5 Safety Checks to Complete on Your Car before Setting off on Holiday

It’s always a good idea to check your car thoroughly before taking off on a long trip. Nothing will take the fun and excitement out of a holiday adventure faster than a broken down car. As distances between towns and cities are often extensive in Australia, having a well running car is even more imperative. Sitting on the side of the road in the midday heat trying to flag down help can be pretty harrowing.

road trip

Here are some car safety checks that will help make for smooth sailing, (driving).

Repairs and Maintenance

Check that your car is not in need of major repair or maintenance. If there are problems with your vehicle, get them fixed before you leave. It is Murphy’s Law that if you don’t, the problem you have been have been putting off fixing will suddenly escalate into a major repair scenario on the road, so if your car is due for a service make sure you have it done before you leave home.

Give it a Check Up

There are a few things you need to check before your trip. Firstly, check the air filter. A clogged air filter will give you poor fuel economy. The air filter is easy to check and change. Checking your water coolant is vital, especially if you are venturing into weather conditions that differ from home.

Tyres

Check that all tyres are inflated to the correct pressure. Low pressure can cause heat to build up that may result in a blowout on the highway. Check your owner’s manual to ascertain the correct pressure. Take a look at the tread on your tyres too and don’t forget to check the spare.

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Cities You Simply Must Visit in South Africa

South Africa has become one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, with millions of tourists flocking there during the summer months. With so many natural attractions, from spectacular beaches and glorious coastlines to beautiful landscapes and vibrant cities, there’s no doubt that you’ll have the time of your life here, no matter how long you’re holidaying for! Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway with your loved one, or a family adventure to keep the kids entertained, South Africa’s cities have it all, so let’s take a look at some of the top destinations you can’t miss out on!

Cape Town

Established in 1652 by the Dutch East India Trading Company, Cape Town the oldest city in South Africa, and also the most popular when it comes to tourism. Originally, it was used as a resting place for spice traders – a halfway point on their long sailing voyages around the African ports. As trading became a bigger business, the area was colonised to provide hotels and places to eat, and thousands of slaves were brought in from the east to help with this transition.

cape twon

View of Cape Town’s “city bowl” from Table Mountain. Image (cc) Andres de Wet/Wikimedia

In 1834, slavery was abolished in Cape Town, however laws were then passes in 1948 declaring enforced segregation – or the apartheid. Finally in 1994, South Africa won its democracy, and Cape Town continues to be the thriving hub of this diverse, cultured and historic nation. Bars and clubs light up the city centre streets, with luxury hotels and jewellers providing bespoke services and products to tourists. On the other side of town, the leafy suburbs house the vineyards and university, as well as a number of parks perfect for long evening walks and picnics.

Durban

Durban is one of South Africa’s up and coming cities, with a vibrant population of young and hip scenesters, spearheading new fashions, music and cuisine. For over 150 years, three main cultures in Durban have coexisted – the Zulus, Indians and surfers – and they each offer their own way of life, culture and religious beliefs. Durban is also one of the county’s business hot spots, not least due to the diamond mining in the surrounding quarries and hills.

durban

Skyline of Durban, South Africa, in the morning. View from Vetchies pier. The red building on the left side is Addington Hospital, followed by the beachfront. Image (cc) Wikimedia

One of the best things about this city, is that it is home to the biggest population of Indians outside of India! This means there’s a wealth of amazing cuisine just waiting to be experienced, from spectacular restaurants to amazing food vendors out in the streets and markets. To save money on your airfare to this fantastic nation this year, be sure to search for Cheapflights South Africa for the best deals online.

Johannesburg

You can’t talk about South Africa’s greatest cities without mentioning Johannesburg, and this wonderful and diverse landscape offers everything a tourist would need! Big, bold and bustling with adventure, Johannesburg is a metropolitan and culture centre, home to huge business, pleasure and hospitality. It’s also known as the city of gold, due to the styles of its inhabitants, hell bent on wearing as much bling as they can! However the poor outweigh the rich in Johannesburg, and for every pocket of luxury suburb, you’ll find ten more slums in the city.

johannesburg city of gold

Early morning sunrise over the city of Johannesburg, shot looking East with the M1 Highway in the foreground. Image (cc) Dylan Harbour/Wikimedia

5 Car Races Not To Miss in Australia

Car racing enjoys a thriving cult following in Australia; from the motorbikes to the V8’s, to the Formula One, there’s something about the sharp thump of a car engine that brings out the passions in enthusiasts and first-time attendees. If you’re a lover of the chequered flag, the rip-cord sounds of pit-lane and the unequivocal thrill of watching the best precision drivers in the world tear around the track at impossibly high speeds, these are five races not to miss as 2014 approaches. Get your calendar ready, mark your dates and save spare change for tickets to the next race-day!

