6 Breathtaking Places in Oceania

Oceania is famous for its beauty and for a good reason. There are sights that take your breath away, national parks, caves and beaches unlike anything else in the world. Traveling through all of Oceania takes time and money only a select few can afford. In order to enjoy the highlights, you should visit these six places.

Ayers Rock

It is also known as Uluru, which is its Aboriginal name. This rock formation is sacred to the Aborigines of the area, the Pitjantjatjara Anangu. Ayers Rock is one of, if not the, most recognizable landmarks in all of Down Under. The temperature in the area can drop under 40°F only during the month of July. It is home to many Australian animals, like frogs, reptiles, snakes and several endangered mammals. The Anangu are allowed to keep hunting several animals, including the red kangaroo and emu.

Tasmania

If you are looking forward to enjoying a trip to an island, we recommend visiting Tasmania. It is located about 150 miles south of Australia. It is known as the 26th largest island in the world and it is relatively more hospitable when compared to Australia, at least in terms of climate. Famous actors that originate from Tasmania are Simon Baker, Essie Davis, and Errol Flynn, among others. It is also the only home in the wild to the famous Tasmanian Devil.

Kakadu National Park

The Kakadu National Park is co-managed by its native owners – in fact, more than 50% of the park is under Aboriginal ownership. It is dedicated to protecting nature and preserving it in its original state. The park covers a large part of Australia. There are over 10 000 crocodile species in the park, as well as 280 different kinds of birds, along with a couple of thousand plant species.

Do not be afraid if you come across a termite mound that is higher than you – they can reach 19 feet in height. If you are lucky, you can get a free guided tour by the rangers. Visiting the park itself costs about $25 per person.

Christmas Island

Every year, over 100 million crabs move from the jungle to the sea in order to breed and have their young. It is a natural phenomenon not present anywhere else in the world. This is just one of many wonders you can expect to find on this island. It has been a fascinating place for scientists, naturalists, and enthusiastic adventurers alike. The beaches are rocky, and most of the flora is rainforests.

Waitomo Caves

Tourists that enjoy natural occurrences will simply love the Waitomo Caves. There are two levels of the caves, with the upper level being the one more accessible and, therefore, more visited by the tourists. You will see some wonders in spite of the darkness – there are glowworms that give the impression of small and distant stars. These worms are carnivores, but are also resilient – they can go without food and water for a long time.

Mount Cook

This is the tallest mountain in New Zealand and its 12,316 feet high. The Maori call it Aoraki, which means cloud piercer. Because of its height, Mount Cook is always covered in snow and ice. At the base of the mountain, you will find the Mount Cook village.

According to the Maori legend, this mountain came to be when a boy named Aoraki, along with his brothers got stranded in a canoe. The boys tried to stand on the tallest part of the canoe, but the winds from them and turned them to stone. Aoraki was the tallest, and his brothers became the Southern Alps.

 

Australian TV Shows You Should Watch

Australia has an abundance of TV shows. There are dramas, comedies, family-friendly series, and more, available to those interested in Australian culture, or anyone who enjoys quality television. Here are a few Australian TV shows you should watch – you won’t regret it.

McLeod’s Daughters

This TV series became an instant hit around the world. It features two sisters, who are nothing alike, called Claire and Tess. They are doing their best to protect and run the ranch in the Australian outback with all the difficulties that endeavor entails. There are conflicts within the family, wildlife emergencies, love interests and more.

Though there were several changes to the cast, including the main characters, the show was on air for solid eight seasons, with the final episode aired in 2009. It is still a heartwarming story worth your time.

Summer Heights High

This mini-series is perfect for fans of mockumentaries that can relate to usual high school problems. Chris Lilley is the writer and star of the show set in a fictional school. The show mainly follows an eccentric Director of Performing Arts, a delinquent, and an exchange student. While Summer Heights High doesn’t really exist, the show is filmed at a real school property, and it features real students as well as actors.

Neighbours

“Everybody needs good neighbours”, as the series intro suggests. It is a soap opera that has been on the air for more than 30 years, and it’s easy to see why. Though it is a soap opera, the characters are relatable, as teenagers and adults face difficulties we experience every day.

