Embracing the wild: Author and daughter move to the West Coast

In a quest for a life closer to nature and a better work-life balance, Victoria Bruce, along with her daughter Emilie, has found solace on the West Coast.

"I'm a single mother with a beautiful nine-year-old daughter,” shares Victoria, an author and communications advisor with a background in journalism.

"A few months ago, I released my first non-fiction book called Adventures with Emilie, which is about a long walk I did with my daughter Emilie across the length of New Zealand (she was seven at the time) and my lived experience with complex post-traumatic stress disorder."

Reflecting on the catalyst for her move, Victoria explains, "Since that long walk, I've wanted to carve out a better work/life balance and live somewhere closer to nature where I can pursue the outdoor activities I enjoy.”

The post-Covid interest rate hike was what triggered Victoria to sell her Christchurch house and start looking elsewhere for a better place to call home.

“Housing is still very affordable on the Coast compared to other regions and in October 23 I bought a lovely property in Cobden on Greymouth's north shore. Right now, I'm preparing my vegetable gardens, planting berry bushes, painting splashes of colour and looking forward to a long summer.”

“I would recommend young families seeking to purchase their own home to seriously consider escaping the stress and rush of the bigger city centres, with the higher cost of living, and make the Coast their home.”

When asked about the appeal of raising kids on the West Coast, Victoria shares her daughter perspective, "I asked my daughter Emilie what she likes best about life on the West Coast and she said, 'it's wild and free.' As keen trampers and nature enthusiasts, that's exactly what lured us to this beautiful part of the South Island - the wild coastline, beautiful rivers, rugged mountains, and access to wild places."

"It's also home to some wonderful people and personalities, and we're looking forward to getting to know more of the community and setting down roots in this place. I think a childhood spent with memories of evenings on the beach and adventures outdoors is much better than being stuck in a big, busy city."

Discussing her favourite West Coast tramps, Victoria confesses, "We don't do a lot of 'kids' tramps anymore, as Emilie, who is now nine, has now been to over 222 huts in the Department of Conservation network, and we prefer the quiet, remote, off-the-beaten-track backcountry adventures the West Coast has to offer, such as gems like Lake Morgan and Griffin Creek Hut."

AWE Emilie Lake Morgan Hut

“I've been taking my daughter on overnight and multi-day tramping trips since she was four years old, and she's now a very competent tramper, managing routes that some adults would find challenging. And she's always galloping ahead of me! But we're looking forward to visiting to Welcome Flats Hut and having a soak in the hot pools!”

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