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justme

Places to live in NSW

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    Hi All

    We’re hoping to make the move to Oz later in the year - myself, husband and two young children (will be aged 1 and 3). We’re being sponsored by NSW so I’m looking for some advice on areas to stay outside Sydney, as well as potential suburbs within/around the city. We are looking to find a town or suburb with a good community spirit, perhaps a ‘alternative lifestyle’ type place as we are both creative types (architect and graphic designer) and looking for a more relaxed lifestyle than the rat race pace that often accompanies city living. We’ve been living in capital cities for the past decade so really looking to have more space with our young family and be somewhere that we can get to know our neighbours and be involved in the community. Don’t want to be super rural as we’re used to having amenities around us. We like the look of the area around Byron shire, for example Bangalow, but have been a bit freaked out by reports of large numbers of brown snakes in that area. Is it silly to worry about this with two young kids that I’d like to be able to play safely in the back yard? It is a consideration for us ...

    We’ve got somewhere to stay when we first arrive in NSW - a family member has a large house on the northern beaches in Sydney with plenty of space for us to stay for a while. So we have time to explore when we get there and will treat our first 2-3 months as a holiday. However it’s obvious we won’t be able to afford to stay comfortably in that area ourselves due to the price of renting a house, never mind eventually buying one. 

    We have properties to rent out in the UK so we’ll have $600 a week from that to put towards rent, which will be a good head start around Sydney and potentially enough to cover our rent elsewhere. We wouldn’t look to buy for a couple of years. Obviously if we settle in or near Sydney costs would be higher, but it’d be easier for us to find work. Outside the city it might be harder to find jobs but a good portion of our rent would be covered already, and we wouldn’t mind taking any job initially in order to get settled in an area that is suitable for us for the long term. Ideally we’d hope to eventually be working for ourselves or have our own businesses anyway, as we do at the moment.

    So what I’m looking for is ideas for:

    - any suburbs in/around Sydney that would be affordable on around $1000 a week and have a good community, creative, family friendly etc;

    - suggestions for areas outside of Sydney but within occasional commuting distance that offer a creative, alternative type lifestyle similar to Byron shire (eg somewhere on the central coast);

    - or ideas of any other towns in NSW that offer what we’re looking for.

    Thanks in advance!

     

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    Thanks for your response toots. I did wonder if the blue mountains could be an option - I visited Katoomba on a previous visit. What is that area like for dangerous wildlife, given it’s a less built up area? Sorry if I’m fitting an annoying stereotype of worrying about this in Australia - we do love nature and if it was all friendly would be happy to share living space with it ... but I don’t want poisonous snakes or spiders to be a day to day concern for my children playing etc ...

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    3 minutes ago, justme said:

    Thanks for your response toots. I did wonder if the blue mountains could be an option - I visited Katoomba on a previous visit. What is that area like for dangerous wildlife, given it’s a less built up area? Sorry if I’m fitting an annoying stereotype of worrying about this in Australia - we do love nature and if it was all friendly would be happy to share living space with it ... but I don’t want poisonous snakes or spiders to be a day to day concern for my children playing etc ...

    I am terrified of snakes not so much spiders.  I have now lived in Australia for nearly 37 years and haven't come across a snake yet.  I know they are around but when I'm out in the wilderness I make plenty of noise and they must just slither away or else I just don't notice them.  :rolleyes:  My two boys when they were much younger played out in a large nature reserve behind our house and didn't come across snakes there either.  If you are really worried about spiders you can spray inside and outside your house.  The nice thing about the Blue Mountains is you get 4 seasons unlike nearer the coast.  The worst thing is the danger of bushfires as there are so many trees especially large gum trees.

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    Thanks Toots. Where do you live if you don’t mind me asking? I’m not keen on snakes but don’t mind spiders, in that I’d happily let one crawl on my hand to get it out the house here in the uk. It’s the poisonous nature of them that I’m worried about ... Great news if you’ve not seen one in 37 years though! 

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    We lived in Perth for about 3 years and Sydney (North Ryde) for nearly 30 years and we are now happily retired on the north west coast of Tasmania.

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    justme you mentioned the central coast.  The coast south of Sydney is lovely too.

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    If you live significantly outside the city (or even in the suburbs) in Australia you are bound to be living amongst snakes/spiders etc.  I live in Brisbane and brown snakes can be found 5kms from the city.  Having said that, no one I know has ever come across one.  That fear will quickly subside once you have been here for a little while.  I second the Blue Mountains, my sister lives there and loves it!

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    5 hours ago, justme said:

    Thanks for your response toots. I did wonder if the blue mountains could be an option - I visited Katoomba on a previous visit. What is that area like for dangerous wildlife, given it’s a less built up area? Sorry if I’m fitting an annoying stereotype of worrying about this in Australia - we do love nature and if it was all friendly would be happy to share living space with it ... but I don’t want poisonous snakes or spiders to be a day to day concern for my children playing etc ...

