What to Know for Visiting Mexico

featured image visiting mexico

Mexico is a vast country that offers a lot of diverse travel experiences, from gorgeous sun-drenched beaches to ancient cultural sites and vibrant cities with excellent shopping and dining. If you’re planning a trip, take a look at these travel tips for travelling in Mexico and advice to make the most of the visit.

Closeup of artwork on Arena Mexico in Mexico City

Arena Mexico

Be prepared for the weather

Though Mexico is often thought of as a hot country, you’ll wish you knew that the climate varies from region to region. Mexico is huge, so you might experience cold nights and rain. If you want to travel to the coastal areas and avoid crowds, the best time to visit is during the winter months, when the hurricane season is over and the temperatures are cooler. If you prefer warmer temperatures, you can visit in the autumn or spring, when the crowds are smaller and the rates are lower.

Learn how to get there and get around

While there are no direct flights to Mexico from Australia, you can easily reach the country by travelling from Australia’s east coast to the U.S. cities of Los Angeles or Dallas. You can also fly to Tokyo or South American cities and get a flight to Mexico. Once you arrive, you can take additional flights to travel far distances or hire a car to get around. Mexico is also serviced by ADO, a bus company that offers affordable and modern bus lines with routes that connect to major and minor towns in the country.

Keep your passport slip

When you arrive in Mexico, an immigration officer will give you your stamped passport and a form to fill out. At the end of this form, there is a small section to fill out with a breakaway slip for you to keep. This slip is torn from the paper and placed within your passport. When you leave the country, you’ll be asked to present this slip, so store it somewhere safe. If you don’t present this slip, you may be subject to a fine.

Stay safe while travelling in Mexico

Despite some unsavoury media attention, Mexico is a relatively safe country for travellers. Millions of people visit each year and don’t experience any issues. That said, it’s good to practice general travel safety to avoid any problems, especially petty theft. Practice common sense and avoid travelling in unfamiliar areas, especially alone or at night. Also, avoid keeping valuables on you. If possible, leave your valuables in the hotel safe or store them somewhere on you that isn’t easily accessed.

Garden at Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Mexico City

Plaza de las Tres Culturas

Bring a refillable water bottle

Tap water in Mexico is usually not safe to drink, and that includes ice cubes that may be made from tap water. Bottled water is a great solution, but you could go through a lot of water bottles and create a lot of plastic pollution over the course of your trip. To avoid this issue, get a refillable water bottle with a travel-grade filter that can remove parasites and microbes. This way, you can have access to fresh, clean water wherever you are in Mexico.

Using the restroom

Restrooms can be a source of confusion for a lot of foreign travellers in Mexico. What to know is that the doors are typically marked ‘H’ for hombres (men) and ‘M’ for mujeres (women). Understanding these designations can help you avoid some potentially embarrassing situations when you’re about to use a public restroom in Mexico. Also, some places in Mexico don’t have public sewage, and the facilities may clog when using toilet paper, so the restrooms provide a basket near the toilet in which to deposit used paper.

Bring some pesos

Mexican currency is the peso, which has an exchange of roughly .08 Australian dollars to 1 peso. The well-travelled cities and resort areas in Mexico are likely to have places that take other currency, but to avoid any issues, exchange your money for some pesos before you leave. What to know before you go is that certain establishments can set the exchange rate, so having pesos ensures that you save on your trip. You could also take a credit card with no foreign transaction fees and use the local ATMs if you need cash.

Sample the food

Mexican food is delicious, especially when you have it IN Mexico. Mexican cuisine goes far beyond tacos, nachos and burritos, especially as you travel to different regions. You can find everything from foods with Mayan or Incan inspiration to fusion cuisine that blends exotic recipes with local produce. Try to experience new dishes as much as you can, especially if you’re going to be travelling to different areas during your trip. You could even take a cooking class or a food tour for a more immersive culinary experience.

