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Moving Regionally - your experience / opinions please
30 replies to this topic
Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:08 AM
Hubby has the chance to take a job regionally and we are seriously considering it. We currently live in Sydney and we would be moving to a town up the coast. Financially we would end up a little worse off in terms of cash in hand after expenses, but we would be able to keep our house in Sydney and would probably be able to buy in the new place as well (housing is cheap and the cost of living should also be cheaper). We have 3 kids (8, 6 and 3) and so the two older kids would have to start at a new school.
We have a pretty good life here. The kids are settled and are doing well at school. We like our house, we have great friends. Our family lives here (but we don't see them all that much and both hubby and my parents are retired and starting to travel around so they would come and visit). The kids do a number of after school activities and are happy with them all. They have great friends. All in all, the kids are happy, healthy and well adjusted.
But, neither hubby nor I love Sydney. It is busy, it is packed with people. The place where we live is getting busier and busier. The kids go to our local public school which is a great school but very competitive and I know it will only get worse over the coming years. We can't walk to school, we need to drive. The kids can't ride their bikes on the roads here. We live at least 1hr from the beach which means we don't access it much. We practically never go into the city. So I feel like although we live in Sydney, we don't access much that the city has to offer IYKWIM?
Would you go? Have you been in a similar position and made the move? Did it work out for you? I know that no-one can make this decision for us, but I would love some opinions.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:27 AM
Haven't done it, but based on what you've just said, my instinct would possible be go for it. For me, it would really depend on where the job is, and what sort of set up you are going to have there.
The kids will make new friends, at that age they are still pretty adaptable.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:30 AM
DH and his former partner made the move 12 years ago, she moved back to the city once they split up, (nothing to do with the move) but he stayed here and said he wouldn't live in the city again.
I have moved from regional area to another and it had worked out fine. We have good schools, the kids have their after school activities and we have all made good friends.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:34 AM
We've moved with DH's job several times. Some big things to consider:
How big is the town? I wouldn't move anywhere smaller than 15,000-ish. I've lived in 2 towns of 1,500 (once when I was teaching and once with DH) - it's too small for me. Only 1 grocery shop = expensive and limited range. Few other specialty stores. Few other facilities. In one case, I could drive 200km to a larger regional centre, but it's a long, dark road home after dinner or a movie. Larger population meant both of the big 2 supermarkets, hairdressers, optometrists, clothing stores, just a much better range of products available locally.
What recreational facilities are there for you and your DH? What facilities are there for the children? My children all do swimming lessons plus one other activity. For various reasons, even in the larger town that we lived in, there were no swimming lessons running while we were there. The smaller town didn't have a swimming teacher when we arrived, and never ran lessons for under-4's while we were there.
The gym didn't have a crèche. Movies were outside so they only ran in summer and were already on DVD so it was a social occasion, not the full movie experience.
What is the high school like? I wouldn't go if it meant boarding school for the children (and I went to boarding school myself and loved it!).
I actually missed things I thought I could do without. I got very good at online shopping and we would be watching for the parcel delivery on Wednesday. I'd definitely do it again - the lifestyle for the children is wonderful and I've made some great friends, but I was glad to move back home after a few years.
ETA: do whatever you can to keep your house, at least in the short term, just in case. We haven't moved back into ours yet, but it's nice to know its still there.
Edited by shmach, 14 November 2012 - 08:36 AM.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:42 AM
Just quickly as I am having a melt down day today (nothing to do with living regionally! )
I did by need but had intended on doing it eventually anyway I love it, my older DS loves it, there are a few things I miss but they are made ten times over in the freedom the children have and the community as a whole. I wll try and come back and give you some specifics but as a family we are as happy as we can be
Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:44 AM
We have just moved from Melbourne to Regional Victoria.
Our family are all over the place now, with IL's and my parents now retired and travelling too with the caravan, (they park it in our front yard, the 1 acre front yard!)
We love it, and wished we'd done it earlier, in every sense. I drove back to Melbourne the other day and i couldnt wait to get out of there and back home.
My DD is 2, so no school yet, but at your kids ages, they still make friends easily. If you can keep your sydney house too, thats a bonus for income, so i think you would be much more better off.
The only thing i find as a negative is the lack of shopping where i am, but i was spoilt for choice previously but that may not be the case where you are looking at.
