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.
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.