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Queensland

The article is written by Jane Churchill

DO/VISIT

  1. Take a stroll at Springbrook Natural Bridge: Springbrook is nestled in the Hinterland and home to some of the states most spectacular bush walks and scenery. For a unique experience, head out at night and you can check out the glow worms.
  2. Swim at Tallebudgera or Currumbin Alley: If you’re not a huge fan of swimming in the surf or if you are just after a more relaxing experience, Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin Alley are patrolled swim areas with picturesque aqua water and no waves!
  3. Have a Sunset Picnic at Burleigh Headland: Every single weekend Burleigh Hill is packed with young people having a drink and nibbles with friends whilst the sun sets over the city. It is the perfect spot to capture the most incredible Gold Coast view.
  4. Check out local artists, creatives, boutiques, foodies, small businesses and designers at The Village Markets at Burleigh: Held on the first and third Sunday of every month at Burleigh Heads State School between 8:30AM and 2PM.
  5. Buy Fresh Produce at the weekly Miami Organic Farmers Market: Held every Sunday at Miami State High School from 6AM to 12PM.
  6. Have a drink at Melbas on the Park: A popular student bar & nightclub located in Surfers Paradise.
  7. Swim at Curtis Falls on Tamborine Mountain: Being only a 30-minute drive from the city, swimming in a waterfall is ultimate city escape.
  8. Relax at Currumbin Valley Rock Pools: Natural swimming pools with rope swings, picnic tables and toilet facilities. However be wary about going during school holidays!
  9. Elsewhere Nightclub: An alternative dance club with a focus on European deep house DJs. Free Entry on Sundays before 11PM.
  10. Catch a gig at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse in Burleigh: One of the few, but great, music venues on the Gold Coast.

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EAT

  1. Niche & Co or BlendLove: Voted the best Acai bowls on the coast.
  2. Justin Lane: Italian Pizzeria and Rooftop Bar in Burleigh Heads, with a view of the ocean.
  3. Paddock Bakery: A local breakfast hotspot that bakes their own bread on site.
  4. The Night Quarter: A weekly street food market (and live music venue) at Helensvale, opposite the tram/train station. Open every Friday night.
  5. The Collective Palm Beach: A more upscale but unique Dinner Destination (Reservations Essential).
  6. BSKT Cafe: Have a healthy brunch and then attend a Yoga Class upstairs.
  7. The Yard Cafe: Local Cuisine & Live Music in Nobby Beach.
  8. Randy Wallhole: Hipster cafe in close proximity to Griffith University.
  9. The Burleigh Social: Famous for its Smashed Avocado.
  10. Mandala: Vegan Restaurant and Bar with live music every Thursday. And on Tuesday, it’s unlimited Pizza night!
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The article is written by Nina Sudnitsin

If you’re running low on cash or you’re in need of a cultural intervention when in Brisbane, there are a multitude of activities to fulfil your sightseeing needs that keep your wallet decently full.

Brisbane is a culturally diverse city and home to beautiful nature which offers many free events and experiences that will suit people from any corner of the earth. So, if you’re craving an adventure, longing to take a break from your impending exam revision or you’re just feeling the mid-week blues, try out one of these free activities that fall under the categories of culture, music, fitness and nature.

CULTURE

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Take a city hall tour

What better way to explore a new city than exploring its landmark building? The Brisbane City Hall exudes 1920s art deco vibes and is a heritage listed building which schedules daily tours from 10:30am to 2:30pm. If you want a guaranteed spot, be sure to book online (it’s free!)

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Pick up a book at the State library

The State Library of Queensland (SLQ) is a unique library, thanks to its extraordinary architecture and its split five-level design. The SLQ is a custodian for Queensland’s history, so be sure to check out the wonderful small odes to our history as a state around the library. When you’re done exploring, pick a book, settle down in a comfy chair by the large glass windows and enjoy a quiet afternoon.

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Stroll through QAGOMA

Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art located in South Bank (next door to SLQ) are more than worth a day of exploring. Each season brings about new exhibits, so strap on your walking shoes, put on your thinking hat and get ready for a day of art critiquing.

Have a laugh at Knockoff

Every Friday evening, the Powerhouse, located in New Farm, plays host to a free comedy show. Local as well as national artists take the stage to deliver hilarious rants and epic one-liners. The evening takes place in an iconic Brisbane venue and this event is a great way to meet new people and have a good laugh.

MUSIC

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Sunday Sessions on the Green

There’s no better way to spend a Sunday evening than listening to great live music along the river. Every Sunday evening, a local music act plays enchanting tunes and funky grooves for the public. Enjoy the last bit of the weekend evening along River Quay in South Bank with a picnic blanket and some snacks to share with good company.

The Sound Society

The Sound Society is another live music program which is held in two locations –South Bank (from 2-7pm) and Roma Street parklands (9am-12pm) – on the first weekend of each month. With the backdrop of trees and palms, the chill atmosphere is a lovely way to spend your weekend catching up with friends or relaxing in the sun.

FITNESS

Take a free fitness class in South Bank

Every few months, South Bank parklands hosts free fitness classes. You heard right: no need to sign up for a gym membership! Whether you’re an early bird or night owl, there’s a class to suit any need. Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are only a few of the multiple offerings. Bookings are not required and it’s an activity suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

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Hike up Mt Coo-tha

Located 15 minutes west of the CBD, taking a hike to the summit of Mt Coo-tha is a rewarding experience. There are over 60 different tracks to choose from and a helpful guide by the Brisbane City Council offers a great overview! Mt Coo-tha forest track map

If the options are overwhelming, why not settle on the route taken most, the Summit Circuit. It combines the Summit Track with the Mahogany Trail, and provides a complete circuit from JC Slaughter Falls to the unforgettable Mt Coo-tha Lookout.

