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Cairns, Sunshine Coast or elsewhere...?

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Does anyone have experience with living in both Cairns and the Sunshine Coast so they could compare those places for me?

We have been to Cairns last year and our fourth child was born there. We fell in love with the beautiful beaches and natural surroundings and found people there to be friendlier than down south, or at least more down to earth but still so friendly ..

We are always cold in winter in SEQ and love climates such as Singapore, so would love to move to the Northern Beaches in Cairns but are having some doubts now.

We now live half an our away from the Sunshine Coast and realised that there is a lot of infrastructure there in terms of healthcare, bike lanes, etc. We do not know the Northern Beaches area In Cairns well enough to know if maybe there are also lots of sidewalks, bike lanes etc. And apart from the hospital in Cairns, we did not need to find specialists or other healthcare there. We are worried though by what we hear about Cairns. That the hospital cannot cater for certain emergencies.. Is that correct? 😱 We are also wondering how difficult it is to find a specialist up there or get routine screenings (eg for breast cancer)? Also occupational therapy for children? I must say though that the waitlists in SEQ are a year atm, too. 

What about Townsville? Would that place maybe offer the best of both worlds, the tropical climate and natural surroundings but still better infrastructure and healthcare? 

Any feedback on how bad crime is in Cairns/Northern Beaches/Townsville? I have to say we live in Caboolture atm, so used to bad areas, but we live in a good pocket of Caboolture.. We also stayed in Mossman and Cairns for two months last year and had no bad experience, but would be good to know what it’s like living there long term...

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Townsville is the regional capital and has by far the most infrastructure.  It also regularly makes the Sh!t Towns of Australia top 10 but I take that with a pinch of salt: it is notorious for car crime but in the wider scheme of things that's not too problematic.

If you do have health reasons for needing a specialised care service then consider Townsville carefully if you want to move up north.  But also bear in mind there's a massive regional population and we manage just fine; I'm in Mackay, about 4 hours south of Townsville, and if there's some form of emergency that can't be dealt with locally (it happens with major smashes and other incidents particularly where fine reconstructive and plastic surgery is required) then the patient is stabilised locally and then put in the helicopter and flown to Townsville.  It's just how it's set up here and it's done efficiently and regularly.

You tend to find that specialists travel between the regional cities every few weeks; you don't have problems with routine stuff at all like cancer screening, but rarer stuff that doesn't have a population base to justify a full time specialist is a shared service; I have a friend with nephritic kidney disease and his urologist visits for a week once a month from Brisbane.

Are there job opportunities for you in Cairns?  Or opportunities for career progression - for me that's more of an issue in regional centres. 

Edited by Eera
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Fine art landscape and portrait photography.  And occasionally fannying around with ultra-macro when I should be working.

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Thank you for your reply. 

Yes my husband’s job is set and I will need to see what comes up. I am a stay at home Mum atm as we have a little baby, and no Aussie work experience, so it’ll be difficult anywhere I suppose.

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8 years in Cairns and 2 in SEQ GC.

For me it's like comparing apples and oranges, SEQ is nowhere near as laid back, the climate I prefer down here summers up FNQ are brutal (I lived in SE Asia for 16 years so used to heat ) Crime wise it's everywhere, just much more visible, petty and annoying up FNQ, lots of antisocial behavior in both Cairns and Townsville.  

Health service-wise, no comparison between FNQ & SE Qld there is much more access to specialist procedures in SE Qld, but that also depends if you have a private health fund or not. In FNQ there is 1 oncall  (yup you read that right 1) emergency helicopter covering Cairns to the tip of cape york and out west, a second one is in TV covering south to Mackay. 

SC is a good spot, We are looking at the hinterland in that region as an alternative, and between the middle of FNQ and GC will see 🙂


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