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Construction workers needed in Australia

November 3rd, 2011
construction workers

Great news for specialist construction workers wanting to work in Australia

Unless you’ve been hiding under Ayers Rock, you’ll be aware that Australia is currently benefitting from a mining boom – that is, there is a huge demand for its raw mineral exports.

This is not just good news for those in the mining and raw materials industries, who can pick and choose from the hundreds of job vacancies. It’s also having a knock-on effect in the construction industry. Construction contracts with the mining industry have almost doubled in value since last year. The hottest demand is for construction workers with experience in oil and gas.

This news comes courtesy of the annual Housing Industry Association / Cordell Construction 100 report, which reveals that almost half of Australia’s non-resident worker contracts have come courtesy of the resources sector.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts that the 200,000 people currently employed in Australia’s mining industry is set to increase to 300,000 by 2015 – with 60,000 of these being construction jobs.

Western Australia and Queensland are the epicentres of the boom. In Queensland, there’s such a serious shortage of construction skills that the industry is struggling to keep pace. Queensland needs 38,000 jobs in the sector filled by 2014.

With Australia’s population growth driven largely by overseas immigration, this represents a great opportunity for skilled construction workers to migrate into the Lucky Country, either temporarily or permanently.

New resort on Queensland’s Capricorn Coast

October 6th, 2011
Mercure Yeppoon

The lagoon pool at Accor's new Mercure Capricorn Resort Yeppoon

The modest coastal town of Yeppoon has long appeared on travel itineraries as the   hop-off point for accessing Great Keppel Island, an idyllic tropical island fringed by jewelled coral reefs, white sand and turquoise waters, where weary visitors head to relax and explore the coral reefs.

Now, however, mainland Yeppoon has a jewel in its own crown that could see it becoming a destination rather than a hop-off stopover. International hotel chain Accor has invested in this unsung resort. This month, Accor throws open the doors of its 281-room Mercure Capricorn Resort Yeppoon on a secluded stretch of coral coastline overlooking the Great Barrier Reef. It’s accessible by land, and boasts four eateries, eight conference spaces, two golf courses, a spa and a great big outdoor lagoon pool.

Yeppoon is handy not just for Great Keppel, a 30-minute boat ride offshore, but is handy for the Whistunday Islands, and the reef’s watersports and boating activities.

To take advantage of the resort’s special launch rates from just A$105 per night, visit

Mining boom hits Queensland

October 6th, 2011
Gladstone, Queensland

A fossil-fuelled boom is boosting Gladstone's economy

New coal and gas extraction projects planned across Queensland are expected to increase demand for labour across the ‘Sunshine State’.

The A$80 billion worth of investment in the projects is likely to translate into around 38,000 new jobs – not just in fossil fuel operations but in construction.

Many construction workers will have to be flown in and out to various projects during their construction phase – moving between temporary accommodations around the state – but there will be some permanent and ongoing jobs as well..

The action is centred around the central Queensland coastal town of Gladstone and the Galilee Basin, and fly-in-fly-out workers are already being recruited from as far away from Ireland.

The biggest employer in the industry is US-owned construction engineers Bechtel. And the resulting economic boost is likely to have a knock-on effect, potentially increasing job opportunities in other sectors as well, including transport, logistics, hospitality, IT and marketing.

So if you dream of living or working in the Sunshine State, the next few years could prove fruitful. Just watch this space!

Gold Coast opens new Skyclimb

October 3rd, 2011

Can you handle your heights? The Gold Coast view is worth the effort

Australia has always been a magnet for thrillseekers; it seems there’s no better place to learn to surf or scuba dive, throw yourself off a bridge or out of a plane and generally give yourself the heebie jeebies.

Following on from the phenomenal popularity of experiences like the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, the Gold Coast has just launched the Skypoint Climb, which gives steely-nerved souls the chance to climb to the top of the 270m Q1 resort building. It’s Australia’s highest external building walkway – and a great way to tackle a fear of heights.

This building looms over all of the other glittering skyscrapers that jostle for space in Surfers Paradise, Queensland’s famous stretch of endless beaches and relentless nightlife. Built in 2002, it’s the 25th highest building in the world, and has one of the fastest elevators.

