Born in the Philippines and raised in the Middle East, Gabrielle Sol-Dukic moved to Darwin in 2019 with her husband and 19-month old son.

“After our first Territory Day we felt like Territorians and that we had come home. We couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Gabrielle and her husband Aleksandar were determined to come to Darwin. They did months and months of research on the city and the Northern Territory – its climate, topography, lifestyle, natural surroundings and inhabitants – before applying for a skilled visa to work in Australia.

“We put our heart and soul into our application,” Gabrielle, 28, said.

“I lived in Saudi Arabia for 15 years. As soon as I graduated in marketing management I got out and worked in Qatar, Doha and Bahrain. Out of all those places Bahrain is the least restrictive – it is the Vegas of the Middle East – but it was not particularly kid friendly.”

Freedom is important to Gabrielle and her family, and that’s what they love about the Territory, where it is safe to walk down the street on your own, there is plenty to see and do, especially with young children, and you can enjoy a glass of wine and a picnic on the grass.

In the Middle East they mainly lied an indoor lifestyle, which Gabrielle felt was unhealthy for children. “You had to stay indoors because it was so hot, and the only places to go as a family were shopping malls. Here in Darwin there are parks and playgrounds – it’s a beautiful city and a wonderful place to raise a family.”

Gabrielle said she is so grateful they ended up in Darwin.

“We love it here. Aside from the beautiful parks and wildlife, the amazing sunsets, rain storms and accessible beaches, the people here are so welcoming. We visited Victoria shortly after we arrived in Darwin and were so glad we came here.

“For our first Territory Day we sat on our balcony with a view of the fireworks on the Waterfront and were so happy. We felt like Territorians and that we had come home. We couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”