Travelling film festival in the Northern Territory 2-5 February 2012

Pic: Toomelah. http://www.sff.org.au

If you’re up in Darwin come early February, put this on your must see list. The Travelling Film Festival is hitting town for three days (2-5 February) and will feature Australia’s best films and others from around the globe. The idea of the festival is to bring world cinema to regional Australia. It also travels to Katherine (3-5) and Alice Springs (17 – 20) if you miss the Darwin event and also to numerous places in Queensland and New South Wales.
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Five warm places to spend winter downunder

In the southern hemisphere the nights and mornings are getting cooler and, if you’re like me, it’s a little tougher getting out of bed! I don’t know about you, but I’m always in search of something warm to do when winter comes around.

So with that in mind here are five really warm places you could spend winter in Australia this year (and in our next blog we’ll do the same for New Zealand):

Wildlife in Kakadu. Pic: Joanne Lane, http://www.visitedplanet.com

1. Go troppo – Darwin, Northern Territory
Darwin is one of the most laid back capitals in Australia. And given it’s usually pretty humid most of the year, the winter really is the best time to go. Take a few days to see the city and experience the history of the town in the WWII and Cyclone Tracey damage, then head out to national parks such as Litchfield and Kakadu. Kakadu needs little introduction – aboriginal rock art, amazing landscapes, plenty of wildlife (including the croc variety) and terrific waterfalls. Litchfield may be less well known but is equally fantastic. It’s still warm enough to swim at the park’s many waterholes and waterfalls and those that have a healthy respect for crocs will be pleased to note it’s safe for swimming. Continue reading

Best winter festivals in Australia

Wild camel races, bush poetry, film festivals and waterless boat events are just some of the activities taking place this winter around Australia. Here’s 10 of the upcoming festivities you should consider visiting if you’re in the land down under.

Alice Springs Camel Cup

1. Alice Springs Camel Cup (NT), 10th July
If you’ve never seen the cantakerous and smelly camel take to the race track you should head to Alice Springs next month for a day of dusty entertainment.

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Best places to stop in the outback

As winter approaches in Australia, the searing temperatures in the outback drop and it becomes the perfect time to head west, or far north, to explore some of the wilder reaches of the country. If you’ve been thinking about going, do note it also the season for some of the nation’s most unusual outback festivals. To give you some ideas about where to go on the VIP Backpacker network, here’s a quick taste of our outback locations.

Broome, Western Australia
On the far Western Australian coast, Broome is surely one remote town. But if you’re heading north from Perth you’ll want to stop here. It has one of the best beaches in the country with pure white sands where you can go on a camel ride at sunset.  It’s also somewhat of a launching pad for exploring the rest of the fabulous Kimberley region. If you have wheels take the dirt track along the Gibb River Road to Kununurra exploring the chasms, gorges and cattle stations along the way.
Click here for some great hostels and tours in Broome.
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Best places to get a job downunder

Heading downunder and wanting a job? Here’s a top 5 list of places to look. Make sure you have your paperwork done before you come.

Grape harvest, Clare Valley, South Australia

1. Fruitpicking
If you didn’t know already, Australia has a big agricultural industry and seasonal workers are required on farms all around the country. That means you! If you think you have what it takes to pick apples, bananas, grapes or other fruits/veges and don’t mind getting dirty and sweaty there’s plenty of good information out there to get you started. In Australia you can freecall the National Harvest Information Service on 1800 062 332. Another useful online resource is The Harvest Trail, the official government job search website. It provides details of the season work in regional areas around Australia. You could also check these websites for insider details:
* www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/fruit-picking-australia.html
* www.coastshop.com.au/jobs/index.html
* www.pickingjobs.com
Alternatively you could join an organization like WOOF (Workers on organic farms) for working in a largely voluntary capacity.

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