Want a home among the gum trees? The best Australian rural towns to settle down
Fed up with all the hustle and bustle of the city or suburban living? Perhaps you’re dreaming of waking up to fresh country air, with a kangaroo in the backyard and enough distance from the neighbours to say, “how’s the serenity?”
Maybe it’s time to consider moving to the country.
Australia is blessed with a plethora of rural towns. But don’t stress, we’ve narrowed the selection down to a few.
Here’s our pick of the houses for sale in the best tree-change locations across Australia – these places are relatively affordable now, but they might not be for long.
New South Wales
Affectionately called Bello by locals, Bellingen has a vibrant community of artists, performers and those who appreciate an alternative lifestyle.
It is only a half-hour drive south of Coffs Harbour so you’re not too far from the joys of a city. But Bello’s relaxed atmosphere means you might never want to leave.
Start your day in the best way, at the town’s historic Old Butter Cafe for coffee and breakfast, then grab a bargain at the community market. If adventure tickles your fancy, drive through the rainforest, past Never Never Creek and look for the Promised Land (yes, it’s a real place). Cool down in the summer with a dip in the area’s many swimming holes.
End your day with a family barbecue, and count the stars above.
128 Hydes Creek Road, Bellingen, $799,000
3 beds 2 baths 2 cars 1 hectare
If you want the true country escape and to be far from a city, then Mudgee – 270 kilometres north-west of Sydney – is the place.
Mudgee exudes charm, thanks to with its colonial architecture, while possessing plenty of sophistication with its many wineries. You’ll never be caught short of a good drop again.
From kayaking at the picturesque Dunns Swamp on the edge of Wollemi, to stargazing at the Mudgee Observatory and watching a glorious sunrise above the vineyards in a hot-air balloon, there’s plenty to enjoy in Mudgee.
1556 Yarrabin Road, Mudgee, offers over $480,000
4 beds 2 baths 3 cars 78 hectares
Maldon is Australia’s “first notable town”, as proclaimed by the National Trust, and evidently so – it’s hard not to imagine what life was like here in the gold-rush era. Colonial buildings, original shop signs, a lolly shop, steam trains, antique shops and picket fences all combine to make Maldon special.
You can live your best cottage lifestyle in this historic town. Imagine snuggling in front of the fireplace in winter, or growing your own vegetables in summer – listening to kookaburras in a gumtree.
Maldon is 145 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, but only an easy half-hour drive from Victoria’s second city, Bendigo.
11 Reef Street, Maldon, $675,000
4 beds 1 bath 3 cars
Daylesford is popular for its natural springs, day spas, public gardens, markets and an array of award-winning cafes and restaurants.
Daylesford is only a stone’s throw away from similar country towns, such as Woodend: Picnic at Hanging Rock, relax at Hepburn Springs, hike to the top of Mount Macedon, or take a day trip to Ballarat and enjoy all the central Victorian city has to offer.
5 Fourth Street, Hepburn Springs, $875,000
2 beds 2 baths 2 cars
Just 55 kilometres south-west of Hobart, along the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and up the Huon Valley (a scenic and peaceful drive), is Cygnet.
Cygnet is perfect for those who want the best of both worlds: they want proximity to Hobart, to be able to swim in the ocean at Kangaroo Bay, and also the generosity of space of a country town.
It’s easy being healthy at Cygnet – get fit on daily hikes to the airwalk at Tahune Forest Reserve, buy local apples, cherries and berries and feed your soul at the annual Cygnet Folk Festival, where music lovers enjoy more than 350 (free) live acts.
20 Lymington Road, Cygnet, offers over $750,000
3 beds 1 bath 2 cars
Renmark is a true-blue Aussie town, with a dry climate, year-round sun and proximity to rivers, billabongs and secluded creeks that will suit anyone who enjoys picnics by the water, catching yabbies, water sports and having a chat with mates over a cold beer.
For those who are a bit more refined, there is also Ruston’s rose garden, wine sampling at Angove Winery and lots of fresh produce to sample at the town’s restaurants and pubs.
Renmark is deep in the Riverland region of South Australia, 254 kilometres north-east of Adelaide, on the Murray River. Living inland, on the water’s edge or even on it, in a houseboat, are all options.
5 beds 2 baths 6 cars
A 45-minute drive east of Perth is Mundaring, nestled between some of WA’s best national parks and forests, such as Beelu National Park and the Zamia State Forest.
Life in Mundaring is perfect for those who love nature, warm weather and a community atmosphere.
Whether you love riding your bike or hiking, you can do both up to Eagle View Trail and take in the view of the Perth city skyline. Roll back down the hills and try the ice-cream at the gelato shop, take the kids to one of the many playgrounds, explore disused train tunnels and make friends with wildlife.
360 Summit Road, Mundaring, from $719,000
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland town of Montville is a place to enjoy the simple things in life.
It’s surrounded by breathtaking natural wonders, and the main streets feature boutique shops, galleries and cafes. Leafy trees are everywhere, offering shade from the Queensland sun.
Montville is a thriving creators’ hub, with art galleries, pottery studios, craft cottages, gift and antique shops and specialty shops.
It will also suit surfers, as it’s only a half-hour drive from Sunshine Coast beaches. For those who prefer calmer waters, tranquil Lake Baroon is nearby.
Waterfalls, rockpools and bubbling creeks can also be found in the Kondalilla National Park.
Lot 15 43-45 Western Avenue, Montville, $745,000
4 beds 3 baths 2 cars