Health

City limits: should you consider a move to the country?

24th February 2017Written by: Tom Bright

Moving to country Australia could change your family life for the better: but is it the right move for you?


Despite Australia boasting some of the world’s friendliest and most liveable cities, urban life can be tiresome. Traffic, public transport, growing populations, noise, high rent and house prices, properties stacked on top of one another – it can be hard to find peace of mind in the concrete sprawl.

Luckily, Australia is a big country with a lot of space, so finding somewhere to live away from the hustle and bustle isn’t hard. Then there’s the incredibly diverse nature – from the outback to the coast, and the mountains to the rainforests, Australia has no shortage of incredible landscapes to get lost in (metaphorically speaking, of course).

The benefits of spending time in (or around) nature are huge too – some studies have found that more time spent outside can help restore mental energy. Others have praised positives such as stress relief, improved concentration, improved mental health and even a reduction in the risk of early death. It follows, then, that a shift to the country could be a smart move for Australian families of all shapes and sizes.

Here are some things to consider if getting out of the city and into nature is on your ‘to-do’ list.

How far is too far?

In Australia, geographic remoteness is divided up into five categories. Those categories are: major cities, inner regional, outer regional, remote and very remote. The type of life you’re looking for will determine which one of these categories is best suited to your needs but, unless you’ve spent a lot of time in the country in a previous life, it might be wise to limit yourself to outer regional areas for your first move.

When you start getting into remote and very remote territory, access to basic services and comforts can begin to get tricky. There’s the country, and then there’s The Country. Pick which one is right for your family carefully.

Consider your situation

If you want to move to the country to start a completely new life, including a new job, great, you’ve got all the freedom you need to pick the right place for you. If, however, you’d like to hold on to your city job and commute every day, you’ll need to pick a location from which commuting will be practical.

That said, studies have pointed out that long commutes can have a negative impact on both your mental and physical health – something worth keeping in mind if you’re looking for a healthier, less-stressful life.

And then there are your friend and family ties. Of course, you’ll make new mates in your new community but if you’re going to be travelling back and forth regularly to visit family and friends, that’s something to consider too.

You’ll get more space for less

Whether you’re buying or renting, you’ll find house prices in country Australia to be lower, but not so low that you’ll be able to consider early retirement. What you will find is that you’ll get much more for your money. For the cost of a two-bed apartment in central Melbourne, you could be looking at a three or four bed house with a huge yard out in Healesville.

If space is what you’re after, the country’s where you’ll get it.

Think about the future

If you want to move your young family to the sticks, it’s worth thinking about the kind of education you want your children to have. Statistics indicate that kids in major cities are more likely to get a university-grade education than those even in the next geographic category (inner regional).

The further out you go, the lower those rates become. That said, nobody says a move to the country needs to be permanent. You could raise your kids in a rural setting, move closer to a major city when they hit high school age, then move back to the country when they’ve got the education you want for them.

Then, with all the money they’re making in their high-flying jobs, you’ll be well looked-after. Sounds peachy, doesn’t it?

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