When I was asked why I loved Australia, my mind instantly thought of the weather, the glorious sun shining for most of the year and the golden sandy beaches. But Australia has become so much more than that to me, it’s become my home and the people here have become my community. Don't mistake me for saying the coastline isn’t one of the most glorious things I have ever seen, especially at sunset but there is so much more here to see! When I moved to Australia seven years ago I thought I’d be here for a year or two, earn some good money and go home again. But here I am after all this time settled into a beautiful home and engaged to an Australian! My experiences in this beautiful country have taken me all over the state of NSW, up to the scorching Gold Coast and Brisbane, down to the creative and artsy Melbourne and to the nation’s capital on a regular basis, even smaller coastal towns such as Coffs harbour The drive to Canberra is one of the best ways to see a bit of everything! Starting in Sydney you see the hustle and bustle of the city life, the long stretching highways, the build up of traffic, the different cultures through the western suburbs of Sydney, and then suddenly the long highway takes you into the wide open air! You are cruising along at 110km looking at beautiful bush land, wide open fields with kangaroos bouncing around and suddenly you feel like you’re so far away from the city! When arriving in Canberra it’s like being in a small coastal town with no coast! The people here are so friendly and relaxed, willing to help you with directions or a flat tyre or anything you may need! Below is a picture I took on my most recent visit to Canberra from my hotel room. I also have a silly picture of my first journey to Canberra in 2011 when I first arrived in Australia and this is taken at The Great Dry Lake George. Which is exactly what it sounds like, a big lake that is no more and now lays a sometimes rain filled sometimes dry for the kangaroos to lay around on! Speaking of kangaroos, all those little grey specs are kangaroos! The people are one of the biggest reasons I stayed here, as well as job opportunities! The people of Queensland that I encountered were so relaxed it was like they were on permanent holidays, the shops were wonderfully quiet and the tourist attractions were what we expected! The theme parks on the Gold Coast are a must visit for anyone travelling to this part of Australia! Young and Old will enjoy their time here with plenty of shops and attractions as well as rides for thrill seekers. Below is a picture from my most recent visit to the Gold Coast in the evening I have also a picture of the tropical hotel I stayed in The people of Melbourne were so different to anywhere I’d seen before, they are outspoken, passionate and proud and LOVE their coffee and coffee houses! The place is beautiful with art everywhere, interesting places to visit and of course a beautiful coastline as well! I didn't have much time to take pictures of all the wonderful art while in Melbourne as I was too distracted with the sights to get out my phone but I have two pictures one from the Aquarium we visited and one from the river bank we ate our lunch on. Where I live in Sydney is very multi cultural, it’s very diverse in shopping and eating facilities and this acceptance of everyone’s cultures is what makes it home to me now! Here is a photo from my balcony The other reason I stayed as mentioned before is the job opportunities. Here in Australia you can be whatever you dream of being, from a teacher to a builder, from a nurse to a road worker, every single field you can dream of has an entry level position where if you work hard and succeed you have so many opportunities to climb the ladder and grow as an employee. The government here also helps greatly with training and development options. Or if you already have the qualifications they are recognized here and you can go into a position higher than entry level. All the jobs I have had here in Sydney have paid me well, and rewarded me for my hard work. If you have the right attitude towards work then Australians respect that. I haven’t been “home” to New Zealand in a very long time and as I look into the future the reasons to go back dwindle, as each day I build my life here with more confidence and love for everything I’ve come to know here in Australia. And yes the sunshine is wonderful but the people and opportunities are more wonderful!