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Famous in the world, it is one of the top interest of tourist destination and studies
(no pictures)Visiting Australia for a pleasure trip would not be complete without taking a closer look at its famous kangaroos and koalas. From movies to told stories the existence of these animals peculiarly in Australia drive interest of animal lovers, inquisitive tourist and back packers. The Kangaroo island in Australia is located in the Backstairs passage from the Fleurieu Peninsula. The island is blessed with its pristine beaches and wilderness that casts an enchanting spell to a nature lover. What makes it famous is the existence of kangaroos, a sub-specie of the western gray kangaroo. Matthew Flinders named the island after his exploration and mapping in the early 1800. He gave the name after he feasted on a kangaroo meat which his crews slew. While it stand isolated by a stretch of sea from the Australian mainland, the Island has escaped the plague of foxes and rabbits which pose a threat to, much of the country’s native wildlife. The kangaroos stand to be an epitome symbol in Australian wildlife with its grace, beauty and speed. In "Kangaroos and Wallabies" leading wildlife photographer Dave Watts had an opportunity to pays tribute to kangaroos and their smaller relatives – this includes the wallabies, pademelons, bettongs, and wallaroos . It was in a brilliant and informative portrait. Famous in the world, it is one of the top interest of tourist destination and studies. Its fame has ramped its way up to be an icon that attaches to the country's name. Not only does it became a top hit for visitation, it is importantly linked the cultural heritage of the country. The animal has long been very essential tot eh survival of the Indigenous people in Australia. They hunt kangaroos of thousands for both meat and skin. The Europeans have arrived in the 18th century and had the same interests of hunting the animal for survival. The animal has been a continuous food resource nut only under the strict authoritative power the government. To this date laws were passed protecting the very existence of the animal that is endangered for extinction. Visiting Australia is not just about taking a dip in its waters or immerse on its city life, the country with its rich diverse cultural heritage and natural resources has it all. Myrthle Robillos - National Visas ---

Contributed by: amerie
Benefits of Holding an Australian Permanent Residence
(no pictures)Becoming an Australian Permanent Resident is one of the biggest dreams of most Australian Immigrants who are only staying temporarily in Australia. This is for the fact that there are certain privileges and rights that they could receive once they are granted to have an Australian Permanent Residence Visa. Through holding this visa, one of the main benefits that they will enjoy is having unrestricted rights to live and stay in Australia. This means that they are allowed to leave and re-enter Australia as long as the visa is still valid and effective despite of not having citizenship. Furthermore, the length of stay in Australia is also indefinite unlike with other Australian Visas such as Tourist Visas and Working Holiday Visas which only give immigrants up to 1 year for their stay and need to leave Australia before that period ends. Unless there are some cases of criminal records or failure to comply with other immigration rules, the validity of permanent residence visa will usually last up to five years starting from the date it is granted. But even though this visa has reached its initial expiry, the holder can still have the privilege to remain in Australia indefinitely without breaking the immigration rules and regulations. As part of Australian Government’s primary insurance package, Australian Permanent Residents are also entitled to receive free Medical Care and after fulfilling two years holding a permanent residence, they will soon enjoy the social security benefits. Aside from these benefits, they are also given with rights to sponsor their relatives. However they must meet the PR criteria and complete the needed requirements or support legal documents before they become eligible to sponsor their family. With regards to their employment career, they have also rights to secure any profession in any Australian employers or even entering government positions. However, employment in the Australian Public Service or Defense forces is only restricted to Australian Citizens. Australian Permanent Residents are also eligible to becoming Australian Citizens since holding a Permanent Residence (PR) may lead them to full Australian citizenship. This is another great incentive for them after they have continuously lived in Australia for two years and have also complied with certain requirements issued to them. Once they are granted to become full citizens, they will enjoy great benefits including an access to free or subsidized education, legal as well as to health services. Full Citizens are also given the opportunity to vote in State and local government elections because some states allow them specifically those from Commonwealth of Nation. However, they do not have the right to vote in Federal Elections. Cecille Gamas - National Visas ---

