Travel

This Australian Company is Paying For UK Citizens to Work in Australian Hospo This Summer

Here's how to apply.

working visa
Photo: Luis Alvarez

Okay, so you might be wondering how on earth Australia is going to find staff for all of the new amazing hospitality venues opening up post-lockdown…We know that we definitely are.

Since the start last year, we’ve lost thousands of hospitality workers, due to Covid-19. Over 50% of Australian hospitality workers are on working holiday visas, which were rudely interrupted by the pandemic and forced workers to go back to their country, due to a lack of financial support and ongoing employment.

So now, we’re left with fewer hospitality workers in Australia. Luckily, Australian Venue Co has created and launched an ambitious new recruitment drive, in anticipation of the big summer ahead.

The group is investing tens of thousands of dollars to fill 500 jobs, targeting domestic workers, Australians abroad who want to return home and UK chefs looking to make a summer sea change to Australia.

The recruitment drive will pay for moving costs to Australia for UK Chefs and Australians living overseas, who have hospitality experience and are looking to return home.

For Australian citizens: Successful applicants will have their flights to Australia, hotel quarantine and 2 weeks of rental accommodation paid for by the group, along with a $1000 drinking & dining voucher. Paid training will start online during hotel quarantine, so they can hit the ground running and earn money from the get-go.

For UK citizens: AVC will contribute to the costs for the Employer-Sponsored Visa, to make the transition to working in Australia as smooth as possible. For some UK residents, this visa allows them to begin the pathway to Permanent Residency.

AVC Chief Executive Officer Paul Waterson has faith that there will be lots of Australians who are eager to return home for the summer and to be home by Christmas.

“It’s been incredibly difficult for many Australians to get home, so we’re excited to support a pathway home for Aussies abroad who have hospitality experience,” he said.

The combination of pent-up consumer demand post-lockdown, border openings, relaxed restrictions and high vaccination rates and the beginning of the festive season is expected to create consumer demand, unlike anything the industry has seen before. Chief Executive Officer Paul Waterson has dubbed the upcoming season “The Summer of Fun.”

“Australians – particularly those in Sydney & Melbourne – are absolutely overdue a good time. We see huge demand every time we come out of lockdown, and we expect this summer to be even bigger. People are ready for some fun!”

He acknowledges that the pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the industry and has led to staff shortages but has a positive outlook for the future.

“It’s been an incredibly stressful two years for people working in the industry, but I want people to know that hospitality has a bright future in Australia. We’re extremely confident in this summer and we’re hiring people now for it.

“No matter where you are in Australia, your hospitality career doesn’t have to be on hold right now. You can make your next career move today and start now with AVC. Whether you have 10+ years of experience or no experience at all, we have a job for you.”

The Summer of Fun hiring drive is looking to fill roles in major cities & regional areas across Australia, including:

  • Major Cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide
  • Beach Towns & Tourist Destinations: Cairns, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Darwin
  • Country Towns in Regional Victoria & NSW

If you’re interested in the Summer of Fun recruitment drive and want to get your summer job in Australia sorted, you can apply here.

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Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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