TRAVELLING INFORMATION - 2015 GOLDEN KEY INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT - GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA

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The SA Office has received a few queries regarding ways to plan one’s travels to the Summit as well as individuals asking for an estimate of the total costs involved. We wish to share some information that might assist you in making your travel arrangements. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to inform you of your personal travel itinerary, we don't know whether you are going for 3 days, or 22 days; flying directly, or stopping over; visiting some other destination before or after the summit; staying on at the accommodation provided or using different accommodation; travelling alone or in a group; flying to Sydney and then hire a car and doing a road trip up the coast? All these decisions will determine how much your trip overseas will cost.  The exchange rate at the time of purchase is another determining factor that will impact expenses. All these have to be researched and decided upon by yourself to determine the best fit for your travel itinerary and budget.  These arrangements can be frustrating, but see it as part of the thrill and the fun of travelling abroad.  Hopefully the information below will assist you and provide some clarity to the questions that you might have.

Your first port of call should be the Summit Website

Most of the information below has been copied from the website or googled. The website also includes this helpful app to help you plan your journey.

Remember to apply for theTravel Grant before 30 January 2015!!!

FLIGHTS

You will have to investigate which flights are the most affordable, bearing in mind that these prices change on a weekly basis.  Flight costs differ depending on which dates and time of day you intend to fly.  At the end of last year the cheapest flights, for example, were about R12 000. Now, they are about R15 000.  This is why we advise that you book your flights as soon as possible, for the prices will continue to escalate.

Perhaps use http://www.statravel.co.za; https://www.travelstart.co.za/ or similar websites as a starting point to compare different flight prices.  You should investigate the price difference between different airlines, departure and arrival dates and times, direct flights or stop-overs, duration of lay-overs, etc.

It is likely that your flight from SA will arrive at the Brisbane Airport (BNE), which is approximately 83.8 km from the hotel, seeing that this is the primary international airport serving Brisbane and South East Queensland.  Alternatively, the Gold Coast Regional Airport (OOL) is approximately 23 km away from the venue, but mostly hosts domestic flights from within Australia’s borders.

ACCOMODATION

Details regarding the accommodation during the summit are on the website.  A discounted rate has been negotiated for the evenings of the summit, each room costing $230-$240 AUD. This translates to about R 2 300 per room.  Depending whether you wish to share a room or not; the type of room you book (2 kings sized beds or 1 single bed, for example); what the hotel’s arrangements and policies entail regarding the sharing of rooms.  Sharing the cost of a room between 4 people will cost you roughly R575 per night per person.

You are welcome to book another venue for accommodation, but remember that you will have to pay extra for transport every day to and from the summit venue.  Students have taken this option in the past and afterwards admitted that it had cost more to stay away from the venue in comparison to the discounted accommodation rates organised by GK.  However, this is something you will have to research yourself.

Then, depending whether you are only staying for the duration of the summit; arriving one or several days before; departing one or several days after the summit - the number of nights accomodation required will influence the cost involved.  Remember that the special negotiated rates are only for the evenings of the summit.  You need to decide whether you wish to continue to stay at the Marriott Resort or if you will be using other accommodation for an extended stay.  All travel arrangements and bookings are your own responsibility!

MEALS

In general, Australia is expensive for South Africans and this can be seen in their food prices.  We suggest budgeting a minimum of R200 per meal.  For example: a Coka-Cola will cost around $3AUD = R30; a regular Cappuccino around $4 AUD = R36; and a cheap meal at an inexpensive restaurant around $17 AUD = R150.  These prices are according to the following website.

During the Summit the following meals will be provided:

- On Thursday 16 July hors d'oeuvre will be served at dinner;

- On Friday 17 July you will be provided with coffee/tea and a light breakfast, as well as lunch; and

- On Saturday 18 July you will be provided with coffee/tea and a light breakfast, and the not-to-missed formal gala dinner (if you had booked for the gala dinner).

You will have to cater for the other meals and any additional snacks or beverages you might consume during your travels and the summit period, for example, when you go out in the evenings.  Note that the hotel is not of the Bed-and-Breakfast type.

GROUND TRANSPORT

Once again the decision is up to you and more information about different ground transportation options are provided on the summit website.  We suggest ou investigate and decide your transport arrangements beforehand (even book your shuttle priot to departure) by following the links on the website and by using Google Maps.  THESE ARE ALL YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY!

For example, once you arrive at the airport:

• you can use a pre-booked shuttle service (Like Con-x-ionn you are travelling alone (who will give you a 10% discount as a GK member) or Point to Point Tours and Transfers if you are travelling in a group);

• you can make use a taxi on arrival (warning: this might be excessively costly - but can be shared);

• take the train or the bus (info is on the summit website and more details stipulated below);

• hire a car (can also be shared); or

• or perhaps have a family member or a friend living there, pick you up.

