Vegan Cakes Sydney – Monzi’s Guide

vegan cakes Sydney bird's eye shot of cup cakes

Vegan cakes Sydney may be the healthy alternative for the sugar-seeking sweet tooth in your life. Whether it’s recipes, cafes, tips or tricks, Monzi’s got you covered. We’ll cover everything you need to know so you’ll be a vegan cake expert in no time.

vegan cakes Sydney bird's eye shot of cup cakes

Vegan cakes Sydney

The last decade saw the rapid rise in rates of veganism. As each year passes, more and more people are making the choice to give up animal products in a bid to improve their health, be more environmentally conscious or to reduce the demand for meat.

While veganism is by no means a new concept, possibly dating back over 2,000 years, there has never been more choice when it comes to eating vegan. Enter any grocery shop or restaurant and you’re likely to find a range of vegan foods that you’re sure to love.

One of the more delicious developments of the vegan rise is that of vegan cakes. While still sweet, light and delicious, vegan cakes are free from animal products and are often made with natural products to improve the nutritional value.

Keen to know more? Read on.

What desserts can a vegan eat?

Realistically, vegans can eat any dessert so long as it doesn’t contain animal products.

Turning your favourite cakes and desserts into vegan treats isn’t as hard as you might think. Typically, you’ll only need to replace a few ingredients. Notably, milk, eggs or butter.

To do this, you’re going to need to find a list of vegan substitutes. These substitutes are natural products that mimic the effects created by the ingredients they are replacing. To help you out, we’ll give you a list of some common subjects a little further down.

What does raw vegan cakes Sydney mean?

One term you’ll often see attached to vegan cakes is “raw.” So, what is a raw cake?

In simple terms, a raw cake refers to a cake that is not cooked. Rather than using processed foods and animal products (e.g. eggs) which can be potentially harmful uncooked, these cakes are made from natural products.

With a raw cake, the goal is to mimic the flavour and texture of its traditional counterpart while doing it in a way that is healthy, natural and quick. While it won’t quite taste the same, in most cases it will be a pretty solid re-creation.

Head into any vegan cafe or healthy dessert bar and you’ll see menu items such as “raw cheesecake” or “raw mars bar.”

Are vegan cakes Sydney my only vegan dessert option?

Not at all.

With the recent exponential growth in the rates of veganism, more and more time and energy is being devoted to developing high-quality, delicious vegan desserts. And as demand increases further so to will the range of products on offer. In short, It’s a great time to be a vegan.

In every capital city you’ll find a number of great vegan restaurants and cafes with a range of desserts that will blow your mind. Vegan cakes Sydney are simply just one example of what’s on offer.

Do your research and you’ll find vegan donuts, biscuits, slices, chocolate and even ice-cream. They will taste every bit as good as their non-vegan counterparts and in some cases, might even be good for you (Just check the nutritional value).

Take your non-vegan friends along too because you don’t just have to be vegan to enjoy.

5 minute vegan desserts

The best thing about raw desserts is that they’re so quick!

With the need for baking eliminated, your raw desserts can be ready in minutes.

Just prepare your ingredients, mix them and set them into a cake tin, bowl or tray depending on what you’re making. You’ll be indulging in your delicious dessert in no time.

For fast, five-minute recipes, do your research online. There are a stack of great blogs and vegan cooking websites filled with a range of ideas for desserts you’re going to love.

Best of all, vegan cooking is still barely scratching the surface. As demand continues to increase, so will the range of products and recipes available. So, keep an eye out.

Vegan cakes Sydney: where to get your fix

If you’re a Sydney resident, you are blessed. Your city is loaded with some of the best plant-based dessert creations this country has to offer.

Not only that, as we’ve mentioned, you don’t even need to be vegan to enjoy them. If you’re a sweet tooth looking to satisfy your dessert cravings, we’ve put together a list of vegan cafes and restaurants you just have to visit.

Whether it’s vegan cakes Sydney, brownies, donuts, slices or pancakes, we’re sure that you’ll leave these cafes with a full stomach and a smile.

So, let’s go.

Bodhi Restaurant

  • 2/4 College St, Sydney CBD

Located in Sydney’s CBD, the award winning Bodhi Restaurant is a vegan mecca.

Selling itself using the simple tagline “Enlightened food, good for the body, great for the soul,” Bodhi combines yum-cha with a range of Asian inspired dishes and a host of exquisite desserts. In short, it should be near the top of any vegan dining bucket list.

We’re here to focus on the desserts though and this is where Bodhi excels. Try the amazing sticky date pudding or the unbeatable vegan yuzu cheesecake with black sesame. Trust us, you won’t regret it.

Shift Eatery

  • 241 Commonwealth St, Surrey Hills

Shift Eatery is Sydney’s first exclusively vegan deli. You can snack on plant-based sandwiches, toasties, salads, bowls and desserts or sip on smoothies, juices, coffees or kombucha. In short, there’s plenty to choose from.

We’re focusing on dessert however, and trust us, Shift Eatery has got you covered with a range of sweet treats that are simply to die for.

You can get stuck into a range of vegan donuts, tarts and cakes that will leave you wanting more. Throw in a vegan hot chocolate for good measure and you’ve got the perfect morning tea.

Orchard Street Elixir Bar

  • 2 Brighton Boulevard, North Bondi

Orchard Street Elixir Bar has a range of juices, cleanses, milks and tonics that will have you feeling so good you’ll be telling anyone who will listen about them. They also offer dessert too.

While they offer some of the cutest cakes you’ll ever see, their masterpiece is undoubtedly the sweet toasted banana bread. It comes with a drizzle of tahini and coconut and is the sweet treat you’ve been searching for. Go visit them today!

Green Gourmet

  • 115 King St, Newtown
  • 538 Pacific Highway, St Leonards

When it comes to the range of vegan desserts on offer, Green Gourmet is tough to beat. Sweetened using coconut sugar and agave nectar, Green Gourmet has developed a range of treats that includes brownies, chocolate fudge and pop tarts to name a few.

Put simply, it’s a sweet-tooth’s dream.

If you’re a little bit adventurous, Green Gourmet is renowned for their tofu ice cream. While that sounds a little suspect, relax because it’s not tofu flavoured. It’s just tofu-based and comes in flavours including coconut, maple, walnut and even black sesame.

Nutie Donuts

  • 13 Beattie St, Balmain

Think donuts have to be heavy, unhealthy and filled with sugar? Think again.

Nutie donuts has arrived in Balmain with a range of gluten-free, vegan donuts that will have you salivating.

Flavours include:

  • Pineapple
  • Snickers
  • Blueberry pie
  • Maple Bacon

If donuts aren’t your thing, that’s ok too. Nutie Donuts can look after you with their range of vegan cheesecakes. Try the Classic New York or the Lemon and Blueberry. If you’re really hungry, why not have both?

Gelato Blue (Newton)

  • 318 King St, Newton

While Gelato Blue doesn’t focus on cakes or brownies or other dessert treats, they simply had to be included because their coconut milk-based gelato is insanely good.

With an extensive range of creative and out-there flavours, we are pretty sure there will be something for everyone. Flavours range from carrot cake to peanut butter brownie and even pina colada.

Ultimately, Gelato Blue helps define the vegan creativity that has come to define the Sydney food landscape. Get there ASAP.

Ingredient substitutes

Keen to make your own vegan cakes Sydney? Great!!

Before you get started, there’s probably a few products you’re going to need to buy that typically aren’t found in most pantries. These products are your substitutes. Your stand-ins that fill the roles previously occupied by eggs, milk, butter or any other animal products.

We’ve broken down the substitutes into milk, egg and butter replacements and have provided a few alternatives so you can get the one that’s right for you.

What can I use as a substitute for eggs?

We’re going to start with the most difficult ingredient to replace. While in biscuits eggs play a role in binding the ingredients, in cakes they are used for leavening.

In simple terms, leavening involves the production or addition of gases into a cake or baked goods with the aim of increasing volume and producing texture. When beaten, eggs help create tiny air pockets in cake mixture. As the cake is baked, these pockets expand creating the light, fluffy cakes we all love.

Replacing eggs won’t be easy but your options include:

  • Applesauce
  • Ground flax seeds/chia seeds: mix one tablespoon of seeds with three tablespoons of water.
  • One tablespoon of vinegar mixed with one teaspoon of baking soda (replaces one egg)
  • Carbonated water (¼ of a cup): can add moisture while the carbonation mimics the leavening effects of eggs.

Replacing butter: your options

Unlike eggs, butter is not too difficult to replace. In fact, there are a number of substitutes that exist across a range of categories.

At the end of the day, butter is just a source of fat and animal fat is rarely good for you. These substitutes will likely make your cooking much better for you.

In order to replace butter, you could use:

  • Oils: sunflower, olive or peanut to name a few
  • Coconut oil: while it is an oil, it’s got a texture that’s closer to butter.
  • Nut butters
  • Vegan margarines: essentially a like-for-like swap

What can I use as a vegan substitute for milk?

Out of the three, milk is by far the easiest ingredient to replace. That’s because there are already a ton of non-dairy milk products available that will more than adequately fill the role. In most cases, you won’t even notice the difference.

Options include:

  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Soy milk
  • Other, more obscure milks include: rice milk, cashew milk, flax milk and oat milk

Most of these options will be available at your nearest supermarket or health food shop. However, if you’re keen to get your hands dirty, making your own is relatively simple.

Soak the nuts/seeds/beads in water for hours (e.g. overnight). Next, blend with water and then strain the ingredients. Sweeten if necessary. That’s all there is to it.

Is vegan cake healthy?

Possibly, but only to an extent. Ultimately, it comes down to your ingredients.

Don’t fall into the trap of automatically assuming vegan cakes Sydney are healthy for you. A vegan cake simply implies the absence of animal products (eggs, butter, etc.) which will typically make these cakes lower in saturated fats.

However, if the cake is made with excessive amounts of oil, unrefined flour, sugar then, like any cake, it will be unhealthy.

If you are looking for a healthy vegan cake, look for recipes that replace sugar with natural sweeteners and unrefined flour with whole grain flour. However, keep in mind that these ingredients will make any cake healthier, not just vegan cakes.

So, as always, consume in moderation. A vegan cake can be healthier for you than a normal cake, however, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you.

