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Changes to Australia’s Working Holiday Visa


The Australian government has implemented some changes to relax the visa rules for backpackers. There will now be more opportunities for everyone to explore the land down under via a working holiday to Australia.

Previously, backpackers can only stay with their agricultural employer for a maximum of six months. With the new rules put in place, backpackers are now allowed to stay with their agricultural employer for up to a year. Plus, if you’re keen to take on extra agricultural work, you’ll also have the opportunity to stay in Australia for three years.


The government also plans to remove the annual cap on workers on increase the age limit from 30 to 35 people from several countries, a few of which including Canada and Ireland. In the past, backpackers may have faced limitations in accepting agricultural work in Northern Australia. However, they will now enjoy greater flexibility to work in different regions.

As for Australia’s Seasonal Worker Programme, changes have been made to allow people from nine Pacific Island countries to come and work on farms in Oz. Eligible workers will now be allowed to stay nine months, as compared to the previous six months, and employers will also have to cover less costs.

The new changes have been put in place as part of the Australian government’s effort to help fill agricultural jobs as farmers continue to struggle to meet the labour demands of growing season. Due to the nature of farm work being physically demanding, there can be difficulty attracting Australian workers to apply for such jobs.

How to Apply?

At the moment, passports from 19 different countries are eligible to apply for a working holiday visa for Oz, and applications are eligible for travellers who are 30 or under. For the case of Ireland and Canada, the age cap is at 35. For more information, you can visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

Overcome Your Fear of Sharks by Swimming With Them


According to Australian researchers, it has been found that people who partake in cage-diving with sharks tend to be more likely to support their conservation. 36 people were killed in shark encounters in Australian waters between the years of 1997 and 2017, and it is not surprising that the fear of sharks has been keeping many people out of the waters and has at the same time stood in the way of the conservation of sharks.

Findings have shown that adventurous travellers who embarked in cage diving and had the opportunity to look at a shark straight in the eye have experienced an emotional engagement with the sharks. This increases their understanding, awareness and concern for the species.


Titled “Turning wildlife experiences into conservation action: Can white shark cage-dive tourism influence conservation behaviour” looked at the attitudes and environmental behaviour of a total of 136 tourists after their cage-diving experience. These tourists were interviewed after cage-diving with white sharks at the Neptune Islands Group Marine Park located in South Australia.

Shark ecotourism experiences are potentially able to enhance participants’ knowledge, attitude and behaviour towards sharks and at the same time support their conservation. Once the travellers have had the opportunity to get up close and personal with these predators, they gain a lot of respect for them. The main thing that changed their ideas about sharks was the emotional connection developed through the engagement with them.

In Australia, shark tourism plays a huge role in the Australian economy and is worth more than AUD$25 million. Advocates mentioned that tourism ventures can increase public awareness of the threats to shark populations around the world and gain more support for the conservation of sharks.

As sharks play important ecological roles in marine ecosystems, it is vital that human perception is improved so that it increases conservation awareness and behaviour in the long run so as to protect this great species.

Breeze Through Check-in Procedures When Flying out of Australia


We’re all dreading the long lines in front of the check-in counters at the airports. However, all of this is going to change for international flights departing Australia. In bid to reduce the waiting time at Australian airports, passengers can now check in for their flights using their mobile phones.

Airlines have since begun to issue electronic boarding passes for international flights departing Australia.

This eliminates the need for passengers to drop by check-in counters to verify their passport details and collecting a paper boarding pass.

Alan Tudge, Citizenship Minister of Australia mentioned that Australia is a world leader in the field of seamless travel and with this new move, travellers will better able to move across Australian borders smoothly. Approximately 75% of travellers are screened through the country’s automated SmartGates which helps to speed up the process as well.

It has been recorded that more than 21 million people passed through Australia’s border in their international airports  the last financial year, but that number is projected to rise even further.

With an increasing volume of passengers crossing Australia’s borders, authorities will always be looking for new methods to help legitimate travellers clear the borders efficiently and at the same time sieve out those of interest to law enforcement.

