Melbourne's northern suburbs here!
I think part of the reason the betta 'scene' is more active up north is that it's so darned cold down here!.. I hate winter.. lugging a betta to a show in the cold doesn't sound too appealing.
The other week I had a new bed delivered, the company was late coming, it was evening and I had my tank lights on. The couple (family business) who arrived with the bed immediately stepped toward Cleo's tank, lol - "Oh, we had bettas, we miss them!" and then we talked for about half an hour about our fish.. they decided they were going to get another.. then remembered we were meant to be doing business!
Was funny, but made me wish there was an informal sort of betta-lover's group (that I could get to, with no car!) for discussions/swaps/ etc. It was so nice to chat away with people who truly loved their fish.
Great to see so many Aussies here, and yes, good to have those alternate medications.. I've used Myxazin & Protozin.. Protozin kills ich dead, amazing stuff. I'm yet to find the pig&poultry treatment, but sooner or later I'm sure I'll come across it and stock up.
is a great place to get native plants, fish and inverts. I emailed Dave there (they're in NT I believe..) re low-light plants, and he was really nice, gave a recommended list and a good price. He has a really good reputation, as well. for sales/shipping and the like. When I do my NPT later this year (pending a house move..), I want to make it a native tank and I've been after a place to get long-armed shrimp for ages, so that was all super helpful.