Thursday, December 20, 2018

Mystery creatures that washed up around the world in 2018

Beachgoers across the world discovered stunning sea creatures this year — as strong currents and storms pushed them to the surface.
In the US state of Texas, a fish that typically swims in waters as deep as 365 metres (1,200 feet) was found lifeless on the sand in Corpus Christi.
New Zealand residents spotted a bright pink creature that turned out to be the largest species of jellyfish in the world during a family outing. And that’s just the beginning.
Photos and videos of various unique ocean finds were shared online, and (no surprise) quickly went viral. Some were considered local treasures, while others were studied and examined by marine experts to help them better understand rare species.
Here’s a look at some of the most puzzling sea creatures that washed up in 2018.
A giant hairy sea creature washed up in the Philippines in May, causing locals to flock to the San Antonio beach to snap pictures of the mysterious “blob” many dubbed a “globster.”
The carcass of the animal measured about 6 metres (20 feet) long, according to The Sun. A video of the massive greyish white creature posted to YouTube showed two men with ropes working together to pull the monster out of the water.
Nobody knows what this giant sea creature is
— The Sun (@TheSun) May 12, 2018
Fishery Law Enforcement Officer, Vox Krusada, told the newspaper that — based on the size and shape of the creature, and what marine experts observed — officials could confirm it was the body of a whale.
An odd-looking fish that lives on the ocean floor shocked Texas park rangers when it washed up on Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi in June.
Photographer Edie Bresler was scanning the beach for hidden treasures when he spotted the big-eyed fish. With its bumpy skin and wide mouth, Bresler wasn’t exactly sure what he was looking at. So, he quickly took out his camera and started snapping.
“I have been beach combing all my life so to come across something strange like this was totally exciting,” Bresler explained in a Facebook post. “It got even better when I took the photographs to the park rangers and they were equally baffled.”
This weirdo turned out to be a thick-tailed batfish. Picture: Edie Bresler/Padre Island National Seashore

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Sunny Xmas Day forecast Australia-wide

A warm and dry Christmas Day is on the way aside from a few areas in the northern tropics where rain has been predicted.
A typical Aussie Christmas has been forecast for most of the country: hot and dry.
Fine conditions are predicted for all capital cities on Tuesday, except Darwin where there is a 60 per cent chance of rain and a possible thunderstorm, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
"We want people to get their Christmas prawns out of the way (in Darwin)," senior meteorologist Claire Yeo told AAP.
While temperatures are expected to reach 34C in Darwin, Adelaide is likely to be the hottest city with a maximum of 35C.
A high pressure system covering most of the country means the chance of rain is low and temperatures should be high.
Canberra will experience a top of 32C, Melbourne will reach 31C and Brisbane 29C with a 20 per cent chance of rain.
A light breeze is expected to pass through Sydney, where the bureau has forecast a low of 17C and high of 28C.
Despite the "beautiful" days ahead, Ms Yeo is warning people not to become complacent.
Christmas could mark the start of a low intensity heatwave inland, with temperatures increasing from the northwest coast of Western Australia extending down into the southeast, Ms Yeo said.
"When you have very hot temperatures bordering into that extreme and a lack of rainfall, it always leads to the potential of fire dangers increasing," she said.

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Monday, December 17, 2018

Trees are worth billions to Australia's economy — but how we value them is changing

How much is a tree worth?
In economic terms, your answer depends on how you value them.
Forestry exports contribute $3 billion to Australia's economy; its manufacturing, sales and service income make up around $24 billion per year.
Increasingly, agroforestry and carbon abatement initiatives also provide an economic benefit.
So while money might not grow on trees, they are becoming more profitable.

