What it’s like to live in Australia with Designer Emma Kate

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Emma Kate is an Australian designer, writer, and perpetual traveller. This year she joins the WOW team as the Australian contributor – sharing her years of knowledge for a country that the rest of the world seems to be highly intrigued by. With a flair for design and coffee culture, Emma will bring her expert up-to-date knowledge to readers to share only the best of the best in Australia’s most popular cities: including Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.


Meet Emma, The WOW Australian Blogger

Hi! I’m Emma. I freelance for creative clients around the world (bloggers, authors, coaches, rule breakers, trailblazers) and I’m soon launching my own stationery + lifestyle collection inspired by my travels.

At the end of October (2014) I arrived back on home soil, after a few years away – living in France and then London. Currently back in my hometown Adelaide + stockpiling some Aussie rays until the next adventure.

Leaving London was a pretty abrupt and unexpected exit (visa related) – and it was totally devastated to leave at the time – but honestly, It’s the best thing that happened to me. Life here is sundrenched and everyone’s a whole lot more relaxed and friendly. I’m still on planes all the time – and that won’t change – but for the time being, I’m completely happy to be based here. It’s a wonderful place to have an extended hiatus from travelling.


My Connection to Travel

In terms of travel, I was born with wanderlust in my bones. I hail from a long line of seekers. My Mum hitchhiked her way around the world at 23 in the 1970s, and so did her two pioneering aunts, who travelled through Europe in the 1940s by scooter at a time where women travelling alone was basically unheard of.

Travel has always been encouraged and a big part of my upbringing, so I feel that this side of me was always meant to be. When I was 20, I graduated from uni and hopped on a plane to explore the world, solo. I spent 10 weeks wandering around America, Canada and Europe, and fell head-over-heels in love with the world.

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that travel will always be a huge part of my life.

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What it’s like to live in Australia

What do you love most about Australia?

The sunshine! But seriously. After arriving back from London, I couldn’t get over the light – everything’s just so much more saturated and vivid here. The sun reconstituted me! The days are expansive, the ocean is never far, the food + coffee culture is out of this world. The people are pretty great, too. There’s a really open + easy going + supportive culture. It’s normal to talk to the shopkeeper and have the barista sit down to chat with you over your coffee.

Where are the best 3 cities / why / what vibe does each have?

Adelaide – my home city. Foodie. Scenic. (rolling hills + rugged coastline) – and I’d say, completely revived.

Brisbane – sun, sun, sun (and lots of rain + humidity). There’s so many great pockets of this city to explore and the location is brilliant – killer costal towns like Bryon Bay (NSW) and Noosa (Sunshine Coast) are just a short drive away. There’s a real atunement to wellness + spirit, with organic eateries and yoga studios all over the place.

Melbourne – grungy + coffee-capital + creative. There’s street art, hidden alleyways and hole-in-the-wall killer coffee joints everywhere and the best underound bars.

Describe a “typical Australian”

Easy going – way relaxed – happy. There’s a strong entrepreneurial + trailblazing spirit here – particularly in the health/wellness/blogging/online world. Australia’s East Coast is a hub of energy right now – you can feel it.

When living in London, what did Londoners think about you being an Australian?

There seems to be the overall idea that we come from a faraway, exotic land – that the plane flight is almost too long to endure. And that we have Kangaroos in our backyards and ride around on them (we don’t). My London friends couldn’t get used to how much I travelled, when I lived there. Most weekends I was on a plane, off to explore a different European city – it was a total novelty to hop on a plane and be in Amsterdam / Prague / another country an hour later. I think that Brits don’t realise how huge our country is – you can’t drive from Sydney to Adelaide in a few hours, it takes days!

Why should foreigners visit Australia?

Sunshine! Food! Incredible scenery + landscapes.


Tell us about your favourite city here in Australia?

Adelaide – I wouldn’t said this before I left to live overseas – but coming back, I’m so impressed! There’s a renaissance happening here right now – Adelaide’s grown up and come into his own. There are pop up wine bars, beautifully styled cafes and collaborative creative spaces that rival the best in the heart of Soho, London, or Bowery in New York. There’s amazing foodie culture – cellar doors + cosy hills hideaways, seaside fine dining, and grungy basement bars in the heart of the city.