NATURE

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Stroll through the Botanic Gardens

Speaking of Mt Coo-tha, the Botanic Gardens at Mt Coo-tha are stunning and it’s arguably the best parkland Brisbane has to offer. There are free guided walks from 11am to 1pm (excluding Sundays) or if you’d prefer to take a break from walking, there are free mini bus tours as well. Definite highlights at the Botanic Gardens include the beautiful tropical dome and the Japanese garden, so be sure to visit them.

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Visit the koalas at the Daisy Hill Koala Centre

In an outdoor setting and open every day from 10am-4pm, admission to the Koala Centre is free! Visitors can’t cuddle or pat the koalas as they’re situated in their natural habitat, but definitely bring a camera with you to snap the cute mammals as they go about their daily routine of eating and sleeping. There’s also an abundance of area for bushwalking and picnics!

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The article is written by Kelsa McIntyre

Don’t know what to do this weekend in Brisbane? From Ghost tours to Kangaroos, we’ve got you covered.

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Wine and Painting

If you like the sound of Wine combined with Painting then this might be the perfect activity for you. BYO wine or beer and enjoy a night of creativity at Cork and Chroma. Sessions are $55 and include all of the essentials for you to get your creative juices flowing including a qualified artist to guide you along the way. So grab a friend, your fave bottle of wine and enjoy a night of tipsy creativity.
Where: 4 Montague Road, South Brisbane.

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Guided Tour

Whether you’re new to Brisbane or think you know the city well. A free guided tour is a way to explore new parts of the city and offers a chance to meet new people. The tour will take you through the Brisbane Arcade, the Botanical Gardens and many more of Brisbane’s attractions. Tours run seven days a week departing at 10:30am. Oh, and did I mention they’re FREE.

Where: Meeting point is the Brisbane Visitor Information and Booking Centre, 167 Queen Street Mall.

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Ghost Tours

If a free-guided tour doesn’t excite you maybe a GHOST TOUR will. Established in 1998, Ghost Tours takes you on a historical adventure through some of Brisbane’s and surrounding suburbs scariest sites. A tour guide will entertain (or give you nightmares) with their ghoulish storytelling as they take you through the haunted sites. Brisbane Ghost Tours have themed tours or cemetery tours depending on what interests you. Prices range from $15 for Students to $20 for Adults, with speciality tours incurring higher prices. There’s a ghost tour every weekend and some on weeknights so be sure to check out the Brisbane Ghost Tour website for all the details.
Where: Dependent on what Ghost Tour you choose, each tour will have a different meeting point.

 

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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

If you haven’t held a Koala or pet a Kangaroo yet, there’s no better place than the World’s First and Largest Koala Sanctuary. You can experience a free meet and greet with a Koala every day, where you are able to pat and stand next to a Koala in order to get the classic Koala tourist pic. The Sanctuary is home to 100 species of Australian native wildlife, including platypus, Tasmanian Devils and many more. If cute animals aren’t enough to get you excited maybe free movies after your adventure filled day will help. Every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month there are free outdoor movie screenings at 5:30pm. Check out The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary website for all the details. The Sanctuary is open 7 days a week with student prices of $24 or $36 for Adult admission.
Where: 708 Jesmond Road, Fig Tree Pocket.

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Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (QGOMA)

With over 17,000 works of historical, modern and contemporary art QGOMA is the leading gallery of South East Queensland. There are new exhibitions every couple of months so even if you’ve visited in the past the exhibitions are sure to have changed. Entry to QGOMA is free however some special events may incur an entry fee. Spend the day strolling around the gallery then the night exploring South Bank. South Bank is just a short stroll from the gallery and features many delicious dinner options as well the famous Wheel of Brisbane.

Where: Stanley Place, South Brisbane.

Anyone of these activities is sure to engage and excite you in different ways. Be sure to let us know if you partake in any of the activities mentioned by tagging us in your post! @studyanywhere

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The article is written by Ebbony Lawman       The cover photo by Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo

You possibly say g’day mate on the daily, reference The Castle in a convo and wait for your mates to tout one back whilst you all proudly listen to Triple J. Maybe you subtly name drop that time you’ve seen Thor in Byron Bay. Not to mention the Gold Coast is your weekend escape and your hikes are through conveniently mapped and pathed national parks, so much so you can proudly say you’ve seen the best parts of Queensland. But there’s one part of Queensland that not many people talk about, which unlike the above, rings closer to what you know Australia is famous for, is the land down under, the actual outback, littered with kangaroos, cattle and cowboys, where grassy greens are traded for prickly spinifex and distant water is later realised to be just an inferior mirage from the dry desert heat, sound fun?

Well if you point your google maps towards North-West Queensland, burrowed among the Selwyn Ranges and the banks of the Leichhardt River there’s a small town called Mount Isa which is affectionately known as the ‘oasis of the outback’. Mount Isa is the town where you’ll quickly appreciate downing an ice-cold beer and at the end of the day and indulging in the best steak sourced locally from the stations. This town is far different to what Thor feels on the coast with a mine at the town’s fringe.  So why should you visit this small town in the middle of nowhere?  Well, it’s home to the world’s third largest
rodeo which occurs annually in August and this year happens to be the 60th anniversary!