The money tree

Forestry makes up less than 1 per cent of Australia's economy, which is not an insubstantial figure at a regional level.
And forest scientist Rowan Reid says the branches of the tree economy spread wider than you may think.
"It's a matter of what the trees give you over their lifespan, which is biodiversity, erosion control... and shelter for livestock," says Mr Reid, who owns a tree farm in Victoria's Otway Ranges.
"It gives you those values as it's growing.
"At the end, you cut a tree down, you've got the value of the timber. That's the cherry on top."
Andrew Jacobs, from plantation-based forestry company Forico, says it's not possible to put a dollar value on a single tree.
"It depends how old the tree is, depends a bit on where it is," he says.
Forico operates 185,000 hectares of land in Tasmania; more than half of that is plantation forest.
Mr Jacobs says an individual tree can cost anywhere between $1.50 to $2 to plant, and much more in maintenance.
In return, softwood trees "range from $70 to $175 per green metric tonne at the mill door," he says, while hardwoods range from $100 to $140.

Are we valuing trees appropriately?

Peter Kanowski, a professor of forestry at the Australian National University, says we need to change the way we value trees to assess their full benefit.
Like Mr Reid, he says a tree's profitability is about more than the wood sales it generates; they deliver "a much wider range of ecosystem services".
This includes "carbon sequestration [and] water catchment values, depending on the tree's biodiversity".
"Our mechanisms for valuing those other than carbon are still pretty rudimentary," he says.
Read more about it here:

Acoustic observatory to record Australian animals and habitats

Hundreds of audio recorders are about to be installed in regional Australia to create the country's first soundscape, which can give scientists important insights into different animals and their habitats.
A team of academics from 13 universities has been preparing all year the acoustic observatory that will be recording sound non-stop for years to come.
To the untrained ear, the recordings might sound like any day on a farm, but Paul McDonald, who researches animal behaviour, told The World Today they are rich in information.
"You might see things like when do the insects start calling, for example — so when do you see cicadas kicking in," Associate Professor McDonald said.
"And that might be important if that might be linked to say temperature or rainfall, for example, or habitat productivity.
Associate Professor McDonald said having the ability to compress 24 hours worth of audio data into one image was helpful in allowing scientists to asses and tease apart the information represented.
"[It's] really quite stunning the first time you see it, and it opens up so many doors about how we can actually use these big picture data sets that are monitoring the whole country at the same time," he said.

Tyranny of distance

But installing the audio soundscape has not been without its challenges for the academics involved in the task.
"It's a big project — we're talking about 300 or 400 sensors that we are going to be deploying, and it's quite challenging logistically," Associate Professor McDonald said.
"These sensors need to go in areas where we may only visit them once a year, and we need to make sure that they're working when we're not there checking them."
The recordings will also be available online to anyone who wants to access them, allowing academics to listen to their chosen species from the comfort of their offices.
"The good thing about sound is you're not making decisions beforehand of what's interesting, Associate Professor McDonald said.
"So we're able to record all the audio, and if someone wants to look at a particular file for what frogs are doing they can.
"Someone else might want to look at the same file and see what the birds are doing, for example."
Lin Schwarzkopf, a professor of biology in Townsville, has been taking a specific interest in frog sounds.
"Before we had recordings, people went out into the field and listened to frogs, and learned which frogs made which sounds," she said.
Read more about it here:

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The 2018 Square Australian Coffee Report

The 2018 Square Australian Coffee Report

Serving the perfect cup of coffee is big business in Australia, and there is plenty of competition to prove it. Whether your favourite morning beverage is served at the local neighbourhood cafe, in a converted warehouse, by one of the corporate coffee giants, or grabbed from the growing number of drive-through vendors, Australia has one of the most saturated coffee markets on the globe.
We’re big fans of the espresso here at Square, that’s why we’re giving you a sneak peek into the $8 billion industry that none of us could live without with our third annual Square Australian Coffee Report. It’s an analysis of the millions of cups of coffee sold at thousands of Square powered cafes and coffee bars across the country to help you learn more about how Australians consumed their favourite coffee beverages in 2018.
coffee consumption australia infographic

Coffee pricing in Australia

The 2018 Square Australian Coffee Report shows us that customer demand and price sensitivity can vary dramatically by state, as seen by coffee drinkers in the Northern Territory (NT) who spend on average $1 more on their beverages than consumers in New South Wales (NSW).
Prices across the board were up only a few cents from 2017, with Aussies still spending more on the sweeter flavours of mocha and chai. The cheapest coffee in each Australian state is still the traditional long black — the only coffee that consumers fork out less than $4 for.

