Why We Did Not Emigrate to New Zealand or Australia

Cape to Cork New Zealand Australia Emigrate Fly Fishing

So many South Africans emigrate to New Zealand or Australia that it seems like the first two countries one would start looking at for work opportunities. Now, maybe we simply felt that taking the first option on the table is a bit unimaginative. Maybe we liked a bit more of a challenge. But both New Zealand and Australia have lots going for them from a South African expat point of view. Both countries are English-speaking, first world countries where the crime rates are low (a big concern of ours and we are sure yours too). The weather is more like South African weather. Jobs are not too difficult to come by and pay relatively well. Both are beautiful countries in their own way.

While we had opportunities to go down the New Zealand and/or Australian emigration road, it just did not feel 100% right for us. Some of the most important reasons included that we did not want to be so far removed from Europe/USA/Middle East in terms of business opportunities. I was part of a start-up at the time we moved and if we did expand into foreign markets, the abovementioned markets would have been the first to target. And while I am no longer involved in that particular business, we have since started another venture and are pleased about not having to do business around the clock to accommodate all time-zones. We’ll tackle the process of Setting up a business as a South African expat in Ireland in a later post and talk you through the whole process.

Speaking of time-zones, our time difference with South Africa is at worst two hours depending on daylight savings time. This makes communicating with friends and family easy. Having a quick chat with your mom and dad every few days does make life much more bearable. It also makes the world feel smaller. Add to that how flying back and forth between South Africa and Ireland is much less painful than making the trip from New Zealand or Australia. Or even Canada, where we had an opportunity to emigrate to as well.

Cape to Cork New Zealand Australia Emigrate Chillin

Like we mentioned before in our How we ended up in Cork post, one of the reasons we chose to emigrate to Ireland is that it makes travel to Europe a breeze. Airline tickets are inexpensive. Short hops across the water to The Continent opens up a world of travel opportunities which we would never have had, had we emigrated to New Zealand or Australia.

We really enjoy the culture of Ireland. It is an ancient country with so much rich history to explore. It is a safe place to live with minimal crime; we can sleep with doors and windows open if we so wish. Infrastructure and public transport functions well and public services actually operate quite effectively. Remember postal services? Yes, dear South African friends, it still exists and it works!

Furthermore, the people are incredibly warm and welcoming, and the lifestyle is quite outdoorsy and active. This last fact of course sealed the deal for me as I looked to get back into a more serious sporting lifestyle again. I used to fancy myself a bit of a showjumper, therefore Ireland was a perfect choice for getting back into riding horses. If you want to take riding seriously, Europe is a great place to find yourself.

Cape to Cork New Zealand Australia Emigrate Riding

Add to that the fact that Johan is an avid fly fisherman – the Irish rivers also don’t have to be stocked like some of the less authentic fly fishing experiences back home.

We do not regret for a minute that we did not emigrate to New Zealand or Australia. We hear wonderful stories from South African friends who relocated to these two countries and are thrilled for their success and happiness. But our blood still seems to run green in the end. On the Emerald Isle we found the perfect home for us.


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