Of all the lessons the coronavirus pandemic has taught us, perhaps the most unexpected has been the viability of working remotely.
That, and how rarely we used to wash our hands. Anyway, now that so many Sydneysiders have learnt they can work from just about anywhere, the allure of city living has started to lose its lustre. If waking up to the sound of birds chirping (bin chickens don’t count) while surrounded by nature (neither do indoor plants) sounds like an ideal start to the workday, it’s time to consider a treechange.
Whether you have the flexibility to work from home five days a week or need to stay within a reasonable commute to the office for semi-regular check-ins, here are the most affordable, spacious, and picturesque places to escape from city life.
The rugged Blue Mountains region west of Sydney has long been a sought-after weekend getaway spot, but it’s also gaining popularity among those looking for a more permanent treechange, too. Mount Victoria (dubbed ‘the mountain’s best keep secret’ by locals) is a quant, family friendly suburb in the mountains that boasts close proximity to both Katoomba and Blackheath while still feeling completely removed from the noise. Renowned for its apple-growing, Mount Victoria offers a laid-back lifestyle surrounded by nature yet still within less than two hours’ drive of Sydney CBD. If apple orchids aren’t enough to twist your arm, MV’s median house prices should be—here, a 3-bedroom family home goes for around $495,000.
Clocking in at around a 1.5 hours’ drive from the city, Bowral offers all the perks of small-town regional living without skimping on great food and shopping options. Set in the stunning Southern Highlands region and surrounded by the Mittagong River, it’s home to some of NSW’s most beautiful homes, gardens, parks, AND wineries. There’s an eclectic mix of people here, with both trendy city slickers and older locals mixing together, but that’s what gives this place its edge. Here, a two-bedroom home will set you back around $830,000. If affordability is a huge factor in your decision to relocate, it’s worth considering Bowral’s neighbouring town of Moss Vale instead, surrounded by rolling hills and sweeping bushland.
Deep in the Hunter Valley you’ll find the charmingly rustic village that is Wollombi. Though it’s less than a two-hour commute into Sydney’s CBD, it feels a world away from the stress and speed of city life. If you’ve ever wondered what an authentic Australian country lifestyle looks like, Wollombi is your answer. Clear skies full of stars, wallabies grazing in your yard, and bushland all around. And so, so many parking spots. Prices range drastically here depending on acreage, with family homes starting at around $400,000 and reaching $1.3m. A special shout out goes out to The Wollombi Tavern, a classic old pub that will leave you shaking your head in disbelief that you ever waited in line for a beer or paid above $15 for a schnitzel.
Less than one hour’s drive from the city, Mooney Mooney is as much a seachange as it is a treechange, offering views of the Hawkesbury River and plenty of wildlife. Its proximity to Sydney’s CBD makes it the perfect option for those of us who’ll still need to commute to work a few days a week but crave a change of pace (and amount of space!). Trade your cement-centric lunchbreaks for a stroll through the Kiparra Park Reserve Walking track, or take the tinnie out for a spin on the Hawkesbury. This is the dream—and for well under a million, you can live it.