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The Rodeo has been around since 1959 and is sure to give you the true Aussie experience you can’t get anywhere else;
‘It’s where the romance of the Australian Outback meets the grit of a mining town, east meets west and man meets beast’ Isa Rodeo 2018.

All the famous Australian icons will be there from Nolesy (Shannon Noll) to Barnsey (Jimmy Barnes) and many more. You’ll be able to get up close in the action including; ‘saddle bronc, bareback bronc, bull riding, rope & tie, steer wrestling, team roping, ladies barrel racing, ladies breakaway roping’ Isa Rodeo 2018.

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Photo by Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo

*TIP Be sure to book your accommodation in ASAP, as this time of year hotels fill up fast!

Right, so you’re ready to leave the coast and head to the outback, you’ve got your RM Williams boots and cowboy hat ready! It’s going to be a long but exciting trip to get there.
There are three ways to travel and we’ve got all the best tourist spots to keep your journey memorable.

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Brisbane to Mount Isa (Flying)

The quickest way to get to the Isa is flying, the two-and-a-half-hour flight which will set you back about $600 return, exy I know but, they do have specials.

*Tip Subscribe to Virgin Blue Happy Hour email alerts.

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But why not hit the road and experience the true blue, fair dinkum Aussie way to go bush? You don’t need to be an expert off-roader to explore the legendary Queensland Outback and get a taste for life on the land.

Brisbane to Mount Isa (Inland)

Say goodbye to the dairy cows, grassy pastures and ocean air and tip your hat towards dry desert heat and craploads of kangaroos who will happily flex their pecs at you on the road, make you stop, and slowly hop off like they won ‘that one’. You’ll also learn to appreciate a quality roadhouse steak burger, as franchises fade away when you cruise inland through Toowoomba, Roma and Longreach.

*Tip Be careful driving at night though as there are a lot of kangaroos, emu’s and they will do more damage to your car then you will to them, trust they will hop out of nowhere and in front of you.

Furthermore, it’s important to take lots of pit stops and fuel up, snacks and drinks during your trip, we recommend stretching your legs at Roma (478km) and experience the Roma Saleyard Australians largest cattle selling centre. Tours of the Saleyard are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the raised walkways give you an excellent vantage point to catch the excitement of cattle sales.

Next stop Tambo (900km) Teddy Bear shop perfect for a quick cuddle and a collector’s item. Then onto Longreach (1200km) where you can check out the Australian Stockman’s Musem and if you plan it right, attend The Stockman show which celebrates the stockman’s skills and horsemanship.

From Longreach it’s a long hall as it’s 6hrs drive to Mount Isa, we recommend stretching your legs at Cloncurry Rotary Lookout and soak up that country air if you have time to spare you can drive out the Ernest Mine, it’s a site worth seeing. Then you’re only one hour left to your destination Mount Isa.

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Driving from Brisbane to Mount Isa (along the coast)
This drive via Townsville is longer – 2300km – but has the beautiful Queensland coast and way more attractions to see. First, stop Hervey Bay (283km) stay the night and explore Fraser island with shipwrecks and stunning beaches, this place will leave you in awe and wanting to move here permanently.

Next stop Bundaberg the birthplace of Bundaberg rum visit the Bundaberg Distillery (110km) and learn about how this famous rum has become such an Australian icon. Then on to Rockhampton, you can take a nightcap here as there is plenty of accommodation to choose from, plus you can explore the Capricorn Caves (288km) this is a must-see.

Next stop the famous Airlie Beach (481km) soak up the sun, visit the Airlie beach lagoon grab a bite to eat. Then onto Townsville (275km) where there is plenty of fun to be had, book a hotel and enjoy the various amounts of restaurants, shopping and the Reef HQ.

Then inland to Mount Isa (904km), make sure you’re well rested, fuelled up and got lots of snacks as this is going to be a long drive. If you get there early make sure to book a tour down a mine shaft at Hard Time Mines, you’ll learn first-hand what it takes to be a miner and what life is like underground.

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As we mentioned earlier Mount Isa has some of the best steaks in Queensland, be sure to book yourself a table at the Isa Hotel and try their Wagyu steak it won’t disappoint! If that’s not up your alley check out The Ovi, Mount Isa’s favourite pub known for the affordable-yummiest crumb steak in town. If that’s not your thing, grab a picnic basket and head down to Lake Moondarra and grab a selfie with the peacocks.

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*Tip Make sure to get a selfie at the famous crossroads and check out the view on Telstra hill.

Then onto the Mount Isa Rodeo, were your days and nights will be filled with outback entertainment, country folk and good food and beverages.

unnamed-2Photographed by Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo

By the end of this trip, your Instagram will be flooded with some of the most unique photos of Queensland and you’ll have hundreds of stories to tell your friends and family for years to come.

Just remember that Queensland’s Outback is connected by both sealed roads and dirt tracks. Before you head off, don’t forget to brush up on the road rules, grab a first aid kit for the car to ensure a safe and successful road trip and most importantly have fun!

I would like to thank my Fiancé and his family for sharing their experiences of Mount Isa with me, to create this wonderful post that I can share with you.

Let us know in the comments, about your Outback adventure!