Is coffee going cashless?

Interestingly, despite the low price tag for coffee, Square’s data revealed that the majority of consumers (54%) chose to pay with card over cash (46%) when it came to purchasing their coffee beverages this year.  
With Australia’s increasingly cashless society leaving no industry untouched, a state-by-state breakdown of the data showed that while most states followed the national trend, coffee-buyers in NT and South Australia (SA) were even more likely to pay by card, 69% and 68% respectively. Meanwhile, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) was the only outlier region that preferred cash, with only 36% of people there opting to pay by card for their coffee.
While the latte is still the best-seller across the country, its popularity has actually dropped over recent years, with total cups sold decreasing from 43% to 32% since 2016. Flat whites have remained steady this year but the time-honoured cappuccino has made a resurgence, with sales jumping from 12% to 19% over the same period.
State-by-state data also showed the cappuccino overtaking the flat white as the preferred coffee in NSW this year.
The popularity of flavour-infused brews hasn’t slowed in 2018. Year-on-year growth showed matcha-infused coffee sales were up 80% and chai sales remained strong, up 70% from October 2017. Chai was again the most popular order when it came to the popularity of tea, followed closely by matcha, English breakfast and earl grey.
We also saw more non-dairy milk alternatives added to menus this year. While soy remained the most popular choice, nut-based alternatives are gaining momentum with almond, coconut, macadamia and cashew milk rounding out the top five picks for Aussies.
coffee shop australia

All day, everyday

It turns out caffeine isn’t just a morning necessity with sales of our favourite drinks peaking at different times through the day. The morning rush saw the stronger lattes, flat whites and cappuccinos hit their peak at 9am, while tea picked up at 10am and then saw another lunchtime spike at 1pm.
Our favourite flavoured brews, chai and matcha, also saw later surges, with chai sales hitting their sales peak at 11am and matcha at around 3pm.

The power of data

This report was pulled together using Square Dashboard, with data collected and analysed from the millions of cups of coffee sold on the Square platform at hundreds of cafes and coffee bars across the country. Data insights are extremely valuable to help business owners make smarter, more informed decisions about how to run their businesses.
Square Point of Sale is a free and powerful reporting toolkit available to every Square seller to access their sales data in real time. Sellers can instantly access information that tells them what products are selling the best, the average transaction size per customer, the frequency of customers, sales per employee and how other locations may be tracking.
So, whether you’re opening a coffee shop or starting your first business, Square is a great solution to help you keep track of the numbers.
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Top 5 Best Places To Visit In Australia | Tips To Travel Australia | Visit Australia

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DAY 1: VISITING AUSTRALIA (Flight experience, travel information and tips)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018


In this article we have prepared a list of 11 fun facts about Australia. These 11 fun facts about Australia range across all topic areas from geography, culture, demographics, sport and more.

If you know of any fun facts about Australia that you think should be included in our list, please let us know in the comments below!

Australia is Big!

Australia is big! Australia is the world's 6th largest country - occupying an entire continent with a size of approximately 7.6 million km² (2.9 million miles²).

Another interesting fact is that servicing such a large land mass requires big trucks! In fact, Australia has the largest and heaviest road-legal vehicles in the world, with some "Road Trains" reaching close to 200 tonnes in gross vehicle mass (GVM).

Australia is Sparse!

Although Australia is one of the biggest countries in the world, it is also one of the least densely populated! Australia's population density is a low 3 people per km² - a stark contrast to other countries such as the United States (35 people per km²) and the United Kingdom (267 people per km²).

Greek Population

Melbourne is home to the largest Greek population of any city in the world outside of Greece! Only the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki (both in Greece) have larger Greek populations. It is estimated that there are more than 150,000 Greek people living in Melbourne.

