With changing mindsets, increased employer flexibility and a host of other factors fuelling the move to the coast or country, plenty of Aussies have been considering a tree or sea change in the last couple of years. And while reports of soaring house prices as city-dwellers exit the city en masse may make you think you’ve missed the boat on affordable lifestyle change, opportunities to make a move very much still exist – particularly as we head into winter.
Winter – a buyer’s season
With the emotional purchases of the summer months drying up, heightened demand and the inflation that comes with it start to ease as we head into winter. Winter has always been a more favourable time for buyers to get into any market, and this is especially the case with coastal markets where bustling beach towns lose a bit of their buzz. It’s particularly important to visit potential hometowns off season – as you’ll see the pared-back reality of where you’d spend your life year-round. So, plan an itinerary, jump in the car, and head off for the weekend to explore the coast and country to see what suits your budget, investment goals and lifestyle. Here are 8 wander-worthy destinations to consider:
1. Country Victoria
From Mildura and Swan Hill nestled on the Murray River (both with median house sale prices under $400k) to Coldstream in the Yarra Valley, Country Victoria is bursting with charming country towns and suburbs that simultaneously embrace nature, micro-breweries, and an enviable lifestyle. If you’re craving wide-open spaces and a sense of community but still want easy access to the main centres, country Victoria is a must for your itinerary.
2. Apollo Bay, Victoria
Sure, it’s still in Victoria, but Apollo Bay is worthy of a special mention. As the quieter cousin to summer hot spot Lorne and a little further along the Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay is a beachside town with plenty of exploring on offer for outdoorsy types. It’s known as a safe, friendly community and has enough shops on the main street to cater to your needs; plus, there’s always an abundance of fresh seafood on hand thanks to the local fishermen – it even has an annual seafood festival. House prices are rising (experiencing double-digit growth year on year), so it pays to plan that Great Ocean Road trip now!
3. Avoca, Central Coast
Just an hour and a half from the bustle of Sydney, the charming beachside town of Avoca has more on offer than just beautiful beaches. With one of the prettiest movie theatres in Australia (dating back to 1948), outstanding Italian food at local favourite Bombini, quiet family living, leafy surrounds, and an excellent primary school, this isn’t one just for retirees. Due to its broad appeal, moving to Avoca is a lifestyle change that might not leave you with much loose change!
4. Country NSW
In less than a couple of hours, you can be transported from central Sydney to a slice of Country NSW heaven. From Bundeena tucked away on the edge of the Royal National Park – where you’ll feel miles away from everything but can still find a local school and all the essential services you’ll need, through to the upmarket Bowral just south of Sydney, where manicured gardens and hip eateries are bordered by rolling green hills. Cast your net slightly further, and you’ve got towns like Wagga Wagga and Gundagai, both bordering the beautiful Murrumbidgee River. You can find the top towns that won’t break the bank here if affordability is your priority.
5. Regional Queensland
With year-round temperate climates, Queensland is a favourite with endless summer lovers. Depending on how you want to spend your days, coastal Queensland has something on offer for every lifestyle – whether it’s the foodie paradise of Noosa Heads, the beautiful Airlie Beach community in the Whitsunday Islands or lively Mooloolaba. They all have one thing in common – warm weather and beautiful beaches. If you’re looking for a country lifestyle, regional Queensland hinterland locations like Bonogin and Rockhampton offer affordable housing and a rural lifestyle.
6. Bunbury, South West region, WA
Head two hours south of the Perth CBD, and you’ll come across the seaside town of Bunbury. Surrounded by water on three sides, it’s known as an aquatic playground (for both humans and dolphins), making it the perfect base for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers. With a strip of desirable restaurants and cafes on the Bunbury Waterfront and several shopping centres just a stone’s throw away, locals don’t need to skimp on any modern conveniences. House prices in Bunbury are experiencing year on year growth, but there are still pockets of affordability in the South West region.
7. Adelaide Hills
Whether your dream lifestyle involves cuddling koalas more often or sipping divine wines regularly, Adelaide Hills combines rural chic with community spirit and a slower pace of life that many of us are craving. With nearly twenty towns and villages dotted across the region, all enjoying rolling green vistas and tree-lined streets, you’ll soon forget how close you are to Adelaide CBD. Median house prices are creeping up, so if it’s a tree change you’re looking for, pack the car, hit the road, and get house hunting.
Often absent from world maps, Tassie is a destination we’re happy to keep secret! Dripping in natural beauty, it’s home to some of Australia’s most unique coastlines and picture-perfect towns. Bicheno on Tasmania’s East Coast combines all the best that this region offers with a welcoming, friendly community feel. With a median house sale price of just under $650k (but with significant growth year on year), it might not be such a well-kept secret after all!
Whether you’re ready to invest or nest, we can help
With over 300 offices across Australia, First National Real Estate can help you find the perfect coast or country property. Whether it’s an investment, a new lifestyle, or a holiday rental you’re looking for, make the most of the cooler months and cooler market to stake a claim on your piece of paradise.