Lauren Stairmand was one of the 734 locals to pack her bags in 2013 and relocate to Australia.

She made the move a year after her now-husband Lyall left the country to work in the mines in Darwin.

Three years and two 7-month-old babies later the couple have moved back to Rotorua and are loving the change of scene.

"Everyone was going over there a couple of years ago and I had heard it was really good money so thought 'why not' and made the move myself," Mr Stairmand said.


"The only reason we went was because it was great money and we were able to do a lot of travelling but we didn't want to raise kids there."

Mrs Stairmand said they also lived in Melbourne for a while. "But when I found out I was pregnant I realised I didn't want them speaking like little Aussies, I wanted little Kiwi kids so we decided it was time to come home."

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Mrs Stairmand said she was glad they had the "Aussie living" experience, but nothing compared to being back home.

"Since being back we've noticed how much more convenient Rotorua is, it takes 10 minutes to get anywhere but where we were living in Australia we were looking at a 40-minute drive just to get into town. It is really nice being so close to family and friends again as well - we didn't have that in Australia."

Mrs Stairmand said she thought Rotorua had changed for the better since she was last here.

"Places like Eat Streat and the Central Mall are being done up, the streets are clean and it's a nice place to live and raise our kids.

"You forget how green the country is too ... there is this beautiful scenery you don't get in the red and brown landscape of Australia," Mr Stairmand added.

"We didn't think we would be back so soon," Mrs Stairmand said. "But already we are so much happier and haven't regretted the decision at all."