Contributed by: amerie
Minimum salary increase for skilled workers
(no pictures)The minimum salary level (MSL) for occupations that are eligible for the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) has increased by 3.8 per cent from August 1. The MSL increase for the ENS follows the recent announcement by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, of a similar increase to the MSL for the subclass 457 visa program. The ENS is a common pathway to permanent residence for skilled workers who are working in Australia on a temporary basis, such as 457 visa holders. The MSL changes will ensure the program closely aligns with the 457 program and helps to maintain the integrity of Australia’s skilled migration programs. The standard MSL will increase to $43 440, while the MSL for ICT professionals will increase to $59 477. These increases will only apply to positions that are nominated under the ENS from August 1. Existing ENS visa holders, as well as employer nominations for positions lodged before August 1, will not be affected by the MSL increase. Source: Visa for Australia and Australia Visa Application made easy! Australian Working Visa made possible to easily have one! Visit Australia Immigration at ---

Contributed by: amerie
More Kiwis than Brits move to Oz
(no pictures)The number of New Zealanders crossing the Tasman increased by nearly 5000 in the past year, outstripping the United Kingdom as the largest source of permanent migrants to Australia. Department of Immigration statistics released today show 23,906 New Zealanders migrated to Australia in the 2006-07 financial year, up from 19,033 the previous year. The number of UK migrants remained steady at 23,223 in 2006-07, having topped New Zealand for the previous three years. Numbers of New Zealanders migrating to Australia annually has almost doubled in the past four years, with just 12,366 Kiwis crossing the Tasman in 2002-03. The biggest trans-Tasman drain happened in 2000-01 when 26,106 New Zealanders migrated to Australia, before a pronounced dip in the next two years in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States. A study of more than 300 New Zealand migrants this year by PhD graduate Dr Alison Green, of Queensland's Bond University, cited economic benefits, a better climate, wanting a change, and a sense of adventure as factors in their move. But while Kiwis generally said they were "highly satisfied" with their new lives in Australia, they retained a strong sense of loyalty, Dr Green's study found. "They largely consider Kiwi culture to be distinctly different from Aussie culture, are fiercely patriotic, and often view New Zealand as better," she said. In releasing the statistics from a report documenting settler arrivals between 1996 and 2007, Australian Federal Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Kevin Andrews, said New Zealand and the UK accounted 33.6 percent of all settler arrivals in the past year. The report said the next largest source countries were India (13,496 settlers, up from 11,286 the previous year), China (12,009, up from 10,581) and the Philippines (5561, up from 4871). - Visa for Australia and Australia Visa Application made easy! Australian Working Visa made possible to easily have one! Visit Australia Immigration at ---