Beach Lovers!

More than 85% of Australians live within 50 kilometres (31 mi.) from the coast!

This is a fun fact about Australia that is close to our hearts!


As of 2017, Australia was home to approximately 72 million sheep - a ratio of approximately three to one when compared to Australia's population of 25 million people.

As of 2014, Australia had the third largest population of sheep in the world, after only China (187 million sheep) and India (75 million sheep).

From all those sheep, the total wool production for the year (2017) was approximately 340 million kgs greasy (unwashed) and approximately 230 million kgs clean weight (Source: Australian Wool Production Forecast Committee).

Here at AustraliaInfo, we think this is one of the more interesting fun facts about Australia!

Apparently, NASA Owes Esperance $400!
NASA has an outstanding fine with the small coastal town of Esperance in Western Australia.

In 1979, the US space station "Skylab" crashed into the ground in Esperance. The space station had been orbiting Earth since 1973, but had been abandoned by NASA in 1974.

Bits of the space station landed all around Esperance, littering the ground. In response, Esperance Council issued NASA a $400 fine for littering, which by all accounts remains unpaid!


Australia is home to the largest working cattle station in the world. Anna Creek Station, located in the South Australian outback, covers 23,677 km2. This makes Anna Creek Station considerably larger than Israel (20,770 km2).

The Right to Vote

Australia was the second country in the world (after New Zealand) to grant women the right to vote. Australia's Parliament House, located in Canberra, is pictured on the left.

The dates of when Australian women gained rights to vote can be found on the Australian Electoral Commission website.

Do you think this deserves a mention in our list of 11 fun facts about Australia? Let us know in the comments below.

Melbourne Cup

On the first Tuesday of November every year the Melbourne Cup is held. It is affectionately known as "the race that stops the nation". The race has a long tradition, with the first race being run in 1861. The race day is gazetted as a public holiday in Melbourne.

Commonwealth Coat of Arms

The Australian Coat of Arms features a kangaroo and an emu. Some people say that these two native animals were chosen as they can't walk backwards.

This is to symbolise progress, and and our intention, as a nation, to always move forwards.

We think this fun fact definitely deserves its place in our list of 11 fun facts about Australia!

Longest Fence in the World

The longest fence in the world is located in Australia.

The Dingo Fence is located in South Australia and was constructed to keep dingoes out of the farming land in the south-east of Australia.

Construction of the 5,614 kilometre (3,488 mi.) long fence was completed in 1885.

5,614km and the world's longest fence? That definitely deserves a mention in our 11 fun facts about Australia!

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Australia Vidcon 2018 - Melbourne Travel Vlog

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Slowing down in the Blue Mountains - MBS Travel - AUSTRALIA

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Simple Australia Itinerary

Australia is on a lot of people’s short list of places to go…
…but it is huge and can be hard to know where to begin.

You aren’t going to see everything in a single trip to Australia, but you can see a lot of the highlights. With a bit of planning you can put together a trip for whatever time you have that gives you a good look at Down Under.

This post lists some of places to start and how many days to think about spending in each. Use this as a basis to make your perfect personalized itinerary to see Australia.