In March is particularly great with the Adelaide Fringe festival season – there are outdoor parkland bars dotted around the city with fairy lights strung in trees, acrobatic shows, street food vans, pink skied balmy nights and a dreamy atmosphere.

It’s funny how many “Oh I wish I lived in Adelaide” comments I get all the time on Instagram – Adelaide’s “cool” now. It’s been fun to share some beautiful parts of my home on social media and get this response.


What are the top 3 experiences in Australia?

The Red Centre – Ayers Rock, no doubt (I haven’t been, but it’s on my list!)

The Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach – turquoise, crystal water, impossibly white sand, the coral reef and animal life (I went when I was 8 and nearly got eaten by a massive fish – not even joking).

Great Ocean Road – crazy beautiful coastal drive. And the 12 apostles, of course.

I’d say the northern New South Wales hinterland outside of Byron Bay is unmissable too – just so spectacularly beautiful (i.e. see below photo)!


What is the most underrated place in Australia?

Tasmania. I haven’t been (yet!) but must go soon! It’s Australia’s smallest state – but the unspoilt landscape – terrain – overland track – national parks are like no other.


Emma joins the WOW team as the Australian expert – bringing you the latest and greatest recommendations and reviews throughout Australia. Learn more about The WOW Team.

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    March 31, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Her love for the country shines through.

    mrs Rracheal
    September 18, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Do you need visa to travel to any where around the world? or you are in need of a well paid job? then this is your golden opportunity contact us via email for easy process of your visa and job mrsracheal2011@yahoo,com

    Alexandra Rodriguez
    August 21, 2015 at 6:40 am

    Hi Emma!
    I love all your Instagram posts and must confess that you’ve lit up my curiosity about life in Australia. I’ve met a couple of Australians throughout my time in NYC and agree that they are genuinely the happiest, most easy going and inspiring people I’ve met. You included! Your genuine happy soul shines online and it is so uplifting! It’s amazing to read how you have fallen in love with your home country after being away for so long. I hope that one day I will feel the same way about my home country Puerto Rico. But for now, I want to continue exploring live abroad and therefore have my eyes set on Australia. I’m fully committed to switching my hectic New York life with the more relaxed Aussie lifestyle and to be surrounded by creatives like yourself. I would love to know any tips you may have for a future expat like myself and whenever I find myself on the other side of the world, would love to connect.

    May 19, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Your blog is very inspiring. I would love to travel to the places you’ve been to. You’ve motivated me to make the most of my life and live it to the fullest. Thank you. 🙂

    Daniela Sousa
    April 20, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Hi Emma,
    I’m so far way, thousands of miles always, in Portugal, Europe, but in 2013 I had the opportunity to go to Australia and I must say that was the best time of my life! Reading your words with these amazing pictures makes me go there again!
    Miss Australia!!!

    Ana Jovanovic
    April 17, 2015 at 7:45 am

    I love that Sydney, my home city, wasn’t mentioned, (even though it is an incredible city). I’m so inspired now to go and see the rest of this beautiful country I can call my home :). Can’t wait for more Australia blog posts x

      April 18, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      I love that Melbourne made the top 3 places!! Melbourne seems to be forgotten about by travellers and I think it is way better than Sydney! I agree that Adelaide have grown up – I absolutely love that city and frequently visit and explore the sites! It is a country town version of Melbourne! Excited to read more of your recommendations and experiences in our magical country of Oz!!

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 1:06 am

      Sydney IS an incredible city, indeed! I’ve got lots of Sydney posts up my sleeve, don’t worry! x

    April 17, 2015 at 5:54 am

    I can’t wait to hear all about your Australian recommendations! I’m from the US, but I’m thinking of applying for a working holiday visa in either Australia or New Zealand, so your photos and descriptions of the different cities in Aus are making me want to apply even more! What’s your instagram name? I’d love to follow you to see more of your pics 🙂

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 1:04 am

      Thanks Christie! I hope you do come over to Australia, you’ll love it here! You can find me on Instagram @emmakateco x

    April 17, 2015 at 5:23 am

    I’m currently living in Paris and am originally from Los Angeles. I can honestly say, it’s my biggest dream to visit Australia! Especially during the long French winter, I kept on drooling over pictures of smoothie bowls, fresh coconut, and the endless beaches. Top of the bucket list for sure!

