The Oz Report – Going to Oz
The Oz Report article
If you would like to go for an all time best hang gliding or paragliding vacation during this northern hemisphere’s winter, then Australia is the place for you. What more could you ask for than a huge friendly peaceful country with a limitless variety of flying possibilities. Well, how about lots of helpful hang glider pilots to provide local guidance? Or, numerous organized meets and flyins for pilots with different skill levels? Beach, ridge, mountain, and flatland flying? Some of the most enjoyable flying conditions in the world? Well that’s just a few aspects of an unforgettable trip to Australia.
Here's the full article.
I have slightly updated this guide on November 7th, 2010. You can find more information in later issues of the Oz Report than are linked to here, but basically the information is similar.
Flying to Australia
Flying from LA costs about $1000 - $1,500 depending on when you leave and come back. If you are there for three months or less you get an electronic visa. Get it when you get your ticket.
You can fly into Sydney or Melbourne. Bright is only four hours away from Melbourne.
You’ll need to become a HGFA member in order to be able to fly in Australia. You can easily become a member at Stanwell Park. Contact Chris Boyce at hanggliding.com.au or Curt Warren at http://www.warrenwindsports.com.au/ to get a membership at Stanwell.
Damien Gates writes:
The flying season is starting to warm up here in Australia, and I would like to take this opportunity to remind all visiting Pilots to our fair country of the requirements to fly and of flying while here.
It is a legal requirement in Australia that you be a member of the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia (HGFA), either through full membership or by taking up Visiting Pilot Membership (VPM) which is valid for four Months. The cost of this VPM has risen (as has Full Membership) this year after no rise in VPM cost last year. It rises as a result of the increases in insurance over the last couple of years, for which Visiting Pilot Membership has the benefit of. VPM will now Cost $77AUD (including Tax) and must be taken out PRIOR to flying here in Australia.
As stated it is valid for four months only and may not be reduced in time/cost ratio. VPM may be taken out by returning the VPM Application (available via the HGFA Web www.hgfa.asn.au under the 'Contact Us' link) with payment to the HGFA Office PO Box 157 Hallidays Point NSW 2430 OR via HGFA Instructors and Clubs who may have the Forms and facility to do so, please check that your first point of contact for flying activities can assist with your VPM to save on disappointment and a restriction on flying until it can be organised.
Australia recognizes and uses the FAI International Pilot Proficiency Identification (IPPI) system and all Pilots are encouraged to obtain these Identification Cards prior to travel to Australia, as well; retaining the HGFA membership card (issued if application received by the HGFA Office) or Blue VPM Receipt (issued if VPM taken out through Instructors or Clubs) for production, as requested by Clubs, Competition organisers, Senior Safety and Safety Officers and Duty Pilots for any area in which flying activities are undertaken.Information on the rules related to flying in Australia are provided in brief on taking up membership, these include the Civil Aviation Orders and Civil Aviation Regulations, specifically CAO 95.8 for Hang Gliders and Paragliders: casa.gov.au and 95.32 for Weightshift Microlights (Trikes): casa.gov.au
The use of some Radio Frequencies (VHF for example) which is not in the UHF (CB Citizen Band) Range is only available for those appropriately licensed (ham license in your country). The Hand Held 40 channel UHF (CB) in the range (476. 425 – 477.400 MHz) is the predominantly used radio device for free flight in Australia. These radios are available through any number of dealers and commercial centres Australia wide. Channels 1 though 8 and 31 through 38 are used for the use of repeater stations; their use in not recommended, except in limited use, as a back up for pilots on the ground where communication difficulties are found. Further information from acbro.org.
More information on Contacts, Clubs, Flying, Competitions and some flying sites are available through the HGFA Web Site www.hgfa.asn.au. You must contact appropriate local persons and also adhere to local conditions and rules at any sites at which you fly. Many sites require Local Club membership and payment of Site Fees prior to flying, necessary due to the continued decline in site access and availability. Many Clubs now must lease or even purchase land for use of flying enthusiasts, we ask you support and adhere to all requirements for the continued sustainability of our activities long into the future.
I trust that any Pilots visiting our country will enjoy their stay and take advantage of the great flying and conditions available while here.