Vegan cakes Sydney: the best chocolate cake recipe

Do you want a moist, light, decadent cake that’s 100% vegan? Monzi’s here to help.

We’ve dug into the recipe book to find a vegan chocolate cake we know you’re going to love. Best of all, it’s so easy!

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 and ¼ cups of plain/wholemeal flour (it’s up to you)
  • 1 cup of sugar (can replace with a natural sweetener)
  • ¼ cup of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • ⅓ cup of oil (we recommend vegetable but it’s up to you)
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

For the icing:

  • ½ cup of sugar or natural sweetener
  • 4 tablespoons of margarine (or coconut oil)
  • 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk (almond, soy etc.
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Note that this ingredient list provides a guide only. You are more than welcome to add more or less of each ingredient depending on your preferences.

Method

For the cake:

Add all the dry ingredients into one bowl, stirring until combined. In a separate bowl, blend together the water, vinegar, oil and vanilla. Add the wet mix to the dry mix and stir until it is combined and there are no lumps.

Pour mixture into a cake tin and bake for approximately 30 minutes (will depend on your oven) at 180 degrees celsius. After removing it from the oven, rest the cake on a wire rack

For the icing:

In a saucepan, boil the sugar, milk, cocoa and margarine, stirring often. After bringing it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes while continually stirring it. Remove the mixture from the stove and continue stirring for two minutes. Add enough vanilla to suit your tastes and then immediately ice the cake.

Vegan cakes Sydney: the unbeatable raw cheesecake recipe

Not a fan of chocolate? That’s alright, everyone’s tastes are different.

We want to cater to everyone so we’ve included a second recipe just in case. This raw cheesecake is simple, delicious and will leave you wanting more.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • Two to three cups of nuts (cashews or macadamias are what we recommend, however, it is up to you).
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • ½ cup of honey or maple syrup (whatever you have on hand)
  • ⅓ cup of warm coconut oil
  • 100-150ml of lemon juice
  • ¼ cup of water
  • Pinch of salt

For the biscuit crust:

  • One cup of dates
  • Two cups of almonds (or another nut)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence

Method

Cake mix: pour nuts into a bowl, cover them with water and leave to soak overnight. The following day, drain and dry the nuts. Then, combine all ingredients in your food processor and blend for approximately five minutes. Once the mixture is smooth and well-combined, pour into the biscuit crust that you prepared earlier.

Biscuit base: Combine all the ingredients in your food processor and process until a crumble forms. Do not use a blender. If you feel that the mixture is too dry then you can add up to a tablespoon of water. Line a large cake tin (or smaller individual tins) with the biscuit crust and leave in the freezer to set.

Serving suggestions: You can store your cheesecakes in the freezer for two to three weeks after you can make them. Remove your cheesecake from the freeze approximately 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat to allow it to thaw.

Are there any vegan cakes Sydney mixes?

Yes!

If you’re not willing or unable to put the time into making a cake from scratch, there are options. In short, just like with any other cake, there are a range of pre-prepared vegan cake mixes that you can buy.

You’ll have to add a few of your own ingredients but typically, you’ll have it ready and in the oven in no time.

The result: delicious cake with minimal effort. Perfect for the time-poor sweet tooth in your life.

Vegan cakes Sydney: now it’s your turn

Whether you’re keen to get your hands dirty making your own delicious dessert treats or just want to hit up your nearest vegan cafe, we know you’re going to love it.

While we’ve tried to share all the secrets we know, there’s so much information out there and it’s growing each day. Moreover, do your research and find the best recipes or dessert bars near you. Your tastebuds will thank you.

Head to the State Government’s website for more ideas.

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Cafe Sydney – The Definitive Guide

Cafe Sydney people making coffee

Sydney is arguably the brunch capital of Australia. Whether you’re looking for a delicious breakfast, great coffee or fine dining, there are plenty of cafes to choose from. To give you the ultimate run-down on where to grab a bite to eat or a coffee, Monzi is here with our complete cafe Sydney guide. Let’s go!

Cafe Sydney people making coffee

Cafe Sydney

Visiting your local cafe for coffee or brunch is one of the great Australian pastimes. It almost doesn’t matter where you live, there’s usually a local cafe just around the corner or a short stroll away.

In fact, cafes are so abundant in this nation of ours that Australia is often referred to as the “cafe capital of the world.”

What makes Sydney special though is the range on offer. Inner-city or the outer-suburbs, fine dining or breakfast staples, even pet cafes, there’s something for every taste and preference.

At the end of the day, deciding where to go can be your hardest decision.

To help inform your decision, Monzi has put together this guide complete with reviews of some of our favourite Sydney coffee hotspots. Get in and check them out. You’ll be rewarded with great food and even better coffee.

Cafe Sydney CBD: the top three inner-city coffee hotspots

Are you working in the city and looking for your daily shot of caffeine? Maybe you’re on your way to hit the shops and want to fuel up with a delicious brunch beforehand.

Whatever your reason is for visiting the CBD, there are plenty of cafes in and around the city that you’re going to love.

While we could have listed ten of our favourite cafes, we’re going to keep it simple. Read on for the list of our three favourites.

Ovo Cafe Sydney

  • 13/63 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.

Sydney’s best kept secret may be the Ovo Cafe. Located in Oxford Plaza, just outside the CBD, this Brazilian cafe will knock your socks off. While the food is the main draw card, the hanging plants and modern design create a welcoming environment that you’re going to love.

If you’re hunting something to do on a Sunday morning then Ovo’s all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet is worth a look. You can spend your morning indulging in a range of tarts, croissants and cakes. Best of all, at only $25 per person it won’t break the bank.

On the other hand, if cake’s not your thing then why not sample one of Brazil’s most famous exports, the Acai bowl. Not only is it good for you but it’s oh so Instagram-able too. Expertly designed and lined with kiwi fruit, banana and strawberry, it’s among the most photogenic meals you’ll ever come across.

The Grounds of the City

  • 500 George Street, Sydney CBD.

If we were handing out a prize for the most creative name, “The Grounds of the City” would be tough to beat. However, we’re here to talk about the food and the coffee and fortunately, The Grounds of the City excel at both.

Centrally located and filled with fabulous decor, the beautifully designed cafe seamlessly transitions from a buzzing coffee hotspot during the day into a modern restaurant at night.

With a diverse menu and great coffee, the Grounds of the City will have something to offer everyone. Combining modern culinary innovation with old-school generosity and flavour, you won’t leave disappointed.

Eastern Suburbs

Whether accurate or not, residents of the eastern suburbs have a reputation for being incredibly picky when it comes to coffee.

With this, as you might expect, some of Sydney’s best cafes are found in these areas. While the list could go on and on, a few of our favourites can be seen below.

Bills-Bondi

  • 79 Hall Street, Bondi Beach.

While it may not look extravagant with its minimalist interior and basic exterior, don’t underestimate it. Bills’ will serve up some of your favourite breakfast staples at an almost unmatched quality.

On the other hand, if you’re still trying to stick to your New Year’s resolution of eating healthy then why not sample a green smoothie. Be warned though, they’re not for the faint of heart. Ingredients range from the standard mango or banana through to the more obscure aloe vera.

Given that it is located in Bondi, be warned that it can get busy, particularly on weekends. While if you’re dining alone or with a friend finding a table shouldn’t take too long, turning up with a bunch of your friends can result in delays.

If you’re looking for a table for more than eight people then you are able to book beforehand. Keep that in mind because it can save you a stack of time.

Single O

  • 60-64 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills

A quaint, little streetside cafe, punches well above its weight when it comes to coffee. In fact, back in 2003, they helped introduce Sydney residents to the wonders of single origin coffee.

Since then, a lot has changed and single origin coffee has become a favourite of many coffee connoisseurs.

Getting back to Single O and their pioneering ways, their 2019 renovation bought with it a fabulous innovation: Sydney’s first self-service batch brew bar. You have the choice of four, single-origin coffees at the touch of a button.

While it’s undoubtedly a coffee lover’s dream, Single O’s innovation doesn’t end there. Check the menu and you will find a collection of daring meals combining modern creativity with fresh and local produce.

Be prepared to encounter ingredients including strawberry gum, anise myrtle and saltbush. While this may sound a little funky, trust us, all the food is delicious.

Sydney’s north and northern beaches

While we’ve covered plenty of cafes south of the Harbour Bridge, we want to look after our friends on the northside too.

Whether you’re lucky enough to be a northern beaches’ resident or you’re just passing through, you won’t be short on places to grab a coffee. Our favourites include:

Nine Yards Coffee

  • 11 Green Street, Brookvale

Ever heard of the expression “going the whole nine yards?” That’s the inspiration and mantra of the organisation and helps influence every decision that is made. In short, it’s a commitment to quality without taking shortcuts.

Nine Yards Coffee is primarily a coffee roasting company, however, their roastery cafe produces some of the best coffee in Sydney. All coffee beans are freshly harvested and sustainably sourced.

This unrivalled commitment to excellence helps set Nine Yards Coffee apart from the rest. Get in a try a cup today.

Devon Cafe North Sydney

  • 36 Blue Street, North Sydney (opposite North Sydney Train Station)

Check the Devon Cafe website and you’ll immediately come across their philosophy. “Devon runs on love and laughter with cups of strong coffee and good food.” What more could you want out of a cafe?

With three locations covering North Sydney, Barangaroo and Surry Hills, Devon Cafe is a Sydney cafe staple. Combining fine dining with a range of casual cafe food you can order your favourite foods with a quirky twist.

The menu covers brunch, salads and bowls, mains and sweets thereby ensuring there’s something for every level of hunger. Throw in an excellent cup of coffee and you’ve got everything you need.

Western Suburbs and surrounds

Looking a little further afield? That’s okay. The inner-city isn’t the only place to find a great brunch in Sydney. If you do your research, there are some cracking cafes no matter where you’re located.

One Another

  • 131 Wilson Street, Newtown

An area renowned for its abundance of young people, Newtown is often slapped with the “hipster” tag. And what are hipsters and young people known to love: brunch.

Whether it’s avo on toast, a green smoothie or an acai bowl, the way to a millennial’s heart is through their stomach.

In Newtown, the go-to destination has to be One Another. A laid-back yet sophisticated space that’s sure to satisfy.