Australia doesn’t have to be overwhelming

I recently wrote about 6 countries for new travelers, one of which was Australia. It’s a great country to visit no matter how much travel experience you have, but it’s especially easy to navigate for those who haven’t done much traveling. You won’t have to worry about a foreign language, and there is so much to do no matter what you’re interested in.
The country is almost the size of the continental US, so you can’t cover it all in one vacation, but these are some of the highlights for first time visitors. Pick a couple places and build your Australia itinerary based on how much vacation time you have. Include time to get to and from Australia, as well as transportation between locations.
Simple Australia Itinerary - ideas for planning your trip to Australia
Please note that some posts contain links that earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Sydney – 4 to 5 days
As Australia’s most famous city, it’s a great place to start. It’s Australia’s oldest and largest city (but not the capital), and it has plenty to offer for both city and nature lovers.
  • Sydney Opera House – Whether you want to take a tour or just admire its beauty from the outside, this is one landmark not to be missed. My favorite time to see it was as the sun started setting.
  • The Harbour Bridge – You’ll see the bridge near the Opera House. If you’re not scared of heights, consider doing a bridge climb tour.
  • Circular Quay and the Harbour – The energetic port lies in between the Opera House and the Bridge. Take a boat tour or just hop on a commuter ferry for a different view of the Harbour and the city.
  • Beaches – Escape the city for an afternoon by spending some time at any number of beaches.
  • Royal Botanical Gardens – For a slice of nature inside the busy city, take a stroll through these gorgeous gardens.
  • Blue Mountains – Get out into the scenic mountains and forest not far from the city. Plenty of tour operators have day tours to the Blue Mountains.
simple Australia itineraryMelbourne – 4 to 5 days
Melbourne is a wonderful city to wander around in. It doesn’t have anything similar to the big iconic Opera House in Sydney, but the city has its own great vibe and lots of delicious restaurants. Consider a walking tour of Melbourne to see the highlights.
  • Federation Square – The perfect starting point. Here you will find a tourist office as well as the Ian Potter Centre National Gallery and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
  • Flinders Street train station – Located across the street from Federation Square, this gorgeous building is worth a look even if you’re not taking a train anywhere.
  • Yarra River – The river runs behind Federation Square, and it’s a nice place for a stroll.
  • Bourke Street Pedestrian Mall – This street and the many surrounding it are the place to go for shopping. Not into shopping? Relax on a bench and watch the world go by.
  • Chinatown – I had a hard time choosing a restaurant here because there are so many!
  • Queen Victoria Market – Stop in here for fresh produce, meats and cheeses, or a wide variety of souvenirs. There’s also a small food court.
simple Australia itinerary
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Perth's summer set to be a hot one according to the Bureau of Meteorology summer forecast

A spring scorcher today of 37 degrees Celsius is shaping up as a taste of things to come, with a hot summer heading our way — in stark contrast to the unusually cool summer of 2017-18.

Perth did not record a single day over 38C last summer but above average temperatures are expected over much of Western Australia this time around, according to the outlook for December to February from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

"It was unusual not to have a 40-degree day in summer," BOM spokesman Neil Bennett said.

"It would be a reasonable assumption to think that we would see high 30s and possible 40s again because that really is a trademark of Perth summers, particularly as we move into January and February.

"The outlook would suggest that temperatures are going to be above average.

Last season, Perth experienced its longest run of summer days below 35C in more than two decades, with the cool spell lasting 31 days.

The outlook suggests that is less likely to happen again this season, but on the flipside the BOM is not expecting record-breaking heat either.

"The average [maximum temperature] for Perth for summer is 30.7C. We're obviously thinking it could be warmer than that, but there's nothing to suggest at the moment that it will be a record-breaking summer," Mr Bennett said.

"Just to put some context on that, the hottest day that we've ever recorded in Perth for the summer months was 44.5C back in 1997 on the 26th of February."

The BOM's summer outlook shows the odds favour warmer than average summer conditions for almost the entire state.

Drier season for the tropics

The BOM is also predicting a drier than average summer for the north of WA, which would be a stark contrast to the tropic region's exceptionally wet start to the year.

"The South West and Southern Coastal [regions] are probably leaning more towards average falls and that would include Perth, but the further north you go, the odds of being above average drop quite considerably," Mr Bennett said.

"So it's looking more likely that those areas would be drier than average and that does include our tropical north — the Kimberley and also along the cyclone coast of the Pilbara."

Broome smashed its annual rainfall record in the first two months of this year when a series of cyclones and tropical lows delivered more than 1.5 metres of rain to the coastal town.

Read more about it here:

Monday, November 12, 2018

Melbourne’s weather is notoriously changeable — here’s why

Mother Nature can get awfully moody in Melbourne — but there’s actually a good scientific reason why the weather sucks in the Victorian capital.

