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Australia

I had my heart set on coming to the Land Down Under from around the age of 11. I finally studied abroad in Brisbane in 2005 and that was all she wrote. I got back here as soon as I could (after graduating university and backpacking in New Zealand) and I’m now an Australian citizen.


Brown Lake: Stradbroke Island’s Picnic Spot

I’ve written briefly before about how North Stradbroke Island is one of my favourite places near Brisbane — and it’s one that many tourists never make it to, despite everything it has to offer. While not as popular as Fraser Island to the north, it’s a great island getaway with many of the same opportunities…

Photo of the Week: A Fisherman’s Sunset on Stradbroke Island

Unlike many cities in Australia, Brisbane doesn’t actually have a beach (unless you count Streets Beach at South Bank, which I don’t). There are plenty of beautiful beaches on both the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, which are only a short car trip away, but one of my favourite seaside spots is one that many tourists…

5 Life Lessons Learned From Hiking

I’ve been thinking a lot about hiking recently, mainly because I’m intent on putting together the best possible entry for Air New Zealand and the DOC’s ‘Great Walker’ competition. The prize? Doing the nine Great Walks of New Zealand in nine weeks while blogging about it. To me, this is pretty much the Holy Grail…

Photo of the Week: The Coffee Combi

The Brisbane Festival is…well, what exactly? Up until a few years ago, I hadn’t paid any attention to the event at all. River Festival — a week of festivities along the Brisbane River that started with a huge fireworks spectacular called Riverfire — was the event I always marked on my calendar. In 2009, that festival was…

Sydney Tower: An Exercise in Patience

On my recent trip to Sydney, I had one free day and a few vague ideas on what I wanted to do with it. Only one thing was set in stone — a visit to Adriano Zumbo’s new dessert train near Darling Harbour. I figured I’d just play the rest of the day by the…

Photo of the Week: Santos City of Lights

Every September, Brisbane holds a big celebration of…well, Brisbane. This festival — creatively called the Brisbane Festival and formerly known as the River Festival — is about three weeks long and includes all sorts of cultural events throughout the city and South Bank. To be honest, I’ve never really attended many of those events, but…

Australian Citizenship: I Passed the Test!

Normally 10am would find me sitting in front of my computer at work, sipping a cup of tea and digging in to my work for the day. Yesterday at 10am, I was sitting in the waiting room of the Immigration Office in Brisbane, waiting for my citizenship interview. What did I expect from this interview? Well,…

Fitzroy Island: An Underwater Paradise

Two years ago, my brother and I visited Fitzroy Island on our trip up to the Great Barrier Reef. We’d heard that it was a beautiful spot to go snorkeling and was much nicer than spending an entire day on a boat on the Outer Reef. It really was a beautiful spot, and a great…

Adriano Zumbo and the Macaron Factory

Even though Australia’s interest in Masterchef and its associated baking challenges has waned somewhat this year, the country’s interest in macarons has only increased. It seems like shops on every corner are baking up macarons fresh every day; however, no one seems to come up with the flavour combinations like Adriano Zumbo. I’d love to get…

Now That You Have Your Australian 457 Visa…

After seven years, a student visa, a ‘special programs’ visa, three temporary work visas, and a permanent residency visa, I’ve learned a lot about Australian immigration. I’ve previously shared everything you need to know to apply for the 457 temporary work visa, but it doesn’t end there.  Even once you are granted your 457 visa…

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