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The article is written by Kelsa McIntyre

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Fish Lane Festival
Fish Lane Festival is a yearly event that features signature dishes from local Brisbane eateries. Expect some smooth tunes and yummy temptations from the likes of the Chu the Phat, Julius Pizzeria, Gelato Messina and many more.

When: Saturday 12th May
Where: Fish Lane, South Brisbane.
Price: Free Entry
What to Bring: Your dancing shoes and an empty belly. vitchakorn-koonyosying-510025-unsplash

Chicken Nugget Festival
Yes, you read that right. There is going to be a weekend dedicated to chicken nuggets. Expect normal juicy nuggets to crazy nugget burgers and everything in between. Apart from some delicious nuggets to be had the laneway in which the festival is held is also an awesome new Brisbane hangout where there are heaps of weekly events so keep an eye out!

When: Saturday 26th – Sunday 27th May
Where: Welcome to Bowen Hills- Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills.
Price: Free Entry
What to Bring: some fingers ready for some lickin.

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Queensland Music Awards
The Queensland Music Awards is a celebration and recognition of the artists, industry leaders, festivals and live music venues that promote and encourage local music. So if you’re a fan of local music or just interested to network and meet other music lovers the Queensland Music Awards is the place with all ticket holders also receiving access to the official after party.

When: Monday 14th May
Where: Royal International Convention Centre, Brisbane Showgrounds.
Price: Tickets from $55
What to Bring: listening ears and dancing shoes, expect performances from May Lyn, WAAX and many more.
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Rom Coms and Nom Noms
Now, let’s give props where props are deserved RomComs and Nom Noms, YES PLS. Every Wednesday night in the month of Many romantic comedies are shown at a pop-up cinema in Post Office Square. So grab your partner or get on Tinder to find someone to take for an awesome date night. Enjoy grazing boxes from Isles Lane for as little as $20 or bring along your own cute picnic basket for a romantic night under the stars.

When: Wednesday 16 May-Home Again, 5pm
Wednesday 23 May- Crazy Stupid Love, 5pm
Where: Post Office Square.
Price: Free!
What to Bring: Picnic blanket.

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Guinness World Record Attempt
Ever wanted to be part of a Guinness World Record Attempt? Well now’s your chance. Join hosts Dr Karl from the ABC and Jimmy Giggle in attempting a new Guinness world record for stargazing. Enjoy free entertainment and goodies from local food trucks as you (hopefully) make Guinness World Record history.

When: Wednesday 23rd May
Where: Celebration Lawn, Roma Street Parkland
Price: Free
What to bring: Binoculars or a Telescope.

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Brisbane Lions Game
If you haven’t been to an Australian rules football game yet, you’re missing out. Even if you don’t know what’s actually going on in the game the atmosphere of being at an Australian sports event makes up for it. So grab a snag and settle up for an evening of good old-fashioned sport.

When: Brisbane Lions v Hawthorn Hawks – Sunday 20th May
Brisbane Lions v Sydney Swans- Saturday 26th May
Where: The Gabba.
Price: General Admission is $27.
What to bring: Enthusiasm and Brisbane Lions merchandise.

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One or two years not long enough for you in Australia? No worries! Here’s all you need to know if you want to study in the land down under.

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1. Is it better to apply onshore or offshore?

Long story short: Onshore if you can, although the application might be a bit more expensive.

At the moment, a standard single Student Visa application fee is $560 plus a credit card surcharge (that’s the fee that the Immigration charges, Study Anywhere won’t charge you anything extra). But, if this isn’t the first time you’ve applied, you will also be charged $700 on top of that by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Typically, if you are switching from the second year of Work and Holidays, you will pay $560 + $700 + credit card surcharge.

But before you book that flight to Bali or New Zealand to apply from there, consider this: Most of our Work and Holiday clients still prefer to apply for a Student Visa onshore. Why? 

  1. Bridging Visa is your friend – When Student Visa is lodged onshore, the applicant typically receives a Bridging Visa A almost instantly. This allows them to not only stay in Australia but with the same conditions as their current Visa. Essentially, until you hear from the Immigration regarding your Student Visa application, you can work under the same conditions as you have on your Work and Holiday Visa. How neat is that!
  2. Last minute lodgment is possible – if you are running out of time and your Work and Holiday is about to expire in a few days, we probably can still make it.
  3. Waiting offshore could be frustrating – itʼs hard to know how long it will take for the Immigration to let you know about your Student Visa application. And while drinking smoothies in Seminyak might sound like the perfect way to kill some time, your holiday could be longer than you would like it to be while you wait to hear from Immigration. So mindful exercises in Ubud wonʼt be helping that much if your bank account is getting slimmer every day.
  4. If something goes really wrong – should your onshore student visa get refused you have the option to appeal this decision with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). When you are applying offshore, you donʼt have this option.

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2. Not everyone can apply onshore

If youʼd like to apply onshore, you need to check your current Visa conditions. Just find your current Visa in your e-mail, and check if you have or don’t have ‘No further stayʼ listed among your Visa conditions.

If not – happy days – and you can apply onshore. If yes, book that flight to Thailand or back home and surprise your parents. Our registered migration agent can lodge your Student Visa application from anywhere.

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3. Your course must start no longer than 8 weeks after your Work and Holiday Visa is about to expire

If you have made a firm decision and would like to apply for your Student Visa onshore, you can get into the course selection. Finding and enrolling in a course is pretty easy with the Study Anywhere platform and you can always send us a message if you have any specific requirements.