Contributed by: amerie
16,000 Indians seek to make Australia home
(no pictures)As many as 15,865 Indians sought permanent residence in Australia under the skilled migration programme in 2006-2007, making them the second largest group in the category after Britons. The figure seems to belie fears that freed terror suspect Muhammad Haneef's case would deter prospective Indians from making Australia their home. Partha Mukherjee, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, came to Australia three years ago with his wife under the skilled migrant programme. He says, "I had power, position and wealth in Mumbai, but chose to migrate to Sydney for the quality of life this country offers. I wanted a balanced work and family life." Mukherjee works as an engineering consultant and teaches international business at the university. However, his three children are doing their schooling and college in India. He says, "I feel if you really want to achieve high, India and the United States offer more opportunities for success." India ranks second amongst the top five countries of origin for skilled stream entrants. Britain leads the way with 24,800 skilled migrants coming Down Under, followed by India (15,865), China (14,688), South Africa (4,293) and Malaysia (3,838). Despite steady economic growth for the last decade or so, Australia is facing a serious skills shortage with the ageing workforce retiring in greater numbers. The top occupation for skilled stream entrants is accountancy (10,688), followed by computing professionals (4,044) and registered nurses (2,088). Other top professions included mechanical engineers, civil engineers, marketing specialists and general managers. A growing number of people also want to bring their spouses back to Australia and form a family and live here. A total of 50,079 family stream visas were granted for the year, representing 33 percent of the total migration programme. For instance, Mamta, 29, came to Australia last year on a spouse visa, which she got six months after getting married. Her husband, an electrical engineer, had come to Sydney four years ago under the skilled migrant programme. India ranks third with 3,634 migrants coming here under the family stream. Britain once again leads with 6,540 family stream entrants followed by China (6,037), Philippines (3,098) and Vietnam (3,040). Joe Hockey, the federal minister for employment and workplace relations noted, "The inclusion of architects and quantity surveyors among Migration Occupations in the Demand List (MODL) will be welcomed by employers, particularly those in the resources and construction industries. "Changes to the MODL will also benefit Australia's international competitiveness as a provider of high quality aircraft maintenance and servicing." The MODL includes 38 managerial and professional occupations, one associate professional occupation, 10 computing specializations and 46 trade occupations. Occupations and specializations identified on the MODL gain extra points for people applying for a points-tested General Skilled Migration visa. The average age of skilled stream entrants (primary) is 31 years. Out of a total of 148,200 permanent visas granted during 2006-07, 97,920 were permanent skilled visas, representing 66 percent of the total migration programme. Australia is competing for skilled workers with other developed countries in Europe, the US, Canada and New Zealand. Visa for Australia and Australia Visa Application made easy! Australian Working Visa made possible to easily have one! Visit Australia Immigration at ---

