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Posts tagged ‘Sydney’

Sydney Festival 2013

Alanah, a business development manager at Working In, recently attended the fabulous Sydney Festival 2013 – three weeks of diverse arty entertainment. Here she tells us what it was like:

SydFest2

Those of you who have been lucky enough to be travelling through Sydney in January would have experienced the last throes of the “Silly Season” (that heady, fun time that occurs between the Melbourne Cup in early November and Australia Day on the 26th of January where summer is enjoyed and corporate attire takes a casual approach). But most importantly, you would have experienced the Sydney Festival!

The Sydney Festival is a major arts festival held in Australia’s largest city. For three weeks each January, Sydney Festival offers a diverse program of around 100 events involving over 1,000 artists delivering 300 performances from Australia and around the world covering dance, theatre, music, visual arts, cross media and forums. Literally it has everything from burlesque circus to New York rap to Russian theatre; from contemporary dance to family programs to traditional Indigenous arts practice.

Incoming DuckThe Festival always kicks off with a bang and this year it featured an enormous rubber ducky. Honestly, he was huge! He hung out in another Sydney icon Darling Harbour for the length of the festival much to the delight of people of all ages. If there was any doubt, my Facebook newsfeed was filled with ducky photos for the entire three weeks. “Day One” also offered up a free Soul Review concert in the Domain (central Sydney parklands) where 60,000 people came together to get down to Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings and other bands. To see some of the highlights of Day One; a marathon with hype girls for example; check out this YouTube clip!

More than any other cultural event, Sydney Festival defines Sydney’s personality. Global, local, challenging, light hearted, diverse and inclusive are just some of the words that spring to mind when I think of what the Festival means to our city. I don’t always get involved in the festival activities as January is a busy time, however when I have, I have seen some amazing sites in some breath-taking venues that remind me why I am so pleased to have chosen Sydney as my home.

Day One looking at the stage

Lastly, the Sydney Festival helps to proves that Australia is not the cultural wasteland that some people may think! Yes, buildings in Australia are considered “heritage” if they are over 100 years old, but Australia is a unique land, both ancient and yet so young with a melting pot of cultures which all come together under a common cultural purpose for three weeks. Best of all, with a population approaching five million, Sydney’s a big city, but Sydney Festival works hard to make sure it doesn’t feel that way.

*Photos from Sydney Festival Facebook page.

 

Top things to do if you’re celebrating Christmas in Australia, Canada or New Zealand

The countries that we work with offer the best of both worlds when it comes to Christmas. You have the traditional northern hemisphere Christmas in Canada – snow, roaring log fires and hot chocolates while wrapped up like snow bunnies. Or, you have the southern hemisphere Christmas in Australia and New Zealand – barbecues on the beach and Santa in his shorts.

Here’s our round-up of the top things to do if you find yourself in one of these countries over the festive season.

Australia

Ayers Rock Uluru Sounds of Silence Australia

  1. Make the most of the sunshine and get out on the water – especially in one of Australia’s most iconic watery spots: the Sydney Harbour. You could enjoy a harbour cruise whilst tucking into a Christmas dinner.
  2. If you’d prefer a more active Christmas day, how about climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge? That’s guaranteed to be more memorable than another turkey dinner.
  3. In keeping with the active theme, you could take a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef and spend Christmas day snorkelling or diving with the fishes.
  4. An Aussie icon – Ayers Rock or Uluru – offers an incredible dining experience on Christmas Day. Its Sounds of Silence experience includes sunset canapés, dining under the stars (a BBQ buffet, naturally) and stargazing. Sounds pretty magical to us!
  5. Of course if you really want to make the most of Christmas down under, you could just hit up one of the many beaches and enjoy a picnic or BBQ.