The story is set in a fictional location called Ramsey Street, Erinsborough. It originally started with three families: the Robinsons, the Ramseys, and the Clarkes. As the show progressed, however, it became necessary to swap families and bring in new ones in order to keep the story fresh.

Scope

Sometimes, there is a need for a quality TV show that is educational and makes learning fun for the little ones. Enter Scope, a children’s TV program about science. It is thirty minutes of fast-paced educational action, as the host leads children on a trip to the discovery of things we take for granted, like the food we eat, famous athletes, the technology used around the world, and the infrastructure. In case you want to educate children yourself, the Scope website features video clips and teaching materials.

Play School

There is another educational TV show for kids and this one made it into the Logies’ Hall of Fame for running for more than fifty years. It is a lighthearted program with fun activities, songs, and themes for the week, like dinosaurs, art, games, and so on. The show is aimed at preschoolers and it is a wonderful way to educate your children and protect them from inappropriate TV content.

Four Corners

This is one of those shows where binge-watching will bring you no joy. Four corners is not a sitcom or a drama. It is a documentary program, intertwined with investigative journalism and breaking news. It broadcasted many stories that sparked controversy, like the treatment of Aboriginal Australians in New South Wales, as well as the influence of fossil fuel lobbyists on the climate change policy in Australia. They covered interviews with former members of the Church of Scientology, as well.

Traditional Australian Dishes

Australia has no shortage of wonders. The beaches, the heat, the locals and the exotic animals are just some of the reasons to visit the Land Down Under. What you don’t hear about as often as you should is the Aussie food. We hope you enjoy our selection of the finest traditional Aussie dishes. There is more to Australian cuisine than putting shrimp on the barbie.

Pavlova

We know that this dessert is named after the ballerina, but the origin of the dessert is a bit of a controversial topic, as both Australia and New Zealand claim it as their own invention.

Regardless of where it truly comes from, Pavlova is a delicious dessert made from meringue that has a soft crust and whipped cream with fruit on top. Of course, there are several variations when it comes to fruit used or personal preferences regarding other ingredients, but this dish is something everyone would love to have at their dinner table.

A Burger with “the Lot”

This dish is simply a must for people who like to top their food with an incalculable amount of toppings. There are barbecued meat, sauce, and salads, but what separates this burger from those all over the world is the addition of exotic ingredients, like pickled beetroot and a slice of pineapple.

Meat Pie

When we talk about pies, we usually think about crunchy crust and meat, cheese or fruit filling. However, in Australia, meat pies are somewhat different. Each pie is hand-sized for easy consumption, filled with meat and gravy, and topped with tomato sauce. If this isn’t enough to sustain you throughout the day, we recommend sampling the gourmet version. In addition to previous ingredients, there are also peas and potatoes.

Barramundi

Barramundi is actually a fish that can be found in Queensland. It is also known as the Asian sea bass and, besides Australian dishes, it is very popular in Thai cuisine. It is perfect for fans of seafood and those who wish to have a meal that is both delicious and healthy.

Vegemite

You may have heard of Marmite before. If you haven’t, Marmite is a British food, spread on bread and made from yeast extract. Vegemite is the Australian version of Marmite – apart from the extract gained from leftover yeast after the brewing process, it contains various vegetables and spices. We also recommend trying out AussieMite and Promite.

Fairy Bread

This dish is very popular at children’s parties. It is bread, cut out in triangles, spread with butter or margarine and covered with hundreds and thousands. It has a striking combination of sweet and savory, and its appearance has certainly justified the name.

Iced VoVo

Not many dishes are as Australian as an Iced VoVo. It is essentially a wheat flour biscuit with some raspberry jam and coconuts. It has become an inseparable part of the Australian cuisine in 2007 when then-PM Kevin Rudd made a comment about having a cup of tea and Iced VoVo before going to work.

Lamb Leg Roast

While other countries have their own recipes with the lamb roast, Australia has seen to it to make this dish their own by covering the lamb leg with juices containing rosemary, garlic, and olive oil. The dish is served with baked potatoes.

