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Kiwi Life: From Zell am See, Austria to New Zealand
Zemira describes her first vivid sunset experience in Queenstown, which included fish and chips, as "pure magic".

Zemira Semmal

Zemira describes her first vivid sunset experience in Queenstown, which included fish and chips, as “pure magic”.

Austrian Zemira Semmel has found Kiwis are more focused on “making eternal memories” than material things.

What’s your name and where are you from?

My name is Zemira and I am from Zell am See in beautiful Austria.

What inspired your move, and how long have you been here? 

Love! My boyfriend lives in Queenstown and after two years in a long-distance relationship, I made the move here in January 2016. Best decision of my life.

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Shooting a campaign for UE Boom on Coronet Peak.

Zemira Semmal

Shooting a campaign for UE Boom on Coronet Peak.

What do you do here? 

I have the best job in the world. I am a blogger and social media and destination influencer. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would earn my money from photos on Instagram etc, but somehow I do.

What surprised you most when you first arrived?

Enjoying an evening stroll with "number one adventure buddy" Jack.

Zemira Semmal

Enjoying an evening stroll with “number one adventure buddy” Jack.

How friendly Kiwis are. I experienced it on my first trip three years ago. Anywhere you go, people are so insanely friendly and more than happy to help anyone, anytime. Kiwis have this very unique and open mind that I love and cherish so much.

What are the greatest advantages to living here?

The absolute freedom to do what you want when you want and how you want it. I’ve figured out that I really love the Kiwi lifestyle. More fun with your mates and making eternal memories and less stress and hassle with the really unimportant (material) things in life.

Zemira says she's "stoked" to live in such a beautiful country.

Zemira Semmal

Zemira says she’s “stoked” to live in such a beautiful country.

Disadvantages?

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Italy is very far away now, but I found some gorgeous spots in New Zealand and Aperol spritz tastes the same all over the globe.

How expensive do you find it compared to back home?

Personally I find living in New Zealand quite affordable. I was just in Austria one month ago and my jaw dropped a few times when I went shopping there; everything is just so much money.

What do you do in your spare time?

I am in the great outdoors as much as I can be. Hiking especially is a huge passion of mine, combined with photography, it makes me feel stoked all the time. I also enjoy cooking heaps, especially when I can make everyone in my house watch The Sound of Music and we can eat Austrian food.

Skiing at Porters Ski Field in Craigieburn.

Zemira Semmal

Skiing at Porters Ski Field in Craigieburn.

What are your favourite NZ foods?

Hands down: Ferg Bakery minced beef and cheese pie and pineapple lumps.

How do you get around? 

I don’t own my own car, so usually I just cruise around in my better half’s car. Or I walk five hundred miles.

How do you find the shopping?

In Queenstown it’s awful, I enjoy shopping in Auckland or online.

Favourite after-dark activity?

A cheese platter, pinot noir and a bunch of good friends around is my life.

What are the top three things you recommend for visitors?

Do one really touristy thing, one thing you never thought you would do, and one thing that’s free.

Besides family and friends, what do you miss most about home?

My pug Lola and a dish from the region I am from: Kasnockn.

How easy is it for you to go home?

Easy as. It takes about 30 hours one way, but it’s worth it.

If you could change one thing about New Zealand, what would it be?

You guys need the NZ version of Amazon.com. When I first came here, I thought it was a joke [that there wasn’t one] and I was wondering how I will ever survive?

If you know an expat who has made New Zealand their home, email travel@stuff.co.nz with Kiwi Life in the subject line.

 – Stuff

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