Canada

Capilano Canyon lights Canada

  1. Don’t miss your opportunity to see the already spectacular Niagara Falls all dressed up for Christmas with the CAA Winter Festival of Lights, with over 125 animated lighting displays and three million tree and ground lights.
  2. You could really embrace a traditional Christmas with a Prairie Christmas (at Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm). It boasts a roaring bonfire for roasting marshmallows over, gingerbread cookie decorating, hot chocolate and hot apple cider – toasty.
  3. The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park puts on a legendary lights show for Christmas, with a zillion sparkling lights on the bridge, rainforest and cliffwalk.
  4. Enjoy Christmas up high – Grouse Mountain hosts real reindeers, sleigh-rides and ice skating in naturally snowy surrounds.
  5. Let someone else take the strain during your Canadian Christmas – and hop on a sled drawn by dogs as you explore the snowy Canadian wilderness.

New Zealand

Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium New Zealand Santa

  1. Soak away the Christmas stress in the great outdoors in some hot pools – New Zealand’s got hundreds of ‘em. You can even dig your own at Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel.
  2. Head underwater – whilst staying dry. Check out Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium where Santa will be feeding the fish and you can explore the brand new, snow filled penguin enclosure.
  3. If you think Christmas isn’t the same without some snow, you could head to Snowplanet for some indoor skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing.
  4. Hit up Queenstown, where the adventure never takes a Christmas break. On Christmas Day you’ll still be able to enjoy a Milford Sound flight and cruise, paragliding, a helicopter flight over The Remarkables, lake cruises, jet boating…
  5. Or for a real novelty factor, treat yourself to the only ice you’ll find in New Zealand over Christmas – ice cream. Following on from a BBQ on the beach, obviously.

Have you been to Australia, Canada or New Zealand over Christmas?

Tell us what you got up to!

Auckland, Vancouver and Sydney ranked some of the best places in the world to live

The Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Survey has just been released, and it’s full of good news for anyone looking to move to Australia, Canada or New Zealand. Vienna, Austria remains at the top of the European country dominated survey.

The survey

The survey evaluates more than 460 cities worldwide on a variety of factors to produce a snapshot of what it’s like to live there.

The survey analyses the following factors:

  • Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement)
  • Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services)
  • Socio-cultural environment (censorship, limitations on personal freedom)
  • Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc.)
  • Schools and education (standard and availability of international schools)
  • Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion, etc.)
  • Recreation (restaurants, theatres, movie theatres, sports and leisure, etc.)
  • Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc.)
  • Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services)
  • Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland New Zealand third in 2012 Mercer Quality of Life SurveyAuckland has retained its position as the highest-ranking city for quality of living in the Asia-Pacific region – it’s 3rd. Clearly the high standards of education, the buzzing night life and culture and clean, green surrounds of Auckland have impressed on a global scale.

Wellington also made the top 20, coming in 13th. In total, New Zealand has two cities in the top 50.

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver Canada fifth in Mercer 2012 Quality of Living SurveyVancouver came in 5th, while other Canadian cities dominated the top of the index for the Americas region (Ottawa (14), Toronto (15), Montreal (23) and Calgary (32)). Known for its world-class green spaces, exciting culture and entertainment plus being the stage for global events (like the winter Olympics games), Vancouver has plenty to offer.

Canada boasts five cities in the top 50.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney Australia 10th in Mercer 2012 Quality of Living SurveySydney drew with Bern in Switzerland as the 10th best city in the world for quality of living. Iconic tourist attractions, an energetic metropolitan feel and a fantastic climate all make up the Sydney experience.

Australia tops the three countries with six cities in the top 50.

Here’s the top 10 best cities for quality of living 2012:

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Auckland, New Zealand
  4. Munich, Germany
  5. Vancouver, Canada
  6. Düsseldorf, Germany
  7. Frankfurt, Germany
  8. Geneva, Switzerland
  9. Copenhagen, Denmark
  10. Bern, Switzerland
  11. Sydney, Australia

Most—and least—desirable places to live
Infographic by Mercer Insights

Details of the full survey can be found here.

What do you think?

Do you agree with these findings?

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