The thing I get asked most when I explain I recently moved back from Australia is ‘do you miss it?’ (This usually comes after a comment along the lines of ‘why’d you leave, you nutcase?)
It’s been 6 months already since we left Australia and moved back to the UK and at first my answer to this question was, not really, because I was kind of preoccupied with relocating and having a baby.
We’ve just booked a visit to Melbourne for this Easter though and, when thinking of what we’ll do while we’re out there, memories of everything I loved about living in Australia have come flooding back to me.
These are some of the good bits I’ll always miss.
Best things about living in Australia
The healthier version of me
Maybe I was just living out some Home & Away fantasy but living in Sydney definitely inspired a healthier version of me. I embraced the lycra, drank smoothies for breakfast and had lots of fresh veggies and salads with bbq meat for dinner.
At the weekends we went for walks – mostly along the incredible coastline – not just to clock up steps but because we wanted to. While I know I can (and should) embrace this healthier person deep inside me now I’m back in the UK, I must admit that all I’ve done since moving back home is eat biscuits.
A capsule wardrobe
For this UK Winter I not only had to buy the first winter coat I’ve had in years but I ended up getting 3 of them – one for wet days, one for mildly cold days and one for freezing your butt off frosty days.
My wardrobe has vastly expanded since living in England and I swear that is mostly from necessity – you just don’t know what weather you’re going to get. (Take this week’s summer in February, for example!)
I miss the capsule wardrobe I proudly collated in Sydney, where a few skirts, dresses and one light jacket was enough to cover most of the year.
I love swimming and despite it being something I would have loved to have done in later pregnancy I am yet to make it to a pool in England because the thought of the local leisure centre fills me with dread. The grubby floors, sharp smell of chlorine, and inevitable shivering as you awkwardly try to get dressed in a tiny changing room – eurgh, no thanks.
In Sydney, our apartment had an outdoor pool, which granted – as it was unheated – was a shocker to get into, but drying off the in the sunshine and popping back to your own home for a refreshing shower afterwards was bliss.
Equally our local pool in Brunswick, which was a toasty heated outdoor one, gave me the chance to enjoy exercise and vitamin D without having to go near a mouldy changing room. I really miss these al fresco dips.
There was one thing the healthier version of me bent the rules for in Australia and that was hotcakes. As soon as I discovered you could have cake for breakfast I was intent on trying as many versions as possible.
Highlights include Bills ricotta hotcakes with banana, the Jaffa Cake flavoured tower at Tinker Northcote and the passionfruit and berry smothered pan at Harry’s Bondi and Top Paddock.
This goes without saying doesn’t it. I swear in Melbourne you’d be hard-pressed to find a bad latte.
By and large, Australian terrestrial TV is terrible – over-commercialised, basic, embarrassing. But give me 5 nights a week of renovation show The Block and I’m a happy lady.
For the uninitiated, the concept is that teams of renovation rookies take over a derelict building and create a whole luxury apartment each by building one room a week. At the end of the reno the apartments are put up for auction and the contestants win whatever the property makes above the reserve price. It’s reality TV meets renovation with big budgets and knowledgeable judges. I LOVED it.
I’ll also like to give a nod to The Project whose presenters – Carrie Bickmore and Waleed Aly – are 2 of Australia’s most likeable people.
Al Fresco Dining
The weather in the UK is glorious right now so the one restaurant in my town that has outdoor seating is rammed, naturally.
What I miss about Oz is that it’s rare to find a restaurant or café that doesn’t have outdoor seating. In fact, something that baffled me was how some places don’t have enough seats indoors for when you get the rainy days.
Beaches for days
Australia has over 25k kms of coastline and 10k incredible beaches. There’s more there than you could discover in a lifetime and I miss rocking up to random ones each week.
Thinking of moving to Australia? Here’s how to get set up and settled quickly.
They say the grass is always greener and for the 4ish years I spent in Australia I would go on and on about how much I missed the British High Street. Oh, how I raided River Island and M&S on every trip back to the UK. But while I’m glad to have big pants on tap here now, I do miss the quality of the Australian high street.
I still follow a lot of the brands mentioned above on Instagram and although most of the floaty dresses I love will set you back $200, you know I’ll be stocking up on our trip at Easter.
Interestingly, I’ve also found myself loving Aussie brands when it comes to bits for the baby. The Love To Dream Swaddle that Miles sleeps in is made in Oz and I’m obsessed with the Bonds zip up Wondersuits. (Thanks to all our friends and family who have posted these to us!) I’ve got a whole shopping list for both Miles and me when we head back Down Under.
I really miss an Aussie road trip. There’s nothing like cruising those endless straight roads, Farmers Union Iced Coffee in hand, passing through random 2 man towns on the way to some natural wonder.
We certainly made the most of our time in Australia, visiting all 6 states, but I still wish we had time to hit more of the road when we head back to visit in a few weeks. (Maybe we’ll even brave a campervan when Miles is bigger.)
I think one of the biggest adjustments to get used to when you come back to live in the UK is how many people we have. The population of our tiny island compared to Australia is staggering. Life just naturally feels a bit busier here from the sheer amount of people you’re always dodging.
Thinking of moving to Australia? Find more of my experiences living down under here.
If you’re travelling to Australia, find all my travel guides here.
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