While the all-day break menu only contains ten items, One Another prides itself on using fresh and seasonal produce to create the best possible meals for you. Not only that, all items are under $20 which in the Sydney cafe market actually represents exceptional value.

As a word of warning, don’t get too attached to your favourite meal. The menu is constantly evolving meaning there’s always something new to discover.

Circa Espresso

  • 21 Wentworth Street, Parramatta.

First things first Circa Espresso has plenty of great food and coffee on offer. However, we’re here to talk about one meal in particular: the Ottoman Eggs.

What are Ottoman Eggs?

Well, you’ll be served poach eggs topped with burnt chilli and sage, placed on a bed of crumbed eggplant and garlic labneh. Throw in a slice of toast on the side and you’ve got a dish that reached cult status in the brunch mad city of Sydney.

While the Ottoman eggs put Circa Espresso on the map, the rest of their Middle Eastern-inspired menu has a range of dishes for you to enjoy. At around $20 a plate, these hearty, restaurant-standard meals are also great value.

Seriously though, try the Ottoman Eggs!!

Cafe Sydney: something other than brunch

While we all associate cafes with coffee and brunch, there are some cafes that offer something a little different.

Keen for dinner or a few beers?

Check out what’s on offer below.

Hard Rock Cafe

  • 2-10 Darling Drive, Darling Harbour.

What do you get when you cross rock and roll memorabilia with a range of classic American foods? You get the Hard Rock Cafe.

Any iconic brand worldwide, you can experience live music, eat great food and take in spectacular views of Sydney Harbour at the picturesque Darling Harbour location. Whether it’s ribs, burgers or cocktails, the Hard Rock Cafe is a great place to visit next time you’re in Sydney.

Bavarian Bier Cafe

  • 644 George St, Sydney CBD

The Bavarian Cafe Sydney is conveniently located on level 1 at World Square in the CBD, making it as central as it gets. There’s indoor and outdoor seating and dining and a huge bier garden that provides you with a view over World Square.

Get stuck into a pretzel or schnitzel if you’re hungry or knock off a few beers with your mates. The Bavarian Bier Cafe provides a relaxed atmosphere that you will love.

Belgian Beer Cafe

  • 135 Harrington St, The Rocks

Located in the heart of Sydney, the Belgian Beer Cafe is a place not to be missed. If you’re a beer lover that is. The cafe is located in a rustic, two story dining hall that will make you feel like you’ve escaped to a simpler time.

If you’re looking for food then trying the mussels is a must. For those of you focused solely on the beer, the cafe offers a range of draughts that you’ll love.

Fine dining

While we’ve covered coffee, brunch and beer, the cafe moniker has also been taken on by some of Sydney’s top fine dining establishments.

If you’re feeling a little fancy or just want to try some of the best food Sydney has to offer, consider checking out one of the following locations:

Cafe Sydney

  • 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay.

In terms of iconic Sydney dining locations, Cafe Sydney is tough to beat. Perched on the top level of Customs House in Circular Quay, this cafe provides views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House for you to enjoy.

When it comes to the food, they have established a reputation over the past 20 years for delivering exquisite meals showcasing some of Australia’s finest local produce and seafood. If you’re a wine connoisseur, the extensive list of Australian wines will have you buzzing.

In short, Cafe Sydney is a must-visit location for all you fine-dining aficionados.

Cafe Del Mar

  • Rooftop Terrace Cockle Bay Wharf, 35 Wheat Rd, Sydney

Cafe del Mar Sydney has it all. Located on a Darling Harbour rooftop, Cafe del Mar combines spectacular views with delicious, Mediterranean style food and a top-notch bar. In short, it’s one of Sydney’s top locations to eat, drink or party with friends.

Keen for a catch up with your friends? A Cafe del Mar bottomless, long lunch is exactly what you need. With plates to share and drinks flowing, it’s sure to be an afternoon filled with fun and frivolity.

Cafe Sydney with a twist: cats and coffee

  • Catmosphere: 66 Foveaux St, Surry Hills

Do you love cats and coffee? Well, let me tell you all your dreams have come true. Catmosphere, located in the inner suburbs, is the original and best cat cafe in Sydney.

Catmosphere is dedicated to supporting and re-homing rescue cats and kittens. They’re partnered with a number of cat rescue groups and provide a safe space for those kitties without a home. Best of all, some are adoptable meaning you can walk out with a new best friend.

Catmosphere offers a number of experiences and you need to book in advance. You can spend your time in the Cat Lounge, play with kittens in the Playroom or enjoy a boutique cinema experience at the Catflix Cat Cinema. It’s up to you.

Cafe Sydney: Australia’s coffee obsession

The reason there are so many great cafes to choose from is that Australia has a major love affair with coffee. And not just any coffee either. High-quality, made-to-taste coffee.

As a nation, we’ve largely shunned the large, multi-national coffee chains, instead favouring our local baristas and cafes who know what we like.

The most prominent example of this was the failure of Starbucks in Australia. While a world-wide market leader, Starbucks failed to produce coffee that matched our taste preferences.

The ensuing collapse and closure of numerous stores has become a case-study on how not to go about entering a new market.

Ultimately, Australia has developed a reputation as a nation of coffee snobs. We have refined preferences and won’t settle for less. If you try to deliver subpar coffee in Australia, you’re going to get found out.

Australia’s love affair with coffee: the stats

To give you an insight into just how obsessed with coffee we are, here are some stats.

  • More than one in four Australians believe they cannot go a single day without coffee
  • A tick over three-quarters of Aussies have at least one cup per day.
  • In an average working week, more than 80% of Australians buy a cup of coffee.
  • The Australian coffee market has an annual revenue in excess of $2 billion.
  • Australians spend, on average, $13 per week on coffee. That’s more than $600 per year!

The caffeine addiction is real.

Selecting the best cafe Sydney: why is it so hard

While we’ve tried to guide you in the direction of some of our favourite coffee hotspots, choosing the best cafe in Sydney is really hard!!

Why?

Australians are really picky when it comes to coffee. While good coffee is good coffee, the finely-tuned palate of many Australian coffee drinkers means that subtle differences matter. As such, we’re all going to have different preferences which in turn means we’re all going to favour different cafes.

So, what’s our tip? Get out there and explore. Visit a range of cafes in your local area and sample what they have to offer. If you find that you like more than one, that’s okay too. Nobody ever said you have to be exclusive.

If you’re ever in doubt, great tie-breakers include the food, comfort and how busy it is. But at the end of the day, it’s totally up to you.

Click here for more information on what’s happening in Sydney.

What does Monzi do?

So, what does Monzi actually do? Well, in short, we do not run cafes. Instead, we’re lender-finder service for Aussies looking for personal finance.

If you’re, therefore, looking for a lender, head over to our site to apply. After all, we’ll do our best to have an outcome for you within 60 minutes. The below table, moreover, includes examples of the personal loans potentially on offer:

Personal loanAmount (AUD)Details
Small loan$300 to $2,000Unsecured
Medium loan$2,001 to $4,600Secured
Large loan$5,000 to $10,000Secured

Car Yards Melbourne – The Monzi Guide

Car yards Melbourne blurred aerial view of car dealership

Need car yards Melbourne? Monzi is here to give you the low-down on finding your next set of wheels. We’ll cover all the tips and tricks that’ll have you driving around in your dream car in no time. Let’s go!

Car yards Melbourne blurred aerial view of car dealership

Car yards Melbourne

Melbourne is home to an extensive range of car dealerships, selling both new cars and used vehicles. If you’re a Melbourne resident looking for a new car, you won’t be short on options.

One thing you will find though is that finding the right car can be really difficult. There are dozens of car makers who each offer a range of models. Even once you’ve settled on that you have to decide between manual or automatic, new or used and petrol or diesel.

In short, your head’s going to be spinning.

To ensure you can walk into your local dealership with a clear mind and an idea of what you want, Monzi has put together this guide covering all the key decisions you’ll need to make.

Finding the right car for your situation: know your budget

While we all want to buy the flashiest, fastest or most comfortable car possible, it’s important to remember what your car is used for. At the end of the day, it only needs to get you from A to B. Ideally, it will do this in a reliable fashion.

Before you start researching your options, it’s important to know what you can afford to spend. In order to do this you’ll need to have a clear understanding of your financial situation. So, consider the balance between your saving, income and expenses. This information will then help inform your research (new vs used, etc.).

If you are looking to make a budget, ASIC’s MoneySmart budget planner is a free online resource that could come in handy. It will help categorise your income and expenses so you know exactly where your money’s going.

How do I choose the right car?

There is no simple, one-size-fits-all answer to this question because ultimately, everyone is different. We each have different preferences, uses, needs and financial situations which will help define our choice of car.

Not only that, with the sheer range of choice on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why it’s important to narrow down your search as much as possible.

To help get the ball rolling, key considerations may include:

  • Manual or automatic: you can often get manual cars at a better price. However, if you only have an automatic licence, this won’t be an option.
  • Big or small: A big car will be roomier, however, it will use more fuel and registration and insurance cost will be higher too.
  • New or second-hand: while a new car may last longer, you will save money buying second-hand. And more often than not, you won’t even notice the difference.
  • Colour: aesthetics are important but this should only be a minor consideration. Price, size and fuel economy should all carry more weight.

Tips for sticking to your budget

While making a budget is a great first step, it will be utterly meaningless if you don’t stick to it. Moreover, exceeding your budget can potentially compromise your financial situation and create issues down the line.

While it sticking to your budget may sound like common sense, you’d be surprised at how tricky it can be. Especially if you find your dream car at a price that’s slightly higher than you can afford.

Ultimately, discipline and self-control are key. Tips for sticking to your budget include:

  • Save, save, save: the more you save, the more you can afford to spend (potentially). Not only that, you can pay more upfront thereby reducing your future interest repayments.
  • Set a maximum price: there’s only so much you can afford to spend. Set a maximum and abide by it. One or two thousand dollars more might not seem like a lot but it can come back to bite you in the future.
  • Bargain: try to talk the dealer into offering a lower price. If you’re a serious buyer, they may be willing to make a deal.

Are car yards Melbourne my only option?

Not at all.

While most people will buy their cars from car yards in Melbourne simply for the ease of purchase and finance options offered, they’re not the only place you can buy a car from.

Your alternative options include private sellers and auctions.

