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Homeward_Bound

London to Gold Coast

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We're a family of four coming back to Oz after 15 years in London. Kids 8 and 6. We're looking forward to sun/space/beach, particularly since pandemic.

We are planning to move to Gold Coast (would have preferred Byron but can't afford that, plus have child with additional needs so need some schooling options). 

My question is this; what's the GC like? Slightly nervous about the shift. We'll be renting to start and options seem super well priced (in comparison to what we pay/get for here!) Not to offend any locals here, apologies for the ignorance, but is it a mix of tourists and retirees? 

I lived in Canberra for years and hated it, so sterile and boring, and wondering if GC might have more pockets of interest! Any areas to avoid/seek?

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Why have you picked the Gold Coast?  If your preference was Byron, the GC doesn't have anything like the same vibe.  There are some lovely quiet pockets but equally, once Covid is over, you won't have to go far to come across the hordes of tourists or the Australian Blackpool elements. I'd have thought the Sunshine Coast a much better option, or perhaps head down the NSW coast a bit?


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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1 hour ago, Homeward_Bound said:

We're a family of four coming back to Oz after 15 years in London. Kids 8 and 6. We're looking forward to sun/space/beach, particularly since pandemic.

We are planning to move to Gold Coast (would have preferred Byron but can't afford that, plus have child with additional needs so need some schooling options). 

My question is this; what's the GC like? Slightly nervous about the shift. We'll be renting to start and options seem super well priced (in comparison to what we pay/get for here!) Not to offend any locals here, apologies for the ignorance, but is it a mix of tourists and retirees? 

I lived in Canberra for years and hated it, so sterile and boring, and wondering if GC might have more pockets of interest! Any areas to avoid/seek?

Hi

 Do you know where your jobs will be located? This could make a difference as to which part of the coast to settle. I personally prefer the hinterland side towards the middle, down to the southern end.

The Northern end around Helensvale/ Coomera is booming with new land estates, shopping ctrs and everything you could need. Around Surfers ,Burleigh etc you get more of the touristy touch and lots of high rises/apartments. The GC is one of few places i have spent time in that have suburbs to suit most peoples needs so you would benefit from driving around and checking areas out for yourself to see what ticks your boxes.

   Cal x

 

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If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place...

If you get a chance,take it, If it changes your life,let it. Nobody said it would be easy they just said it would be worth it...

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On 11/06/2021 at 07:55, Homeward_Bound said:

We're a family of four coming back to Oz after 15 years in London. Kids 8 and 6. We're looking forward to sun/space/beach, particularly since pandemic.

We are planning to move to Gold Coast (would have preferred Byron but can't afford that, plus have child with additional needs so need some schooling options). 

My question is this; what's the GC like? Slightly nervous about the shift. We'll be renting to start and options seem super well priced (in comparison to what we pay/get for here!) Not to offend any locals here, apologies for the ignorance, but is it a mix of tourists and retirees? 

I lived in Canberra for years and hated it, so sterile and boring, and wondering if GC might have more pockets of interest! Any areas to avoid/seek?

Personally, I wouldn't consider moving anywhere I hadn't visited first. The GC has some nice parts but most are definitely sterile. After living in London, you'd probably hate it to be honest. Byron had a nice vibe 15 years ago, but it's nothing like what you remember. I won't go as far as saying that it's ruined (the coastline is still beautiful, of course), but it's overrun with just about every kind of hanger-on and wannabee, plus the usual bunch of cashed-up hippies.

Edited by Wanderer Returns

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On 10/06/2021 at 23:46, Marisawright said:

Why have you picked the Gold Coast?  If your preference was Byron, the GC doesn't have anything like the same vibe.  There are some lovely quiet pockets but equally, once Covid is over, you won't have to go far to come across the hordes of tourists or the Australian Blackpool elements. I'd have thought the Sunshine Coast a much better option, or perhaps head down the NSW coast a bit?

Thanks for your message Marisawright! Yes I feel the GC vibe might be far removed from the Byron vibe.... out of interest, when you say head down the NSW coast a bit, did you have anywhere in mind? I'm not familiar with the southern Byron stretch as I've usually spent my time either north or inland. Thanks!

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On 12/06/2021 at 12:08, Wanderer Returns said:

Personally, I wouldn't consider moving anywhere I hadn't visited first. The GC has some nice parts but most are definitely sterile. After living in London, you'd probably hate it to be honest. Byron had a nice vibe 15 years ago, but it's nothing like what you remember. I won't go as far as saying that it's ruined (the coastline is still beautiful, of course), but it's overrun with just about every kind of hanger-on and wannabee, plus the usual bunch of cashed-up hippies.