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 1:07 am

      Oh yes, I know what you mean! I endured some long, cold winters in London doing exactly the same. The acai bowls are waiting for you 🙂 do visit!

    April 16, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Ive heard prices are high there and how about the godawful spiders and snakes?

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 1:08 am

      I think prices are relative, really. Some things will cost you more, some less! And yes, spiders/snakes are definitely here- but that’s part of the adventure!

    April 16, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Looks amazing! Please could you include IG and twitter handles of your contributors so they are easy to find online? (especially IG, those pics look amazing!)

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 1:09 am

      Thanks Tania, i’ll have a contributor profile soon. You can find me @emmakateco on Twitter/IG 🙂

    Alexi Christensen
    April 16, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    The ocean is never far? Ever been to the outback?
    But nice to see some local bloggers in the spotlight

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 1:10 am

      You’re completely right – my home city is Adelaide, which is very close to water. I’m so looking forward to experiencing the Aussie Outback sometime soon.

    April 16, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    I’m doing a working holiday over in Oz now and I’m originally from the UK. I will definitely be plane hopping to Europe more (everything is SO close in the EU… we are seriously lucky)! And I only got to spend four days in Tasmania but it was unbelievable. So beautiful, like a perfect mash up of New Zealand and Australia, can’t recommend it enough. Hope to hear more Australian adventures soon 🙂

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 1:12 am

      Ooh gosh, I cannot wait to experience Tasmania after reading these words!

    Craig Tranter
    April 16, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Really great to see WOW expanding and look forward to reading more about my home country, Australia.
    I’m currently in Sydney and would love to know where to find a great coffee Emma

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 1:12 am

      Thank you Craig. Watch this space – I’m preparing just the thing!

    April 16, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    I love all the wonderful girls who have joined WOW team!! They all look and sound like we could be good friends. Which is cool, because I’m sure that it means that their articles will be an interesting read! 🙂

    Jarka | designedbylife
    April 16, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Emma, this is so rad! So excited for you – such a great adventure. You are going to rock this space with your gorgeous writing, photos and typism. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you. Lots of love on this journey x

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 1:18 am

      Thank you so much for stopping by, and this lovely comment, Jarka. I’m so looking forward to sharing more soon.

    April 16, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Aw no mention of Western Australia – where’s the love? As a fellow aussie, i’m a bit disappointed!

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 1:20 am

      Don’t worry, there’ll be a lot of love for Western Australia, soon! For this entry post I could only talk about my Australian experiences so far – and I’m yet to venture to WA. Let me know what I must see! I have no doubt it’ll be beautiful!

    The Blonde Tourist
    April 16, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Congrats Emma! Love your blog and instagram too so great to hear we’ll be hearing more from you here. BTx

    Jennifer Stevens | Adventurous Appetite
    April 16, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Looking forward to reading! I need to get to Adelaide! 🙂

    April 16, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Looking forward to your contribution Emma! Those photos are amazing – I especially love the pic of Africola/Botanic – its stunning!

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    April 16, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Congratulations Emma! I’m a fellow Aussie, living in Cairns (I’m in Tokyo right now). Great to see you on board!

    April 16, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Emma – congratulations! I have to agree with you Adelaide is the greatest ! I grew up in Sydney and still miss aspects of the city – but Adelaide is just bursting at the seams with creativity, art, amazing food, wine, views and amazing inspiring folk!