There is just one thing to keep in mind: make sure your course will start no longer than 8 weeks after your current Visa is about to expire.

Before you start searching for courses that commence exactly 8 weeks after your current Work and Holiday Visa expires, consider this: In the case your onshore application for a Student Visa gets approved really quickly (which doesnʼt happen very often) and your course has not commenced yet, you are not allowed work at all because the work permit on a Student Visa only starts when your course has started.

Not a situation you would like to be in, right?

Applying for a course that starts within 4 weeks after your Work and Holiday Visa expires, is usually the best option.

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4. How expensive it really is to study in Australia?

Long story short: It can be really expensive but it doesn’t have to be.

Majority of our Work and Holiday clients who are applying for a Student Visa pick a course from a sector that is called Vocational Education and Training (VET) –  Certificates, Diplomas, Advanced Diplomas…

These courses are usually much more affordable than universities and much more flexible with the attendance. You can find your ideal course via Study Anywhere, see the reviews and apply to get the free Visa assistance by the migration lawyer.

All the courses listed on the page are part of CRICOS – which is a must for a Student Visa application.

The most popular courses for people switching from Work and Holiday Visa are Leadership and Management, Business, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Travel and Tourism, Event Management, and Early Childhood Education and Care (eligible for a Graduate visa).

Some of these courses only cost around $1,350 every three months and would allow you to study and to apply for a Student Visa for up to 4 years.

The minimum upfront payment for a course would be somewhere around $1,550 ($1,350 + $200 enrolment fee).

Then you just need to take in account that you will need an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) to be able to apply for a Student Visa in Australia which costs around $500 for a 1-year policy.

Only some applicants from Sweden, Belgium and Norway donʼt need to get an OSHC to be able to apply for a Student Visa. Feel free to send us a message for a free quote so you can see the full breakdown of costs you need to expect when transitioning from the Work and Holiday to a Student Visa.

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5. Myth busted – ‘You can only work 20 hours per week on a Student Visaʼ

Long story short: There is a work limitation, but in some cases, you can work more.

This is where people often get it wrong. Australian Student Visa will let you work up to 40 hours fortnightly (e.g. you can work 20 hours one week and 20 hours the next week) when your course is on. What people often forget though, is that during the holidays you can work unlimited hours, which is when students usually try to save up some money. Most of the VET courses have up to 16 weeks of holidays per year to give students the opportunity to work and travel.

Please note: This article is an observation of questions that our Work and Holiday applicants usually have and answers our migration lawyer gives them. Feel free to send us a message or an e-mail (hello@studyanywhere.com.au) if youʼd like to get a migration law advice from a registered migration agent.

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The article is written by Candice Locklee

If you find yourself spending your study breaks wishing you were relaxing beneath swaying palms on white sandy beaches and snorkelling the kind of blue water that dreams are made of – we’ve got the perfect solution for you. Grab your sunscreen and a pair of thongs and hop on a plane to paradise, AKA The Whitsunday Islands.

Located off the central coast of Queensland about 900km north of Brisbane, the Whitsunday Islands are a chain of 74 tropical islands of varying sizes that boast stunning beaches, dense rainforests, rocky mountains and a range of world-famous destinations, including being home to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.

The area is renowned for its limitless opportunities to swim, snorkel, dive, cruise and sight-see your way across the islands no matter what budget you’re travelling on.

It’s the perfect place to spend a much-deserved break this summer – here’s our helpful guide on how to get the most out of 48 hours in the Whitsunday Islands.

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SNORKELLING

Snorkelling is a must-do activity when visiting the Whitsundays. With the Great Barrier Reef stretching over 2000km along the coast of Queensland, the Whitsundays is located near the centre of this natural beauty and they are the perfect place to explore this underwater wonderland of coral and marine life.

There are many snorkelling spots all over the islands that you can dive into, but we’ve collected a handful of the best ones for you to try out.

Hook Island is a popular island for snorkelling and diving due to its abundance of stunning coral reefs and sea animals, including fish, turtles, dolphins, manta rays and humpback whales. It’s full of bays and coves that are perfect for dipping into the pristine water. Some of the best are Manta Ray Bay (where you can spot Manta Rays in their natural habitat from around May – September), Butterfly Bay (famous for its colonies of beautiful butterflies during certain months of the year as well as its spectacular underwater world), Luncheon Bay (which offers a huge variety of coral and reef fish) and the Pinnacles.

Other popular spots for snorkelling are Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island and Cateran Bay on Border Island, both relatively shallow reefs full of striking coral and marine life which make them perfect for underwater exploring.

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BEACHES

It goes without saying that the beaches in the Whitsunday Islands are the best you’ll find in this country. It’s almost impossible to pick a beach that isn’t Instagram worthy, but we’ve gathered together some of the ones that will really make your jaw drop.

Whitsunday Island, the largest island in the Whitsundays, is home to the world famous Whitehaven Beach. If you haven’t seen any pictures of this dreamy destination, go ahead and google it – we’ll wait. Whitehaven Beach is a glorious 7km stretch of powdery white sand (among the whitest sand you’ll find in the world) and endless aqua sea that swirl together in amazing natural patterns as the pure sand shifts through the water.

You can see this at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach at a place called Hill Inlet.

Another beach worth checking out is Catseye Beach on Hamilton Island. With its long stretch of white sand and swaying palms, it’s a popular spot for weddings and offers plenty of spots for relaxing and water sports.