Hi Wanderer Returns. Yes I agree, it's not wise to consider moving anywhere you haven't visited first. But we all need a starting point so here we are! I've been visiting back to Byron and surrounds every year since I've been gone and agree, it's certainly changed. Even if we could afford it, we need more schooling options, and GC seems to have a lot for our needs.

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On 11/06/2021 at 00:22, calNgary said:

Hi

 Do you know where your jobs will be located? This could make a difference as to which part of the coast to settle. I personally prefer the hinterland side towards the middle, down to the southern end.

The Northern end around Helensvale/ Coomera is booming with new land estates, shopping ctrs and everything you could need. Around Surfers ,Burleigh etc you get more of the touristy touch and lots of high rises/apartments. The GC is one of few places i have spent time in that have suburbs to suit most peoples needs so you would benefit from driving around and checking areas out for yourself to see what ticks your boxes.

   Cal x

 

Thanks so much for this Cal, super helpful to know. We'll both be working remote so location is really going to be schools based. The hinterland looks great - feels like we can get a lot of what we're looking for here - be interested to know why you prefer the middle to the southern end of the hinterland? 

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3 hours ago, Homeward_Bound said:

Thanks so much for this Cal, super helpful to know. We'll both be working remote so location is really going to be schools based. The hinterland looks great - feels like we can get a lot of what we're looking for here - be interested to know why you prefer the middle to the southern end of the hinterland? 

less tourists, less housing estates, less unruly teens causing chaos and crime, but that's just my personal opinion.

  Cal x

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If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place...

If you get a chance,take it, If it changes your life,let it. Nobody said it would be easy they just said it would be worth it...

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3 hours ago, Homeward_Bound said:

Thanks so much for this Cal, super helpful to know. We'll both be working remote so location is really going to be schools based. The hinterland looks great - feels like we can get a lot of what we're looking for here - be interested to know why you prefer the middle to the southern end of the hinterland? 

If you're going to be working remotely (lucky you) then the world is your oyster. If you're looking for a more laid-back vibe but still want to be close to the action, then the GC hinterland (somewhere like Mt Tambourine or Springwood) would tick that box. We live on the Sunshine Coast, which is starting to get over-developed like everywhere else, but fortunately high-rises are not permitted here so it still retains it's charm. There are still plenty of places up here where you can find yourself far from the madding crowd, and the drone of the car. With the exception of Noosa, the SC is also a lot more affordable than the GC too.

If you kids are still in primary you'll have a bit more choice where to live (without a long school run), as primary schools tend to cover a wider geographic areas over here.

Stay true to your dream, and don't make the mistake many do of 'moving to London but ending up in Luton' 🙂 

Edited by Wanderer Returns
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3 hours ago, Homeward_Bound said:

Thanks for your message Marisawright! Yes I feel the GC vibe might be far removed from the Byron vibe.... out of interest, when you say head down the NSW coast a bit, did you have anywhere in mind? I'm not familiar with the southern Byron stretch as I've usually spent my time either north or inland. Thanks!

I would look at Newcastle, believe it or not.  Cafés, restaurants, good schools, great beaches, on the doorstep of the wineries, dolphins at Port Stephens, sand dunes.  It used to be seen as a dull working class city but it's transformed in the last 20 years.  The city centre is still a bit off-putting which is why people often dismiss it when they visit, but there are some lovely areas once you know where to look.   I know families who live there and say it's a great place for a young family.    I think @Captain R lives in the Lake Macquarie area so he might tell you a bit about that, and there is someone else here who lives in the Hunter if I can remember his name...

 If you want to go Queensland then I would definitely go Sunshine Coast instead of GC.  To paraphrase Calngary - the Sunshine Coast has less tourists, less housing estates, and less unruly teens causing chaos and crime than the GC.


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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35 minutes ago, Marisawright said:

I would look at Newcastle, believe it or not.  Cafés, restaurants, good schools, great beaches, on the doorstep of the wineries, dolphins at Port Stephens, sand dunes.  It used to be seen as a dull working class city but it's transformed in the last 20 years.  The city centre is still a bit off-putting which is why people often dismiss it when they visit, but there are some lovely areas once you know where to look.   I know families who live there and say it's a great place for a young family.    I think @Captain R lives in the Lake Macquarie area so he might tell you a bit about that, and there is someone else here who lives in the Hunter if I can remember his name...

 If you want to go Queensland then I would definitely go Sunshine Coast instead of GC.  To paraphrase Calngary - the Sunshine Coast has less tourists, less housing estates, and less unruly teens causing chaos and crime than the GC.