Contributed by: amerie
Africa Adventure
(no pictures)Does anything quite prepare you for an adventure in Africa; quite simply, nothing can, as my experience on Acacia’s overland South West Safari would lead me to discover. Our tour through Southern Africa began in Zambia and on arrival into Livingstone we were transferred to our accommodation on the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles upstream from the Victoria Falls. Arriving in plenty of time before the tour began I made the most of the opportunities available in the area – this being one of Africa’s adventure capitals offering a range of activities, from bungee jumping to sunset cruising. Our first day was spent relaxing from a long flight on the banks of the Zambezi. Watching the glorious sunset and serene African surroundings with a “sun downer” was welcome respite as the next morning we had to be up early for our first adventure – white water rafting down the Zambezi River. The fourth largest river system in Africa after the Nile, Zaire and Niger Rivers, the Zambezi runs through six countries on its journey from central Africa to the Indian Ocean. All of these claims however, must come second to its notoriety as one of the wildest white water rafting runs in the world; its long, violent (grade 4 – 5) rapids and steep gradients providing a challenge for even the most enthusiastic adventurer. Our journey took us through 23 rapids in total, some of which were absolute monsters and we gulped down our fair share of the river on the way, but the challenge didn’t end there as we then had to climb out of the gorge itself. Back at camp we ran through the day’s events once again and rediscovered our sense of adventure – our white water rafting excursion rewound and played back on film. Next on the list was the Victoria Falls. This world-renowned “Smoke that thunders” took my breath away – nearly a mile wide and 100 metres deep, with walking paths so near the edge you can lean over and look into the gorge itself. Coming face to face with one of nature’s most astounding sights was spell bounding; the enormity of staring at the largest falling curtain of water on earth becoming clear, as the spray soaked us all completely to the skin. From the falls we crossed the Livingstone Bridge and spent the rest of the day in Zimbabwe checking out Victoria Falls town. Showing another side to this diverse continent Zimbabwe was very different to Livingstone despite its proximity. We found the people a little more demanding when it came to tourists, but the shopping experience was pure excitement. The market place was a hive of activity and not one for the faint hearted, however, with a little time and patience and a friendly smile for our newly made ‘friends’ there were many bargains to be had. After bartering and staking claim to numerous souvenirs we were ready to indulge in our traditional ‘Boma’ dinner – a combination of crocodile, kudu and warthog making for a culinary feast; traditional dancers and drums providing an atmospheric ambience before heading back to Zambia. It was another early rise the following morning allowing us plenty of time to tackle our next challenge – the gorge swing. Often put forward as an alternative to those who can’t face the bungee jump, gorge swinging is a no less death-defying feat. Enjoying a longer freefall than the bungee, the scare is lessened by being attached around your upper body rather than dangling by your feet – a little comfort and peace of mind before jumping off into the abyss. My friend and I decided that we would jump tandem – thinking that if we went together it would be less scary. Our ingenious idea didn’t quite go according to plan, our combined weight making us swing still further. Travelling at what seemed like nearly 100 miles an hour this was more adrenalinee pumping and scarier than if we had done it alone! Challenges aside, it’s still the traditional safari experience that draws travellers to Africa in their hordes, and we were no different. Our first wildlife encounter would take us overland, a short distance to Botswana into Chobe National Park. Boasting one of the greatest concentrations of elephants in the African continent (the current count is estimated at over 120,000), the park is also home to hippos, baboons, hyenas, lion, leopard, antelope and varied birdlife - but it’s not simply the abundant wildlife, which makes the park worth visiting as the beauty and splendour of the area also ensure this a worthwhile trip. The amazing variety of habitats, which range from floodplains, through woodlands of baobab, mopane and acacia trees, to verdant grasslands and thickets, bordering the Chobe River, all combine to give a real essence of Africa. The highlight of the safari was the afternoon ‘Fish Eagle’ boat cruise on the Chobe River itself where we watched a herd of elephants wrestling in the water, these huge beasts performing ballet type maneuvers with nearby hippo and crocodile trying their best to avoid the melee. Our next stop was the dusty outback town of Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta. Taking a light air craft flight over the delta we were able to get a birds eye view of the lagoons, cannels and reed covered islands, which stretch for 1000's of square kilometers – actually up to 16,000 square kilometers. The following day we trekked into the Okavango itself passing through the villages of the indigenous tribal people – a brief insight into local culture before our river journey by traditional dug out canoe (known as a 'makoro'). After being poled through the reed-covered islands by our local guide we reached our next destination – a wilderness camp deep in the swaying grasses of the Okavango Delta. Truly relaxing and off the beaten track here we had a chance to kick back, relax and dip into the natural and refreshing waters – a second to none experience for those who want to delve into the heart of Africa. A further highlight of island camping in the delta was seeing the wildlife close up –especially at night, our proximity to the natural world becoming clear as the noises came closer to our tents. The animals presence made for a dramatic walking safari the following morning as we ventured out on foot to track the wildlife that had visited camp that night – trekking through the Okavango