Venture off the beaten path

The popular traveller spots in Mexico got that way for a reason, but there’s nothing like venturing away to explore the hidden gems. This is one of the vital travel tips to appreciate the diversity of Mexico. If you want to experience the wonders of Mexico, it’s best to take some time to explore more local and rural destinations like Mérida and Valladolid. You’ll not only meet some interesting people, but you also may discover some unique attractions you wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

Cuicuilco archaeological site in Mexico

Cuicuilco

Experience the cenotes

Cenotes are a hidden gem of Mexico. These natural swimming holes are found all over the Yucatán Peninsula and offer beautiful waters and natural surroundings, such as cave-like formations. They’re very diverse and offer an enchanting experience, so be sure to visit a few cenotes for a dip and take some photos. There are thousands of cenotes in Mexico, but some of the best include Cenote Dos Ojos in Tulum, Cenote Zaci in Valladolid, Cenote Ik-Kil in Chichen Itza and Gran Cenote in Tulum.

Ready to plan your trip?

Now that you have the essential information to know before visiting Mexico, you’re ready to plan your trip. Take a look at deals on Mexico holidays from Expedia and check out some highlights of Mexico travel to prepare for the time of your life.

The post What to Know for Visiting Mexico appeared first on Expedia Australia Travel Blog.

Source: Expedia Australia Travel Blog | 17 Feb 2020 | 5:47 pm

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Weekend in Auckland

featured image weekend in auckland

Auckland is a major city near two of New Zealand’s largest harbours and is a great destination for all types of adventures. Even with a weekend trip, you can enjoy some of the best nature and urban experiences in Auckland. Take a look at this suggested itinerary and ideas for spending 2 or 3 days in Auckland and how you can see all the best attractions.

Harbor with ships and buildings in Auckland

Auckland

Friday Evening

When you arrive on Friday, you’ll have 72 hours in Auckland. Start with dinner at Cotto, a K’ Road restaurant with premium pasta dishes such as gnocchi and ravioli that feature high-quality ingredients. Cotto also has an excellent selection of cocktails, so you can get your night started right.

Auckland has a spectacular nightlife, so you can hit the town after dinner to visit some of the area’s best clubs. There are plenty of fun bars in the city centre, but you can also venture into the suburbs for trendy spots. If you want to experience the culture and meet new people, join a bar crawl and make some friends along the way.

If you prefer something more low-key, visit Mount Eden, Auckland’s highest natural vantage point and an excellent place for sunset viewing. You can walk to the summit from the base in under 10 minutes, which gives you spectacular views of the landscape and the massive crater.

Saturday Morning

On Saturday morning, you’ll have 48 hours remaining in Auckland. For breakfast, visit Major Sprout, a Graham Street cafe with healthy, flavour-packed foods like green eggs Benedict and acai bowls. They also serve excellent morning beverages like iced lattes and an array of smoothie options.

After breakfast, spend some time exploring the Auckland War Memorial Museum, a vast museum with artefacts and memorabilia related to the army and the region’s history. You could also see SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium with the kids to enjoy a diverse array of marine animals and underwater viewing tunnels for up-close observation of the colourful creatures.

For lunch, stop in the Blue Breeze Inn, a well-known restaurant in Ponsonby Central with modern Chinese cuisine and famous pork buns. The atmosphere of the restaurant is fun as well, with all the waiters wearing quirky Hawaiian shirts and tiki designs.

Front entrance to the Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Saturday Afternoon and Evening

After lunch, take the kids to Auckland Zoo to enjoy some animals in the sunshine. The zoo is home to many native and exotic species, such as cheetahs and elephants. Kids will also like Rainbow’s End, a massive amusement park with thrill rides, kiddie rides and food stands.

On Saturday night in Auckland, things really get exciting. Begin with a great dinner at Apéro, a sophisticated restaurant with an array of simple but exquisitely prepared dishes featuring quality ingredients. Apéro also has a wide selection of wines by the glass or bottle.

You can choose between wilderness adventures and urban delights for more evening enjoyment. For fun in nature, try an evening kayaking trip to Rangitoto Island, the area’s youngest volcano. Once there, you can hike to the volcano summit and see the sunset. There’s also night paintball, a fun excursion in the darkness with black lights and some friendly competition.