The Sunshine Coast does get very busy in the holiday season, not perhaps in the same way as the more glitzy Gold Coast. But we locals avoid going to Mooloolaba etc in the high seasons, and the newly introduced expensive car parking fees, are putting people off. The coast is getting much busier generally, more and more cars on the roads, and plenty of new cramped housing estates being built, especially around Caloundra, needless to say no thought about the lack of  infrastructure. The council is doing its best to try and ruin Alexandra Headland beach front by trying to get trams running along it, from the hospital,  so access to the beachfront for those of us who like to walk there plus the many surfers, won’t be able as no cars will be able to park there anymore 

It’s still a lovely place o live, but it we aren’t careful, it’s not changing for the better.

Edited by ramot
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1 hour ago, Marisawright said:

 and there is someone else here who lives in the Hunter if I can remember his name... 

Rallyman?

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1 hour ago, Marisawright said:

 

 If you want to go Queensland then I would definitely go Sunshine Coast instead of GC.  To paraphrase Calngary - the Sunshine Coast has less tourists, less housing estates, and less unruly teens causing chaos and crime than the GC.

That depends where on the Sunny coast you go though, many places are full of tourists just like the tourist hub on the GC. New land estates have also taken off, so lots more of that uk style housing now than a few years ago. The Gold Coast also gives easier access to a variety of 'day out', activities and things to do if you have kids too.

My biggest bug bear (and one of the reasons we have not moved there) with the SC is in over 10 years i dont think i have ever travelled up or down the Bruce highway of a weekend or at peak time without sitting in a traffic jam. There are not many options to get back to Brisbane avoiding it either. It is beautiful up that way and a little quieter than the GC, hence if we go away for a few days its normally the SC we head too or Brisbane city itself.

  Cal x

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If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place...

If you get a chance,take it, If it changes your life,let it. Nobody said it would be easy they just said it would be worth it...

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12 minutes ago, calNgary said:

It is beautiful up that way and a little quieter than the GC, hence if we go away for a few days its normally the SC we head too or Brisbane city itself.

That is why I thought it would fit the OP better, since they were originally headed for Byron.  Even with the increasing development and tourists, I think you're all saying the Sunshine Coast is that little bit more laidback than the Gold Coast.  

As I understand it, the OP's main driver for their choice is good schools, and they're choosing larger centres for that reason.  Whereas their love of Byron suggests that for lifestyle, they'd rather be somewhere smaller.  I wonder if there's a middle ground somewhere of a smaller coastal town with good schools.

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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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15 minutes ago, calNgary said:

That depends where on the Sunny coast you go though, many places are full of tourists just like the tourist hub on the GC. New land estates have also taken off, so lots more of that uk style housing now than a few years ago. The Gold Coast also gives easier access to a variety of 'day out', activities and things to do if you have kids too.

My biggest bug bear (and one of the reasons we have not moved there) with the SC is in over 10 years i dont think i have ever travelled up or down the Bruce highway of a weekend or at peak time without sitting in a traffic jam. There are not many options to get back to Brisbane avoiding it either. It is beautiful up that way and a little quieter than the GC, hence if we go away for a few days its normally the SC we head too or Brisbane city itself.

  Cal x

Description of the motorway is a car park at times.rather than a motorway!!!!

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9 minutes ago, Marisawright said:

That is why I thought it would fit the OP better, since they were originally headed for Byron.  Even with the increasing development and tourists, I think you're all saying the Sunshine Coast is that little bit more laidback than the Gold Coast.  

As I understand it, the OP's main driver for their choice is good schools, and they're choosing larger centres for that reason.  Whereas their love of Byron suggests that for lifestyle, they'd rather be somewhere smaller.  I wonder if there's a middle ground somewhere of a smaller coastal town with good schools.

That why i suggested the hinterland side of the GC and it still gives easy access to the hustle and bustle when wanted, but feels worlds apart and has some lovely quaint little suburbs.

     Cal x

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If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place...

If you get a chance,take it, If it changes your life,let it. Nobody said it would be easy they just said it would be worth it...

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10 minutes ago, ramot said:

Description of the motorway is a car park at times.rather than a motorway!!!!

Reminds of the hours we spent all those years ago trying to get to or from Abersoch on a long weekend,lol..

 Cal x

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If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place...

If you get a chance,take it, If it changes your life,let it. Nobody said it would be easy they just said it would be worth it...

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1 hour ago, calNgary said:

Reminds of the hours we spent all those years ago trying to get to or from Abersoch on a long weekend,lol..

 Cal x

We stayed at Llanbedrog just down the coast for years. I remember the long  journeys to get there.

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18 hours ago, calNgary said:

That why i suggested the hinterland side of the GC and it still gives easy access to the hustle and bustle when wanted, but feels worlds apart and has some lovely quaint little suburbs.

     Cal x

Thanks Cal, that's really exactly what we're looking for. We've done the London rat race for a decade and we're looking for something that's quieter but not too long a drive from interesting parts. Quaint completely fits the bill! 

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