This change has been implemented after several successful trials of mobile boarding passes introduced for international flights.

Road Tripping Along the Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road Memorial

The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243 km stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia, between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. The road was built between the years of 1919 and 1932 by returned soldiers and is dedicated to the soldiers who are sacrificed in World War I. The Great Ocean Road also happens to be the world’s largest war memorial.

Dubbed as one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives, the Great Ocean Road winds through various terrains and brings you through several prominent landmarks which includes the Twelve Apostles limestone stack formation. From observing native wildlife in their natural elements to exploring the lush greenery or simply soaking up the panoramic views from the various lookout points, there’s plenty to choose for for everyone, especially for outdoor enthusiasts.

To get you started, here are a few of our favourites along the Great Ocean Road:

London Arch
London Arch

The London Arch is an offshore natural arch formation in Port Campbell National Park, Australia and has been a significant tourist attraction along the Great Ocean Road. Over a gradual course of erosion, the stack eventually formed a complete double-span natural bridge. Unfortunately, the iconic London Bridge collapsed in 1990, and left two tourists stranded on the outer span and had to be rescued by a helicopter. The formation has been known as the London Arch ever since its collapse. If you’d like to catch some Little Penguins making their way home, it is advisable to visit the rock formation towards the end of the day.

Loch Ard Gorge
Loch ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge is also a part of Port Campbell National Park and is located approximately three minutes’ drive west of The Twelve Apostles. The stairs at the lookout allows visitors to access the beach as well as the eastern side of the gorge. To help visitors get acquainted with the history of the area, there are several plaques and a small museum that visitors can visit. The gorge has been named after the clipper ship Loch Ard, which was beached on the nearby Muttonbird Island in 1878 as it was approaching the end of a three-month journey from England to Melbourne.

Apart from the area’s rich maritime history, the gorge has also served as the filming location for several productions such as the 1982 The Pirate Movie as well as the 1999 TV series Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Twelve Apostles & Gibson Steps
Twelve Apostles

The harsh and extreme weather conditions from the Southern Ocean gradually eroded the soft limestone to form caves in the cliffs which eventually became arches that collapsed, leaving rock stacks up to a height of 45m. Today, we refer to these limestone stacks as the Twelve Apostles.

Probably the most iconic attraction along the Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park. The close proximity of the limestone stacks has made the site a popular tourist attraction. At the present moment, there are only eight Apostles left after the ninth one collapsed in 2005. In spite of that, the name remains largely significant in the Australian tourism industry.

Gog and Magog

Located about 2 minutes drive from The Twelve Apostles, the Gibson Steps are an area of cliffs on the south coast of Australia. Gibson Steps refers to the 86 steps staircase which leads people down to the stretch of beach at the bottom of the 70m high cliffs. When on the beach, be amazed by the giant limestone stacks Gog and Magog rising above the seas.

Teddy’s Lookout
Teddy's Lookout

Embarking on a short drive to the top end of George Street located at the back of Lorne would bring you to the scenic Teddy’s Lookout. Take in the beautiful coastal views of the surf breaking into the mount of Saint George River alongside the surrounding rainforest-covered gorge and witness how the river winds through fern-covered valleys. Teddy’s Lookout is without a doubt the go-to spot for capturing amazing shots of the Great Ocean Road.

Getting There
The official start of the Great Ocean Road is 103km from the Melbourne CBD and is approximately 1h 17min away by driving.


Of Mountains and Adventures: The Grampians


The beautiful Grampians National Park is located in the Grampians region of Victoria, Australia. Thanks to the geology of the area, this 168,000-hectare national park features rugged mountain ranges with stunning panoramic vistas.

From relaxing strolls to strenuous treks that bring you to magnificent waterfalls, breathtaking lookout points to getting up close with the rock formations, the Grampians fits the bill for your next outdoor adventure.