Sunday Morning

On Sunday morning in Auckland, you’ll have 24 hours left. Have breakfast at Odettes, a delicious eatery in the City Works Depot of Auckland City. The extensive breakfast menu includes dishes like wild mushrooms rice crepe with basil and poached eggs, burnt eggplant with almond tahini and espresso, banana, coconut and maple smoothies. They also serve fruit juices, alcoholic beverages and some of Auckland’s best desserts.

After eating, you can work off your breakfast with a stroll down Queen Street, a vibrant shopping area with many unique boutiques selling all types of products. You could also spend some time at the New Zealand Maritime Museum, a fascinating seafaring museum with nautical memorabilia and tours of replica ships.

For lunch, head to the harbour for Harbourside, a stunning waterfront restaurant on the first floor of a historic ferry building. The upscale bistro has water views, cocktails and a diverse menu of seafood dishes like sushi, oysters and other fresh-caught fare.

Skyline of Viaduct Harbour in evening

Viaduct Harbour

Sunday Afternoon and Evening

After lunch, get out into nature with a hike to Kitekite Falls, a towering waterfall with a swimming hole deep in the forest. You could also visit Piha, a black-sand beach with beautiful scenery and great swells for surfing and water sports.

On Sunday night in Auckland, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the sights of the city. Have dinner at Cibo, a restaurant in an old chocolate factory with a-la-carte and degustation menus, as well as alfresco courtyards for dining.

After dining, visit the Sky Tower, the city’s highest observation deck, to see the city’s landmarks illuminated. You could also visit the Auckland Night Markets to pick up some souvenirs to take home and try some unique street food. For a little healthy competition among you and your travel buddies, try an escape room to solve puzzles to get out of a closed room.

Ready for the perfect weekend getaway?

Whether you want to explore the outdoors or enjoy culture and dining in the city, Auckland has something for everyone. If you’re planning a trip, take a look at deals on Auckland holidays on Expedia to get ready for your trip!

The post Weekend in Auckland appeared first on Expedia Australia Travel Blog.

Source: Expedia Australia Travel Blog | 5 Feb 2020 | 1:34 pm

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What to Know for Visiting New Zealand in Summer

featured image new zealand

New Zealand is beautiful in all seasons, but the summer months provide great opportunities for people living in cold-weather climates to escape the snow and rain of winter in their area. If you’re planning a summer holiday, take a look at these tips for travelling to New Zealand and advice to make your visit a success.

Aerial view of the skyline and landscape of Queenstown

Queenstown

When is summer in New Zealand?

The summer travel season in New Zealand falls in December, January and February. This is the warmest time in New Zealand, making it a popular time for people to travel to different destinations across the country. These months also coincide with cold weather in northern climates, as well as school holidays, so it’s a good time for many to enjoy a warm-weather escape. Businesses in New Zealand shut down for a short period in December as well, so many locals take their vacation during this time.

Summer weather in New Zealand

During the summer in New Zealand, the sun is more in the south than the north, so the temperatures are much higher. The temperatures are almost the same between the North Island and South Island, but the summer nights are colder on the South Island. Some areas are really humid as well, which makes it feel warmer. On average, the temperatures on the North Island are a low of 8°C at night and a high of 32°C in the day, while the South Island has average temperatures at a low of 2°C at night and a high of 33°C during the day.

Best summer destinations in New Zealand

Most of New Zealand is great during the summer months, though the ski areas are closed. Most travellers visiting New Zealand in summer are looking for beach trips, lake trips and other outdoor adventures, which is best in places like Northland, Auckland and Wellington on the North Island and Tasman and the West Coast on the South Island. There are plenty of great national parks as well, such as Tongariro National Park, Abel Tasman National Park and Mount Cook National Park.