    April 16, 2015 at 9:34 am

    I’ve never had so much desire to go to Australia until I saw so many beautiful photos posted by Australian bloggers (you included Brooke 😉 ). I follow Emma’s instagram and her photos make me want to jump into the next flight to Australia! Looking forward to more Australia-related posts 😀

    Alejandra |

    April 16, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Australia is pretty great hey?! haha I’m from the Sunny Coast QLD hehe 😉 I love living here, so relaxed and beautiful. I want to travel and explore different areas of Australia, there’s so much beauty to see here!
    Grace x

    April 16, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Love this Emma, love your adventurous spirit and that you share it with us all. Xx

    April 16, 2015 at 8:08 am

    Australia sounds incredible! It’s definitely on my Bucket List as I’m all about Sunshine & Sea and Relaxed and Happy, Friendly people. 🙂 Love this post

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Ah, do visit Australia Jelena, you’ll love it here!

    April 16, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Oh nice! WOW is really expanding and it’s great to see. This makes me miss Australia though. I studied abroad there a few years ago.


    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      I hope you had the best time while you were in Australia, Monika! 🙂

    The Dame Intl
    April 16, 2015 at 3:11 am

    Having had the pleasure of spending 2.5yrs living in Aus, I can honestly say, it’s the best country I’ve ever been privileged enough to spend time in and that it stole my heart and in the 6yrs I have been back in the UK, I have simply been miserable. If I could live in Australia again, I would in a heartbeat! I’m from South Africa but immigrated to the UK in 99. Australia has the best of both worlds, the sunshine, happy people and wide open spaces that I’m used to, and the first world functionality that I’ve grown to love about the UK. I pray every day that the Universe will find a way for me to live in Australia again.

    Amy Crater
    April 16, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Thanks for some good tips about where to go in Australia! I shared this with my sister, who is planning a trip.

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Wonderful, Amy! I hope it’s a help to your sister. Watch this space – more Australia posts are coming!

    Mandy Wong
    April 16, 2015 at 1:17 am

    Hopping on a plane and arriving in a new country in one or two hours was one of the advantages of living in Europe! I miss my time in UK too. And nice to see you on board Emma 🙂

    jessica rose
    April 16, 2015 at 1:03 am

    Not speaking on behalf of the population of London but probably 99% of us are pretty aware that Kangaroo’s do live in people’s gardens nor do we believe you ride on their backs. Out of interest how old were your *friends?*

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      These comments were definitely made by UK friends in a lighthearted, teasing manner!

    EmilyAnne (Eat All Over The World)
    April 15, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    I live in Brisbane as a blogger. So glad you gave it a little credit.

    Courtney {Alkeks Abroad}
    April 15, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    I love that you mentioned Brisbane- I feel like its underrated!

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Agreed! Brisbane is fantastic. I have many more Brisbane posts up my sleeve!

    Rachel @ Vagabondbaker
    April 15, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Wonderful! Those photos just made me want to book a flight! I’ve been going through my old travel journal from our Australian road trip for blog stuff and I’m itching to return. We never got to Tasmania and I’d absolutely love to see and experience it.
    I really liked Adelaide, a lovely slice of civilisation after weeks and weeks on the road! The fringe festival sounds magical.

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that you liked Adelaide, and Australia, Rachel!

    April 15, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Yay Emma! I’m glad to get to see more of your wonderfulness! And it’s really awesome seeing how Adelaide has indeed become “cool”, I used to get a lot of (not so subtle!) digs from my Vic friends while I lived there

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      Thanks Shernae! Ah yes, I did too! Not anymore – Adelaide’s the place to be, now 🙂

    Beverly Elaine
    April 15, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    You had me at “design and coffee culture…” Brooke, I found your blog sometime last year and have followed along for the love of your travel adventures. I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment until today. I just wanted to tell you two things. 1- You’ve inspired me to wear hats. I love them but never had the gumption to wear them much. Thank you. 2- Which is way more important than #1. I think you are wonderful and brave for having taken up your dream to see the world. I love seeing young people think outside the box and, then, make a huge success out of doing something they obviously love. Bravo, my dear! You’ve a great spirit.

    • Emma Kate Codrington
      April 20, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Just jumping in here to say: seconded! Brooke is beyond wonderful 🙂

    Veera Bianca
    April 15, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Fantastic Emma! 🙂 So glad to see you onboard WOW!