 

Australian Rise of Esports

Esports keep getting bigger and bigger every year, with more countries and cities hosting local and international tournaments. Contestants from all corners of the earth come forward to compete in things that would never have been considered disciplines twenty years ago. Let’s talk about what esports is, as well as what their relationship with Australia is.

Esports

It’s easy to play online slots and similar video games – you just read a few online casino reviews and that’s it. But esports are a whole another thing! Esports are multiplayer computer games that are played in competitions. These games are played by professional gamers and rising stars. It is not uncommon for teams and individuals to receive sponsorship from corporations, similar to F1 drivers, basketball players, soccer players, and so on.

More and more nations are coming forward in accepting esports as a type of sport. Since October 2017, esports has received recognition from the Olympics Committee and there has been some talk of incorporating tournaments into future Olympic Games.

Esports tournaments include fighting games (like Street Fighter V), multiplayer online battle arenas (like League of Legends), sports games (NBA 2K), first-person shooters (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive), and strategies (Starcraft).

Drugs and Cheating?

As unlikely as it may seem, gamers have also been known to use performance-enhancing drugs. Substances that potentially increase the concentration and reaction time are invaluable in big tournaments. They are also illegal.

Another issue that is common to other sports disciplines is cheating. It can take many forms, like a program that aims a weapon instead of you, or an irregular controller that responds better than that of your opponent.

Reception and Issues

These days, over two-thirds of Australians play video games. Aussie youth is heavily invested in viewing popular professional players on YouTube and Twitch. The reason so many viewers get interested in watching professional players play video games is searching for tips and tricks on improving their own gameplay, along with pure viewing pleasure some people get from watching a basketball game.

That means that there is a solid potential for a stable market in Australia for gamers, sponsors, tournament hosts, and anyone else involved in the esports industry. And it’s not just esports. We see an increase in how much other sports are relying on technology as well. For example, a rugby team has its own iTeam app for iPhone, which you can read more about just here. For sure, there are many more examples of technology  improving sports. There are, however, several issues.

Corporations tend to view esports as a fad, so they are often reluctant to invest in this industry. The market indicates that this trend will be worth over a billion dollars in a few years, but that still fails to impress potential investors. Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world, and not just in terms of sponsorship.

The efficiency with which the internet operates in Australia still needs work, as there are occasional difficulties in playing games competitively. Aussie players sometimes experience lag, game freezing and disconnecting, and other issues which put them in a very unfavorable position during tournaments. Until there is improvement in providing gamers with a stable internet connection, Australia will still have issues while playing against other regions.

AESA

In 2013, an organization emerged with the goal of promoting and protecting esports, seeking national recognition for the industry. The Australian Esports Association, or AESA, is a non-profit association and a member of the International Esports Federation (IeSF), which, apart from Australia, also contains groups from over 40 different nations.

To put esports on the Australian map, they follow the news, updates, and major esports events, like the IeSF World Championship. They also develop proper regulation and engagement with the appropriate audiences.

 

What You Need to Know about the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Laughter is healthy and often associated with happiness. It is a great tool to combat stress and a number of life’s difficulties. There are several industries dedicated to promoting and provoking this action, like the movie industry, YouTube, performers, and comedians. They operate independently, though you can sometimes see notable figures in festivals all over the world. One such event is the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

What Is It?

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, or MICF, is the third largest comedy festival in the world, right behind Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival and Montreal’s Just For Laughs. It lasts about a month, between March and April. There are thousands and thousands of performers, each with their own style of comedy. Apart from stand-up comedy, there is also the cabaret, debates, musicals, and plays. It is truly a festival where comedy comes in all shapes and sizes.

Origins

MICF started in 1987 when it featured 56 separate acts. The original idea was that the festival should revolve around April Fool’s Day. One of the event’s co-founders, John Pinder, toyed with the idea of an international comedy festival as early as the 80s. A couple of years later, performers from all around the world were flooding in to make their mark at this festival.

Characteristics

There are several things that separate MICF from other comedy festivals. For one thing, there is less pressure, so the performers have fun while doing what they love, without a desperate need for the audience’s approval.

There are also three events/programs that are the pillars of MICF. They are Raw Comedy, Class Clowns and Deadly Funny.