Horseshoe Bay in Bowen is in the northernmost part of the Whitsundays. With picturesque beaches and opportunities for snorkelling, it’s worth the journey up there.

For a bit more privacy, Chalkies Beach on Haselwood Island is a neglected paradise that lies opposite the more popular Whitehaven. With the same white silica sand and aqua water, Chalkies is just as photogenic without all of the tourists getting in the way of the perfect shot.

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HIKING

While there’s plenty to do underwater, there’s also no shortage of fun things to do on land too. The Whitsunday Islands is a national park that features lush rainforests, hills and mountain ranges, dense bushland and waterfalls for you to explore on foot.

They are home to many hiking trails that range from short 1km strolls to lengthy bush treks for a real challenge. The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail is considered one of Queensland’s Great Walks and it features many of these bush walks on Whitsunday, Hook and South Molle Islands. The walks will take you through beaches, eucalypt forests, rainforests and grasslands, with many ending in spectacular views over the island and beyond.

Some of the best ones to try are Passage Peak trail on Hamilton Island (for those spectacular views we mentioned), the Great Whitsunday Walk (a crazy 28km trek that has many smaller trails leading off of it so you can pick and choose your starting point) and the Honeyeater Walk on the mainland (a very popular 8km return bushwalk that begins in Airlie Beach and boasts some of the most spectacular views over the entire Whitsunday Islands).

Keswick Island and Lindeman Island also offer some great options for walking through green rainforests, as well as any of the diverse trails on Long Island.

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CAMPING

If you’re after a true wilderness experience that you can brag to all of your friends about when you get home, camping under the stars is a great way to go.

Camping is available at a number of different locations around the islands – Whitsunday Island, Hook Island and the Molle Islands being among the most popular. Some campsites are located on the beach so you can wake up to your very own glorious sunrise, others are situated further back in the bush which is a great option if you prefer a bit more shade during the warmer months.

Wildlife and nature are all around you and there are countless opportunities to spot native animals on the many walking trails on the islands.

While some campsites offer eco-toilets and picnic tables, others are more remote for a true camping experience. You won’t find toilets, drinking water or reception at these sites so make sure you prepare beforehand!

If you decide camping is for you, visit the Queensland National Parks Booking Service to select your location and dates and get your camping permit: https://qpws.usedirect.com/qpws/

Once you’ve booked your spot, check out this website for great prices that will give you everything you need to start your adventure: https://www.whitsundaycamping.com.au/ They offer camping kits to set you up with all the necessary equipment, such as tents, gas stoves and an esky, as well as return transfers on a water taxi to your chosen site starting at $65.

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HELPFUL LINKS

To plan your trip, we suggest checking out this link for some great deals on tour packages to suit any budget. Tours are a fantastic way to see the islands and you can pick one that includes everything you have your heart set on doing while there. They even offer backpacker and student deals, so you can grab your friends and head off for a party in paradise you’ll never forget!

Be sure to also download the Visitor Guide which is packed full of important information on everything you can see and do on the land and under the water, including detailed info on all hiking trails in the area.

 

For more great tips and tricks on being an international student living in Australia, visit Study Anywhere

 

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This article is written by Alanna Tomazin

 When making the decision to move overseas to study, you will find yourself making lots of plans and decisions. It can get hectic organizing your things and ensuring you have all that you need while studying abroad. One of these things is knowing what to expect when it comes to driving a motor vehicle in a different country other than your own. To make it easier, we’ve come up with a few handy tips that could help you out when it comes driving while living and studying here in Australia.

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Getting your International Drivers Licence

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is proof that you hold a valid drivers license in your home country. Most countries require you to have one so you can legally drive a car or ride a motorbike, it also comes in handy if you need to rent a car.

In Australia, driving regulations differ from state to state because some states require that you carry an international license along with your current license from your home country. Other states request you carry your current foreign license together with an English translation of your license.

Tip: Here you can check the state you’re living in Australia – for example, NSW, and find out which laws relate to having an overseas license in that location.

Drivers in Australia require a valid driver’s license. You can drive with a foreign (English language) license for three months. But if you are here for longer than that, you need to get a license from an Australian state.

Tip2: If your license is not in English, you’ll need to get an International Driving Permit from the Automobile Association in your home country before coming to Australia.

 

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Finding yourself a cheap car

 While living here in Australia it can be a bit hard to get around with no car, especially if you’re wanting to head out on your own for an adventure or simply drive to the shops. Rather than catching public transport, a car might be the easier option for you – depending on your budget of course.

There are heaps of ways to find a cheap car, including online sites such as Car Sales where you’ll find new cars and used cars and prices ranging from $2000 to $30 000 and are posted regularly. Everyday people and car yards post cars on this site to be sold, so even if you don’t find something that catches your eye immediately, just keep refreshing.

Thanks to the evolution of social media, Facebook is another great way to connect and find yourself a cheap car on buy, swap and sell sites. Wherever you are living, be sure to join the available groups in your location. People are always posting their vehicles that they’re wanting to sell. You could even post that you’re looking for a cheap car to run around in – you’ll be surprised by the power of social media.

Tip: Social media like many things in life, can be a risky business so be sure to take someone with you if you plan on going to look at a car. Never go by yourself.