Private sales

A private sale is when you buy the car directly from its owner. Typically, the car will be listed online or in the local classifieds. You will need to pay upfront, meaning you will either need to have the money saved or you will need to take out a personal loan.

If you do buy privately, ensure you take the car for a test drive and ask the current owner to provide the following paperwork:

  • Current registration
  • Safety check and roadworthy certificate
  • Proof of ownership.

Car auctions

If this sounds appealing to you, do your research and find a local auction. They typically take place fairly regularly and there is often a great selection of cars on offer. While you may be able to score a bargain, there are no inspections or test-drives so it can be risky.

Car yards Melbourne: do I want new or used?

While we’ve already covered it briefly, the age old debate when it comes to buying a car is: should you buy a new car from a dealership or a second-hand one from used car yards Melbourne?

In short, both come with their advantages and disadvantages which means you’re going to have to decide what it is you value.

As a quick note, remember that not all used cars are created equal. They can vary significantly in age, kilometres travelled, wear and tear and service history. So, do a thorough audit of the car’s key information before purchase.

In any case, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of new and used cars.

Why you should buy a new car

The benefits of a new car come down to the fact that it is exactly that, new! That means there’s no wear and tear and it should be in mint condition.

More specifically, the benefits include:

  • Maintenance should be minimal and typically it will be covered by the warranty
  • Customisable: you can select various features and the colour
  • A range of new technology and gadgets often come as standard.
  • Top-notch safety features: brake assist, reversing camera, etc.
  • Typically more fuel efficient

Why you shouldn’t buy a new car

  • They’re more expensive
  • Depreciation: this is the major con of buying a new car. New cars may lose up to 40% of their value within three years of purchase.
  • You may have to follow a strict servicing routine (including who services the car) in order to maintain the warranty’s validity.
  • May be more expensive to insure.

The upside of buying second-hand

While buying a used car may be riskier, with a bit of research, you can potentially find a reliable car for a great price.

Other benefits include:

  • You can potentially save yourself a ton of money.
  • You don’t have to worry about the significant depreciation that occurs early in the car’s life.
  • There’s a huge range to choose from. With the internet and the number of car yards Melbourne, you can potentially find a range of different makes, models and ages at a price that suits you.
  • It may be cheaper to ensure a used car.

The issues with buying second-hand

The issues with buying second-hand cars are the risks that you must take on. These issues apply generally and should be considered before purchase.

Obviously, the presence of these risks will be determined by a number of factors including the age of the car, wear and tear and the manufacturer.

These issues may include:

  • More frequent maintenance may be required meaning costs can add up.
  • When you purchase the car, you have limited knowledge of past performance, how well the car has been maintained or how it has been driven.
  • Depending on the car’s age and manufacturer, finding replacement parts may be difficult or expensive.
  • Second-hand cars may be less fuel-efficient thereby costing you money.

Best car dealers Melbourne

There are a ton of car yards in Melbourne. As such, it can be difficult to pinpoint who the best are. Like with any product, there will be good and bad dealers and it’s up to you to make the right choice.

At the end of the day, dealers are there to make a sale. So, before making any purchase ensure it is all above board.

Most importantly, ensure the dealer is licenced. In Victoria, car traders are required to apply for a licence. As such, a dealer operating without a licence would be a serious red flag.

Other steps you should take before purchase include:

  • Complete an inspection: check the interior, exterior and under the bonnet for signs of rust, wear or other issues.
  • Take it for a test drive
  • Check the car’s service history and make sure there is no money owed on the car via a PPSR check
  • Get the VIN number: the 17 digit code typically located on the driver’s door is necessary to check the car’s history.

Car yards Melbourne: completing a proper inspection

If you’re buying a second-hand car, completing a thorough inspection is critical.

Similarly, if you’re buying a new car, inspect it thoroughly and take it for a test drive. There should be fewer issues and in any case, they should be covered by warranty. However, doing your due diligence is never a bad idea.

If you’re looking for a checklist on how to inspect a vehicle, try to tick the following boxes.

Exterior

  • Check the paintwork: are there bubbles or differences in colour? These may indicate rust or that the car was in an accident.
  • Do the doors, windows and boot close properly?
  • Are all the panels in place?
  • Check the tread on the tyres: uneven wear on the tyres can indicate a steering or suspension problem.

Interior

  • Is the upholstery in good condition?
  • Test the seats: are they comfortable and adjustable?
  • Ensure that all the lights and accessories in the car are operating properly: may include windows, air conditioning, windscreen wipers and radio.

Under the bonnet

  • Check the oil levels and ensure it’s the correct colour. Discoloured oil may indicate an engine problem
  • Remove the radiator cap in order to check the coolant. Make sure it’s clean and bright in colour.
  • Look at the battery for signs of corrosion or rust

Start the engine

  • Does it sound normal? Are there any irregular noises (e.g. rattling)?
  • Check that the amount of exhaust is normal.
  • Look underneath the car for signs of an oil leak.

Car yards western suburbs Melbourne

Located in Melbourne’s westerns suburbs and looking for a new set of wheels? There are plenty of great car dealerships in your area that can help you score a great deal.

Whether you’re looking to buy a new or used car, there’s something for everyone. Most major car makers have dealerships in the western suburbs while there’s a range of top-notch second-hand sellers too.

Do your research and find the car that’s right for you. There’s a good chance you won’t have to travel too far.

Where can I buy cars online Australia?

If you don’t want to head down to one of the many Melbourne car yards to purchase your car, that’s okay. There are a number of online car buying websites that you can access.

In Australia, Car Sales is undoubtedly the most popular website with up to 200,000 listings. You can sort by price, make, model and location making it easy to find your dream car.

While they may not have the same range of Car Sales, other online options may include CarsGuide, Drive or classifieds websites such as Gumtree.

Finally, these websites allow you to access listings nation-wide. While a car may be available at a great price, if it is located in another city or state, the onus will be on you to organise transport.

Is there a cooling off period when buying a used car in Victoria?

Yes.

If you buy a car from a licenced car dealer in Victoria, you are entitled to a cooling off period of three business days (this excludes weekends and public holidays). In this period, you may change your mind and back out of the purchase.

If, during the cooling off period, you decide that the car is not for you, contact your dealer immediately. You will need to provide written notice that you intend to terminate the sale agreement.

Terminating the agreement may come at a cost however. If you’ve bought from a car yard Melbourne, the dealer may be entitled to keep $400 or 2% of the purchase price, whichever is greater.

Keep in mind that the cooling off period does not apply to private sales or commercial vehicles.

Do car yards Melbourne sell four-wheel drive cars?

Yes, of course.

In fact there are a number of 4 x 4 card yards Melbourne who deal exclusively in four-wheel drives.

Whether you’re looking to replace your work ute or keen to get off the beaten track, there may be a vehicle that suits your needs.

Like with all cars, you can access and range of makes and models that come in a variety of different ages. Shop around, do your research and you may be able to score yourself a great deal.

Is financing a car a good idea?

Potentially, as long as it is affordable for you.

In an ideal world, you will have enough money saved to buy your car outright. Borrowing money comes with interest which means the cost will be greater.

Obviously, having the cash on hand to buy a car outright may not always be possible. In this case, you will either need to continue saving or take out a loan.

The main benefit of financing a car is that the costs will be spread over a long-period into a series of manageable repayments. This will however, come at the cost of interest. Ultimately, you will need to decide if this is right for you.

Is it better to finance a car through car yards Melbourne or a bank?

If you’re buying a loan and financing it via credit, you’ll have two options. You can either take out a car loan through a bank or access dealer-arranged finance.

A car loan is simple. It’s just a type of secured loan used to purchase your car offered by a lender or bank. The loan is secured by the car and is typically repaid over a number of years.

Finance through a dealer is essentially the same thing, however, they’ll do the work for you. You will need to fill out a credit application and from there, they will approach lenders on your behalf. Typically, this process will be quicker than applying for a car loan.

Ultimately, the the best choice for you will depend on your circumstances and what’s on offer. Typically, the best car loan option will be the one that saves you more money, although this is often difficult to calculate.

Should I take out a loan to buy a car?

At the end of the day, it will come down to your financial situation and what you feel you can manage. As a result, Monzi cannot say definitely what is right for your circumstances.

If you do opt to take out a car loan, there are a few things you should consider first in order to get the best deal. These include:

  • How much do you need to borrow: this may affect the interest rate applied as well as the type of loan you are applying for (secured or unsecured).
  • The term: how long will you be making repayments for? Shorter is typically better, however, payments spread over a long period may be more affordable for you.
  • The interest rate: the lower the better. The interest rate determines the amount you will pay on top of the principal amount you borrowed.
  • Fixed or variable: variable loans may offer the option to modify your repayments or pay the loan off sooner. With a fixed loan, your repayments will be locked in.

Moreover, you could potentially use Monzi’s lender-finder service to apply for the following loans:

Small personal loan$300 to $2,000Unsecured
Medium personal loan$2,001 to $4,600Secured
Large personal loan$5,000 to $10,0000Secured

Not sure where to begin? Read our guide to finding out how much you can borrow with a car loan. Alternatively, find out the difference between a novated lease vs. car loan.

Car yards Melbourne: take care

If we can leave you with one piece of advice, it would be “don’t rush in.” Buying a car is one of the largest financial commitments you will make in your life. So, it’s crucial that you make the right decision.

Do you research, know what you want and don’t feel pressured to buy. Take your time and find the best car for you. Follow this and you can potentially find the car of your dreams at the right price.

Begin your search today!

Best Swimming Holes Near Me

Swimming holes waterfall in jungle

Keen to cool off? Got a thirst for adventure? Australia is home to some of the world’s finest natural swimming holes. Chances are there’s one near you. To help you out, Monzi has put together a comprehensive swimming hole guide covering everything you need to know. Let’s go.

Swimming holes waterfall in jungle

Swimming holes near me

In summer, you need to beat the heat. Sure you could get a loan out to install a pool, but there’s something captivating and wondrous about a natural swimming hole.

Often buried in the rainforest or hidden by rocky surrounds, swimming holes take many forms. They can be rivers, streams, springs, lakes, creeks or rock pools. One thing they typically have in common though is that they’re usually off the beaten track.

While some are more popular than others and can become a little crowded, if you do your research there are plenty of stunning options for you if you’re seeking a quiet swim in a beautiful location.