Not content with standing on the solid roof, the staircase swoops up into thin air above the building, thanks to the tower’s distinctive glass crown.

It’s not as mad as it seems; Australia boasts an excellent safety record in this sort of thing. Climbers will wear a full body suit and safety harness and be clipped to a handrail, before they leave the comfort of the Observation Deck on level 77 and step out into the open air. An informed guide will guide climbers up the glass crown, pointing out local sights (which from this height are extensive) from the famed golden coastline to the emerald-cloaked hinterland.

The glass crown, with its handrail and 240 steps to the summit, is the secure option – there’s an even more daring route that edges around the top of the building above a sheer 260m drop.

The first bookings are being taken from November, to find out all you need to know go to

British kayaker conquers the Reef

September 19th, 2011
Ben kayaks into Cooktown

Ben kayaks into Cooktown, completing his epic reef adventure. © Tourism Queensland


A British adventurer has completed a four-month kayak expedition along the length of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.

Remember back in 2009, when the world’s travel media was in a frenzy over Tourism Queensland‘s search for an ‘ambassador’ for the Best Job in the World? They ran a competition to find an adventurous soul who would spend six months living on a tropical Australian island and get paid handsomely for the task of reporting his or her experiences back to the rest of us.

Needless to say we all applied quick as you like… but there could only be one winner, and it was the lucky Ben Southall from Hampshire, who went on to spend his six months in the paradise of Hamilton Island, Queensland, and had a brilliant time (apart from getting stung by a deadly Irukandji jellyfish right at the end).

Since the island gig ended, Ben’s been continuing to hang out in Queensland, and has just completed an epic 1600km kayak safari along the length of the Great Barrier Reef. On 15 September he glided into Cooktown and received a warm welcome from the assembled press, local dignitaries and the traditional owners of the land.

The paddle-powered trip took Ben a whopping four months. He set off on 21 May during the Cook Festival in the town of 1770 and went on to spend 100 days in the water, visiting 22 islands and 36 dive sites and posting more than 40 videos and 2500 photos of the experience.

He also spent time with the various guardians of the reef: the Marine Parks and Wildlife Services, eco community groups, indigenous peoples and research stations. He visited coastal communities hit by Tropical Cyclone Yasi and took journalists and filmmakers from the international media out on sections of his adventure. As an ambassador for Queensland, we’d say he did a pretty good job.

His route followed that of fellow British seafarer Captain Cook - but what with a kayak being a bit more portable than Cook’s whopping transcontinental tallship Endeavour, he got to see a lot more of the coastline than the Captain ever did.

A kayak can get you into places other vessels can’t reach: onto beaches, up creeks, through mangroves and over the shallowest parts of the reef (on which Cook eventually came a-cropper and almost sank the ship).

Cook relied on stargazing and baffling navigational instruments, and was totally incommunicado for the duration. The Captain’s relatives had no idea if he was alive or dead – but Ben’s parents followed him along the coast in a campervan so they were able to meet him at the finishing point.

Ben also had the benefit of waterproof GPS, cameras and a laptop on board his little kayak, so he could stay safe as well as tweet, post videos and photos and generally share the experience with the entire world along his journey.

So while our only records of Captain Cook’s adventures are his ship’s logs, we can all share Ben’s even more thorough reef experience via multimedia from the comfort of our armchairs.

The result is his blog, Best Expedition in the World, which includes a GPS tracker of his movements up the north Queensland coast.

Ben reports, “In my original application for the Best Job in the World I said I wanted to learn everything I could about the Great Barrier Reef, and now I can confidently say I’ve fulfilled that dream.”

“Swimming through vast coral canyons, past towering bommies, alongside fish as big as smart cars, with the whale’s song sounding in the background – these experiences are priceless.”


If Ben’s adventure sounds right up your creek, the Great Barrier Reef offers plenty of opportunities to kayak and camp along his route. A full day guided kayak starts at A$125pp, while a six-day expedition starts at A$1490 per adult. Visit for more info.

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