Clipsal 500 – Adelaide

Fly south and kick off March with eight cylinders of power, as Clipsal 500 kicks off in town, exhibiting the best talent locally and internationally. A four day event that features everything from glitzy lunches, stunts, air-shows, surprising displays and a permeating sense of family. There is truly something for everybody, including historic motorcycles and the bewitching tunes of Australia’s musical talent. Motorsport event, it is not; cultural experience? Definitely.

formula one grand prix melbourne

Formula One Grand Prix – Melbourne

Melbourne attracts a diversity of events, from glamorous fashion festivals to cuisine conventions. Take a break in Australia’s cosmopolitan capital and join the flocks of revellers lining up for the four day Formula-One-a-thon. The Grand Prix kicks off at Albert Park every year, to the deafening rumble of automotive excellence. Not to be eclipsed by the Clipsal 500, the Melbourne Grand Prix lights up the sky with expert aerial displays supplied by the RAAF, intricate exhibitions and super car demonstrations.

Quit Forest Rally – Western Australia

The Australian Rally Championships is an eight round series of rough, tumble and plenty of dirt, challenging drivers and navigators with some of the most challenging terrains in the world. The Quit Forest Rally is the second round in the line-up, combining back to back action with motorbikes and other caveats of the motorsport world.

Australiasian Safari – Western Australia

This is not a circuit race, a lap around the park or a relaxing buzz, squeezed into stages. The Australasian Safari spans from Perth to Kalgoorlie. Even the most resilient outback rides and motorbikes struggle to conquer the 4,000 kilometre tour across Australia’s most forbidding regions, some succumbing to the heat and pressure long before the half way point. The Safari is one of the only races where you can physically follow the action, stalking the racers across the stages and exploring the colours of the western wilderness.

V8 Supercars – Bathurst

Aussies love their endurance races. Mount Panorama plays host to a 1,000 kilometres of motorsport history, as Australian and international racers navigate the gruelling track, playing homage of 50 years of victors and contenders. Revel in the expertise of pit-lane, from quick wheel changes to emergency diff lapping; and cheer for your favourites as they vie for the title of King of the Mountain.

Try something different and forget the football fanaticisms of the last few years; the motorsport bandwagon is diverse and ever growing to be one of the worlds most loved cultural experiences.

Bill Redfern: Work-life balance

Back in the day, when you left the office your work for the day was done. Unfortunately, those times are long gone. Thanks to modern “conveniences” like email and smartphones, and stiffer competition, maintaining a healthy work-life balance has become exceedingly difficult, especially if you’re the type to work incessantly to get ahead. But by following a few simple pieces of advice, even the most fastidious workers can find balance between their careers and the rest of their lives.

For example, consider Bill Redfern. As the CEO and President of a rapidly growing company, Bill is responsible for overseeing the daily operations. And yet he still manages to find time to train for triathlons, participate in charitable events and spend time with his family.

CEO’s and other hard working businessman have stated that the key to work life balance is to purposely leave time in your schedule blank. That way, you’ll be prepared for when a scheduled meeting runs over, or when a task takes longer than expected. By cramming in as many meetings as possible, not only does your ability to work suffer, but the added stress associated with an overly busy schedule can have negative repercussions on your health.

As a loving father, Bill Redfern cherishes the time he spends with his family. When given the choice to participate in a family activity or put in more time at work, he opts for the former. If you must, pencil your family into your schedule. It may seem like a cold thing to do, but it’s better than the alternative.

If you find yourself spending more time in meetings than you do at your desk, schedule “no-meeting” days. Workers perform better when they’re given a long, continuous stretch to get a project done. In turn, you’ll have gained a few precious hours to do non-work related activities.

