woman whispering in mans ear about how good Australia is compared to NZ

Why Moving To Australia Meant We Could Travel The World

26 Feb, 2024

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Eva Mitchell

We all hear that Australia has more job opportunities and better salaries compared to New Zealand, but is it really worth the move? For us, relocating to Australia from New Zealand was the best decision we made. The perks that come with living in Australia meant we were able to fulfill our dream of travelling the world full-time.



Our Story

In 2019, Tim and I both had a burning desire to travel the world. Initially, we thought we would follow in the footsteps of thousands of kiwis before us and do the classic OE to explore Europe. We could move to the UK on a working visa for a year or two and then return to NZ when our time was up. That plan quickly turned to custard when COVID hit in early 2020. We re-evaluated our lives and decided that instead of moving to the UK, we would travel the world for a year. But how on earth were we going to pull off this crazy goal? We didn’t want to backpack and stay in dorm rooms, so knew we would need to save a significant amount of money to be able to fulfil our dream to travel the world in comfort. This wasn’t going to be possible on our current NZ salaries. 

Then we came up with a genius idea! Why not move to Australia? It is the land of opportunities after all. Our decision to pack our lives up in New Zealand and move to Australia paid off in spades. Living in Australia enabled us to save enough money in only 16 months to be able to travel the world full-time for an entire year WITHOUT having to work!

Woman reaching out to touch a graffiti covered wall in Melbourne Australia.
Man eating a famous borek from Victoria Markets

When we decided to relocate to Australia, I was feeling totally and utterly burnt out working in the NZ public health sector as a Hospital Pharmacist. Like many other healthcare professionals in NZ working in the public sector, I felt I was underappreciated and constantly exposed to a toxic work environment. The pressure to avoid sick leave resulted in guilt for letting my team down, exacerbated by the lack of cover. On top of that, I felt that I was receiving inadequate financial compensation for my expected workload. I expected more, given the many years I had spent completing my professional qualification and the ongoing continuing education requirements to maintain my practicing certificate. 

I came to the realisation that the NZ government will continue to exploit the fact that healthcare professionals care deeply for their communities and patients over their OWN mental and physical well-being. The NZ healthcare system is broken and not one I will ever return from Australia to work for again. 

On the brighter side, the move to Australia meant I was able to secure a job in the private sector as an IVF pharmacist, which is a job that doesn’t even exist in NZ. With my new job came a pay rise, bonuses and a small team where I felt valued. 

The NZ healthcare system is broken and not one I will ever return from Australia to work for again.

For Tim, the move to Australia meant that despite remaining with the same engineering company that operates in both New Zealand and Australia, he was offered a significant pay increase to transfer to Australia. A salary increase of this size would have taken years to obtain had he remained working for that company in NZ. Shortly after moving to Australia, Tim was able to secure a higher authority role, which is testament to the career progression opportunities Australian companies can provide for NZ professionals looking to relocate to Australia. On top of a pay rise, Tim’s transfer agreement provided us both with flights to Melbourne, and a month of free accommodation in an apartment in the Melbourne CBD until we could secure our own rental property. Not a bad deal if I say so myself!


We knew that moving to Australia would mean we would be able to save more money AND save money faster than if we stayed in NZ solely by securing higher paying jobs. What we didn’t realise was the many other ways that living in Australia would present to facilitate our savings goals. Starting with having to pay LESS income tax.

Australia not only pays better; it lets you keep more of what you earn,

An average Australian full-time salary of AUD$95k, requires you to pay roughly AUD$21,300 income tax per year. In New Zealand on the same salary (if you can find a job that pays the equivalent), you would be required to pay around AUD$23,200 income tax per year. But here’s the kicker! In Australia, you are entitled to claim tax back on a variety of work expenses. These include professional fees, working from home costs, work tools, conference costs, work clothing and so much more. At the end of the day, we found that Australia not only pays better; it lets you keep more of what you earn.

But Wait! It Gets Even Better!

With our ultimate goal in mind of saving money to travel the world. We went about seeking out other revenues available to us in Australia that would financially facilitate our year of travel. We soon came to realise that living in Australia as a New Zealander gave us access to incredible points credit card offers from the various banks in Australia who are all battling it out to offer the best deal in the hopes to lure in new customers. Credit card churning is something we had little knowledge about before arriving in Australia because NZ banks offer pathetic credit card deals due to the lack of competition. Before we left Australia to travel for a year, we had managed to accumulate over 300k Qantas points from credit card sign up offers, that have ended up saving us thousands of dollars on flights around the world. Here’s how we spent our first 110k points to fly to Italy cheaply

In Victoria, the local government offers seasonal cashbacks on dining out, activities and electricity bills to ALL residents. Get that…ALL residents! Thanks to these cashback schemes, we were reimbursed hundreds of dollars during our time spent living in Melbourne. And you know exactly what we did with that money, it went straight into our travel savings fund! 


Not only did moving from NZ to Australia enable us to be able to save enough money to travel the world for a year, it quenched our travel bug in the time being and provided us with the big city lifestyle that isn’t as accessible in NZ. With significantly better salaries than back in NZ, we could afford to save money all while enjoying the big city life in Melbourne. We also found the work-life balance to be much better in Australia with the average full-time work week being only 38 hours. 

Since moving to Australia in February 2022, many of our friends and family have made the move across the ditch in pursuit of better career opportunities, the Aussie lifestyle and financial freedom that is simply unattainable in New Zealand. Every single one of them is thriving in Australia.


If you are a Kiwi with the dream to travel the world full-time for 3 months, 6 months, one year or more, then I would highly recommend you kick start your savings by ditching your underpaying job in NZ and moving across the ditch, to where in our experience, the grass certainly is greener!

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A word from the authors

Eva and Tim are the creators behind this world-class travel finance blog.

In 2021 they decided to travel the world for an entire year and begun implementing savings strategies to achieve their goal of long-term travel. By May 2023, they quit their jobs to embark on their year-long adventure, sharing their invaluable practical and achievable savings, planning and travel tips they learnt along the way/with the aim to help others Make Cents of Travel.

You can find Eva & Tim on Tiktok, Facebook and Instagram as Make Cents of Travel.

About Us

Hello, Hola, Ciao! We are Tim & Eva, a couple of kiwis who have spent the last few years saving for and planning our epic year-long adventure around the world. Our goal is to inspire fellow wanderlust souls (just like you!) to Make Cents Of Travel by sharing our experiences and strategies we used to turn our dream of long-term travel into a reality.


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