Mountain scenery at Mount Cook National Park

Mount Cook National Park

What to pack

New Zealand has a varied climate, ranging from semi-arid mountainous areas to forested, subtropical coasts. Even in summer, it’s common to experience drastic temperature changes throughout the day, especially if you’re travelling to different destinations or elevations. Ideally, you should pack a range of clothing for both warm and cold days, such as layers and waterproof outerwear like jackets and gloves. If you’re planning on spending a lot of time outdoors, be sure to pack sunscreen and durable non-slip shoes for trips on rough terrain. Finally, check the weather to know before you go and anticipate what to pack.

Leave food at home

The Department of Conservation has strict biosecurity procedures to protect the ecosystem in New Zealand, so all international travellers have to declare food in their luggage. In most cases, the food you bring will need to be thrown out, particularly fruits and nuts. Outdoor gear needs to be cleaned thoroughly and declared as well to avoid introducing any non-native organisms. You can know before you go by checking the list of prohibited and restricted items on New Zealand’s Customs website.

The wildlife is relatively safe

You’re likely to encounter plenty of unique animal species on a trip to New Zealand in summer, but unlike many of the animals in neighbouring Australia, there are no large predators, venomous snakes or venomous insects on the entire island. You can safely hike in the woods without worrying about bears, mountain lions, wolves or other potentially dangerous large animals. There are many herding species, however, such as sheep, bull tahr and a variety of beautiful and unique deer and elk.

Grazing sheep and mountains in Glenorchy

Glenorchy

Find local information at i-Sites

Each major town and city in New Zealand has a dedicated i-Site, which is a visitor centre with maps, local contact information, attraction brochures and other essential information about the area for travellers. Many buses stop near the i-Sites, making it easy to book your travel to the next destination and find the details about your location that you need. They’re easy to find if you hire a car as well, so you can get the information you need on your own.

Safety and travel tips

New Zealand is one of the safest travel destinations in the world, but it’s still smart to exercise caution on your trip. As with any other destination, you should guard your valuables, avoid walking alone in the evening and find out from locals whether there are any places you’ll wish you knew were unsafe for tourists. You can book tours to sightsee if you’re travelling alone. If there’s an emergency, dial 111 for emergency services, which directs you to an operator to request the police department, fire department, medical services or other emergency responders.

Ready for your summer holiday?

Now that you have all the essential information before visiting New Zealand in summer, you’re ready to plan your trip. Expedia has great deals on New Zealand holidays so you can save on the trip of a lifetime. If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out travel guides for the Bay of Plenty and ‘Lord of the Rings’ locations in New Zealand.

The post What to Know for Visiting New Zealand in Summer appeared first on Expedia Australia Travel Blog.

Source: Expedia Australia Travel Blog | 4 Feb 2020 | 1:43 pm

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Top City Destinations to Travel in 2020

As we enter the next decade of travel, prepare for major wanderlust. 2020 is the year to make all your holiday dreams happen – to all the right destinations. To help you discover the hottest destinations making their mark this year, Expedia has delved into its traveller data to reveal the top up-and-coming international destinations for Aussies in 2020.

The winners are listed in no particular order, but they all have something to brag about. From white sandy beaches to historical sights and old charm architecture, they all make great bucket list travel destinations for the year ahead.

Pick your favourite or get inspired, here’s our list of top destinations for 2020:

1. Cesme, Turkey

Beautiful Cesme, Turkey

This coastal town is set to make its mark as the go-to destination on the eastern European border in 2020. Famous for its thermal spa and mud baths, Cesme is scattered with history, colourful houses, spas, cheap eateries and let’s not forget the long seafront promenade, making it the ideal spot for any holiday-goer.

2. Oaxaca, Mexico

Monte Albán, Oaxaca, Mexico

Dubbed as Mexico’s hot new destination, Oaxaca is the country’s cultural hub. From its arts and crafts, diverse wildlife, beautiful sites and delicious food scene, it’s no wonder it’s working its way up the ranks as a popular destination. The beautiful petrified waterfalls of Hierve al Agua and the settlement of Monte Albán are natural sites that won’t disappoint.

