws in each one.

Are You Old Enough?

In Australia, most car rentals will require the driver to be 25 years of age and hold a full driving licence, which you will need to produce before you will be allowed to take the vehicle. Younger drivers may still be able to hire, but will have many additional charges, much higher insurance fees and only be permitted to hire a vehicle from a limited group.  Your driving licence should be in English with your photo ID and signature.

Facility Charge

This is the charge you will pay for being picked up from the airport or hiring your vehicle at the airport. Airports charge the rental companies this fee, which they pass on to the customer. If you wanted to save some money, find a car hire company near the airport, but not in it.

And remember, read over the agreement before you sign it and ASK if there is any part you don’t understand. You won’t be the first.

Experienced freelance writer, Lara Anderson, wrote this article. Lara specializes in providing travel advice for all destinations around Australia.

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Enjoy the great outdoors on a Tasmanian holiday

Aussies certainly have no shortage of natural splendours to marvel at across the continent, but one of the most spectacular holiday destinations is Tasmania. As Australia’s smallest state, Tasmania features its own unique landscapes, culture and lifestyle. If you want an exotic holiday but don’t wish to venture too far, you’ll get a taste of something different when you cross the Bass Strait. Although it may be small, the abundance of attractions and tranquil lifestyle makes Tasmania particularly well-suited to long term stays (2-3 days just won’t cut it – play for 1-2 weeks!)

History and Culture

Originally settled as a penal colony by the British, you can see the remains of these prisons in sites such as Port Arthur. This is one of the most popular Tasmanian attractions, offering tours through the massive decayed ruins to learn more about the hardships experienced by Tasmania’s original convict settlers. Another historical site of interest is Sullivan’s Cove in the state capital of Hobart. These functional docks are a place to sit back in a trendy waterfront café and watch the maritime traffic go by, from fishing boats to fancy yachts.

A new attraction of particular interest to art-loving mainland Aussies is The Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA. This contemporary and classical art collection features rotating exhibits and a cutting-edge events schedule. Although Hobart has a very traditional reputation, it’s slowly becoming more of a cultural hotspot. Visitors thinking about extending their holiday by purchasing real estate in Tasmaniamay want to look within the city, to capitalise on its growing art and cultural scenes. Other museums of note throughout the state include the Tiagarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Outdoor Attractions

Tasmania, Tasmanian Lanscapes, Tasmanian Sights, Tasmania NaturalNearly half of the island is protected wilderness, in the form of national parks, marine reserves, and World Heritage Sites. This leaves plenty of pristine scenery for visitors to enjoy, and has earned Tasmania the nickname of “Australia’s Natural State.” Although there is a wide variety of wildlife to enjoy, one of the most famous residents of Tasmania is the Tasmanian devil. This small marsupial boasts sharp teeth and fearsome cries, but it is quite shy and currently endangered. Due to the island’s isolation from mainland Australia, many plants and animals have managed to survive that are extinct elsewhere. Specialist tour operators take visitors around regions such as the protected Narawntapu National Park to spot wombats, platypuses, Tasmanian devils, and more.

Tasmanian Coastline, Tasmania Holiday, Tasmanian HolidaysWith so many national parks, it’s difficult to know where to begin on your adventures if you only have a short stay. Cradle Mountain National Park is a good start, with its craggy mountain peaks and crystal-clear Dove Lake. The Freycinet Peninsula is another popular outdoor area to explore, located on the eastern coast of the island. With its mountain cliffs and placid bay, it provides sheltered beaches for swimming or taking small boats out on the water. This is one of Tasmania’s most popular spots in the summer months for Australian visitors. The Bay of Fires is another popular summer spot noted for its striking beauty, featuring blue water and red rocks.

Tasmania Holiday, Tasmanian HolidaysEnjoy the views from high altitude locations such as the Tahune Forest Airwalk and summit of Mt. Wellington. These give you a bird’s eye view of the layout of Tasmania’s lush forests and craggy peaks. Another must-see outdoor sight is the Cataract Gorge Reserve, simply known as “The Gorge” to the locals. Only a twenty-minute walk outside of the town of Launceston, this urban park follows the cliffs along the South Esk River. Amenities include a café, beach, and swimming pool.

An Exotic Holiday Close to Home

From the bustling cafes and intriguing maritime history of Hobart to the lush outdoor splendours of its nature preserves, Tasmania has something different to offer. Its uniquely isolated position and well-protected national park system makes it an ideal getaway for mainland travellers in search of adventure.

For more information about WestJet and other airlines, please visit FlightHub.com.

 

 

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Australian Solar Eclipse Tomorrow!

Sun Eclipse, Australian Solar EclipseOn the 14th of November (Australia time, 13th November UTC) a special event occurs in Australia. An partial eclipse of the sun will be visible in all parts of Australia including Western Australia where the sun will rise partially eclipsed. And in Cairns you will be able to see a total solar eclipse.