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Tips for driving on Australian roads

  • Australia is a large and beautiful country and usually, it takes long distances to get between different towns especially away from the city. It is important when driving long distances to Stop Revive Survive every 2 hours.
  • Here in Australia we drive on the left-hand side of the road and use the metric system of distances and speeds. Speed limits are clearly sign-posted and you will find that 50km/h is the speed limit that applies in suburban areas. School zones are also something to watch out for between the hours of 8-9:30am and 2:30-4pm where 40km/h is the limit. If you succeed the speed limit you will find yourself in trouble with the law as speeding is an offense.
  • Australian cars are right-hand drive, with automatic and manual transmission both available.
  • While travelling away from the city you will see signs of Australian wildlife such as kangaroos, possums, and wombats. It is important, especially at night to keep your eyes peeled for these furry friends out on the roads. Here in Australia, we share our home with these animals too. Hitting a kangaroo can cause some serious damage not only to them but to your safety and car too. So always drive carefully!

Tip: For more tips on driving while here in Australia head to TripAdvisor.

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The article is written by Candice Locklee

Nestled along the Pacific Ocean about a 45-minute drive south of the Gold Coast airport, the super chilled coastal town of Byron Bay in NSW has earned its reputation as one of Australia’s coolest places to live in the country.

There’s a lot to love about Byron Bay, from the food and the fashion to the iconic beaches and annual festivals held in the area, and it’s the perfect place to escape to for those looking to experience a healthier, alternative Australian lifestyle. While you won’t find massive shopping centres here (or even a McDonalds!), there’s plenty to keep you entertained no matter what time of the year you arrive.

So pack some thongs and sunscreen and let us plan your trip with our guide to spending 48 hours in Byron Bay:

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THE SHOPPING

Byron Bay is a town that calls all free spirits to its shores and it’s safe to say they’ve developed their own unique fashion style that can only be described as beach-bohemian. While you’re bound to come across countless surf shops all over town that stock all your favourite international beachwear brands, it’s the local independent fashion boutiques that really grab your attention and offer something special to stand out in a crowd.

Check out local brands like Spell & the Gypsy Collective and Arnhem Clothing for dreamy collections of summery clothes that embrace that inner hippie and perfectly sum up the breezy-boho vibe of Byron Bay.

If you’re the creative sort, you’re going to want to head to Byron Bay’s Art and Industry Estate – a mini shopping extravaganza for those looking to find something that really showcases the talent of the town’s thriving art community. Walk around the Estate and stumble upon everything from artist galleries, handmade jewellery and accessories, emerging indie fashion designers and a bunch of quirky stuff to really remember your time here. There are also some great healthy cafes that use local, organic produce to serve homemade meals, smoothies, and coffee for whatever mood you’re in.

DIRECTIONS

SPELL BOUTIQUE:

Spell Boutique is located at 15 Browning St, Byron Bay. From Jonson St (Byron Bay’s main shopping street in the heart of town), just walk south towards Carlyle St and make a slight left onto Browning St.

ARNHEM CLOTHING:

Arnhem Clothing is on Lawson St. On Jonson St, head towards the beach and turn right at the roundabout onto Lawson.

ARTS AND INDUSTRY ESTATE:

The Arts and Industry Estate is a walkable district that includes a lot of small streets and hidden gems. Head down Ewingsdale Rd and turn right into Sunrise Boulevard where you can then wander your way all over the maze of boutique shopping and galleries in the area.

Check out this useful PDF of a map of the Estate with highlights

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THE BEACHES

No trip to Byron Bay is complete without a visit to one of its famous beaches. Main Beach lives up to its name and is the one you’re most likely to step foot on first. Situated directly in front of the town, Main Beach is a glorious stretch of white sand and glittering ocean – perfect for swimming, surfing, snorkeling or just plain lazing around. The beach is very family-oriented, there are surf lifesavers around in the summer and you can (must!) make the trek up to Cape Byron to visit the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse that towers over the headland with stunning views of the coastline.

Just next to Main Beach is Clarkes Beach. This beach has some great rocky areas that are perfect for snorkeling. For the adventurous, there are also opportunities for windsurfing, body boarding and paragliding, as well as amazing whale spotting if you arrive at the right time of year.

For all the surfers out there, check out the Pass – a famous gap of water between Fisherman’s Lookout and the headland. This is the most popular surf break on the Northern NSW coast and calls surfers far and wide.

Another must-see beach is Wategos Beach – a sheltered, picturesque beauty of a beach that is fantastic for gathering a group of friends and making use of the BBQs on the site after a full day of soaking up paradise. For a bit more privacy, continue on to Little Wategos Beach situated beneath the Cape Byron Lighthouse.

There are plenty more beaches in the Byron area, both tourist-friendly and hidden, so check this website for more info.

DIRECTIONS

All of the beaches listed here are within an easy walking distance of each other. If you’re in the heart of Byron Bay, just head to the main street in town – Jonson Street – where you’ll find the iconic Beach Hotel at the end of it. From here, Main Beach is easily accessible and stretches into Clarkes Beach, the Pass, and Wategos Beach.

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WHALE WATCHING:

If you’re in town between June and November and want to try spotting some whale-watching, book a tour with one of the many companies offering half and full day tours. This company is a great option.

If you’d rather go solo, you can head up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse for free which provides a popular vantage point to spot some whales as they head past the headland. Just don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

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THE HEALTHY LIVING

The folks in Byron Bay enjoy a generally healthier way of living and there’s a whole range of activities on offer if you want to try living it up like a local.

