The 7 best Australian towns for a seachange

Larissa Gardner
6 min read

Every year more and more Australians are opting for a slower pace of life and moving from capital cities to settle down in coastal towns, a move commonly referred to as a seachange.

According to The New Daily, around 15,000 Australians annually are seeing if the grass is really greener on the other side by moving from the city to a small town in a tree or sea change.

No longer just a venture for retirees, the ABS found that 79 per cent of seachangers moving to coastal communities are aged under 50, with half aged under 30.

 For sale:  Port Douglas, QLD For sale:  Port Douglas, QLD

If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of city living, sick of sitting in rush hour traffic, unhappy living a little too close for comfort to neighbours, and dreaming of more affordable housing and wide open spaces, a seachange may be the worth considering.

To inform your decision, The New Daily released a list of the best seachange towns in Australia. A town planner and urban geographer looked at 11 criteria when combing Australia for these coastal gems including employment prospects, vibrancy, natural beauty, beach quality, housing affordability, infrastructure and climate.

Here’s what you need to know about the top seven best Aussie towns for a seachange if you’re considering whether a big move and change of lifestyle is right for you.

 Kingscliff Kingscliff

1. Noosa Heads, QLD

As the number one Aussie town for a seachange Noosa Heads has a lot of things going for it. Highlights include a breathtaking coastline, its national park, nature walks, rainforest views, resorts, restaurants, shopping, surf beaches, great fishing, water skiing and farmers markets, just to name a few! Our local experts describe it as ‘the ideal seachange’ where ‘the lifestyle is relaxed, the people friendly and the community is really engaged in maintaining what makes Noosa special’.

Distance to a capital city- Situated on the Sunshine Coast 135km north of Brisbane or a one hour and 50 min drive.

Stats- $795k Median House Price (MHP) & 3.06% Annual Capital Growth (ACG) (Your Investment Property Mag).

View properties for sale in Noosa Heads.

 For sale: 48 Nairana Rest, Noosa Heads, QLD For sale: 48 Nairana Rest, Noosa Heads, QLD

2. Terrigal, NSW

With postcard perfect beaches, serene lagoons that are a hit with families, paddleboaders, kayakers, kite surfers and fishermen alike, its easy to see the attraction Terrigal holds for many in search of a beachy small town feel. Local experts sing praise of this ‘awesome little towns’ relaxing vibe, ‘great coffee culture and amazing holiday feel!’. Residents report that living there is ‘like being on a permanent holiday’.

Distance to a capital city- Located 88km north-east of Sydney, about an hour and a half drive.

Stats- $811,250 MHP & 4.19% ACG.

View properties for sale in Terrigal.

 For sale: 1/132 Terrigal Drive, Terrigal, NSW For sale: 1/132 Terrigal Drive, Terrigal, NSW

3. Warrnambool, VIC

For those looking for a seachange in Victoria with affordable housing and some of the most stunning coastline in the country in mind, then look no further than Warrnambool. For families Warrnambool has great prospects for eduction, hosting three primary schools, four high schools, a TAFE and university. Additional drawcards include whale watching, good job prospects and an excellent local art scene. Locals say it’s ‘a wonderful seaside town for a seachange’ and ‘it’s a top spot to surf for those that love the beach lifestyle’.

Distance to a capital city- 257km south-west of Melbourne or just over 3 hours drive along the Great Ocean Road.

Stats- $324,000 MHP & 1.99% ACG.

View properties for sale in Warrnambool.

 For sale:  Lot 2, 370 Hopkins Point Road, Warrmambool, VIC For sale:  Lot 2, 370 Hopkins Point Road, Warrmambool, VIC

4. Kingscliff, NSW

A great location for nature and beach lovers, Kingscliff is home to lush rainforests, several great beaches and Cudgen Creek. If you love staying active you can go diving with turtles, whale watching, paddleboarding, fishing, bike riding, hiking or surfing. Foodies will delight in the main street cafes, restaurants and Kingscliff markets showcasing local produce and gourmet foods. Residents say Kingscliff is ‘A great place to bring up your kids!’ and ‘a safe community, quiet and very friendly’.

Distance to a capital city- Set on the northern NSW Tweed Cost, about 115km south-east of Brisbane or an hour and half drive and just a 15 min drive to Gold Coast airport.

Stats- $852,500 MHP & 4.92% ACG.

View properties for sale in Kingscliff.

 For sale: 6 Cathedral Court, Kingscliff, NSW For sale: 6 Cathedral Court, Kingscliff, NSW

5. Byron Bay, NSW

A vibrant tourist destination thanks to the wonderful reefs, beaches, whale watching, hinterland and events, Byron Bay is also increasingly a place where many people are opting to make the move permanently. The great surfing, snorkelling and diving opportunities, and huge variety of annual festivals (Falls Festival, Spirit Festival, Bluesfest, Writers’ Festival, Surf Festival and Splendour in the Grass) are sure to keep you entertained.

One local describes it as ‘a friendly hippy town with great surf, a unique range of fabulous food and a friendly atmosphere welcoming all’. Another resident suggests it ‘is becoming more and more popular both for tourists and those wishing to escape the city life and move somewhere peaceful’.

Distance to a capital city- 166km south-east of Brisbane or just under two hours drive.

Stats- $1,005,000 MHP & 6.44% ACG.

View properties for sale Byron Bay.