The percentage of the sun covered in most major capital city is shown below:

  • Adelaide 52% at 7:31am
  • Brisbane 83% at 6:54am
  • Canberra 62% at 8:04am
  • Darwin 92% at 6:11am (sunrise)
  • Melbourne 52% at 8:06am
  • Perth 37% at 5:11am (sunrise)
  • Sydney 67% at 8:02am

This information is provided by the Astronomical Association of Queensland via the Australian Amateur Astronomy Community Solar Eclipse for the Capital Cities and brought to our attention by Ray Keefe of Successful Endeavours.

Australian Solar Eclipse, Eclipse, Sun Eclipse

Australian Solar Eclipse

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Hurricane Sandy

I think as Australians, we can all sigh with relief that we were not hit by Hurricane Sandy.

Did you know we don’t have hurricanes – we have cyclones… They are the same except they spin in opposite directions due to the Coriolis Effect.

A friend on Long Island who has been severely inconvenienced by Hurricane Sandy sent me this gorgeous photo of the season’s first snow storm – which is VERY premature.

It’s inspiring to see nature’s beauty amongst the ruins and devastation.

I know it’s hard, but it’s always better to focus on the positive…

Easier said than done!

Click on the hyperlink to read about Good News From The Sandy Hurricane.

Hurricane Sandy

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Popular Destinations for Aussie Travellers

Aussie travellers really have the best of both worlds’, with a country that’s ready to explore and neighbouring destinations that offer a world just waiting to be discovered. If you’re planning your next getaway but are having trouble deciding where your next adventure should take you, consider these captivating destinations for a holiday you’ll never forget. Whether your dream holiday involves white water rafting, bungee jumping, star spotting or world class beaches, you’ll find it amongst these breathtaking locations.

Queenstown, New Zealand

New Zealand is one of those amazing destinations that offers unbeatable attractions during both the summer and winter months. Queenstown is the adrenaline capital of the world and offers an abundance of activities for both the lovers of sun and snow.

During the warmer months, adrenaline junkies can take on some of the biggest challenges in the world, with white water rafting and bungee jumping being popular pastimes around the city. For the more subdued traveller, get into the action with a jet boat ride that will have your blood pumping.

It doesn’t get much better than the colder months in the breathtaking mountain ranges, which surround Queenstown, home to some of the best ski fields in the world. Thousands of Australian’s flock to the slopes of the Remarkables and Coronet Peak, each year, hoping to catch some powdery action.

Los Angeles, United States of America

If you’re looking for something that’s a little further than just across the Tasman, head to LA for the holiday of a lifetime. Home to the Hollywood movie stars and the most famous shopping district in the world, Aussie travellers will be star struck by the glimmering lights of Los Angeles.

Whether you’re a big spender or just want to window shop, head to Rodeo Drive to rub shoulders with the rich and famous. The Hollywood sign is also a must visit attraction and the perfect opportunity for those holiday happy snaps! LA airfares are very affordable from Australia, giving travellers even more reason to pack their bags and start planning the shopping spree of a lifetime!

Bali, Indonesia

An island paradise located just a short flight from Australia; Bali remains to be one of the most popular holiday destinations for Aussie travellers. The various regions of the island provide the perfect holiday environment for all types of travellers, with Nusa Dua offering a more laidback vibe, while Kuta is perfect for the party goers and bargain shoppers. Keen Aussie surfers will also love a holiday to Bali, with Nusa Lembongan offering pristine surfing conditions and located just a short boat ride from Nusa Dua.

Whatever your holiday plans are, you are sure to find it amongst these international treasures. Discover the breathtaking views of Bali, have your breath taken away in Queenstown or live like a star in Hollywood.

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Australian Astronomers Recognised Globally

The material for this post was provided by Ray Keefe of Successful Endeavours who is an amateur astronomer and member of IceInSpace, the Australian Amateur Astronomy community. Australian astronomers are a surprisingly active group with some recent recognition on the world stage.

First there was Australian Astrographer, Colin Legg, who won the first prize in the David Malin Awards animation category to be covered in a future blog post.

And now Martin Pugh has been recognised in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition held by the Royal Observatory for his picture of the Whirlpool Galaxy.

IceInSpace run a monthly newsletter and have an extremely active forum allowing interaction between members on a wide range of topics. Typically a forum is more interaction than a blog and is a better format for a widely varying multi-way dialogue like this. You can check out the IceInSpace forums at http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/index.php.

A good example of the sort of news you get from them is the upcoming Solar Eclipse on 13th November which is visible in Australia just after dawn. If you are in Western Australia the sun will rise eclipsed!

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7 Popular Asian Destinations For Aussie Travellers

Asian Destinations, Great Wall Of ChinaAsia’s mysteries go back to the beginning of time, and the many different cultures and natural wonders have the magical ability to take the traveller to another world and another era. When the ancient is blended with the contemporary, the result is the spectacular, high-tech cities throughout Asia that are constant contradictions. Melbourne to Hong Kong flights are a good way to begin any journey through Asia.

