Chocolate...taken to a whole new level!

An ingenious idea - one I'd never come across before. A novel and more than noteworthy experience...September = 31 days of Chocolate in the hotel restaurant: Bistro Allure in Brisbane's CBD. Chocolate displays and an entire buffet of chocolate desserts and dishes - 'indulgence' doesn't even begin to describe it! You can go for lunch or dinner and feast your heart out (literally). Words of advice - drink water throughout, maybe even get some bread for any craving for something savoury, pace yourself, cut slices/pieces smaller so that you can try more and remember there's a really good ice cream freezer there too!


On Sunday, we went on a drive to see if we could find some of the treasures of South East Queensland (SE QLD). Going out of the Brisbane's back door - there is a variety of river, rainforest and mountain to greet you.
We went first to a market in Fernvale, with stalls selling anything from strawberries to puppies to used carpentry tools! From Fernvale, we went for a stroll around Lake Wivenhoe and then up to the small town of Esk for some lunch. We found a lovely cafe in a colonial house called the Lars Anderson House (a Danish Sawmiller who lived in Esk in the late 1800's) It is a heritage listed building with an atmospheric verandah cafe, a Victorian style gift shop and a mini- exhibition about the first pioneering days and the development of the townships and industries of the Brisbane Valley region. Note. they served possibly the best pecan pie ever...
After a rather indulgent lunch, we went bushwalking in Ravensbourne National Park, well-known for its eucalypt forest and birdwatching. Definitely a good idea after the pecan pie...

September starts with a bang!

The beginning of September is marked by in Brisbane by Riverfire - which starts the week-long Riverfestival. The Riverfire is essentially a fireworks show which this year, attracted 600,000 people out to the river...with 3000 tonnes of fireworks awaiting! It is one of the most popular events in Queensland. The start and finale of the show was marked by the amazing sight of an RAAF F-1111 'dump and burn.' The atmosphere was vibrant, with groups of friends and families having set up their bbqs/picnics and outdoor furniture etc. all along the length of the river. Quite typical of the aussie culture...nice...

South to Sydney!

Definitely a cool city. It reminded me a bit of being in London, but had a cosmopolitan/european feel to it too.

The Opera House and Harbour Bridge - you get that funny feeling when sights that you have seen your whole life on tv, in print media, on postcards, are suddenly right in front of you. The buzz of people and tourists and cameras also adds to the feeling that you are somewhere special. The Opera House is quite spectacular - and not white! It is made up of cream and beige tiles from Sweden which are self cleaning...a nice and very useful touch I think! Inside is quite earthy - with everything made up and left as raw materials - concrete and wood. It took over 15 years to build, was designed by the Danish architect Jorn Utzon, and due to political rifts, he left while it was still in construction in 1966 and has never returned. Seeing an opera in this building is definitely on my things-to-do-list.

Also just a note on Bondi Beach, smaller than I expected, good for surfing, it's the nearest beach to the city, so popular in good weather. It's nice, but definitely not the most impressive beach I have seen so far...probably worth travelling a bit further out if you want to spend a few days relaxing at the beach.

Australia Immigration - New Processing Centre

The Australian government have now opened a new processing centre to handle applications for residence visas through the General Skilled Migration programme.

The new centre has been opened in Brisbane. The Brisbane Skilled Processing Centre (BSPC) will not be fully operational for a few more months but it is hoped that it will help reduce the current backlog of applications at the Adelaide Skilled Processing Centre (ASPC).

Australia has announced an increase in the number of migrants it wishes to accept under their General Skilled Migration programme. The opening of this new centre will go some way to assisting this target to be reached.

Furthermore, new visa fees for all visa categories have now been announced by the Australian government.

View more on this info at:

More info on IAAust proposed changes

More info - the post below does not demonstrate the consultation and consideration that the Institute will be taking in implementing this change. There are numerous practical implementation issues that need to be addressed, including whether a new or amended Professionalism Course will need to be taken by those wishing to use the proposed “actuary” designation changes. Issues of how current and previous Associate-level actuaries are involved in the transition is also being investigated. Lookout for announcements from the Institute.

The term: "Actuary"

The use of the term "Actuary" is set to broaden.

The Institute of Actuaries Australia will allow actuaries with associate level qualification to use the title of ‘actuary.’

This represents and reflects the widening scope of the work of an Actuary in Australia.

This change will take effect within 3 years.