Raw Comedy

Raw Comedy is, essentially, a competition between emerging comics. The competition starts in January, and it ends during MICF. To compete, you must be a resident of Australia and you mustn’t have made over $500 from your comedy acts. You get five minutes and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to amaze the spectators. There is a chance for you to compete again, but no more than three times, provided you haven’t made it to the National Final.

Class Clowns

This is not just a competition, it’s also a program for high-schoolers who wish to hone their skills. There are workshops where trade secrets are shared among the nation’s future of comedy. So, if you’re a teen with a knack for comedy, give it a go.

Deadly Funny

To compete in the Deadly Funny, you have to be indigenous. Not only that, you have to be over 18, you can bring up to 2 friends, and your act should be no longer than five minutes. The Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders that are younger than 18 can still compete as Class Clowns.

 

Raising Money with Games of Chance in Australia

Gambling laws and regulations in Australia have always been strictly regulated if permitted at all. Each state has its own set of rules regarding games of chance and skill. What about games that are there for raising awareness and funds to combat a certain issue? Surely, a fundraising event would be permitted no matter what, even if there are games of chance involved to promote a cause, right? It’s actually a little bit more complex than that.

Games of chance that are typically conducted at these events are bingo, raffles, and lucky envelopes. Most people are familiar with these forms of gambling and don’t consider them “bad”. That’s also why there are so many sites like bingo-bonus-code.co.uk offering online bingo promotions. We are going to discuss what sort of permits you need in order to conduct these games in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Some are fairly simple, while others may seem like a bureaucratic nightmare.

New South Wales

Because the term ‘charitable purpose’ can have several meanings, there are four groups of such fundraisers:

  • Financial relief,
  • Education,
  • Religion, and
  • Community.

New South Wales requires you to possess something called the Authority to Fundraise for Charitable Purposes. After you have obtained this permit, and the process of approval lasts around 28 days, you can apply for a Permit to Conduct Fundraising Games of Chance. Another 28 days later, you should have permission to organize a raffle or bingo with all profits going to the charity of your choice.

Queensland

Queensland is a bit more flexible on the issue of gambling for charity. There is a huge number of game categories, and some of them require a license. We will focus our attention on Special Category 3 Games, which are conducted in a one-time fashion to raise funds to help victims of natural disasters, or other individuals. To hold a game of chance in this fashion, you need the Special Category 3 gaming license. It lasts for 4 months, there are no fees when applying, and you can’t transfer this license onto someone else.

Alternatively, you don’t need a gaming license if your club generally does charity work and gives regular contributions. If this is the case, you can conduct raffles and lucky envelopes provided the gross profit doesn’t exceed $50,000. If you want to know more about Queensland regulations, read up on Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Act 1999, Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Regulation 1999, and Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Rule 2010.

Victoria

Victoria will have you jump through a few hoops before giving you permission to conduct games of chance that are charitable. Before you apply for such a permit, you must submit an application to obtain a minor gaming permit. You must also submit any amendments that might occur in your gaming event and your application must take place at least 21 days before the event is scheduled.

Additionally, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, or VCGLR, is the one who decides whether your event will take place. You must prove yourself as a charitable organization or a registered political party before you can conduct any games for charity.

 

Top 5 Famous Fitness Influencers in Australia

The Australians have done a lot in recent years in terms of protecting and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Whether it is the competitions, the strong and healthy bodies, or just branding, Australian athletes have been affecting the health of the country, as well as the world, for the better. Today, we are going to talk about the most famous fitness influencers in Australia.

Kayla Itsines

This is a name known to Forbes, as the 27-year old fitness trainer and author has made it her mission to help people sculpt their bodies the way they want to. Her achievements include an ebook series, Bikini Body Guides, as well as an app that helps you plan your meals and workouts, called Sweat with Kayla.

She is one of the wealthiest young people in Australia that has amassed her fortune through hard work and a good business sense. She is also one of the most influential people on the internet, in no small part due to her strong social media presence. She started her career in a gym in Adelaide, and now she’s everyone’s favorite success story.