1. Siem Reap, Cambodia is the starting point for a fascinating trip back over 900 years. Angkor Wat is the centre piece in the jungle where there are temples, statues and monuments gradually being reclaimed by nature. After trekking though the jungle and experiencing the ancient wonders, Siem Reap is a welcoming city with a bustling Old Market that offers tasty street food, fantastic shopping and excellent accommodation at very affordable prices.

    2. Hong Kong, China is one of those cities that have everything from the latest electronics and haut couture to the smallest street shrines fragrant with incense. Melbourne to Hong Kong flights are inexpensive and great value for money. From the top of Victoria Peak to the outlying islands with only small monasteries, there is a lot to do in the city. The ferry ride through the harbour is cheap and gives an awesome perspective of the vastness of this lively city. To top it all, there is Hong Kong Disneyland, which is a dream come true for many children.

    3. Halong Bay, Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most magnificent natural wonders in the world. It has beautiful beaches and clear water along with limestone caves, each with an ancient story. The 3,000 limestone peaks that jut straight out of the water and tower over everything are the sight that takes the breath away.

    4. The Great Wall of China is a must-see for anyone visiting Asia. Built in the 5th century BC, it still stands over 4,000 miles, though broken in some places. The only man-made object visible from space, it is a testament to the builders of the past. It is even possible to trek the whole length of the Wall with permission.

    5. The Taj Mahal, Agra, India is another amazing monument to the art and craft of builders of the past. A wonder of the modern world, it was completed in 1653 as a mausoleum to the third wife of Emperor Shah Jahan. Today, the Taj Mahal is almost a cliché as a symbol of beauty and love, but the sheer grandeur and amazing detail of the designs can only be appreciated in person.

    6. Bangkok, Thailand is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, and there is good reason for it. With the floating markets, excellent shopping and some of the best food in the world, Bangkok also has magnificent architecture, temples and ancient Buddhist ruins throughout the country. Thailand also has tiny islands with white sand, warm turquoise water and inexpensive diving for isolated romantic getaways. Krabi Province has hot waterfalls and warm ponds in the rugged forests where nature lovers come for a break from the city.

    7. Bali, Indonesia offers the pristine sandy beaches as well as rugged mountain terrain. Previously, mainly frequented by surfers, Bali has a lot more to offer and is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Ubud, in central Bali, is a town where arts and culture flourish. Visitors enjoy the Monkey Forest, Elephant Caves, Balinese dance performances and the many Hindu temples in the area. Kintamani is one hour north of Ubud and is a good place for a break from the frantic nightlife of the cities and busy beaches. It has an active volcano, Mount Batur, with the highest temple in Bali clinging to the side. This is the place for peace and tranquillity amidst the great natural beauty. Visitors rest near the natural hot springs and cool Lake Batur.

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    Overheard On The Oprah Show…

    Workaholic, Stressed Out, Overwhelm, Helplessness, DepressionOprah, when she taped her recent Great Australian Adventure Series last year, asked a Melbourne BBQ guest the difference between Australians and Americans:

    “Americans live to work
    whereas
    Australians work to live.”

    I have to admit, that sums it up very succinctly.

    Ya gotta love this country!!!

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    Australian Refugees get paid $56,680/year?

    *** NOW, LET ME SEE IF I’VE GOT THIS RIGHT….

    IF YOU CROSS THE NORTH KOREAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET 12 YEARS HARD LABOUR.

    IF YOU CROSS THE IRANIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU ARE DETAINED INDEFINITELY.

    IF YOU CROSS THE AFGHAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU GET SHOT.

    IF YOU CROSS THE SAUDI ARABIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE JAILED.

    IF YOU CROSS THE CHINESE BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU MAY NEVER BE HEARD FROM AGAIN.

    IF YOU CROSS THE VENEZUELAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE BRANDED A SPY AND YOUR FATE WILL BE SEALED.

    IF YOU CROSS THE CUBAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE THROWN INTO A POLITICAL PRISON TO ROT.

    IF YOU CROSS THE AUSTRALIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU GET:

    • A JOB,
    • AN INTERPRETER,
    • FREE LEGAL AID,
    • A DRIVERS LICENCE,
    • A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER,
    • WELFARE,
    • CREDIT CARDS,
    • FREE EDUCATION,
    • FREE HEALTH CARE,
    • THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN YOUR LANGUAGE
    • THE RIGHT TO CARRY YOUR COUNTRY’S FLAG WHILE YOU PROTEST THAT YOU DO NOT GET ENOUGH RESPECT.

    Sensationalism? Then think about just this one [not so] small aspect…

    The Australian Federal Government provides the following financial assistance:-

    AUSTRALIAN AGED PENSIONER ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS/
    REFUGEES LIVING IN AUSTRALIA
    Weekly allowance $253.00 $472.50
    Weekly Spouse allowance $56.00 $472.50
    Additional weekly hardship allowance $0.00 $145.00
    TOTAL YEARLY BENEFIT $16,068.00 $56,680.00

    Let’s open up the debate… Post your comments and tell us what you think.

    Is this true or Internet False Propaganda?

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