To get you started, Monzi has put together this guide covering a few of our favourite swimming spots, some safety tips and a handful of other useful tidbits. So, let’s begin.

What to pack?

If you’re planning a day trip then the inevitable question is what do you need to take with you. Most swimming holes are isolated meaning access to amenities and shops may be limited. This will no doubt affect what you pack.

Some common examples include:

  • Hat, SunSmart clothes, sunglasses
  • Towel and togs (swimmers or bathers or whatever you call them)
  • Food: take a picnic
  • Water: pack plenty. If it’s hot you’ll be thirsty and dehydration is always a risk.
  • Enclosed shoes
  • A change of clothes
  • A rope
  • Picnic blanket
  • Minor medical supplies: a few bandaids etc. in case of minor cuts or grazes.

Our guide to Australia’s best swimming holes

Australia is home to well over 1,000 natural water holes. However, for the sake of brevity, we’re not going to mention them all.

Instead, we’ve put together a list of our 10 favourites across a number of different states and territories. Therefore, you’re sure to find one that is a short drive away. In other words, you certainly won’t need to take out a loan to cover the travel costs!

In any case, let’s get stuck into the list.

Swimming holes in Far North Queensland

Search for swimming holes Cairns and you’ll come away thinking Far North Queensland is the mecca for swimming hole enthusiasts. Both in the number of options and the sheer natural beauty, far North Queensland is as good as it gets.

Our favourite places to cool off include:

Millaa Millaa Falls

  • Location: Atherton Tablelands
  • Approx. 90 min drive from Cairns

When a place is known as “Australia’s most photographed falls” you know it must be beautiful. Millaa Millaa Falls features an 18m waterfall surrounded by lush, green rainforest. The falls cascade down into a pure, cool waterhole below. You can have a refreshing swim to cool off and escape the stifling North-Queensland heat and humidity.

BBQ and picnic facilities are available, making it one of Australia’s most beautiful lunch locations. Keep an eye out and you might even spot a platypus too.

Josephine Falls

  • Location: Wooroonooran National Park
  • Approx. 90 min drive from Cairns

To give you an idea of the natural beauty, Josephine Falls has been featured in numerous television commercials. With large flat rocks, crystal clear water and a sandy beach, it’s an absolute must to visit. Take a hike along the walking track and you can see the falls up close providing the perfect opportunity to take some photos.

For more information on Far North Queensland, head over to their tourism website.

Swimming holes Brisbane and surrounds

Whether it’s swimming Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast, south-east Queensland is home to some of the most picturesque nature in the country.

Cedar Creek Falls

  • Location: Tamborine National Park
  • Approx. One hour drive from Brisbane

Located at the base of Mt Tamborine, Cedar Creek swimming hole flows down into three rock pools. From the carpark, a track leads to a lookout which provides views of the gorge, waterfall and the rock pools below.

Another windy track then takes you down to the rockpools if you’re keen for a swim. It’s approximately 900m and can be quite steep so prepared for some exercise.

In terms of freshwater swimming pools Brisbane, Cedar Creek Falls is one of the most popular meaning parking spaces are limited so get in early.

Swimming holes Sydney

While you might not find any water holes in Sydney itself, a quick search of ‘swimming holes Blue Mountains’ should bring up some great results.

Our pick of the bunch? It’s gotta be Jellybean. Check below for our review.

Jellybean Pool

  • Location: Blue Mountains National Park
  • Approx. 70 min drive from Sydney CBD

A relatively quick drive from Sydney, the Jellybean Pool features a white river beach, surrounded by rugged cliffs and dense bushland. It’s the perfect place for Sydney residents to cool off in a stunning natural environment.

It is an extremely popular location though so aim to arrive early to secure your spot. On the other hand, spend the night camping in one of the nearby caravan parks and experience sunrise or sunset at the pools.

Swimming holes Victoria

There’s no doubt that if you’re looking for water holes to swim in Melbourne, your options will be limited. Not only that, the water’s probably going to be pretty chilly too.

However, if you look hard enough, you might be able to find a swimming hole or two that are perfect for a dip.

Turpin Falls

  • Location: Langley, Victoria.
  • Approx 90 mins north of Melbourne.

We’ll start with a warning, more often than not the swimming hole at Turpin Falls is quite chilly. So, if you’re looking for a refreshing swim it might be for you. As a guide, the best time to visit is between November and April as outside of these times the water can be quite icy.

Bordered on three sides by 20m high rocky cliffs, the deep billabong is a popular swimming location for locals. Within driving distance of Melbourne, it’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and is undoubtedly one of the best water holes in Victoria.

Swimming holes in Western Australia

While the number of water holes in Perth is limited, the rest of Western Australia really makes up for it. The best thing about W.A though is its diversity.

While there is plenty of your classic, freshwater swimming locations, there’s at least one ocean swimming hole that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Let’s take a closer look.

Python Pool

  • Location: Millstream (WA), Millstream Chichester National Park in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
  • Approx. 1,200km north of Perth.

Python Pool is located in the Millstream Chichester National Park in the Pilbara region which has been described by Western Australian Parks and Wildlife Service as “oasis in the desert, nestled within the chocolate brown rocks of the Chichester Range.” High praise.

The Python Pool features a seasonal waterfall (i.e. only when it rains) and is surrounded by steep, orange-red cliffs. The water is deep and can be quite chilly so be prepared for a little bit of a shock.

Fern Pool

  • Location: Karijini National Park.
  • Approx. 1400km north of Perth.

The Karijini National Park sits in the prime iron ore mining country. While it’s undoubtedly isolated, the unrivalled natural beauty and “diamond in the rough” quality make it a must-see.

The Fern Pool is arguably the jewel in the crown. Nestled between cliffs on either side, the light blue water and small waterfalls are a sight to see. Best of all, Fern Pool is the most accessible pool in the park and one of the deepest too.

Greens Pool

  • Location: William Bay National Park
  • Approx. 500km south-east of Perth

Greens Pool is a little bit different to the others listed here. Rather than being located in a tropical rainforest, it’s a tranquil ocean pool.

Greens Pool features a pure, white sand beach sheltered by a ring of enormous granite boulders which protect the beach from the ocean swell. The still water creates the perfect place for swimming and snorkelling.

The calm waters provide the perfect place for young kids to swim in a safe and manageable environment.

The Top End

Keen to head further afield? The Northern Territory may be Australia’s home of the natural swimming hole. You’ll be spoilt for choice but watch out for crocodiles while you’re there.

Gunlom Plunge Pool

  • Location: Kakadu National Park
  • Approx. Two hours drive south-east of Darwin

Kakadu National Park is home to a host of Australia’s best swimming spots. For the purposes of this list though we’ve chosen Gunlom Plunge Pool as our favourite.

Located on Waterfall Creek in the south of the national park, Gunlom Plunge Pool sits at the top of a steep cliff. The views from the pool stretch as far as the eye can see, made up of a sweeping woodland landscape. Shady areas are available too so you can have a picnic lunch after your relaxing swim.

Florence Falls

  • Location: Litchfield National Park
  • Just under two hours drive from Darwin

The swimming hole at Florence Falls is home to not one, but two waterfalls! That’s right, a double waterfall. With cliffs all around, the plunge pool at the base of the falls is a sight to behold and will no doubt feature prominently on your Instagram profiles.

To access the pool you’ll need to navigate a 160 step staircase while there’s also a lookout at the top if you’re keen to get some snaps of the falls.

Are swimming holes dangerous?

Water holes are a great place to relax, swim and cool down. However, they can be rife with hidden dangers and risks.

While this is not meant to scare you, it’s important to be realistic and upfront about the potential perils and pitfalls you might encounter. Every year, many people are injured and some even drown.

Natural water holes are unsupervised and lack adequate safety equipment. In addition to this, other risks and hazards include:

  • Slippery or loose rocks
  • Strong currents
  • Submerged debris (e.g. rocks and logs)
  • Variable depths
  • Ever-changing conditions.

Swimming holes: staying safe

While swimming can be risky, there are plenty of things you can do to stay safe. At the end of the day, we want to ensure you have a great day out and return home safe and sound.

With a bit of planning and responsible decision making, you can avoid many of the key pitfalls people encounter when they visit natural swimming locations.

Key tips include:

Take a friend

We have to start with the first (and most important) rule of swimming: “Never Swim Alone.”

Almost all natural holes are unsupervised, so if you get in trouble there likely won’t be anyone around to get you out of it.

By taking a swim buddy, you will always have someone there who can assist you. Even if they cannot help you, they may be able to alert someone who may be able to.

With the multitude of potential risks present at any natural swimming hole, going it alone is rarely a good idea. Share the enjoyment of the day with a friend and most importantly, stay safe.

Observe the environment and know the conditions

When you arrive, don’t dive in straight away. Take a few minutes to assess the environment. Look where others are swimming, check the depths and work out the best paths to take.

In addition to this, make sure you keep in mind what the weather has been doing recently. Recent heavy rains can create swollen banks and deceptively strong currents. These dangerous conditions can even linger for days after a major rain event.

By knowing what you’re dealing with you can stay safe and exercise good judgment.

Stay Sober

Don’t swim drunk because it’s a really bad idea. Impaired judgment combined with slow response times and poor motor control is a lethal cocktail that can have deadly consequences.

Sober swimming is safe swimming.

Don’t swim above or below waterfalls

While beautiful and alluring, waterfalls can be extremely dangerous. Fast currents can sweep swimmers over the falls while the strong undertows can trap you underwater. Throw in some slippery rocks and waterfalls can be hazardous as it gets.

Watch out for slippery rocks

Most natural swimming holes are lined by rocky shores. Algae, moss and erosion can make these rocks loose, slippery and almost impossible to navigate.

So, take it slow. Ensure you have a firm footing before hopping from one rock to the next. The last thing you want to do is fall because you’ll end up cut, bruised, grazed or broken.

Pack a rope

Many natural swimming places won’t have defined entrances or exits. If you have trouble climbing over rocks to exit the water then having a rope to hold onto can be extremely useful.

In addition to this, most locations don’t have safety equipment. If someone gets in trouble, your trusty rope could be a lifesaver. Just throw them the rope and pull them safely to shore.

Don’t overestimate your abilities

Be realistic about your swimming abilities. Know your limits and don’t put others at risk by getting yourself into trouble. Moreover, there won’t always be someone there to rescue you.

