The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way of living for Australians in a multitude of ways. Among those changes, getting used to working from home amidst coronavirus shutdowns has for many, opened up the prospect of moving to distant suburbs and regional towns in pursuit of affordable housing and more appealing lifestyles.
At Upside, we’ve seen an uptick in buyer interest in the outer burbs of metropolitan cities in Australia, as well as regional areas such as the Southern Highlands in NSW and Geelong on the outskirts of Melbourne.
If COVID-19 has made you consider a shift in scenery and a change in pace from city living, here are our top 11 regional area recommendations across Australia!
New South Wales
- Median house price - $736,000
- Under 1.5 hours to Sydney
Located under an hour and a half from Sydney, Mittagong in NSW’s Southern Highlands presents an opportunity to experience a more rural lifestyle whilst still being within reach of Sydney. This historic town might not have the hipster charm of Bowral, but it is able to avoid the $1 million price tag and Bowral’s cafes and restaurants are less than 10 minutes away. Beautiful scenery, the tranquil Lake Alexandra and the ability to get a decent amount of space at a reasonable price (not too far from Sydney), make Mittagong a great place for a tree change.
- Median house price - $441,500
- 3.5 hours to Sydney
With over 35 cellar doors, a host of great restaurants, local cheese makers and it’s own wine association, Mudgee really is the regional move for food and wine lovers. This also opens up work opportunities for anyone interested in starting a business in this space. Mudgee is more than just great food though, it has developed an art scene and offers plenty for those who enjoy spending time outdoors whether it be kayaking or a hot air balloon ride. With a median house price of only $441,000 and a good mix of property with land and houses in town, all of which have generous backyards, Mudgee could provide the escape you need from the bustle of Sydney.
- Median house price - $632,500
- 30 minutes to Coffs Harbour, 5.5 hours to Sydney
Located on NSW’s mid-north coast, just 30 minutes south of Coffs Harbour, Bellingen is a rural escape for anyone looking for a more alternative lifestyle. Offering a relaxed vibe and encouraging a healthy work-life balance, Bellingen has a strong creative scene focused around artists and performers, making it a great option for young families, but also has a way of charming residents at all stages of life with its green rolling hills, a rainforest to adventure or relax in, and a great array of interesting food options.
- Median house price - $645,000
- 1.5 hours from Melbourne
One of Victoria’s most romantic and relaxing towns, Daylesford is known for its natural springs, day spas and award-winning food. All of this coupled with it’s natural beauty helps to give its residents a sense of calm, providing a great alternative to city living. Not to mention the fabulous Lake House restaurant, with its two Chefs Hats and internationally acclaimed wine list, which backs onto the beautiful Lake Daylesford. A town with a great sense of community, Daylesford is perfect for both young families and empty nesters looking to move towards retirement.
- Median house price - $661,500
- An hour to Melbourne, less than 30 minutes to Torquay
As the second largest city in Victoria, Geelong isn’t exactly a regional town, but it does provide a suburban alternative to Melbourne, bustling with employment opportunities and entertainment whilst operating at a slightly slower pace. As Geelong is a small city, it has distinct neighbourhoods, all of which offer something different to their residents whether in its proximity to the bay in suburbs like Rippleside, or acreage within 10km of the city in Moolap. Suburbs such as Torquay, on the surf coast, are only 30 minutes away, keeping the beach within reach and providing a nice sea-change alternative.
6. Port Douglas
- Median house price - $636,000
- An hour to Cairns
Often utilised as a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, Port Douglas is filled with natural beauty. The same features that help to entice tourists to this fishing village are also happily enjoyed by locals with the tourist trade allowing the development of quality restaurants and a stunning golf course. There is a wide variety on offer for those looking to move to Port Douglas with luxury villa style properties cracking the million dollar mark whilst family homes further from the water are available in the $400-600k range.
- Median house price - $605,000
- 50 minutes to Brisbane
Just 50 minutes from Brisbane, Dayboro provides a true, picturesque, country town experience whilst remaining within reach of the city. Full of warm-hearted locals who really do smile and stop to say hello, it is a wonderful place to call home. Vineyards, bushwalks, cafes, pubs and plenty of opportunity for horse riding or four-wheel driving mean that you are covered whether looking to relax or stay active. With no shortage of iconic Queenslanders with wrap-around verandas, you don’t need to look too hard to find a beautiful (and reasonably priced) property to help motivate the move. Once you settle in, don’t forget to ask a local about the bakery.
- Median house price - $241,000
- 2.5 hours to adelaide, 1.5 hours to Mildura
Anyone that has spent time on or near the Murray River, doesn’t need to be convinced of its appeal. The South Australian Riverland is a truly breathtaking area of Australia and Renmark is arguably the prettiest town on the river. Locals fully utilise the benefits of the river with plenty of space for picnics, a cycle path along the riverbank and no shortage of water sports available. Renmark is the central town for fruit growing in the riverlands and is full of friendly and welcoming locals.
- Median house price - $367,500
- 20 minutes to Launceston
Evandale is a quaint country village set on South Esk River and only 20 minutes from Launceston. With its heritage-listed buildings and annual penny farthing championships, you could easily be mistaken for thinking you were somewhere in the English countryside. Launceston, which has its own charms, and the airport (5 minute drive) are close enough that you really are getting the village lifestyle with easy access to larger cities if needed. With an excellent local primary school and sunday markets to enjoy, it is a great place to raise a family.
- Median house price - $430,000
- If you are looking to get to a city it’s best to fly
Broome as an outback beach town and the gateway to the wild Kimberley region, provides the perfect backdrop for someone who loves the outdoors and warm weather. It's relative isolation also makes getting up-close and personal with wildlife such as kangaroos (and crocodiles) a reality. Both locals and the flood of tourists that visit are, for the most part, looking to relax when in Broome, and this has created a very laid back culture. They love nothing more than spending the morning adventuring in the outback before relaxing on white soft sand with a drink in the afternoon. This isolation and mix of rugged outdoors and slow lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but for those it does appeal to, it's hard to beat!
- Median house price - $290,000
Moving from the top of the country right to the very bottom; Broome, Esperance is also famous for it's white beaches. In fact, some argue that Esperance is home to the most beautiful beaches in the country. With the surfing on offer (including the world's heaviest surfing wave known as 'Cyclops') as well as hiking (in 5 different national parks), fishing, 4WDing and 110 islands to explore, it certainly is paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Esperance is more than just that though, with it's tight knit community very welcoming to new additions to the town. A lot of the work is quite seasonal but if you are okay with this or working remote then the media house price of $290,000 to live near perfect white beaches is pretty appealing.
Thinking of a seachange? Get started on the process by finding out the value of your home with a free, no-obligation property appraisal with your local Upside agent.