Some employees are committed to taking time out of their workday to exercise. Proven to reduce stress, combat fatigue and improve your overall health, exercising is a great way to gently push your business problems to the side, if only for an hour or so. And if you simply can’t get out of a meeting, suggest having the meeting outdoors, or over a walk.

Bill Redfern went a step further. He became so enthralled with exercise that he began training as a competitive athlete. In 2013 alone, Redfern has completed three Olympic distance triathlons and a half-marathon, and plans to take on an Ironman challenge later this year.

One of the best ways to maintain a healthy work-life balance is to, at least on occasion, disconnect from the rest of the world. This might mean taking a vacation on a remote island, or simply not checking your email for a few days. When you do begin communicating with the outside world again, you’ll find yourself refreshed and better equipped to do your job. And remember, the more efficient you are at work, the more time you’ll have to do other things like spend time with friends and family.

Finally, try to find the time for philanthropy and if possible, incorporate it into your everyday life. For instance, Bill Redfern is currently looking into ways to become a corporate sponsor for autism. Helping others will make you realize that there is more to life than just work.

The Gold Coast in 48 Hours: Kids Optional

The Gold Coast is an expanse of adventure and excitement, the perfect forty-eight hour retreat for a harassed pair of parents and their sticky-fingered, hyper active children. Imagine a world where loud laughter is the norm, where kids can run and jump, twist and turn, crash through the sand and dive into a gentle set of waves, slicing through the water. If your brain has exploded with envy, don’t feel so bad, for the Gold Coast is evolving into one of Australia’s most popular (and laid-back) tourist destinations. When the clock runs out and it’s time to leave, you’ll feel sad, in fact, you might call into work and organise a few more days free of the grind, it’s THAT addictive.

Beach Gold Coast - 3

Image (cc) Beach Gold Coast by DavidLevinson/Flickr

Day 1:

Start Here

Coolangatta Esplanade: Cooly, as the locals refer to it, is a family friendly oasis of food for all fuss levels, patrolled beaches, kitschy markets and an occasional fairground, entertaining many first dates during the school holidays. There are accommodation options for all budgets. Coolangatta is the bottleneck of the Gold Coast, connected to the buzz and bluster by a winding road and a bustling highway, leading onto your next destination.

Go Wild

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary: A local holiday favourite, the wildlife sanctuary is cradled comfortably by twenty plus hectares of lavish rainforest, reflecting the truly contradictory image of the area; the sun, the surf, the concrete trappings of civilisation, offset by a natural spectacle of native conservation and education. Visitors are spellbound by wild encounters of the animal kind, as koalas, birds, crocodiles, dingos, Tasmanian devils and other friends greet the young and the young at heart with curiosity and amusement.

Eat Up

Pancakes in Paradise, Gold Coast Highway: You’re going to need energy tomorrow, lots of it, we have a big day planned! Take the kids to pancake heaven for wonderful waffles, no-nonsense nachos or a tasty classic stack with a twist. Sit back and enjoy a dash of wine or beer, after a long day of carrying around bags and fielding a thousand questions. The dense, yet tasty flavours will satisfy little mouths and big appetites; you’re on holiday, why shouldn’t you have pancakes for dinner?

Day 2:

Morning Swim

Shake the dust with a quick dip at Kirra Beach, letting the cool morning tides wash over you or watch the sun sparkle through the sea-spray and early mist. Let the kids collect shells and enjoy the moment. How often do you just relax in the moment at home? After the sand is out of your hair (and your clothes), roll on in to Kirramisu Café and chill out together, coffee loading, milkshake sipping and breakfast eating your early hours away. Yes, we’re feeding you again. Read on and you’ll see why. Don’t forget to pack your swimmers!

Dream On

Theme Park Alley, Helensvale: A neat thirty minute drive from Kirra beach, this stretch of theme parks is the bedrock of entertainment on the Gold Coast. Dastardly drops, ripping rollercoasters, water flumes, upside down adventures, slippery slides, action adventure, stunt shows and movie stars – Movieworld, Dreamworld and Wet ‘n’ Wild are dream makers, a guaranteed happy pill requiring a surprising amount of energy, lots of sunscreen and a truckload or two of relaxation – don’t try and control the fun, just let it happen. But which one to pick? My Fun has compiled the essential (and non-essential) details for discerning parents just like you, check out their site and book online.

By Jessica Hannah