All too often those with little to no swimming ability get caught up in the moment and take reckless risks endangering themselves and others.

So, if you’re not a strong swimmer, stick to the shallows. Recognise your own limitations and stay safe.

Slip, slop, slap

This isn’t a water safety tip but it’s no less relevant. If you’re going to spend a day out in the sun then be smart.

Pack your sunscreen, sunnies, a hat and SunSmart clothing. As anyone who has dealt with sunburn will tell you, it’s not fun.

Sun safety is simple but all too often it gets lost in the shuffle so make it a priority.

Pack food and water

If you’re heading to a swimming hole in the middle of the roasting Australian summer, heatstroke and dehydration are always a concern. In addition to this, swimming all day uses plenty of energy too.

Eat regularly and drink plenty of water. Dehydration can sneak up on you and it’s easy to forget about. Be vigilant and always pack extra.

Don’t trust the water

Natural swimming spots can be a great place to cool off on a scorching summer’s day but don’t get complacent. The depth, current, underwater structures and overall safety of many natural holes change regularly.

A bout of heavy rain or even long periods of heat or drought can turn your placid, local oasis into a minefield of potential danger. Floating logs, loose debris, rapid currents or previously submerged rocks are all risks to your safety.

Ultimately, the key takeaway is don’t take anything for granted. Each time you visit, take a few minutes to observe your surroundings to ensure you have the lay of the land and can avoid any lurking hazards.

Swimming holes: beat the crowds

If you’ve ever tried to visit the beach in the middle of summer, during the peak of school holidays, you know it can be hectic.

First, you have to find a park, then you have to run across the burning sand and finally, you have to find somewhere for your towel.

Visiting a swimming hole could be your stress-free solution. There’s no doubt some are extremely popular and you’ll run into crowds. However, if you do some research, you might be able to uncover a hidden gem.

If you’re up for an adventure, you can have a swim in a stunning natural pool, free from the crowds. Although, you won’t be able to catch a wave.

Pick up your rubbish

Leave it how you found it. There’s nothing for infuriating than seeing a pristine natural environment being overrun by litter left behind by those who are too lazy to clean up after themselves.

Whether it’s wrappers or bottles, it’s not that hard to clean up after yourself. Pack a rubbish bag and before you leave to make sure you haven’t left anything lying around.

The environment and local wildlife will thank you.

Swimming holes and cliff jumping

If you’re looking for a truly exhilarating experience, nothing beats launching yourself from a rocky cliff into the cool waters of the swimming hole below. In short, for many it is the single most alluring drawcard that a swimming hole can offer.

While it’s fun and you’ll want to try it over and over again, make sure that it’s safe before you take the leap. Observe where others are jumping from and ensure the water is deep enough for you to land safely.

Finally, only jump from a height that you feel comfortable with. While some nerves are normal if you are fearful, then things can potentially go wrong. Don’t let anyone pressure you into something you don’t want to do.

Can I take my dog to a swimming hole?

Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy cooling off in a beautiful natural spring. Our four-legged friends do too. Luckily there are a few dog-friendly locations near Brisbane.

Our tip: check out Bunya Crossing Reserve in Albany Creek or head out to Kedron Brook. If you’re keen on an adventure there may be a few swimming holes near Ipswich QLD that may be worth a look.

Swimming is about fun

At the end of the day, we want you to have the best day possible. We’ve tried to give you some of our best tips and our favourite places but now it’s up to you.

Do your research, plan your day and most importantly, stay safe.

Finally, if this article has sparked an interest in seeing more of Australia, check out our piece on holidaying in regional Australia.

Rugby World Cup 2019 – A Travel Guide

Held every four years across the globe, the Rugby World Cup is one of the world’s most prominent and exciting sporting events. With global television audiences in the tens of millions, the RWC captures people’s imagination like few other events.

With the 2019 edition of the RWC to be held in Japan, we thought it would be a great opportunity to take a look at the teams that will be involved. Rather than give you detailed rugby analysis though, we’re going to take a look at some of the best things to do in each of the countries that are going to feature. Maybe we can give you a few destinations to add to your travel wishlist?

Grayscale photo of two teams competing in Rugby World Cup

How does the Rugby World Cup work?

If you’re new to rugby or only a casual fan, this is probably a great opportunity to give you a breakdown on how it works.

This year, the world cup will feature 20 teams from around the globe. The teams are divided into four pools of five. The tournament consists of two stages: the pool stage and the knockout stage.

In the pool stage, there will be four games played each, one against each of the other teams in their pool. Points are awarded based on results with teams earning four points for a win, two for a draw and zero points for a loss. Teams can earn a bonus point for scoring at least four tries in a match or losing by seven or fewer points. The two teams in each pool with the most points at the end of the pool stage will move onto the knockout stage.

The knockout stage consists of quarterfinals, semi-finals and the final. It’s sudden death so if you win, you progress. If you lose, you’re on the next flight home. The knockout stage culminates with the final in Yokohama on November 2nd.

A little bit of Rugby World Cup history

The 2019 RWC will be the tournament’s 9th edition and the first held in Japan. Teams play for the Webb Ellis Cup. Named after William Webb Ellis, the man credited with the invention of rugby.

Past champions include New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and England. New Zealand holds the record for most wins with three. While South Africa and Australia are both hot on New Zealand’s heels with two previous successes.

France holds the unfortunate distinction of finishing runner-up three times (1987, 1999, 2011) without yet getting across the line. Who knows, maybe 2019 will finally be their year?

Rugby World Cup Pool A

On paper, Pool A shapes up as one of the more competitive pools. While Ireland is undoubtedly the class of the pool, Japan and Scotland should battle it out for the second place. It looks to be an uphill battle for Russia and Samoa who will likely bring up the rear.

Ireland’s Rugby World Cup

Kicking off our trip around the world is the great country of Ireland. The rolling green landscapes and steep coastal cliffs Ireland is famous for are a must-see. Spend a week driving around Ireland and we guarantee you’ll be amazed by what you see. The Cliffs of Moher on Ireland’s west coast are definitely considered a highlight by many.

If you’re looking for a party like no other, make sure you visit for St Patrick’s Day in March. You will find yourself drinking Guinness with a bunch of merry Irishmen all decked out in green.

Scotland

The northernmost country in the United Kingdom, Scotland is characterised by its many mountains and lakes.

Outside of hunting for mythical monsters, both Edinburgh and Glasgow are worth a look. Edinburgh Castle, which overlooks the city of Edinburgh, is breathtaking and holds many ancient secrets. Glasgow, by comparison, is Scotland’s cultural hub. You can watch the opera, ballet or discover Glasgow’s thriving music scene.

On a slightly less relevant note, Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn. No, we’re not kidding and no, we don’t know why.

Japan

The Rugby World Cup hosts have become somewhat of a tourist mecca for Australians over the last few years. So what’s attracting them all? Well, Japan has a unique blend of ancient traditions, natural beauty, vibrant cities and delicious food.

In terms of things to do, Japan really does have something for everyone. If you’re looking for adventure and an adrenaline rush, Japan’s ski slopes and resorts are some of the best in the world. The rich history is fascinating for those looking for an immersive cultural experience. While the cities will make you feel like you’ve time-travelled into the future with their bright lights and innovative technology.

If you’re looking for the best time to travel to Japan, March and April would be our recommendation. That way, you can be there to see the cherry blossoms bloom. The sea of pink is a sight to behold and should be on the agenda for any person looking to discover Japan.

Russia

A country that has historically been shrouded in mystery, you could be forgiven for not having a great idea of what to do in Russia. Lucky for you, we’re here to give you some advice. Given that it’s the world’s largest country by area, there really should be no shortage of things to do.

If you want to stick to the big cities, Moscow and St Petersburg have more than enough things to do to keep you occupied. You can check out the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow or a few of the many breathtaking cathedrals in St Petersburg.

If you want to see the real Russia, consider the world’s most iconic train journey. The Trans-Siberian Railway which will take you all the way across the vast nation. With numerous stops possible along the way, you can plan your trip to suit your needs. While at a minimum you’re looking at a week if you decide to check out a few places along the way you can turn your adventure into one that lasts weeks or possibly months.

Samoa

Sitting just on the western side of the International Date Line, Samoa is always the first country to see the dawn of the new day. With a population of just under 200,000, Samoa definitely punches well above her weight when it comes to international rugby.

Like most Pacific Island nations, Samoa’s breathtaking beaches are its claim to fame. While we’d love to recommend some other ideas, Samoa’s pristine beaches, clear oceans and coral reefs overflowing with biodiversity are simply too good to miss. Just do some research and find the best resort for you.

Rugby World Cup Pool B

The only group to feature more than one previous champion. New Zealand and South Africa should be heavily favoured to move onto the knockout stage. Italy isn’t a pushover, however, and may present some challenges for the two powerhouses. Unfortunately for Namibia and Canada, they appear to be cannon-fodder and will likely battle it out for fourth place.

New Zealand

The undoubted powerhouse of world rugby, our rivals across the ditch look to be primed for another strong Rugby World Cup campaign. Rather than give them credit for their rugby team though, we’d rather talk about what New Zealand has to offer you.

For Australians, Queenstown has become one of the trendier places to visit. Located on New Zealand’s South Island, Queenstown sits on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, nestled in amongst the Southern Alps.

Dubbed the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown has plenty of activities to get your blood pumping. Bungee-jumping, jet-boating and skiing are just some of the things on offer.

Looking for something a little less fast-paced? Queenstown is close to plenty of vineyards so you can relax and have a glass of wine.

South Africa

As one of only three teams to win the World Cup more than once, South Africa is always one of the tournament’s biggest threats and 2019 looks to be no different. With another strong line-up, it would be a major surprise if South Africa weren’t there at the business end of the tournament.

If we had to give you one recommendation of where to visit in South Africa, Cape Town would be our suggestions. If you like history, take the ferry to Robben Island to see where Nelson Mandela spent his years in prison.

The one thing that you must do though is head to the top of Table Mountain. Whether you put in the effort and climb up yourself or take the easy way out using the cable car, you won’t be disappointed. There will be views that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Italy

Despite playing in all 8 previous editions of the World Cup, Italy has never managed to progress past the pool stage. Whether 2019 will be different remains to be seen, however, with New Zealand and South Africa in their pool it does seem unlikely.