3. Senggigi, Indonesia

Senggigi, Indonesia

Once known as Lombok’s original tourist hotspot, Senggigi was overtaken by the likes of Kutu and Gili islands, however, it’s making a comeback in 2020. Known for its sweeping bays, white sandy beaches and beautiful reef and marine life, Senggigi is the perfect getaway close to home.

4. Busan, South Korea

Colourful homes in Busan, South Korea

From the breathtaking beaches, temples and mouth-watering street food, Busan, South Korea’s second largest city is making its way to the top of many bucket lists. Aussies won’t know where to look when they land in Busan, as the city gives you the vibe of five different destinations rolled into one. The non-negotiables? Visit Busan Tower, a 120-metre-high tower with a stunning view, Gamcheon Culture Village, a kaleidoscope of coloured houses and streets, and Heosimcheong Spa, known as one of the largest hot spring spas in the world.

5. Pacific Islands, beyond Fiji

Samoa

While Fiji remains a favourite holiday destination, Aussies are broadening their Pacific Island interest by holidaying in other spots such as Samoa, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands. With Aussie families being more adventurous in their travel and not afraid to go the distance with their little ones, the Pacific Islands offers great and affordable locations for all members of the family to enjoy.

6. Turin, Italy

Turin, Italy

Located in Italy’s north, this beautiful Alp-fringed city increased in demand by over 50% in 2019 compared to the previous year. Often overlooked, Turin is slowly growing as a city destination, packed with extravagant palaces, historical buildings, tree-lined boulevards, art-nouveau cafes and the birthplace of chocolate.

7. Marbella, Spain

Streets of Marbella, Spain

Marbella is a city and resort area located in Spain’s Costa del Sol. With great weather all year-round, Marbella is the perfect destination for families, couples and groups of friends. Boasting a beautiful old town rich in culture and kilometres of sandy beaches, Marbella is the ideal location for relaxation and fun.

8. Nagoya, Japan

Cherry Blossoms in Nagoya, Japan

With the biggest sporting event coming to Japan, there’s no doubt it will be a hot destination for the year to come. However, Expedia data shows Aussies are exploring beyond the main cities and branching out to off-the-beaten track destinations such as Nagoya. Said to be the home of both samurai and ninja culture, Nagoya offers rich history, unique culinary experiences and for the car-lovers, it is the centre of the automotive industry in Japan.

What’s on your bucket list for 2020?

The post Top City Destinations to Travel in 2020 appeared first on Expedia Australia Travel Blog.

Source: Expedia Australia Travel Blog | 3 Feb 2020 | 7:08 pm

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Touring Japan by rail

Japan is a hugely popular travel destination – blessed with fascinating natural and cultural treasures. Many of Japan’s main sightseeing areas are connected by high-speed bullet trains – known as Shinkansen – which are operated by Central Japan Railway Company (JR central). These trains are world-famous for their unparalleled punctuality, comfort and safety.

Shinkansen are one of Japan’s greatest technological achievements. If you’re visiting Japan, a ride on a bullet train will give you a great memory that lasts a lifetime!

For more information about Japan, Shinkansen and details about how to make reservations, Explore Now

Traveler Advisory: new limitations on oversized baggage

Beginning May 2020, passengers with oversized baggage, i.e. luggage pieces whose height, width and depth add up to greater than 160cm (total dimensions between 160cm and 250cm), will be required to make a seat reservation in the last row of seats. Learn more here

Must-see destinations

Among the many sites accessible by the Shinkansen, be sure to include a visit to these unique destinations on your tour:

Tokyo: always surprising

Take in the famous Shibuya Crossing

Tokyo’s metropolitan region is the largest population center in the world, and home to towering skyscrapers, ancient art and lovely cherry blossoms. What was once a small castle town has become one of the world’s great capitals— offering visitors an unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture, dining and one-of-a-kind experiences.

