Meet Tracy. A Kiwi expat in Melbourne.
What took you there, what do you do?
A few different events led me to moving to Melbourne; I had just finished my university degree, gone through a break up, left my part time job, and I my sister was already living in Melbourne and had been pestering me to visit her. I had just finished my Business degree so was looking for a foot in the door to a Marketing career and decided to give Melbourne a shot, at least for a few months over the summer anyway – I didn’t move to Melbourne with a set time frame or plan to ‘live’ there right away. I moved to Melbourne with only a 2 day a week, unpaid marketing internship role lined up and decided to ‘wing it’ from there! After a few months I knew there was much more to discover here and that I wasn’t ready to go back to NZ, so I sold my car and made the move permanent!
Currently I am working in the Marketing team for a travel company.
I’ve always been an independent person so never found the thought of living alone or in a different place terribly daunting. That being said, I do have a sister who lives in Melbourne too so that was a good sounding board for me when I first moved here. When I was 18 and had just finished high school, I went and lived in California for 4 months while working as a camp counselor at a summer camp. That was an eye opening experience and made me realize how much I can do on my own.
Where are some of your favourite spots in Melbourne?
Melbourne has heaps of awesome laneways and hidden restaurants & bars in the city which I love so it’s hard to pick a favourite from all of them! At the moment I love a cocktail bar called Eau De Vie, which is located down a back alley behind an unmarked door – they make the best Espresso Martinis!
The Tan in the Botanical Gardens, is beautiful space amongst the big city where you can run, walk, crawl (think bootcamp) or just chill out in the park with a picnic, good book and some sunshine. I love this place as it reminds me of home – a bit of green and nature tucked amongst the big city.
I also love going to the markets in Melbourne, Queen Vic is the most common one in the city, but I really like the South Melbourne Markets at the moment and they’re really close to my home too. It’s a really fun vibe (if you’re prepared to tackle the crowds) full of heaps of fresh fruit, veg, meat and seafood. During the summer they have night markets where bands play and you can get fresh cooked meals from the street vendors (like paella or dim sums) and I also just discovered a cheese room on one of my recent trips and I LOVE CHEESE so this made me very happy!
What do you miss most about home?
My family. Although I do have the luxury of only living a 3-hour flight away from my family, it is really hard not being there to watch my little niece grow up. Thankfully Skype has helped and also being able to get pretty cheap flights back to Auckland, but not being able to drive over for a quick visit, raid the fridge at dad’s house or take the dog for a walk, those little things I miss.
Worst thing about living there?
Toll roads are EVERYWHERE and they drive me crazy. I also miss Wendy’s burgers and the green countryside of New Zealand.
Best thing about living abroad?
Discovering new things! There are always new restaurants, bars, markets, festivals and events to go to. Having a car now also helps as I can explore more outside of the city, and it means that long weekends can be spend discovering more of the country I’m now in too.
What would you recommend someone do if they only a weekend in Melbourne?
Dinner and drinks in the city is a must! Cocktails at a rooftop bar like the Emerald Peacock or the roof above The Toff and a cheap (but delicious) meal in China Town. As cheesy as it is, get down to Crown, Southbank after dark and check out the fire display that goes off every hour.
Day time, head down the Great Ocean Road. I did a day trip down there and it’s absolutely stunning! Make sure you stop at Loch Ard Gorge for a stunning ‘I can’t be in Australia’ experience.
Wine here is always good too, most people head to the Yarra Valley for a day of hopping between vineyards, but I always take my friends down to the Mornington Peninsula because that’s where I do some casual weekend work (taking people for Horseback Winery Tours – best side job ever!)
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What has been the best experience you’ve had there?
Met my boyfriend (thankfully, he’s a kiwi!) and amazing new lifelong friends. I’ve also learnt the difference between a dumpling and a dim sim and have discovered true ‘independence’ (the kind when your parents finally take you off the family health insurance policy).