The Sydney versus Melbourne rivalry is a long and archaic one.

On one hand, Sydney boasts iconic landmarks, better beaches and one of the world’s most beautiful harbours.

Melburnians claim a number of more subtle advantages over the Harbour City: a better food and coffee culture, a thriving arts scene, and a night-life that hasn’t been crippled by depressing lockout laws.

But there’s one aspect of life on the east coast that gives Sydneysiders a smug sense of satisfaction over their southern hipster counterparts: its enviable coastal climate.

Melbourne’s weather has a notorious reputation — it can be 35 degrees one minute and 18 degrees the next. You can step outside in shorts and a T-shirt at 9am and be soaked and shivering by midday.

This, according to Bureau of Meteorology expert Tom Fejes, is largely because of the city’s geographic position in the country.

“A lot of it is because Melbourne is further south,” he told “You’ve got the cold coming in from the Arctic Ocean, bringing up frost and that affects the city more, and it’s also much drier as well. In a place like Sydney, with more humid conditions, temperatures are going to be more stable.

“The further south you go, you get those cold fronts coming through and the windier conditions.”

It also comes down to the landmarks surrounding the city.

“The ranges to the north of Melbourne have a big impact on the weather there. Sydney has that to an extent, but the ranges are to the west, which is why Sydney gets such lovely, dry winters,” Mr Fejes said.

While the spring months are arguably the best time to visit Sydney — when you can enjoy beach weather without suffering that inevitable annual 40C heatwave — it’s also the time Melbourne is most changeable.

“The spring months are where you see the biggest contrast,” said Mr Fejes. This is partly due to the city’s proximity to the northern ranges. As the weather warms up, hot air sweeps down towards the south, bringing warmer temperatures with them.

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Best Sydney Brunch, Dog Cafe & Beauty Expo Australia!

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Best Places to Eat & Stay in Perth

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Cafe Culture in Australia from International perspectives - What is Aussie Coffee Culture?

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Best coffee in Adelaide, Australia?

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A Diamond Python was found curled up on the sand at Balmoral beach

A TWO-METRE Diamond Python was found curled up on the sand at popular Balmoral beach on Sydney’s north shore on Monday.

The non-venomous snake was captured by a Mosman Council ranger who managed to take a few snaps of the python before relocating it to a reptile refuge.

Typically black in colour on top with cream or yellow spots, the snake gets its name from a series of diamond shaped patterns found all over it.

According to the council, two of its staff had spotted the six-foot snake on the beach during their early morning walk.

“WIRES was also called in, identifying the snake, which was found between Bathers’ Pavilion and the swimming club, and appeared to have been in the water, as a non-venomous Diamond Python, before taking it to a reptile refuge,” it said on its Facebook page.

A teenager who also spotted the “massive” snake told the Mosman Collective, a local blog, he was used to seeing snakes at his Goulburn farm, but never at the beach, claiming it had been there since Sunday afternoon.

He said he and his friend found it near Bathers’ Pavilion following a swim.

“It was the last thing I expected to see at Balmoral — and at first we thought we were seeing things,” Angus Clark said.

“I reckon its head was as big as my fist and it was as thick as my upper arm so yep, I’d call it a pretty massive snake.”

Mosman Councillor and Balmoral resident Roy Bendall said while snakes were around, it was highly unusual to find one on the beach.

“The snake is not venomous and has no risk to humans and no doubt its back in Wyargine Reserve,” he told Mosman Collective.

Sydney snake catcher Rob Amrbose said that while snakes on the headland in Mosman were not unusual, seeing a Diamond Python was rare.

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Luke Foley resigns as NSW Labor Leader following ABC journalist's statement

Luke Foley has resigned as NSW Labor leader.

Mr Foley said he had retained solicitors to commence defamation proceedings after an ABC journalist released a statement detailing how he put his hand down her dress at a Christmas party in 2016.

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