The cost of cupid

Online dating sites offer a seductively slick alternative to real-world pick-up joints. But, because many dating sites are cagey about any fees they impose, clarifying costs can be as difficult as comparing mobile phone plans.

So for your convenience we have thrashed out what you get for your money, literally and figuratively. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Find your perfect franchise

If you feel nervous about launching a start-up, the answer might be to strike a compromise: buy a franchise. You get the benefit of a ready-made business model and access to the nous of other franchisees, and the franchisor’s professional team.

Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Map your cash splash with apps

Increasingly, your fiscal future lies in the palm of your hand, in the shape of a glut of mobile money-management apps. For your convenience, here are 10 cherry-picked saving apps that work in Australia and cost nothing. Use them wisely and your smartphone just might pay for itself. Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Tourism operators need to lift their game

Australia’s high cost of living and strong currency mean tourism operators must be remarkably shrewd to attract patronage.

This country holds the distinction of being one of the world’s costliest to visit. Its flagship cities Sydney and Melbourne rank among the top five most expensive anywhere. Analysts blame high wages and the gouging effect of the high Australian dollar. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Reduce the juice: how to beat the carbon tax

The carbon tax could reportedly drive power bills up by 20 per cent.

“The one thing that all small businesses need to understand about the carbon tax is that your energy costs will increase and – in some instances – quite considerably,” says the co-director of the environmental group Sustainability at Work, Melissa Houghton.

A small business owner gets no direct government compensation. Your only gain is that your “instant asset write-off threshold” rises from $5000 to $6500.

Read more:

Australia: Luna Park Sydney

You can see the eerie smiling face from Circular Quay, on the other side of the harbor. The face is enshrined at the entrance to that sprawling Sydney fun house, Luna Park.

Dizzyingly weird, Luna Park gives that better-known Circular Quay attraction, the Opera House, a run for its money. Hence the repeated interest of filmmakers, documentary makers and TV directors. For instance, an episode of the iconic Aussie TV series Skippy the Bush Kangaroo was filmed there.

Learn more about the retro attraction set at Milsons Point on Sydney’s elegant North Shore. The attraction, which dates back to 1935, has a rich, dark past that should mean it is haunted, if ghosts exist. Read more at Agoda

Australia: Insider Guide to Lark Hill Quarry

Few attractions can accurately be classified ‘unique’, but one that deserves that word is the offbeat Aussie attraction Lark Hill Quarry. An hour from the rural town of Winton, deep in the Outback of Australia’s Queensland state, the site is well off the tourist trail.  Read more at Agoda