 For sale: 144 Lighthouse Road, Byron Bay, NSW For sale: 144 Lighthouse Road, Byron Bay, NSW

6. Port Douglas, QLD

The year round warm weather and magnificent scenery of the far north Queensland town of Port Douglas are two major drawcards for tourists and new residents alike. With the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef on your doorstep residents are spoiled for choice with natural wonders and outdoor activities around every corner. There’s also cosmopolitan touches including award-winning dining options, boutique shops and weekly markets, so you won’t miss city living too much! Locals describe it as ‘perfection in the tropics’, having a ‘friendly village atmosphere’ and ‘paradise’.

Distance to a capital city- Located 1,746 km north-west of Brisbane or a 2 hour 20 min flight. A 45 min drive to Cairns.

Stats- $504,500 MHP & -0.31 ACG.

View properties for sale in Port Douglas.

 For sale: Port Douglas, QLD For sale: Port Douglas, QLD

7. Lennox Head, NSW

A surfers haven, Lennox Head is home to a 7.2km stretch of beach with a world-famous right hand point break. Other attractions include dolphin spotting, the coffee culture, burgeoning art scene and the sleepy laid back small town atmosphere. Locals say Lennox Head is a ‘gorgeous village, with great community feel’, offering ‘an amazing lifestyle…golden sand beaches, community spirit, relaxed environment and wonderful food are a few points to wet your appetite to come and live and or invest here’.

Distance to a capital city– 185km south-east of Brisbane or a 2 hour 20 min drive.

Stats- $770k MHP & 4.39% ACG.

View properties for sale in Lennox Head.

 For sale: 6 Granite Street, Lennox Head, NSW For sale: 6 Granite Street, Lennox Head, NSW

For those that hail from WA check out the bustling seaside suburb of Busselton. South Australians should take a look at Port Elliot and Tasmanians should seek out the small town of Stanley.

For more help deciding whether or not a seachange could suit you take a read of the pros and cons of country living.

Happy house hunting!

The Team

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Larissa Gardner
Larissa Gardner is the Marketing Manager at arguably Australia’s best looking real estate website With a superb devotion to product innovation, user-centred design and innovative marketing platforms for real estate agents, helps millions of Australians find their next home.

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STANLEY, Tasmania. Get real. Who wrote this? Did they visit Tasmania? Who lives there?
There’s so many fantastic places on the east coast if you enjoy quiet beachy towns.
Deloraine et al if you enjoy rain and arty communities and the West coast if you hanker for breathtaking scenery and rain most days.
Fantastic tight communities in the south: 7Mile Beach, Cremorne, South Arm, Clifton Beach, Cygnet, Margate, Snug and evolving
….the Huon Valley.


Thanks for the tip Denis! Feel free to add a suburb review for Harrington here


We live at Harrington waters it’s really booming close to port mcquarie and Forster much more affordable not so many tourist great fishing golf water sports bike riding irish pub bowling club loverly community no crime we always feel safe people are so friendly 20 minutes from taree great hospital there and stain and air port 4hrs drive to sydney come for a visit you won’t want to leave.


What a stupid list. Thought it mentioned affordability. Only one slightly affordable was warrnambool, which isn’t exactly private, council rates are through the roof and unemployment is terrible. I have two children that settled there for a sea change and they have recently had a child. They have found the community very clicky. They both had brilliant jobs in Darwin. One in banking, one in manufacturing. The husband now has to travel interstate in a mining position and wife travels endlessly as a broker, leaving the child in child care. Think they are really regretting the move and found the lifestyle easier in Darwin. Plus this report should mention every state.


As usual, W.A. doesn’t exist. Try Bunbury, Busselton, Margaret River, Esperance and Albany just to name a few.
Further north try Cervantes, Lancelin and further north Broome, Shark Bay etc. If you are going to write an article cover all compass points of our wonderful continent.


Very NSW centric!
What about Dromana and Safety Beach in Victoria?
One hour from Melbourne, not three, and freeways all the way!
Martha Cove Marina is superb and the Mornington Peninsula in general is one of the best kept secrets in Australia!
Prices are increasing fast but are still affordable for now.
Check these out!
Yes I live there!


Well, as far as housing affordability goes, the prices in this listing are ridiculous. Looks like it’s Warrnambool for me according to this list. However, upon my research there are way better areas between Hervey Bay and Rockhampton, QLD, where you can get all of the elements of a seachange with way more bang for your buck. Off to QLD, see ya’ ……


Northern NSW is absolutely stunning with endless beaches, national parks and creative communities. Also explore the "Serenity surrounding Murwillumbah" the historic country town in the heart of the Tweed. Experience its lush subtropical forests, rolling hills, with its pristine creeks and rivers flowing through historic countryside. Temperatures are always cooler than up on the Gold Coast or further south. Stop at a one of the village cafes in Uki, Tyalgum or Tumbulgum and Murwillumbah. Visit the farmers market Wednesday morning in Murwillumbah – you will amazed by the variety of local produce on offer. Cafes and restaurant creations will satisfy the most refined tastebuds, of course with a local twist. Visit Magret Olleys Art Gallery and be enchanted by glimpse into history and her art, and while you are having coffee/tea at the gallery cafe, enjoy breathtaking views overlooking Mt Warning or Wollumbin as we say around here, the border ranges, green pastures and Tweed River. Just take your time for a leisurely drive, follow country roads and explore hidden valleys, and catch the cool summer breezes up on hills and lookouts. You will not be disappointed, tranquility awaits you …

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