Rather than dwell on their impending doom though, we’d rather focus on some of the great things you can do in Italy.

Italy is almost unmatched in terms of culture and history. Whether it’s Roma, Milan, Florence or Naples, Italy is an experience unlike any other. Littered with art, architecture, museums and monuments, Italy is a cultural feast that will always leave you wanting more.

Namibia

If you can’t point out Namibia on a map, that’s OK. If you guessed Southern Africa though, you’re correct. With a population of just over two million, Namibia sits on Africa’s Atlantic coast, sharing a border with South Africa to its south.

Coming up with a suggestion of what to do in Namibia is easy. Namibia is one of the world leaders in ecotourism. With diverse and abundant wildlife, there are a ton of reserves and wilderness lodges for you to explore. Lions, giraffes, hippos and cheetahs: Namibia is home to all the animals everybody wants to see.

Fun Fact: Namibia holds the unenviable record of largest RWC defeat. In 2003, they were on the wrong end of a 142 point hiding by Australia.

Canada

Coming into the Rugby World Cup outside the top 20 world rankings, it would be fair to suggest that rugby isn’t Canada’s strength. Luckily, they have a few more strings to their bow. One of the things they do best is undoubtedly tourism.

Canada is one of those countries that has something for everyone. You can ski, visit the amazing national parks, see some incredible wildlife or explore one of the many great Canadians cities. In the end, it’s just going to come down to what you want to do.

If it were up to us though, we’d make sure you check out Banff National Park. Do and quick Google search and check out some of the pictures; they’re amazing!

Rugby World Cup Pool C

England and France are the clear favourites to progress assuming things go to plan. Argentina though is a tough team that could spoil the party. Tonga and the USA may be able to challenge Argentina, however, the might of France and England might be too much for them.

England

Despite being the inventors of the sport, England have only managed to win one World Cup. This did involve defeating Australia in the final though, so we’d rather talk about something else.

The mother country has always been one of the favourite places for Australians to visit. London, in particular, has long been regarded as one of the best cities in the world to explore.

A modern, 21st-century city with a rich history, you can spend a week in London and not get bored. Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye are just a few things to get you started. When you start looking, you’ll soon realise you’re not going to have enough time to see everything you want to.

France

The perennial World Cup bridesmaid, France will head to Japan looking to finally secure their first Rugby World Cup victory. Unfortunately, though, this doesn’t look to be one of the strongest teams they’ve ever put on the park. So, rather than focus on their World Cup chances, let’s look at something more fun.

A trip to France is definitely on the bucket list for plenty of people out there. While recommending a trip to Paris would be easy, we thought we’d find something different for you. A visit to Marseille we think is a great option.

A port city on the shores of the Mediterranean, Marseille is the place you want to visit. With trendy bars and restaurants mixed with museums, galleries and some beautiful beaches, Marseille has whatever it is you desire.

Argentina’s Rugby World Cup

The story of Argentina’s rugby team has been one of growth. Having played in all eight previous editions, Argentina’s first five World Cup campaigns yielded just six victories. Since then though, they’ve started to put it all together. With 13 wins from their last three world cups and a 3rd place finish in 2007, Argentina are on the rise.

While their rugby team has been improving, Argentina’s attraction to tourists has never been questioned. With the Andes to the west and Patagonia to the south, if you’re looking for natural beauty, look no further than Argentina.

Breath-taking landscapes not your thing? Buenos Aires could be for you. With its colonial architecture and vibrant nightlife, you’ll find yourself falling head over heels for the city.

USA

The land of the free and the home of the brave, the USA are never far away from a major sporting event. While 2019 marks their 9th World Cup appearance, they’ve only managed a mere three wins from twenty-five starts. Fortunately, there’s more to America than there rugby team.

In terms of what to do, narrowing it down to just one thing is nearly impossible. In the USA, there really is something for everyone.

Cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles are great for those who like to explore urban environments. If you want to immerse yourself in nature, you might want to check out the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Alaska or one of the many national parks. Even if you just want to relax, you can do that too; Hawaii or Florida has just what you need.

Tonga

By just about every measure of size, Tonga is the smallest nation in this year’s Rugby World Cup. With a population of just over 100,000, the fact that Tonga can even compete on a world stage is remarkable and reflects their incredible passion for the game.

As is the case with most nations in the south Pacific, Tonga is home to beautiful beaches, coral reefs and rainforests.

While its neighbours including Fiji and Vanuatu attract more tourists and are more established as a destination, Tonga retains much of its natural charm. There are still plenty of resorts available in Tonga though. So, you want an island holiday without the crowd, Tonga might be the destination for you.

Rugby World Cup Pool D

With a strong recent track record of success, Wales look primed to make a deep run in the tournament. For our Wallabies, expectations will be high but they should be able to progress to the knockout stage. Fiji is a threat and on their day could challenge the two presumptive favourites. Georgia is a team on the rise but taking on the might of Australia and Wales may be a bridge too far. Unfortunately for Uruguay, they look to be a comfortable last in this group and a win seems unlikely.

Australia

We all know about the Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Opera House, so we thought it would be good to dig a little deeper.

To most Australians, the Northern Territory represents a far-away, undiscovered land. While Uluru is a highlight, there is so much more to discover. The Kakadu National Park features 20,000 square kilometres of unique, natural beauty. Take in the stunning natural landscapes or investigate some of the ancient Indigenous rock art.

If you want to immerse yourself in the Indigenous culture while still being able to explore the breathtaking natural beauty, Arnhem Land could be worth a look.

It might seem like it’s off the beaten track, but the Northern Territory is undoubtedly one of Australia’s best-kept secrets.

Wales

While Wales is considered to be the little brother of the United Kingdom, they’ve been able to develop into a force in world rugby. This stems from their passion for the game with rugby union being considered a symbol and expression of Welsh national identity.

Sitting to England’s west, Wales covers less than half the area of Tasmania. Known for its rugged and mountainous landscape, there are definitely some things in Wales that are worth checking out.

If you’re into adventuring and hiking, the Snowdonia National Park is for you. With glacial landforms and numerous hiking trails, you’ll be kept busy for days.

If you’re looking for something less involved, Cardiff combines historical architecture with a vibrant nightlife. You can spend your day exploring Cardiff Castle and your night visiting one of Cardiff’s many bars and restaurants. It’s the best of both worlds.

Georgia

Unless you’re an expert on eastern European geography, you’d probably have a tough time pointing out Georgia on a map. For those curious, you’ll find it nestled between Turkey and Russia, with the Black Sea to its west.

While admittedly, Georgia isn’t a tourist hot-spot and is not particularly accessible, that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to visit. If you’re an optimist, you’d say it makes it easier to find hidden gems without having to fight the crowds.

The capital city, Tbilisi’s old town is a must-see. Set against a dramatic hillside, Tbilisi’s old town features churches, monuments and architecture that will take you back in time. There’s plenty to discover as you wander through the winding alleys and hidden courtyards.

Fiji

Just a three-hour flight from Australia’s east coast, Fiji is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations not only for its accessibility but also its natural beauty.

With its abundance of coral reefs and palm tree-lined beaches, you’d have a hard time finding a better location for tourists looking to relax.

There really are no prizes for guessing what we’re going to recommend. Fiji’s beaches and resorts are almost unrivalled. Kick back and relax and enjoy the best of what Fiji has to offer. Drink cocktails by the pool, go snorkelling around one of the many coral reefs or maybe even go fishing. The one thing we can guarantee is that you’ll be 100% stress-free.

Uruguay

While it lives in the shadows of its neighbours, Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay is undoubtedly one of South America’s hidden gems. Despite being the second smallest country in South America, Uruguay leaves many of its nearest neighbours behind in measures of economic development, peace, safety and education.

While at this point it may seem cliche to recommend a beach and resort holiday, Punta del Este on Uruguay’s southern coastline is the jewel in the crown of Uruguayan tourism. With beautiful beaches, a vibrant nightlife and classy resorts, Punta del Este is a great place to unwind.

Final thought on the Rugby World Cup

As you can see, any of the destinations listed above would be an incredible experience. If, however, you need additional funds to cover your trip, you could consider applying for a personal loan through Monzi’s lender-finder service.

Apart from that, we hope this World Cup lives up to the hype, and is enjoyed by people across the globe.

Finally, GO THE WALLABIES!

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How To Save Money On Your Taxes

Equipment for saving money on taxes

As the saying goes, there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. With the new financial year upon us, now is the time to learn a few simple ways to save money on taxes. As we all know though, this can be a tedious process. It’s not as simple as applying for a no paperwork loan; filing your tax return may take some time and effort.

Monzi is a lender-finding service. We do not offer financial advice. Consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information and ideas presented on this website relate to your unique circumstances.

Equipment for saving money on taxes

If you are disorganised, filing your tax return can quickly become a chore. After all, it is stressful trying to find all your old receipts and any necessary paperwork. Even once you get all that organised, knowing what to claim can be difficult.

While taxes can be tricky, there are some easy ways to save money and maximise your tax return. With a little bit of understanding about the taxation system and a few simple tips, we will help reduce your stress this tax season.

How does income tax work?

As an Australian resident, you are required to pay tax on the income that you earn. In other words, you not only pay tax on your salary but also on any income earned through investments (e.g. share returns).

For most people, your employer will automatically deduct your tax from your weekly pay.

In Australia, the taxation of income is based on a progressive rate, separated into several income brackets. Therefore, the amount of tax you pay will vary depending on how much you earn. Once you figure out which bracket you fall under, you can calculate the tax you will pay for each additional dollar that you earn. The table below illustrates Australia’s marginal tax rates for the 2018-19 financial year.

Taxable incomeTax paid on income
$0–$18,200No tax paid
$18,201 – $37,00019c for every dollar over $18,200
$37,001 – $87,000$3,572 + 32.5c for every dollar over $37,000
$87,001 – $180,000$19,822 + 37c for every dollar over $87,000
$180,001 and over$54,232 + 45c for every dollar over $180,000

Figuring out your taxable income

To figure out your income and the tax you will pay, there are few things to consider. The first thing you’ll need to work out is your assessable income. Depending on your financial situation, it can include your salary, government payments and share dividends.

Deductions offset your assessable income. A deduction is an expense that is subtracted from your assessable income, reducing the amount that is subject to tax.