    My husband grew up in Australia, so did all his family, we and our son have been here 5 years now (he is almost 10) and none of them, or us, have been bitten by a snake or spider. We live on the outer edges of an outer lying suburb in Adelaide. Its 100m to open countryside from our front door. We have lots of open spaces and trails around us and lots of nature. Our son is outside in our yard lots and also plays in parks and reserves. I've been stung by a bee if that counts. We have had red backs and other spiders in our house and simply remove them as and when needed. Son and I have seen a brown snake when out walking our local trails a couple of years ago. It carried on and went where it was going, we let it and then carried on. 

    Anywhere in Aus is going to see snakes and spiders in some shape or form. Its just how it is. You need to ensure you teach your children awareness as they grow and to get used to living in an area where you may perhaps come across the odd snake or spider. You can minimise things in your garden that will attract them and ensure you have the number of a snake catcher or two on speed dial. Also ensuring things like making sure you don't leave doors or windows open helps. As does having decent screen doors with netting or wire to stop them. Spiders are a bit different and not all of them have a bite that can hurt. TBH many of them are pretty harmless (and good for keeping bugs down) and it helps if you learn the different types so you are not living in constant fear every time you see a common garden, house or hunstman spider. Depending on how far you are from Sydney there is the Sydney funnel web to learn about but please know, bites are rare, as are fatalities. Its common sense stuff and soon becomes a part of day to day life. 

    https://www.planetdeadly.com/animals/sydney-funnel-web-spider-facts

     

     

     

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    As Nat says, spiders are a fact of life no matter where you live.  If you've got a big garden, you'll get just as many redbacks and funnel webs in a Sydney suburb as you would out in the country.

    Snakes - I lived in NSW for over 30 years, most of them in Sydney.   I did a lot of bush-walking in the early years. I saw a few brown snakes in country Victoria, and a red-bellied black right in the middle of Noosa, but I've never seen a snake around Sydney.  It doesn't mean they're not there, but they are shy and more scared of you than you are of them!  

    Have you considered Newcastle?  It's a good-sized city with reasonable work opportunities, beautiful beaches and reasonable housing.  If you want to go smaller, look at Coffs Harbour or Port Macquarie.

    Edited by Marisawright

    Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

    "The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

     

     

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    Thanks for all the responses - much appreciated. We’ll definitely investigate options in the Blue Mountains area. 

    Could anyone also suggest towns or suburbs with the qualities we are looking for (strong community, creative/alternative lifestyle-y, family friendly) on the central coast or the coast south of Sydney? Or even what suburbs of Sydney have these qualities?

    Thanks again for all advice :)

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    You could have a look at Bundeena, right at the southern edge of Sydney.  It is a little beach-side community, and is a little bit alternative in my opinion.  There seem to be quite a few artists etc who live there.  We looked at moving out there, but it would have been too difficult a commute for my OH every day.  If you do need to commute there is only one road in and out, or you can get the ferry to Cronulla and then the train from there, but on a daily basis it might be a bit much.  The other couple of things that put us off were lack of amenities such as shops (although they had built a small supermarket just before we left Australia), and also that it is a bit cut off if there are fires, being surrounded by national park.  Having said that, it is a lovely little township, and we'd have probably have thought about it more seriously had it not been for OH's commute.

    I can mirror what the other posters have said about snakes and spiders.  We saw redbacks, but we left them alone and they kept out of the way.  We never saw a funnel web, and we only saw two snakes in the nine years we were there, a green tree snake and a diamond python.  Two people we knew in the next suburb got brown snakes and red-bellied blacks, but they both kept chickens in their back yard which I suspect may be a factor.

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    6 hours ago, justme said:

    Thanks for all the responses - much appreciated. We’ll definitely investigate options in the Blue Mountains area. 

    Could anyone also suggest towns or suburbs with the qualities we are looking for (strong community, creative/alternative lifestyle-y, family friendly) on the central coast or the coast south of Sydney? Or even what suburbs of Sydney have these qualities?

    I can't think of anywhere in Sydney itself that would meet that criteria.  Sydney is a vibrant city with trendy inner suburbs - but the outer suburbs are largely dormitory suburbs, many don't even have shops, pubs or cafes (apart from a couple of takeaways).   Most creative types live in the inner suburbs, if they can afford it (or they escape to another city) - I can't think of any outer suburb that is "alternative lifestyle-y".  The Blue Mountains would be an option, especially the area around Hazelbrook.   If your commute is very occasional, have you thought about Mudgee?   It is nearly 4 hours drive but I know people who do it once a week.  

     

    Edited by Marisawright

    Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

    "The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

     

     

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