On everything you have said, nothing would make me hesitate, i'd do it!
Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:45 AM
My DH, DD and I recently moved from Newcastle to Port Macquarie (large regional coastal town). We were in a similar situation in that we had a great life in Newcastle, had just bought a house, had lots of friends and were involved in lots of activities there. Our DD was only 2 months old when we moved so a bit different in that way. S
ome of our considerations for moving were that we would be able to buy a similar house in a better area (ie we are now 1km from the beach) for the same money, our kids will be able to get into the best public schools (where as public schools in Newcastle are zoned and the best ones are in the very expensive suburbs), we will eventually be a little better off financially (once the costs of the move have settled down) and we are a bit closer to family. Plus Port Mac has great facilities, movie theatre, sporting facilities, fabulous beaches, good schools, great cafes and restaurants, and the surrounding areas are absolutely magical and beautiful!!! Its a blissful place to live really!!!
It has been a real struggle over the past 6 months or so, with settling in, making new friends, new jobs, etc esepecially whilst learning to be parents to a young baby at the same time!!! But we are starting to feel at home here now and I can definitely see that the move has been the best thing for our family!!!
We did feel that a large regional centre like Port Mac offers plenty of opportunities for our DD and any other kids that come along, without the dangers, temptations, influences etc that a big city has to offer!
I think it sounds like you are a leaning towards making the move OP??? We were undecided for months, but eventually just decided to take the plunge and just do it!!!
Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:46 AM
We moved to a regionl town after living in outer Sydney for 2 years. I love where we are and have no regrets. That said, there are things that were a surprise.
Living expenses are generally higher - fuel in particular.'When going back to Sydney I put in enough to get us there and then fill up on arrival, and top up before we leave!
Electricity is stupidly more expensive han it was with either Energy Australia or Integral. We are paying almost double the daily access fee here than we were in the old place. It was a shock to go from a $250/quarter bill to $650/quarter. Check what appliances any house you live in will have - the big difference in ours came from an old electric hot water system and electric cooking.
What is the climate like? Be prepared to have higher seasonal heating/cooling bills. Seriously, where we live 18 degrees is t-shirt and shorts weather, unlike when we were in Sydney!!
Getting on to a GP's books can be a challenge, and it is rare to find one that bulk bills, although it is worth asking if they bulk bill children.
Think about what activities/interests your children have or you would encourage them to pursue, and look into the availability of them.
Do any of you have pre-existing medical conditions? Are specialists availble in the general vacinity? Are you prepared for the travel if they aren't?
What work options are there for you? The big paying jobs are limited in regional areas - I don't think I will ever et a job that paid as much as my Sydney job (once I start looking for work again!), and my particular industry is miniscule in this town, so chances of working in it are slim.
If it is a great place for holidays, are you willing to have family lob up for an extended visit???
Before you move, really do your research on where to live/schools. We spent a couple of weekends just driving around our new town before we moved to get real feel for the different areas. You can tell a lot about a suburb by the look of the houses, the number of cars (and wht state they are in) out the front, the 'lawn furniture', grafiti etc. We also worked out that the newer suburbs didn't appeal to us either, so we kept looking around.
Talk to real estate agents. We found what looked like a perfect house on paper, but the agent said he couldn't show it to us in good conscience without telling us about the local school. We had four kids and the eldest was in kindy. He said the zoned school (and this town is VERY strict on zoning) was the feeder school for the two commission estates in town and had a lot of the related socio-economic issues - he said he didn't feel it fair to not tell us that.
So, when you find a place you like the look/sound of, ring the local education office and they can tell you wht school zone the house is in. Or, if you choose a school ou really like, go there and ask them for a copy of their zoning map and narrow your house search down that way.
Public transport may be very limited and quite expensive. We live 3.5km from town and have two buses a day (plus school bus), but at almost $9 return, it is cheaper to drive!
Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:12 AM
We did it, for DH job. We moved more rural than regional but similar circumstances - Dh was from Sydney, I'm from Newcastle.
We love it - but it has taken some getting used to. Some services just aren't as available as they were in the city. Things like medical services can be harder to access, and we found some things actually cost more than they do in the city. But we treated it all like a bit of adventure - its fun exploring new places and getting acquainted with somewhere new.