Update on fees:
* 2 months for $49
* 4 months for $69
* 6 months for $89
Shipping your glider
Work out all the details in advance with the airline if you want to take it as extra luggage. 23 kilos is the limit for any one package so you may need to put the sail in another package. You can better pack it so that the tubes don’t get crushed. You’ll be charged for excess baggage.
Otherwise, get with a shipping agent (use the agent that works for your glider manufacturer or dealer) and have it freighted to Australia (to the Moyes factory in Botany Bay near Sydney if you first write Vicki (Vicki@moyes.com.au) and get permission or to the Airborne factory (www.airborne.com.au) in Newcastle). You will need to pay VAT (around 17% as I vaguely recall) upon arrival of the glider which you get back if you take the glider back out with you. About three months after you leave they’ll get around to giving you the money back.
If it is shipped, make sure you have plenty of time for it to get through customs – a week. If you have time you can ship it by boat from LA (or wherever you are). Takes five weeks. Less costly. It can come back by air as it is less costly to ship from Australia than to Australia.
Automobiles in Oz
One, if you are going to be there three months or more buy one. Be sure to get the registration updated and the road worth certificate. And your liability insurance set ($100 from RACV). In Melbourne go to Car City in Ringwood.
Two, contact people you know in Australia to see if they have a spare beater car around.
Three, hook up with other pilots going to Australia who have a line on a car.
Four, rent a car – expensive unless you share. Check out minibus hire if you have a big group here.
Another solution for those wishing to buy a car (not a total wreck but a 'cheapie') is to visit Sydney's well known Parramatta Road - about 25 miles/40 kms of almost "wall to wall" car dealerships extending from the edge of the CBD to the major urban hub of Parramatta to the west. By my rough scan of the Yellow Pages phone directory, there are over 100 used car dealers alone, specializing in everything from prestige sports cars, to vans, to 4WD's to "under $5,000 bargains".
Phil Southward writes:
We used this company in Sydney three years ago:
Their rentals are extremely cheap, and even better the cars are all new or near new Toyotas (of only two types) and you can have any colour as long as it is white.
We paid AUD$26/day if I remember correctly and I see right now they have specials for as low as AUD$14/day plus AUD$8/day damage waiver. For an extra $20/day you get unlimited mileage, but you don't have to decide before you rent the car, you can do it AFTER you return it. I don't think you could better AUD$42/day for a month long trip by buying a car.
You can find used cars online at the RACV site or here and here.
For rental I suggest here: http://www.bayswatercarrental.com.au/noBirds.aspx if you can get all your stuff in the car.
Internet Service Provider
There are plenty of hotspots in Australia at the competitions. Don't worry about signing up with an ISP.
They have pre-paid Next G phones in Australia. You’ll want Next G out in the bush.
Just go to any Telstra shop.
Check out telstra.com.au
Canungra Classic: triptera.com.au
Canungra Challenge: http://goldcoasthgpg.com.au
Gulgong XC Classic
South of Newcastle near Sydney: http://www.petbreeder.com.au/nbf/Index.htm
See the Bogong Cup below
www.thpa.net This is the address for the Tasmanian Hang gliding & Paragliding Association. The THPA is the state body of the HGFA, rather than a club as such. The web address lets you choose the pilots forum, or details on flying in Tasmania.
We don't go to Hay any more.
Local info about hay: http://www.walkabout.com.au/fairfax/locations/NSWHay.shtml including motels and http://www.wilmap.com.au/hay.html. Motels also at: http://www.travelaustralia.com.au/accom_lists/re_2120p9_list.html
Most pilots stay at one of the two caravan parks. This is the one we stay at:
Hay Caravan Park
Cnr Sturt Hwy & Boon St
Hay, NSW 2711
2 6993 1415
Toll Free:1800 020 095
Fax:61 2 6993 1066
For More Information on: Hay Caravan Park
Established park with large shade trees and an abundance of native bird life. A full range of accommodation is available from deluxe cabins, standard cabins and on-site vans. The swimming pool and covered BBQ is situated in the large grassed camping area. Our park is an ideal stopover point between Adelaide and Sydney and for those enroute to Queensland . Hay is the gateway to outback N.S.W.
The Bogong Cup
Bogong Cup, Mt. Beauty, Vic, Australia
We’ll be staying at: http://www.alpenhorn.com.au/
There is great camping at http://www.mtbeauty.com/mbtyholc/index.html as well as other accommodations.