Archive for April, 2008

Fleuralia – Leura Garden Festival

Monday, April 28th, 2008

The Leura garden festival, Fleuralia, will run Saturday 4th October 2008 to Sunday 12th October 2008 inclusive.
Gardens are open 9.30am to 4.30pm daily, and multi-visit tickets are available.

The first weekend will also see the Leura street fair.  This sees the block of the Mall just south of the station closed off for a selection of stalls and other tat. In the past there were rides for kids and a range of entertainment, but these days it is mostly about the generic “craft” stalls that trudge from Glebe to Paddington to wherever markets each week.

Details on the gardens open to visitors at:

Leura Playgroups

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Getting the kids out of the house for a play, and a chance for some adult conversation, is what play group is all about. The two below welcome new members.

Monday Playgroup, run by St Aidan’s Anglican Church, Megalong Street, Leura 10am-12pm, $2 per week per family.

Thursday, Playgroup Association Playgroup, Leura Baptist Church Hall, cnr GWH & Leura Mall, 10am to 12pm, $2 per family per week plus yearly registration fee to Playgroups NSW of $32 (which covers insurance). You can have 2 free visits before you have to sign up.

You can just show up to either group, no need to contact anyone first. Neither group meets during School holidays.

EAST TIMOR GARAGE SALE – 19th April 2008

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

The East Timor Sisters Garage sales moved to Blackheath this year from the old site in Leura Mall. It’s a great fund raiser, that has delivered tens of thousands of dollars to projects in East Timor.

EAST TIMOR GARAGE SALE collecting now for 9-3, 19th April sale. Donations can be delivered to 66 Wentworth St, Blackheath. (deliver to rear of house via Prince George St). More info? Call 4787-6310. All funds raised support projects in East Timor.

Winter Magic Festival – 21st June 2008

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Katoomba’s Winter Magic Festival falls on the solstice this year, the 21st of June. More information at the official site:

Best deal for telecoms in the mountains

Monday, April 14th, 2008

In my day job I work for a phone company (AAPT) and sometimes need to analyse call plans for customers.

If you live in the upper mountains, you might have wondered which phone plan is right for you. As a general rule, anybody but Telstra used to be the right choice for your home phone supplier, but in the last few years it has become a little trickier.

For customers living as far west as Katoomba, Telstra offer a plan that has a feature called the Wide Area Call option. This lets customers have a 25c local call as far away as 50km over the charging zone, which happens to take in all of metro Sydney if you live east of Medlow Bath (Medlow/Blackheath/Mt Vic residents might like to contact Telstra to see whether it covers them too). To get this deal you must choose line rental plan “Homeline Plus” and elect the Wide Area Call option. There is another option with capped STD rates called “Regional Call” that is not such a good deal.

For mountains folk with family in Sydney who make few other STD or international calls and don’t call many mobiles, this deal is probably the best among the traditional telcos, however, be aware it has high flagfall (39c) for all timed calls and quite high fixed to mobile charges. This means if most of your bill is calls to mobiles, the saving from cheaper calls to Sydney are unlikely to off-set these high charges.

For everyone else, you probably want a deal that offers low prices on all call types. I personally use the AAPT Anytime Plus, an old fashioned sort of tariff where you just pay for what you use, which suits me as we don’t make many calls (and I get a discount from work).

The main game, though, are the capped plans, although they are a bit of a misnomer as they are not really capped. These plans charge you a fixed fee, like $49 per month, for a large value of included calls, and in some cases, unlimited calls. Even Telstra is offering this sort of deal (although theirs is $89.95).

Soul, GoTalk, AAPT and a bunch of little operators offer capped or bundled plans. All are reasonably close in price if you are an average sort of user (that is, you make a mix of calls, not a disproportional number to international or one number or something). If your phone bill at the moment is over $80 including line rental, it is pretty likely one of these plans will be cheaper. Note Optus plans aren’t available in the upper mountains as they can only be accessed where their network is.

Finally, if you make *very* few calls, say you use Skype or some other VoIP service, or make all your calls from a mobile, the cheapest line rental if you need to have a fixed line installed is Telstra’s HomeLine Budget.

All this is based on people who don’t use broadband Internet and don’t make many calls to mobiles. If you have ADSL and a couple of mobiles in your house, you can probably save a few more dollars by bundling them all together. I’ll do a post a bit later about that.