It probably took us at least 12 mths to really settle in, and a few months in we started to second-guess ourselves and wondered whether we had done the right thing!
DS was 8 when we moved here, he has settled in really well. He loved it because it was such a change, he got to ride his bike to school. We didn't have to rely on a second wage like in the city - so he got to come home (instead of me working full-time & him attending OOSH) & I was able to be more involved in the school. I went back to work part-time after about 2 years, it was harder for me to find work that it would have been in the city. Some of this due to DH being a shift worked and working a lot of on call & I could not rely on him to help with DS - once we got to know the area better we got some support in place and this got a bit easier.
We decided that we would give it till DS started high school & if we didn't like it we would look at moving back to the city. He has just started high school this year & we have decided that we may not ever come back to the city! The housing is cheaper so we have just bought a house & we have become accustomed to the "country" pace of things.
We travel back to Sydney and Newcastle to visit family fairly regularly - and to be honest neither of us miss the city at all.
My advice would be, go and have a look at the place you are looking to move to. Check out the local schools, find out as much as you can about the area. Some local councils have people you can talk to if you are looking to move into their local area. If you decide you are still interested in the move - make it an adventure for the family, set a time frame (say a couple of years or so) and go for it!
There is probably heaps more I could put here- but my 34 wk preg brain isn't working well! Feel free to pm me if you want.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:20 AM
We did it at the beginning of the year. Moved from a capital city to a large regional centre.
What I love most is there is hardly any traffic compared to where we came from.
House prices here are not that much different to our house in Melbourne for what we want to buy but we will be able to get a large block for not much more (small acreage). But there's not as much choice with what to buy so you have to be patient. Rates are also significantly more than what we had been paying.
We are currently renting but our utilities bills are similar to what they would have been in Melbourne. Some places around here don't have natural gas so it will cost more.
Schoolwise there is choice. From what I can tell, none of the local public school are zoned but some are better than others. I've chosen to send my kids to an independant school and the quality of the teaching is excellent. There aren't quite as many facilities (as the school is smaller) than where they came from but it is significantly cheaper.
There are shops but there's a few that I miss. But there is online shopping that negates some of that.
We haven't had an issue getting into doctors. There are bulk billing clinics that are easy enough to get into but I haven't heard the best about them. There are not a lot of better reputation clinics that bulk bill (or bulk bill kids). Where we are there is an adequate hospital system but transfers to Melbourne happen more frequently than you think.
There's not as many options for jobs and it may be difficult to get before and afterschool care if you need it. Harder if there is no family to help.
We've also found that we are the ones that are doing all the travelling to visit family. So it's been feeling as though we are spending all our holidays in Melbourne but rushing around and it not feeling like a holiday and getting very sick of it. It's a bit much to do the travelling for the weekend to visit people as well so we haven't done much of this (plus I feel like I've worked every weekend since we came up).
We rented out our house in Melbourne to see if we like it here rather than selling first. And just recently we made the move permanent and have sold. I do miss the beach (you won't have this problem though) and when we retire I want to do so on the coast somewhere.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:29 AM
Thanks for the replies so far. They are really useful.
Yes, the town is big enough to have shopping centres, movies, swimming lessons etc so that is not an issue. It has a few sporting clubs for soccer etc but one of the big draw cards is that the kids would be able to do Nippers. My kids all LOVE the water (and the surf) and I think that they would love to do Nippers and generally be near the beach.
Sometimes I am leaning towards going, at other times I feel like an idiot for considering it and we should just stay put. I long for an easier life for my kids - I want them to be able to ride their bikes and walk to the corner shop (as they get older) and I know that is just so unlikely to happen where we live now. But am I just idolising my own childhood and that does not really exist anymore?
I have been researching schools and they are ok (the region also has high schools so the kids wouldn't have to board). Most of the schools are pretty average (score average on the Naplan testing) and when compared to the school the kids go to now there is a significant difference. But having said that, Naplan is not everything and although the school gets good scores the downside is that it is very competitive and fast paced.
Hubby would be walking into a job there so the work thing is no issue. I wouldn't work in the short term and could get involved in school and other activities.
We need to make a decision fast (the job on offer won't be there for long). I think I want to go but I am just so scared...... fear about this kind of thing is normal, isn't it?
Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:34 AM
I've lived both inner city and regionally and I much prefer to live regionally with the option to head to the city occasionally. Where I live is in walking distance to school, the beach and it's alongside a river. We have a rural block so the kids spend their time motorbike riding, dealing with animals, kayaking on the river and currently spend every night camping in the backyard even though it's a school night
If you can keep your home in Sydney then it may always be an option to return to the city if you don't like it.
ETA, my kids also do Nippers which they love!
Posted 14 November 2012 - 12:20 PM
We moved from Sydney to a large regional city. Would never go back. Best thing we ever did.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 02:32 PM
We live regionally and would never go back to the city either. Life is just so much more pleasant and we can go to the city for all the benefits there when we want to, but not have to live in the chaos constantly. BEst of both worlds.
It's is my experience too. It's a larger regional area, Sunshine Coast, but so easy to access the cities, as I really need my city fix every now and then. But for everyday living, it's great.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 02:37 PM
I'd go for it, especially if you can keep your home in Sydney. Personally, I have done it and you might be able to guess by my sig, I'm not loving it at all and can't wait to get back to Sydney. But what I miss are the art galleries, the concerts, the zoo, the harbour, the restaurants, as well as my friends and family. If galleries and opera houses aren't your thing, maybe you won't miss Sydney at all. Having kids in school will help with getting to know people (my DS is just 1) so I think it could work out quite well for you and your family.
Good luck with your decision
Posted 14 November 2012 - 02:38 PM
Go for it. If it all goes belly up, at least you can move back to your house in Sydney.
My story is a little similar. We sold 12 months ago to go rural, but I had a change of heart at the last minute. It has taken us nearly 12 months to buy a house back in the original area. The kids saw it as a big adventure but are very pleased to be going back to their home suburb.
You'll never know if you don't give it a chance.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 02:43 PM
If you can keep your home in Sydney, go for it. Even better, if you don't financially need to rent out your home in Sydney, you can just make visits whenever you like.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:00 PM
I moved from Melb to a large regional town last year and have loved it. There are plenty of shops, lots of things to do, lots of sport and overall people have been very welcoming. My only problem was that it took months to find a job - it really is who you know!
Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:23 PM
We live in a town of 10,000 ish and about 3.5 hrs from Sydney. I love it.
I'd go. We love the kids riding their bikes, I love seeing people I know. There is a big growth spurt here with lots of young family's which means that some services are rather stretched right now.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 05:35 PM
if Nippers is the clincher, check that there is no waiting list!
Posted 14 November 2012 - 05:43 PM
I did! I moved from Sydney to a regional city and hasn't looked back!
In your case you should definitely move considering that you are able to keep the house in Sydney, that makes for a great income stream and you can always move back quickly.
Also - you could stay with kids to finish their school year in Sydney while DH goes up and get settled.
Edited by jayskette, 14 November 2012 - 05:44 PM.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 05:49 PM
We did Brisbane to Mackay, for a work opportunity for me. 800km. We too lived an hour from the beach, and an hour from the city, so we didn't really access either.
Here we live 10 minutes from the CBD and 20 from the beach, and although we still don't do much beaching, at least it's not a mammoth effort IYKWIM. It's quieter, and no more expensive for us
Absolutely worth it, though I do miss being able to just go out shopping with mum.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 05:53 PM
We moved to the Central Coast from Sydney! 8 years ago and would NEVER go back - there are ofcourse things we miss - but within 1.5 hours we can be back there so its not a problem. this is NOT everyones favourite place - it does take a LONG time to feel like it is your home... but we have settled here and are happy... if its here you are looking at feel free to PM me if you need any info
Posted 14 November 2012 - 06:05 PM
Go for it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Absolutely this - better to give it a crack and have it not work out than to spend the next however long wondering what if? .
Remember home is what you make it and coming from a community with a population less than 500, let me tell you while it will take a little time to get used to initially, you'll be fine and who knows... you might just LOVE it!
Posted 14 November 2012 - 06:08 PM
We moved from Sydney to the South Coast nearly 11 years ago. It was a great move. My kids were under school age so we didn't have that issue. I love it here. Traffic is a breeze, people generally are friendly and the pace is definitely slower.
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