How Australia Stole My Heart Unexpectedly

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Maybe it’s because I let the opinions of others influence me. Maybe it’s because I never thought about living in Australia. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have clear-cut expectations.

Or maybe it’s because I’ve been slightly very much cut off from most of the world since moving to New Zealand six months ago.

Whatever the reason, the truth is this:

I flew to Australia a week ago and it took hold of my heart. It’ll remain there until I return. 

I only had a mere eight days in Melbourne and Cairns (and a hot second stop in Brisbane), but I was enamored from the minute I stepped out into central Melbourne the night I arrived.

In retrospect, I think I fell in love with Australia for three reasons:

1. I was traveling solo again, no longer on a tour (hallelujah. More on that later).

2. I had no expectations (and in truth, I expected to prefer New Zealand more).

3. I was in an entirely new country, so close yet so different from the one I had been living in.

First glimpse of Melbourne after the plane ride: Heaven.
First glimpse of Melbourne after the plane ride: Heaven.

After four nights in Melbourne, it’s safe to say that I can definitely see myself living in Melbourne long-term. There’s just something about the city – the beautiful skyscrapers, amazing food (we’re talking mouth watering), diverse array of cultures, the spectacular musicians along the riverfront, a beautifully designed shopping complex on practically every street, hidden laneways (one of my favorite parts of CBD), stunning street art, innovative bridges, a surprise around every corner…. need I go on?

Melbourne Star: My favorite bird's eye view of the city
Melbourne Star: My favorite bird’s eye view of the city
That gigantic smile isn't fake.
That gigantic smile isn’t fake.

In sum, Melbourne is like Wellington times TEN. Ten times the size, ten times the beauty, ten times the arts and culture… and one of the most important factors for me: ten times the amount of places to eat and ten times the deliciousness of food.

I didn’t expect to grow fond of Melbourne so quickly, if at all. I usually detest large cities and the hustle-bustle crowds of busy downtown regions.

Perhaps that’s the beauty in this surprise. After all, aren’t the best things in life unexpected?

Cairns and Brisbane also captivated me since they were so different from all the towns in New Zealand. NZ is stunning, of course. But after awhile (especially after a tour of South Island in which we literally drove around the whole island), I felt like everything blurred together. There weren’t huge distinctions between places. Whereas in Australia, there is a clear differentiation between cities. Cairns is the Hawaii of Australia, except with far more humidity and hardly any residents. Brisbane is the Texas of Australia, with a beautiful outdoor shopping area and rainbow-lit bridge at night that I’m dying to see.

Trinity Beach: One of the northern beaches outside Cairns
Trinity Beach: One of the northern beaches outside Cairns
Brief rendezvous in Brisbane
Brief rendezvous in Brisbane

Sidenote: Australia also stole kindly diminished a huge chunk of my savings somehow. I guess that’s what happens when your eyes light up over things you couldn’t get in New Zealand or when you constantly go out to eat or shop at night markets and boutiques. I’m still extremely satisfied with one of my pricier purchases, a Nixon backpack from Melbourne’s very own Nixon store. After all, California NEVER had its own Nixon store, despite the headquarters being in Encinitas.

Glory moment in Melbourne. Forever a Nixon girl...
Glory moment in Melbourne. Forever a Nixon girl…

As a result of this trip, I’m even more thankful that Americans can do working holidays in Australia. I’ll be back for you soon, AUS… you beautiful beast of a country!

It wasn't goodbye... because I loved you too much, Australia!
It wasn’t goodbye… because I loved you too much, Australia!

5 thoughts on “How Australia Stole My Heart Unexpectedly

  1. So happy about how much you loved it, and I can completely understand. Can’t wait for all the blog posts to come about your year (or maybe you’ll end up making it more) in Australia.


  2. damn you for putting that beautiful song along with your beautiful words and your even more beautiful face!!! Love you Deb! and so proud of you!!!


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