Streaming services and which one to choose

Australians have, on average, spend $30 a month on streaming services according to savings.com.au. With the recent addition of two new streaming services – Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus we may see this figure rise, or we may see services fail and bow out of the market. In the meantime how do we choose which service to keep?

Netflix is the market leader in Australia with more than 4 million subscribers, followed by Stan. However Disney Plus has a large volume of content including its entire back catalogue of classic and modern Disney movies, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and National Geographic. All for $8.99 a month. This is definitely one to watch as a potential rival to Netflix.

Baby Yoda is a can favourite on The Mandalorian – one of Disney Plus Originals.

Apple TV Plus contains roughly a dozen shows, all originals, with more coming each month. At a cost of $7.99, it doesn’t give as much bang for your buck as the other services, but each show is distinctively different, original and contains some stellar casts including Oprah, Jennifer Anniston, James Momoa and Reece Witherspoon.

A quick summary of each streaming service available in Australia:

Netflix – the king.

Stan – a close second to Netflix.

Amazon Prime – wide range of horror movies, dark comedies and classic movies.

Hayu – all the reality tv you need.

Apple TV Plus – will come to its own in 2020 as more titles are released.

Disney Plus – this is a must for any family or Star Wars or Marvel fan.

FOXTEL Now – the Foxtel streaming service – for those not able or wanting to get FOXTEL satellite.

Kayo – the Netflix of Sports. It includes a long list of sport shows and events, from rugby, NRL, tennis and NBA to the light saber championship.

My take on the streaming services: try them out for a couple of months and then see if you can whittle them down to three or four favorites.

Why Uluru should top every Aussie’s bucket list

Most Australians favour an overseas adventure to a holiday in their own backyard. However there are some places in Australia that boast a beauty that is found in no other – one of those places is the Red Centre, Northern Territory. And the heart of the Red Centre, all 863 metres of it, is Uluru.

Sunrise at Uluru
Sunrise at Uluru

Uluru is more commonly known as Ayers Rock; it was named by William Gosse in 1873 after Sir Henry Ayers. Uluru is the Aboriginal and official name. You can fly directly to Uluru and take one of the many transfers to Ayers Rock Resort, where five different types of accommodation await, from camping grounds to Sails in the Desert, a five-star resort.

You can see Uluru from the air, walk around it (all 10km of it), the local tribes recommend you don’t climb it for spiritual reasons, or watch the sunrise on a camel.

Sounds of Silence dinner at Uluru http://www.ayersrockresort.com.au/sounds-of-silence/
Sounds of Silence dinner at Uluru http://www.ayersrockresort.com.au/sounds-of-silence/

A must-do is the Sounds of Silence dinner, winner of multiple tourism awards. Nothing showcases the beauty of this massive monolith than a candlelit dinner in the middle desert, complete with astronomer and a showcase by a local indigenous tribe.

Uluru at sunset
Uluru at sunset

Whether you stay for a weekend or 5 days, the red sand of Uluru exudes a positive energy which you feel as soon as you are in its presence, and there are not many places in the world where you can say that.

How to Survive An Australian Road Trip with Your Significant Other

Below is an article originally published on Traveldudes.org

A true test of any relationship.

Forget living together or investing in property as a testament to the fact that your significant other is someone that you are able to spend the rest of your life with.

The real test lies within whether you are able to spending two weeks on the road in a mode of transport that resembles a serial killers van that has been attacked by graffiti vandals.

Stuart Hwy

Embarking on a successful road trip involves the following:

Break up the accommodation – don’t sleep in the van every night.

I realise that budget may be a constraint however in the outback you can easily find a caravan park that also includes cabins – these can range from $50-$90 a night and include a bathroom. How luxurious this will sound after using shared facilities and a kitchenette.

Pubs in smaller towns also offer cheap motel rooms. You will feel like you are at a 5 star hotel. Give the van a break and every few nights fork out the cash on a cheap motel or cabin – your relationship will thank you – and so will your hygiene fairies.

Eldunda Roadhouse is a good base for those heading to Uluru. It is situated at the corner of Stuart and Lasseter Highways in the Northern Territory and has a range of accommodation options including powered van sites and cabins. The pub has great food and there is even a pool and local wildlife.

Take turns driving – I have never driven a manual so all of sudden being faced with 5 gears was a baptism of fire. However splitting up the driving can stop you from splitting up full stop. A few hours stop each day is better than one person being burnt out and risking the safety of you both.

This way even if you believe your partner is a bad navigator, after experiencing using a map for yourself (or GPS) you often find yourself being more sympathetic when you mistakenly end up losing the highway. However the roads in outback Australia are fairly easy to navigate if you stick to the major highways. Stuart Highway goes straight up the middle of the country for 2,834km so all you need to do is stick the van into fifth gear and go straight.

Pack the mp3 player. Or smartphone. Prepare playlists for the drive – it helps set the mood.

Pack lots of water. For safety reasons this cannot be overlooked. Cheap water can be purchased at discount variety shops like The Reject Shop or any supermarket like Woolworths or Coles. You will be triple the price in service stations.

Stop by scenic lookouts for pictures: nothing beats local sights that are unexpected or unplanned.

Bring the Duck tape: it is like a swiss army knife – it can be used for:
– Repairing the van – our side mirror broke before we left Sydney.
– Taping torches to the van roof if the lights go out.
– Making a temporary fly screen out of mosquito net in case you want to sleep with the windows open
– Tape over the shower drain if you want to wash your clothes in the tub without a plug.

Fork out a bit extra for creature comforts in your van. My partner and I have used two types of rental vans –Spaceship Van Rentals and Travellers Autobarns – both good value. I personally prefer Spaceships as it has the added benefit of the fridge and rear awning for extra space.

Spaceship Campervan in Byron
Spaceship Campervan in Byron

Lastly, don’t overplan – sometime the best times that you have on a road trip are those that are unexpected.

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