The Grampians are made up of a series of five stunning sandstone ridges that run from north to south, with the gentler slopes on the western side and the steeper ones to the east. With the Earth’s gradual lifting and tilting of the sandstones, it has resulted in the creation of this impressive landscape of peaks and valleys. Take in breathtaking views of the Grampians by embarking on treks to the various lookout points.

Grampians Peak Trail
Image credit: Diliff

One of Walk Victoria’s Icons long distance trails, the first segment of the Grampians Peak trail is now complete. It takes you through a 36km trek in its 3 day 2 night circuit that departs from Halls Gap. Wander through the ancient rock features of the Grand Canyon, meander through the narrow silent street and reward yourselves with mesmerizing views of the region right at the top of the Pinnacle Lookout. You’d be able to spend both nights at different campsites, Camp Bugiga and Borough Huts Campground.

Experience the great outdoors as you navigate yourselves through the mountain ranges by following the well marked out signs along the trail.

Mackenzie Falls
Mackenzie Falls
Image credit: Alpha

Mackenzie Falls is one of Grampians’ icons. Follow the trail to the base of the falls and witness large masses of water cascade over the cliffs into a deep pool. The waterfalls flow throughout the year, making it available for you regardless of which season you visit.


Outdoor Activities
Being high up in the mountains and close to nature, there’s no lack of outdoor activities in the Grampians. Don’t worry about packing your own gear as you could easily hire some from Absolute Outdoors at Halls Gap during your trip.

Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking

If you’re living in a city, you don’t always get easy access to the mountains. This is one activity that should not be missed out on during your trip to the Grampians. Bike through the mountainous terrain and if you’re lucky, you might find yourselves spotting some wildlife from kangaroos to emus and even stags.

Rock Climbing/ Bouldering
Rock Climbing
Image credit: Paul Coster

The Grampians is also well known for many of its rock climbing sites, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, there are lots of options for everyone. While conquering the rocks, find yourselves admiring the beautiful scenery the region has to offer.


Apart from the land activities, there are also options for you to canoe or kayak down at Lake Bellfield. Paddle through the calm waters of the lake while keeping a lookout on the nearby banks for wild emus roaming around to welcome you.

Getting There
The Grampians is approximately a three-hour drive away from Melbourne. If you’re planning for a road trip around Melbourne and surrounds, mark down the Grampians for your next big outdoor adventure.

Velothon Sunshine Coast (Queensland) 2017

© Beardy McBeard

© Beardy McBeard

Entries are open for the Velothon Sunshine Coast which will be held from 13th to 16th July 2017 in Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Velothon is a rapidly growing global event series that is already successful in Germany, Wales, Sweden and Canada.

A mass-participation cycling event in and around the stunning Sunshine Coast hinterland and coastal roads, Velothon Sunshine Coast brings the Gran Fondo experience to riders! The course offers dream riding conditions with the perfect mix of sprints, hills, flats and distances.

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Affordable Ways To Travel To The World’s Most Expensive Places


Is your travel bucket list filled with spots like Iceland, France, and Hawaii? While the costs fluctuate due to exchange rates, here are some tips to get the most bang out of your buck in these destinations.

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Travelling to Aus? Watch out for fake AUD100 & AUD50 notes


While Australia is largely considered a cashless society, there have been news of fake AU$100 and AU$50 notes in circulation. While it’s rare to spend large notes on the ground while travelling, chances are that travellers may come across them at money changers. In December 2016, there’s been a surge in circulation of these notes, particularly the AU$100.

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Need ideas for next year’s Valentine’s Day?


While romance can often bloom in the most unlikely of places, here are some locations that may be ideal to spend that quality time together.



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Jan/Feb 2017 Issue Out Now!

cover65Our Journeys Issue is out!

It’s the beginning of the year, and a great time to start planning those trips before dates get filled up.

This issue, we feature all sorts of journeys – from exploring wine trails in Portugal, to rail sojourns in Alaska, and driving trips in Queensland/NSW to take in its landscape. No matter where you head, there’s always a good reason to slow down and take it all in.

Pick up our free mag now or read online!