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the lingo

It was iPhone’s App of the Year and Google’s

Best of the Best for Android last year so

it’s no surprise Duolingo boasts more than

38 million users, along with rave reviews.

University professors have found that 34

hours of using Duolingo is the equivalent of

a semester of university language instruction

– and it’s free to learn! Choose from nine

languages so far, including French, Spanish

and Italian, and new ones are being added

(such as Irish). Free for Android and iPhone.

What price

is that?

With currency rates fluctuating up and

down like a yo-yo, it’s hard to keep up

while travelling, especially across multiple

countries. So XE currency converter is

a travel essential. Access more than 180

currencies, calculate prices, pin your base

currency to the top and just shake the

phone to reset values. It stores last updated

rates so works offline and converts prices in

remote areas. Free for iPhone and Android.

Pro version $1.99.

Sleepy time


If the steady drone of a jet plane is not a

lullaby to your ears Sleep Sounds HQ might

be the app for you. There’s a playlist of more

than 600 natural sounds, from a Bali rain

shower to rolling waves in the Red Sea, the

warm crackling of a campfire or South African

crickets (no, not


) to help tune out

the surrounding environment and send you

into dreamworld – with wonderfully serene

images on screen to match. Android $1.99 or

iPhone $2.49.




Chinese visitors are heading our way in greater numbers

and contribute almost $4 billion to the local economy,

which is expected to grow further now that Brisbane

Airport Corporation (BAC) and Shanghai Airports

Authority have formed an alliance to develop new route

networks and explore more market opportunities to

build better services for passengers. “Through sharing

information, personnel exchanges and collaboration

to strengthen the air connections between the two

cities the aim is to increase passenger volume and

freight throughput,” says BAC CEO Julieanne Alroe.

Shanghai Airports Authority operates both Pudong

and Hongquiao international airports where passenger

numbers reached almost 83 million last year.



Dugongs and turtles in Moreton Bay have been increasingly

under threat from pollution and interference with their natural

habitat which has prompted a group of concerned citizens to

start the Dugong Collective. From cleaning up the foreshore

to petitioning politicians, the volunteers aim to make a

difference and are just one of more than 45 community groups

that have received $20,000 worth of grants from Brisbane

Airport Corporation’s new Community Giving Fund. The

new fund will accept submissions and make grants to fund

projects big and small in categories from safety and sport to

environment, education or health and wellbeing.

BNE December 2014/January 2015 |


Image: Zhao jian kang/