Taking the SHUTTLE from Brisbane Airport

It costs roughly R1 850 for a pre-booked shuttle with Point to Point Tours and Transfers, 4 people travelling in a group, will cost roughly R 462.50 per person per trip from and to Brisbane Airport.

Taking the BUS from Brisbane Airport

Should you decide to catch the bus from Brisbane Airport, the cost will be roughly 44 AUD (R404) you should plan to arrive at the Surfers' Paradise Transit Centre (at 10 Beach Road, Surfers' Paradise).  The Centre is about a 17minute, 1.4km walk from the Hotel.  You might wish to take a taxi from the Centre. 

Taking the TRAIN from Brisbane Airport

You will take the train’s airport line to the Nerang stop (airport line runs into the Gold Coast line).   From the Nerang stop you need to catch a bus (#740) to Cypress Ave along Surfers Paradise and then walk 715m to the hotel.  The website has a great trip planner app where you can enter your starting and ending point and then map the trip and price. 

The decision remain yours, as each option has a different price and different variables.  For example, the bus fare might be the cheapest, but might take the longest.  If your flight arrives at 03:00 in the morning, then the shuttle and the taxi will be your only options, as the train and bus services are likely to be closed.  You might be saving with a cheaper flight arriving at obscure hours, but your taxi trip to the hotel and extra night's accomodation might be highly expensive. Otherwise, on arrival at the airport, make your way through to the information desk at the bus station or the train station and ask for assistance as Australians can speak English and will be able to assist you. 

VISA

Visit: http://www.southafrica.embassy.gov.au/pret/Visas_and_Migration.html  

South African Citizens need to apply for a Visa.  According to our information, you will have to apply for a Visitor’s Visa Subclass 600 for holiday purposes, valid for up to 3 months. (http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/600.aspx)

The website specifies that South Africans need to visit one of the Australian High Commissions in SA (Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town) to lodge their application by appointment.  (Addresses for the different embassy locations are on their website).  Information on the website indicates that South Africans are able to apply online if you are willing to make the payment via credit card on line. See: http://www.southafrica.embassy.gov.au/pret/onlinelodgement.html

A visa will cost you between AUD130 to AUD335 – which at the moment is roughly R1 240 – R3 200 and will take about 1 month to process.  Keep this in mind and plan accordingly. Prior to making your visa application appointment, you will need to have proof of your purchased flight, proof of your booked accommodation, proof that you have paid your Summit registration and proof of cash in AUD for living expenses. Put in a different way, your flights, accommodation and registration will have to be booked and paid for at least two months before your departure, so that you can still make a visa appointment and receive your visa in time for your trip.  

Once you have thoroughly researched all the documents that you need to prepare as stipulated on the website, and you have these ready, you can start your application process for a Subclass 600 Visitor’s Visa here: https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login 

SUMMARY

Let's imagine you are travelling in a group of 4, planning to arrive in Australia on Wednesday 15 July at Brisbane Airport and travel via a shuttle to the hotel, and depart on Sunday 19 July, then your costs might potentially accumulate to something slightly similar to the following*: 

Summit Registration

R4 404

Visa


R3 200

Flights


R15 000

Shuttle to and from Brisbane Airport


R925

Accommodation (4 nights shared) at Marriot Resort


R2 300

Meals


R1 600

Entertainment/Pocket Money


R2 000

SUBTOTAL


R30 000

Less Travel Grant**


R14 500

Less GK SA Office Subsidy sharing R8000


R2 000

Less Additional funding from local companies (secured by yourself) / your university?


RXX

ROUGHLY ESTIMATED TOTAL:


R13 500

 

*Please keep in mind that this is a rough estimate of costs and expenses based on current searches on the internet.  These prices are likely to change and will differ for each individual depending on their own chosen itinerary.  The Golden Key South Africa Office are not liable for the costs used in the example above.  It is based on information currently available for bookings as on the 26th January 2015.

**PLEASE TAKE NOTE: You will only receive the travel grant, by EFT to a bank account on arrival at the Marriott Resort in Australia on 16 July after you have registered in person at the Summit.  No cash or transfers will be made prior to this condition.  No exeptions will be made and payments will only be made by EFT!

Overseas travel is always expensive, especially given the current exchange rates.  Still, if you can raise the funds, we would love to suggest that you do not only travel for the three day conference, but also to do some travelling of your own.  Experiences gained through travelling are well worth the cost involved.

If you have any other questions, please send them to the Atlanta office who are in charge of organising this event at internationalsummit@goldenkey.org.  

PS Remember to apply for the Travel Grant before 30 January 2015!!!

PPS This is a trivial point – but remember to keep your eyes open for the difference between USD and AUD currencies!