Emily Skye

Emily Skye is a former model who has shifted her career focus on fitness. She inspires her followers with her workout plan, as well as inspirational messages. Over 14 million people look to Skye for fitness and fashion advice. As a model and beautician, she knows what it takes for you to not only feel good but look good doing it.

Her website features workouts of the day, delicious and nutritional meal plans, motivational messages when you consider quitting and a ton of before-and-after selfies of happy clients. All of this is an enormous upgrade to her humble blog about working out.

Daniel Conn

This is the only man on this list, but don’t let that stop you from checking out his content and advice. Daniel Conn is a model who used to be a professional rugby player. He has worked hard and collaborated with brands like AussieBum and Lenovo in order to promote a lifestyle that nurtures the health of your body and mind.

Michelle Bridges

Michelle has over two decades of experience in personal fitness training, though you would never guess that she was in her forties based on her appearance. She has published over 10 bestselling books in which she tells you how to lose weight and get the body you want. She even cooperated with Ubisoft in creating a video game called Your Shape, where you turn your exercise regime into a fun activity using motion tracking.

Amanda Bisk

Finally, we turn our attention to Amanda Bisk, a former pole-vaulter who dealt with her chronic fatigue by utilizing Yoga. Since she discovered the benefits of Yoga exercises, she has been doing everything in her power to bring that knowledge to the world. She is a qualified Yoga teacher, and you can find her advice, as well as pictures of her and her dog on social media.

 

5 Australian Tech Companies to Keep Your Eye On

Australia offers more than just a warm climate, delicious food in unseen combinations, natural wonders, and adorable marsupials. Australia is also pretty developed in terms of tech companies. There are several companies that you should pay close attention to, in case you want to present yourself on the market. Bear in mind that there is a multitude of factors to consider or ignore, so this list might be somewhat subjective.

Intuit

Intuit wants its clients to know what it’s all about with just its name. They create intuitive solutions for your phone and the web, creating software specifically for handling finances and accounting. Their clients are both individuals and companies. While the HQ is in California, in the US, the Australian branch is worthy of consideration on its own. The employees are consulted monthly and healthy lifestyle is promoted in the office.

Canva

Canva was founded in 2012 as a graphic-designer company. The startup has shown amazing promise, with now 200 employees and great profit margins. There are negotiations underway to make the Canva tool integrated with Dropbox.

Furthermore, if you have a need for designers to work on your business cards, icons, posters, logos, brochures and invitations, the company has an amazing selection at your disposal. There are even several learning tools that you could use in your profession.

Travello

Travello is an app for travelers. You can organize a trip with your friends, or plan a solo journey with a friendly face in certain key areas. Another feature of the app is to find recommendations regarding what sites to see, where to eat and sleep, and much more.

The team behind this app consists of seven people altogether – two travelers, three developers, a tech lead and a commercial director. These go-getters have shown us what it means to find a problem and offer a solution to it, as the app is perfect for family vacations and backpacking.

Afterpay

This company is based in Melbourne, but it has offices in New Zealand and the States as well. The idea behind the services provided by the company is to allow its customers to pay for goods and services in 4 simple installments. This is perfect for people who are lacking in funds right now, but are definitely getting paid within a few days. They have come up with almost $35 million last year, with the company itself worth a little bit less than $150 million.

GO1

GO1 is a relatively young company. They have been around since 2009, and their goal is building a good education platform. There are over 1000 courses you can access to help train yourself or your employees. You can also create your own training courses and quizzes. The website also features articles on a multitude of topics. As a modern company, GO1 has a strong media presence and they keep their users up to date with announcements and news. They are located in the Underwood, Queensland.

Conclusion

There are certainly plenty more of the finest tech companies in Australia. Some are recognizable brands, while others earn a great deal of money. There are also exciting startups with new ideas and services. The Australian tech market will keep evolving. It is just a matter of following these changes closely.

 

Celebrating Australia Day

Every year, on 26 January, families gather, friends go on picnics, and thousands of spectators enjoy the many parades. They are celebrating Australia Day, though, depending on who you talk to, the holiday carries a different name. Some know it as Foundation Day, while others call it Survival Day. There are several indigenous groups that insist on calling the holiday Invasion Day. But what is it, exactly? What event is celebrated, and why does this date hold several different names?

