Tag Archives: Australia

Autumn in the Barossa Valley

To many, the arrival of autumn’s mild days, chilly nights and heightened rainfall is one met with minimal enthusiasm; it is an unwelcome reminder that the even less desirable conditions of winter are just around the corner.

In Australia, autumn begins to unveil itself in March, and folk are forced to bid goodbye to their globally sought-after summers for yet another year. However, Continue reading

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‘Sleep on the Reef’: Catching Forty Winks on the Great Barrier Reef

Just over twelve months ago, Reef tour provider Lady Musgrave Island Experience began operating out of Bundaberg Port at Burnett Heads, just four hours’ drive north of Brisbane. It is the most southern port in Queensland with an accessible departure point to Lady Musgrave Island, ‘the jewel of the Southern Great Barrier Reef’ and a true uninhabited coral cay.

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From the Sunshine Coast to the Indian Ocean: Aussie Surfer Goes West

Kununurra is an isolated but scenically beautiful area in the far north of Western Australia. It’s located at the eastern extremity of the scenic hills and ranges of the Kimberley Region, bordering the Northern Territory.

Local scraper operator Peter Shaw has been working the farming fields on the outskirts of Kununurra for the last six months and believes the area is a ‘hidden gem’ in Australia’s remote outback. In his time away from his home on the Sunshine Coast, Peter has extensively explored, hiked and camped his way around the area and been to some of the most secretive places known only to the locals. He credits his adventures to long-time local Phil Bloomfield, who took pride in the unique surroundings and spent many weekends giving Peter some of the ‘best times of his life.’

Photographer: Peter Shaw

Photographer: Peter Shaw

There is an airport located in Kununurra, but the best mode of transport in this area is definitely by four-wheel-drive, and to access Peter’s recommended sights it is essential. Hiking is one of Peter’s favourite activities and some of the views from the mountain ranges are something few people have seen. The area around Kununurra produces a very dry heat throughout the winter and, heading into the summer season, it is often hit with torrential rain and humidity. These extreme temperatures can make it a difficult place to call home, but they do not detract from its appeal to those who do.

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The Year-Round Turtle Experience: Australia’s Mon Repos Turtle Centre

Mon Repos Turtle Centre is situated in the township of Bargara on the Central Queensland coast, in the region of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. The centre serves multiple purposes: a recreation area, a marine turtle nesting site, and a turtle research and conservation centre. It is open to the public and offers turtle nesting encounters to visitors.

My family and I live nearby and are regular visitors to the centre. We have picnicked in the park, swum at the beach, cycled the tracks, and joined in several night-time turtle encounters.

I recently spoke with Cathy Gately, head ranger in charge of the Mon Repos Turtle Centre, who said that the park is critical to the survival of the loggerhead turtle. Continue reading

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Australia’s ‘Backpacker Tax’

There has been a lot of controversy over the last few months since the proposed introduction of the ‘backpacker tax’ in Australia. This tax was due to take effect from the 1st of July after its surprise inclusion in the 2015 budget, as it was estimated to raise almost $540 million in revenue (Karp, 2016).

At the present time, backpackers in Australia are able to access the $18,200 tax-free threshold, the low-income tax offset and the lower tax rate of 19% for income above the tax-free threshold up to $37,000. The new proposed changes will put backpackers and working holidaymakers at a 32.5% tax rate from their first dollar (Karp, 2016). This is a huge blow for the tourism industry in Australia, and also for rural farmers who rely on this labour force at times of peak demand. The ATO (Australian Tax Office) has also made their comment on the matter: “The continuation of this measure and, if it does proceed, how it will be implemented, will be a matter for the incoming government to decide” (Ato.gov.au, 2016). This leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which is worrying for both backpackers and potential employers.

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