Kyoto: atmospheric and sublime

Don’t miss the famous cherry blossoms

Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures abound in this ancient and wonderful city. Kyoto is full of cultural, artistic, and nature-related eventsIntangible traditions, carried down through the local people, form a part of the city’s living culture. And no trip to Kyoto would be complete without visiting some of its 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Next stop: Osaka

Osaka is about only 2.5 hours Shinkansen ride from Tokyo but has a very different personality to Japan’s capital city. Hop off the bullet train into an area of exciting nightlife, delicious food and straight-talking, friendly locals. Along with plenty of shopping and modern attractions, Osaka also has a fascinating historical side, the highlight of which is the castle in Osaka. Find out more about touring Japan by rail here

The post Touring Japan by rail appeared first on Expedia Australia Travel Blog.

Source: Expedia Australia Travel Blog | 3 Feb 2020 | 4:17 am

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A walk across Australia with camels - 1988
I was one of four people to walk across Australia as part of Australia's Bicentennial in 1988. March 1st - September 14th. Sharks Bay to Byron Bay. The

Source: Outback Australia Travel Blog | 24 Feb 2018 | 2:09 pm

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Ayres Rock or Kakadu in June
I will be traveling in June with two teenagers and I am interested in either going to Ayres Rock or Kakadu. Which area would be better if I only have time

Source: Outback Australia Travel Blog | 13 Nov 2017 | 5:22 am

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Planning a trip to Alice Springs via Uluru
Just looking for a few tips on how much I should budget for a 10-14 day trip to Alice Springs & Uluru/Kata Tjuta. We (my boyfriend and I) are planning

Source: Outback Australia Travel Blog | 13 Nov 2017 | 5:19 am

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People broke into my hotel room at 3.30am, and no one cared
Let me tell you about an unscheduled 3.30 am wake-up call I experienced the other day. I'm hoping my story also serves as a wake-up call to the travel and security industries as well as for the police (though I doubt it).

Source: Stuff.co.nz - Australia | 21 Jun 2017 | 10:30 pm

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Tasmania's Freycinet Experience Walk: 'Truly one of the greatest experience of your life'
The acclaimed British novelist Nicholas Shakespeare describes it as "the only trek".

Source: Stuff.co.nz - Australia | 20 Jun 2017 | 11:47 pm

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Cuisine editor: Should a NZ eatery be among the World's 50 Best Restaurants?
OPINION: Melbourne was home to the World's 50 Best Restaurant awards this year. The only other cities to have hosted this prestigious event are London (for the first 14 years) and New York (last year). Landing an event of this magnitude was game-changing for Australia. And so back in April, I set off to experience a series of events designed by Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Tourism Australia and Visit Victoria to spread the message that Australia is a must-visit culinary destination.

Source: Stuff.co.nz - Australia | 18 Jun 2017 | 6:38 pm

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My Sydney, with Vivid's Kiwi Director Ash Bolland
As Vivid Sydney wraps up for another year, we chat to Kiwi director Ash Bolland who designed the festival's most prominent show, Audio Creatures.

Source: Stuff.co.nz - Australia | 16 Jun 2017 | 7:28 pm

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Google sings songs of Uluru with new Street View vistas
With ever-growing troves of valuable data on its shelves, Google has expanded its Street View range further to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Northern Territory, Australia.

Source: Stuff.co.nz - Australia | 11 Jun 2017 | 6:55 pm

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General tips for visiting Uluru
Read all you can before you go as I am not going to tell a granny how to suck eggs. Make sure you ingest the advice and be wise to the risks, it gets mighty

Source: Outback Australia Travel Blog | 26 Feb 2017 | 5:54 am

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Finding unskilled mining jobs in WA
This page is a bit unusual in that it isn't for travellers. Or rather I should say not for tourists, because for long term travellers it may well be very interesting! In the section on this website about financing your travels by working in Australia I wrote about the possibility to get temporary jobs in the mining industry, which is VERY lucrative. And that page became very popular also with Australians and New Zealanders looking for permanent mining jobs. I also have two reader pages on the site where people looked for advice on finding mining jobs. No other pages on my site have received anywhere near the same amount of comments! All comments are from people looking for help with getting a mining job. Hence the new page. I hope it helps!

Source: Outback Australia Travel Blog | 22 Nov 2012 | 8:07 am

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