For example, if you earn $60,000 and claim a deduction of $2000, your taxable income is $58,000. Deductions are key to reducing the amount of tax you pay as they reduce your taxable income. Deductions come in many forms, but we’ll get to that shortly.

Once you’ve got your assessable income and deductions sorted, calculating your taxable income is simple. Your taxable income is your assessable income minus all your deductions.

TAXABLE INCOME = ASSESSABLE INCOME – DEDUCTIONS

Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move onto hopefully saving you some money on your taxes.

Ways to save money on taxes: Aim to claim all possible deductions

If you spend your money on an item that is work-related and affects how you earn your wage, claim a deduction on it. If you’re looking to maximise your tax return, this is by far the easiest and most popular tip. So, if you’re not taking advantage, you’re missing out and costing yourself money.

Even if you make a purchase that is for both work and personal use, you may still be able to claim a portion of the costs. If you are ever in any doubt about a purchase, keep the receipt just in case. Your accountant will be able to let you know if you can claim it. Keeping a receipt is easy and costs you nothing, but if you throw it out, you might cost yourself a valuable tax deduction.

To be able to claim a deduction for work-related expenses, the ATO has three simple criteria that must be satisfied first.

  1. You must have spent the money yourself and were not reimbursed for the purchase
  2. It must relate directly to earning your income
  3. You must have a record to prove it (e.g. receipts)

While deductions are a great way to get the most out of your tax return, honesty is important. If you are making up claims or guessing about values, you could potentially face a reassessment or audit by the ATO. The last thing you want is to have a tax bill arrive because you tried to beat the system.

Which expenses are tax-deductable?

If your expenses can meet each of the three criteria, then they likely fall under one of the following categories which you may be able to claim as a part of your tax return.

  • Vehicle and travel expenses – This does not include the normal cost of your commute. However, if you use your car for work (e.g. deliveries), you may be eligible to claim a deduction. Travelling to work vs. travelling for work is a simple way to make the distinction.
  • Tools and equipment – For purchases of items that relate directly to the earning of your income, you can claim some or all of the costs. Some examples include a tradie’s tools or internet costs for individuals who work from home.
  • Education expenses – If the study you are undertaking relates directly to your current job, you can claim several expenses, including textbooks, stationery and course fees.
  • Home office expenses – If you work from home then costs including the purchase of a computer and phone can be claimed. However, only a proportion of the expense that relates directly to work can be claimed.
  • Clothing expenses – To claim clothing expenses, the clothes in question must be unique and distinctive. Examples include high-vis clothing or clothing that is specific to your occupation, like chef’s pants.

This is not an exhaustive list but provides a great overview. If you’re looking for more information, the ATO has produced a series of handy guides detailing the expenses that are tax-deductible for a wide range of professions.

Ways to save money on taxes: Organise your finances

We all know the panic of trying to track down all the receipts for the things we’ve bought in the past year. Not only does it take hours, but there’s always a few that are lost or forgotten. Each year, Australians cost themselves hundreds or even thousands of dollars that could have been refunded through lost or forgotten receipts. Lost money could have gone to saving for a holiday or to paying off a short term loan you might have had.

Getting organised doesn’t need to be too hard or time-consuming. As each expense comes in, add it to your file. Keep all your files categorised and in chronological order. This ensures you can account for every receipt and you won’t miss out on any deductions. Maybe create a spreadsheet to keep track of all your expenses and a running total. These tips aren’t hard to implement but could help you save a bunch of money on your taxes.

One important piece of advice is always to keep a backup. When you get a receipt, take a photo of it. You will always have the digital copy up your sleeve if the receipt fades or gets lost. Electronic copies can also be attached to your tax return in an instant, saving you plenty of time.

If you want to move your record-keeping into the digital age, some great apps can assist you. You can save all your receipts to ensure that nothing is forgotten about throughout the year. Just take a photo of each item as it comes up and once tax time rolls around you’ll be organised and ready to file your return right away.

Increase your super contribution

If you’re looking to save money on taxes while also helping to secure your future, then increasing your super contributions could be the way to go. Salary sacrifice super contributions do not incur the fringe benefits tax, the only tax paid is the 15% contributions tax. If due to your income bracket, your marginal tax rate is higher than this, the difference between the two rates will be what you save. The higher your current tax rate is, the more money you will save.

Like anything though, there are some things to consider. While increasing your super contributions will help out your future self, if you need to access the money immediately, there is a chance you may be unable to or may be required to pay tax on the accessed funds. There is a $25,000 annual cap for before-tax super contributions. You will be required to pay additional tax on the excess funds, should your contributions push you over this cap.

If you’re not sure how to get started, have a chat with your employer. Most companies offer employees the option to salary sacrifice into their superannuation funds. If you decide it is something you that works for you, then arrange with your employer. It is simple and easy to do.

The viability of salary sacrificing though is dependent on your financial situation, so make sure you do your research before making any decisions. For low-income earners, salary sacrificing provides minimal benefit.

Go to the professionals

While it is possible to file your tax return, sometimes it’s better to let the professionals do their job. While you may think to do it yourself will save you some money, you could potentially be missing out. Tax agents know what’s best for you and will do all they can to save you money at tax time.

As we’ve talked about, the best tip for getting the most out of your tax return is claiming everything you can. This is where tax agents come into their own. They know the system better than you do so they’ll be able to make sure you are claiming everything you’re entitled to. There may be a range of things you can claim that you weren’t even aware of.

Tax professionals also provide the peace of mind that everything will run smoothly. If you try to enter your deductions and do it incorrectly, you could potentially face a fine from the ATO. Tax agents are there to ensure information is correct, so you don’t have to worry. Rather than spending your time trying to do tricky calculations regarding your expenses, leave it to the professionals. It will save you time and reduce your stress, and they can do the work they enjoy.

If you think you have a good idea of what you’re doing and that filing your tax return will be relatively straightforward, nothing is stopping you from doing it yourself. However, if you have any reservations, it’s usually best to consult the professionals.

Health insurance: private health cover vs the Medicare levy surcharge

If you, as a single person, earn more than $90,000 or more than $180,000 as a family and don’t have private health cover you likely cost yourself money at tax time. The 1% medicare levy surcharge is levied against anyone who exceeds these thresholds and does not have private health insurance.

The tax benefits aside, private health cover has advantages by itself. Shorter waiting times and private rooms, to name a few. So you can potentially save yourself money and improve your healthcare at the same time.

If you’re looking for the perfect plan, it’s important to shop around and do your research. Make sure that the cover you get matches your needs and is affordable for you. There are many private health insurance providers out there, so try and find the best deal. After all, you can have great health coverage and save yourself money on your taxes.

Ways to save money on taxes: Charitable donations

If you want to make yourself feel good and potentially save money on your taxes, why not get into the spirit of giving. In Australia, any donation to a charitable organisation over $2 is tax-deductible. With so many great charities out there doing incredible work, it won’t be hard to find one that you connect with. To be able to claim the deduction, the donation must have been made to a registered charity and you must have the receipt.

Every time you donate to one of your favourite charities, ask for a receipt. File these receipts away and come tax time, add them all up to find the total. You can then enter it as part of your tax return under the charitable donations section.

While you won’t get your whole donation back, any amount that you do donate will be subtracted from your taxable income, meaning you get a percentage back as part of your tax refund. So, you help out those in need and get rewarded. A win-win situation for you. Maybe it will help you become even more generous in the future.

Marginal capital gains and losses

While there’s never a good time to incur losses, if you have a few under-performing shares or investments that are costing you money, tax time can be a great time to offload them. In Australia, capital gains on property or share sales are subject to what’s called the Capital Gains Tax.

So, if gains are taxed, how does selling losing investments save you money on your taxes? Well, the capital gains tax applies to the net gains that you have earned in that year. By selling losing investments, you will reduce the gains that you’ve had. As a result, you will reduce the amount of capital gains tax that you pay.

Obviously, nobody ever wants to have losing investments. If you do, though, tax time represents a great opportunity for you. Take the time to clean up your share portfolio and save money on your taxes at the same time.

In a perfect world though, you’d never have to employ this strategy because all your investments would be profitable and successful. Unfortunately, the world is far from perfect, making this strategy a great option for you if you need it.

It is important to note that capital losses cannot be deducted from your taxable income to reduce the amount of income tax you pay. They can only offset against your capital gains.

Look into investment bonds

Investment bonds are long-term investment opportunities offered by insurance companies in which your money is pooled with other investors and managed by the company. Risk on these bonds can range from low to high which will obviously affect your returns.

Investment bonds are only taxed at the corporate tax rate of 30%. If your marginal tax rate is higher than this, you’re saving money. In addition to this, if you can last 10 years without making a withdrawal, there is no further tax payable. Essentially, for a period of 10 years, you provide the company with an easy loan of your money and, as a result, you get a nice little payout at the end.

If you find yourself in a position to be able to invest more money, that’s ok too. Investment bonds allow you to make additional annual contributions. However, your additional contributions must not exceed 125% of the contribution that you made in the preceding year. The 10 year period will reset if your contributions exceed the 125% rule, meaning you have to wait another 10 years to receive the tax benefit.

If you need to withdraw your money from the investment bond it is possible to do so. However, you may be required to pay tax on the income if you withdraw before the first ten years are up. If you are able to make it ten years without making a withdrawal, your earnings will be tax-free.

Investment bonds won’t be for everyone because they are a long-term strategy but if you do have some patience they can be a great tax saver.

Ways to save money on taxes: The Family Trust

If you’re a high-income earner, a family trust is almost unparalleled in its tax-saving abilities. Family trusts are used to control how investment income (shares, etc.) is distributed among a family. Family trusts are also extremely flexible. Income can be distributed to dependents in the most tax effective way.

In order to save yourself money, you need to employ a strategy called streaming. The first step is to direct all business and investment income into the trust. The trustee will then allocate the income in the trust to individuals. The trustee will usually make payments to those in the trust with the lowest income. By doing this you can take advantage of the lower marginal tax rates paid by those in lower-income brackets.

This tip only applies to those who earn higher incomes but it is an incredibly effective way to save money. If well-managed, a family trust can potentially save tens of thousands of dollars that otherwise would have gone to tax. It can also help out those in your family earning less. The trust gives them additional income which they can save or use to pay off any payday loan debts they may have.

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