meeting buffalo and giraffe, with nothing but the experience of our guide between us and the possibility of danger. Back on the road trip across Botswana we had the opportunity of meeting the Kalahari Bushman – a hunter-gatherer tribe thought to be the descendents of the first inhabitants of South Africa, with records dating back 30,000 years. The harsh conditions which they contend with have been amplified by the encroachment of modern civilization with its huge cities, large farms, and grazing cattle – many of them being driven off their native lands to make room for mining and farming operations. However, there is some hope in tourism, with the industry providing economic assistance through tours such as those devised by Acacia, ensuring the tribe keep their land, preserve their culture and continue their historical survival. Leaving Botswana we crossed into Namibia - our first port of call being, Etosha National Park. Covering an area of 22,270 square kilometres, the park is home to 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 110 reptile species, 16 amphibian species and, surprisingly, one species of fish. Its name stems from the massive mineral pan that dominates the area – ‘Etosha’ meaning ‘great white place’. Our game drive was off to an impressive start as immediately after we passed through the gates we were greeted by a pride of lions. We were also lucky enough to see elephants, leopards, rhinos, giraffes, springboks and a multitude of other animals and birds, but the most memorable experience was watching four lionesses stalk their pray for over two hours before taking a young gemsbok. Once the lionesses made their kill two large male lions and four bouncing cubs came out to feed – another incredible wildlife sighting. Our group stayed for two-nights in the park, the campsites seeming more like mini resorts with full bar, restaurant and swimming pool facilities available, however the highlight has to be the flood lit waterholes that come to light after dark – offering incredible opportunities for late night wildlife viewing, with animals such as elephant and rhino coming to the waters edge to drink. Our next stop was Swakopmund, Namibia’s only seaside resort – a great place in which to combine relaxation and adventurous pursuits. On arrival our group opted for quad bike desert driving, a trip which incorporated the most amazing vista as we watched the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean from the top of a massive sand dune. Swakopmund itself, is yet another adventure capital visited on the South West Safari and we were ready to pack in more than one experience on our second day here, starting with sand boarding – an adrenaline sport that is clearly nothing like snowboarding, especially after a few mouthfuls of sand. Then, setting our sights on the skies my friend and I decided on tandem sky-diving, our second optional activity in the adventure capital. After a training, safety briefing and equipment check we flew up to 10,000 feet and jumped out for a 30 second free fall rush before pulling the parachute and coasting down through the skies – impressive views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the massive sand dunes of Namibia on the other. A first time parachutist this definitely has to be judged as one of the more addictive adventure pursuits, as I am now ready to do a thousand more. We were thoroughly rewarded for our efforts on our return to the camp with a South African Bar-b-que or traditional Brai cooked up by the rest of the group – just one of the delicious meals on a tour where we ate like kings and queens. Leaving the coast we traveled south and inland to the Namib Naukluft National Park. The beauty of Namibia‘s dunes was unveiled on desert walks – a slower paced activity with our guides unearthing the inhabitants of this semi-arid land. The tiniest shift of sand could lead to a spider burying in a hole, or faint tracks might provide insight on the animals of the night, out hunting for their next meal. The continually shifting sand dunes also provided pause for thought with the enormity of the fact that right where we were standing could soon be covered by ocean. However, no trip through the Sossusvlei region of the Namib-Naukuluft National Park would be complete without a dawn hike up ‘dune 45’ – one of Namibia’s highest sand dunes at around 300 metres – a sunrise vista that is as dramatic, as it is awe-inspiring. Heading south once again the tour continued to Fish River Canyon, a spectacular wilderness area with equally astounding game viewing and the penultimate Namibian highlight before we crossed over into South Africa. The second largest in world, the canyon extends for 100 miles north to south along the Orange River in Southern Namibia, reaching widths of 17 miles (27 km) and depths of 1800 feet (550 m). Movements in the earths crust created the canyon, estimated to have formed around 500 million years ago: a natural catastrophe, which has led to one of Africa’s most unique and barren landscapes. Cosmopolitan Cape Town was the last stop on the South West Safari, but we decided to extend our visit here to make the most of our stay in what has been described as one of the greatest cities in the world – Acacia’s optional extended city and short stay tours making this a simple and hassle free add on to any overland adventure. The famous Stellenbosch Wineries and the Cape of Good Hope are only a short distance away from the city and the vibrant mix of bars, restaurants and art galleries are best viewed with plenty of time to spare. The only question left to ask is where will I go next after such an extensive tour of Africa? This wondrous continent deserves many more holidays, so I am now planning my next trip, again travelling with Acacia Adventure Holidays, but this time to East Africa. I can only hope that it is as memorable as the first. I travelled on the 19-day South West Safari with Acacia Africa – By Jody Corothers, age 29.

Contributed by: gandamores
Interactive map of London with panoramic photography

There is lots to see in London, here is a large sample of sights, attractions and parks, all found on Check out this interactive tour and see what London can offer.

Contributed by: peter71
Spring in London

Lots to see & do in London

Contributed by: berylc