The Date

The holiday is observed in memory of the landing of the British First Fleet in what’s today known as New South Wales. On the same date, 26 January 1788, Arthur Philip raised the flag of Great Britain, claiming the land in the name of King George III. Philip was a Navy officer, and later became the first governor of New South Wales, which was established officially in February of the same year.

The trip itself served to found a penal colony. Eleven ships, carrying around 1500 people, traveled for three months in search of land. In spite of numerous difficulties, the death toll was abnormally low.

How Is It Celebrated?

These days, Australia day celebrates the diversity of all constituents, so it is not uncommon for the citizenship ceremonies to occur during Australia Day. In fact, it has become a tradition to grant new Australians citizenship on this day.

Families spend time together, there are large-scale community barbecues, fireworks, and outdoor concerts, though the term ‘concert’ is an understatement. It would be more accurate to say that there are music festivals in celebration of the day. There are also several sports competitions, including boat races.

One of the biggest ceremonies of the day, the Order of Australia awards, occurs on this day as well. The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry, and there are five levels of the order. Other special awards are also given to exceptional citizens, like the Australian of the Year.

Problems

There has been a lot of talk over the years to move the date of Australia’s national holiday. The reason behind it is the fact that there are Aboriginal groups who are more than uncomfortable celebrating the day the settling convicts claimed their land. They have dubbed this date Invasion Day. Others, like the National Indigenous Television, believe the date should be referred to as Survival Day, as a symbol of the indigenous cultures surviving to this day.

Besides moving the date, there is a growing trend of districts refusing to hold citizenship ceremonies on this day. Additionally, these districts no longer refer to the date as Australia Day. They opt, instead, to hold events to promote Aboriginal culture.

Ever since 1938, the Aboriginal Australians have been holding protests on this date, calling it the Day of Mourning. The original Day of Mourning was organized by the Aborigines Progressive Association and it served not only as a protest but also as a demand for full citizenship and equal treatment.

 

Trugo: A Bizarre Sport You’ve Never Heard Of

Trugo is a strange sport, native to Melbourne, Australia, that combines bits and pieces of crochet, golf, hammer, and petanque. It is not one of the most popular sports in the world, but its fans are doing all in their power to make it more mainstream and move it outside of Melbourne.

You might think that Trugo is a brand-new sport since you’ve never heard of it. However, that’s far from the truth, since this sport was invented back in the 1920’s. Even though it’s almost 100 years old, there are still many Melbournians who still don’t know about it.

How Trugo Was Created

Trugo was first invented by Tom Grieves, a Yarraville railwayman and the first president of the Trugo Association.

Namely, certain rubber rings are used inside railway buffers that serve as shock absorbers. One day, Tom Grieves was looking for a way to pass time and decided to hit them around using his mallet. That’s how Trugo was invented.

Trugo remained at the railway stations for years, until railway retirees took it to a local park, where it became available to the public.

Until today, the rules have not changed too much. The length of the court is 30 meters long (the length of the famous Red Rattler trains), and the goal posts are adjusted to the width of the railway tracks.

The so-called catchers are holding a large cloth, or a butterfly net, ready to catch the rubber wheel, which can travel much farther than 30 meters.

Who Plays Trugo

In its early beginnings, Trugo was played only by men. The reason behind this is that most railways employees were men. However, women were accepted later as well and even created their own leagues.

However, women usually have a different way of playing. Men stand backwards to the target and slam on the rubber ring between their legs. Back in the days, women used to wear dresses and skirts, which made it difficult for them to play this way.

Instead, women started playing Trugo in a similar fashion to that of Golf by standing sideways, which earned them a nickname the Sidesweepers. However, today, there are no male and female distinctions and all teams are mixed.

Trugo Today

Today, there are seven active Trugo teams in Melbourne. Many play on courts that are very idyllic and traditional. The courts are carpeted with grass and have wooden pavilions. Pies and beer are also inseparable parts of Trugo, which makes the game even more fun.

There is a special book today that contains the names of people who have hit a maximum number of points, which is 24. That is a very rare occurrence, so such individuals usually quickly become celebrities in the world of this sport.