Why not try out some surfing lessons? There’s a lot of surfing schools in Byron Bay that can get you up on a board and on the water in no time, no matter what your level of experience. We recommend Soul Surf School – they offer a half day lesson with all equipment included for just $65. Or if you’re really keen, go ahead and book a multi-day pass and learn to surf like a pro.

If you want something a bit more relaxing, take a yoga class. Yoga is huge in Byron Bay and it’s a great way to unwind and put a little balance back into your mind, body, and soul. The Byron Yoga Centre has over 30 yoga classes on offer each week starting at $18 for a casual class, whether you’re an early morning person or late afternooner. Check their schedule for classes.

Of course, you’re going to need to eat during your stay and what better time to try out some healthy options than at one of the many super trendy organic cafes around town? There’s a lot to choose from – walk around and read menus to find one that really makes you drool. Whether you’re in the mood for a raw vegan cheesecake, a turmeric latte or kombucha on tap, Byron has it all. Check out our top picks: Combi Byron Bay, Folk Café, and The Roadhouse.

DIRECTIONS

COMBI BYRON BAY:

Combi Byron Bay has an amazing assortment of healthy and delicious vegan dishes. Find them on Fletcher St – From Jonson St, turn onto Marvell St and then left onto Fletcher.

FOLK CAFÉ:

Gluten-free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw…you can find it all here at Folk Café with a funky 70s interior design to match. They’re on Sunrise Boulevard, just off Ewingsdale Rd.

THE ROADHOUSE:

The Roadhouse is a popular coffee house and healthy café famous for their wholesome dishes using fresh organic produce. They are located on Bangalow Rd, just 5 minutes from town.

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THE FESTIVALS

Byron Bay is home to three of Australia’s most iconic annual music festivals and if you plan your trip ahead of time, you could find yourself in town when one of them is going down.

There’s Bluesfest – Australia’s biggest annual blues and roots music festival – held every year over the Easter weekend that draws huge crowds from all over the country to see the biggest international and local acts around. Then there’s the Falls Festival that comes around at the end of December (without a doubt the coolest way to bring in the new year), and Australia’s favourite winter music festival – Splendour in the Grass.

The best thing about these festivals is that they are spread over multiple days, so it’s the perfect excuse to get yourself a multi-pass ticket and spend a few days camping (or glamping) with friends, lazing in the sun and listening to some scorching tunes.

If surfing is more your thing, Byron Bay also hosts the three-day Byron Bay Surf Festival during the summer. The festival combines surfing with music, art, film, and lifestyle so have some fun and celebrate the surf culture that makes Byron Bay famous.

There’s plenty of other fun festivals in and around the Byron Bay area every year including film, fashion, food, writing, art, and culture – you name it, there’s something for everyone.

Check out their website to stay in the know.

IMPORTANT WEBSITES

http://www.bluesfest.com.au/

https://www.fallsfestival.com/byron-bay/

https://www.splendourinthegrass.com/

http://www.byronbaysurffestival.com.au/

 

 

 

 

 

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This article is written by Alanna Tomazin

While studying abroad you probably want to know who the best phone operator is to go with so you can keep contact with your family and friends back home as well as get the greatest deal on data, international calls, and the best mobile service. So we’ve come up with a few phone providers and tips to make your decision just that little bit easier.

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Phone Tips

While studying and living here in Australia it is best to purchase a SIM card or an Australian mobile number when you arrive here, as using your home phone number can actually be quite costly.

There are two types of mobile phone accounts you can choose from:

Pre-paid:

A pre-paid service gives you heaps of flexibility because you can control how much you spend and can stop using the service anytime. You simply top up with credit as needed which can be purchased at service stations, shops and even over the phone and online. You can purchase pre-paid SIM cards in many shops and supermarkets as well as the mobile phone providers listed below.

Contract:

 If you’re going to be studying and living here in Australia for a long period of time then a contract might work out cheaper for you. There are numerous mobile phone operators such as the ones listed below which offer phone plans with a fixed price per month for a certain number of calls, texts, and data.

 

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Telstra

 Staying in touch with loved ones and friends is the most important thing, no matter where either of you is. Telstra is Australia’s largest mobile network and they have some amazing international packs on offer allowing you to make calls as often and as long as you like.

 

Telstra also offers the best service even when you’re in the most rural and remote areas, they will have you covered. It’s also the best in case of an emergency.

To check out what coverage and data speeds are available in your area head online to Telstra.

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Optus

If you’re calling overseas a lot in Australia then an Optus International Minute Pack is what you need! An International Minute Pack is an easy and inexpensive way to save on calls to mobiles and fixed lines in 32 countries while you’re here in Australia.

For more information head over to Optus online on how to create an account and start making those phone calls!

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Vodafone

Vodafone offers easy and affordable calls from Australia either on a plan or pre-paid.

If you’re after a plan with no lock-in contracts check out more information here and if you want something where you recharge on the go then a pre-paid Vodafone gives you a 35-day expiry on selected Data and Talk Combo Packs and recharges. This is a cheap and effective way to go.

 

Tip: Data combos have heaps of data, and Talk Combos give you 1000 standard international minutes from Australia to either 15 or 25 selected destinations. How good is that!

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Virgin Mobile

Virgin mobile includes standard international calls as part of all of their post-paid plans. You can check out their call rates here.

One of the best things about Virgin Mobile is that they offer International SMS. Sending a text to anywhere overseas from Australia should not cost much more than sending one to your neighbour!

 Tip: You can find more info on how to set up mobile plans or how to use pre-paid at Virgin Mobile.

 

 

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