The 7 best (& affordable) Australian towns for a treechange

Larissa Gardner
7 min read

If you’re looking for better work-life balance, a lower cost of living, a slower pace of life or simply want a change of scenery, have you considered moving to one of the many amazing country towns around Australia?

Thousands of Australians take the plunge each year and according to CoreLogic internal migration to regional NSW, Victoria and QLD is the highest it has been in ten years.

For sale: 744 Bangalow Road, Talofa, NSW

An NBN survey found that the Aussies thinking about a rural relocation typically had two primary motivations including:

  • A slower pace of life and
  • a better living environment.

About one in six of the Australians surveyed were unhappy with their lifestyle due to work commute times. Where those that had made a sea change reported being happier with their work-life balance than those that hadn’t moved.

The survey showed the third highest motivator was financial, where 31 per cent of respondents cited cost of living as the main reason to uproot themselves.

It’s understandable that the lower cost of property in regional areas is extremely tempting, where buyers get much more house and maybe even some land for less than the cost of an apartment in most of Australia’s capitals.

The New Daily released a list of the best treechange towns in Australia. A town planner and urban geographer looked at specific criteria when combing Australia for these country gems including employment prospects, vibrancy, natural beauty, housing affordability, infrastructure and climate.

Using the latest property data and the New Daily’s study we’ve compiled a list of Australia’s most attractive and affordable treechange locations. Here’s what you need to know about each charming township.

Chiltern, VIC

For sale: 47 Albert Road, Chiltern, VIC

People relocate to Chiltern hoping to strike it lucky in its affordable housing market. Originally a gold rush town in the 19th century, locals take great pride in the town’s history with a museum and a series of well-preserved 19th-century buildings in the township.

Nowadays Chiltern has many drawcards for all sorts of tree-changers. Hikers, bird watchers and mountain bike riders will love the national park that surrounds Chiltern. Families and retirees will be interested to note there is a neighbourhood watch, a medical centre, a fishing club, line dancing nights, girl guides, and film nights and good grub at the local pub.

Locals say, ‘Chiltern is a vibrant local community mixing daily life with tourist visits. There are two great schools to chose from and plenty of sporting clubs and social groups to get involved with’.

Distance to a major city- 290km north-east of Melbourne or 3 hours drive.

Median house price (MHP)- $240,000.

Population- 1,605 (2016 Census).

View properties for sale in Chiltern.

Toodyay, WA

For sale: 15 Pindi Place, Toodyay, WA

Toodyay, meaning ‘place of plenty’, is a bustling Wheatbelt semi-rural town set on the Avon River. The town has several little quirks and many conveniences that make it a highly attractive treechange prospect. Its local attractions include an old-fashioned lolly shop, a gift emporium, Australia’s second largest Christmas store, the Old Newcastle Jail, a monthly Farmer’s Market and the annual Moondyne Festival. It also has its own train station with services that’ll get you to Perth in under two hours.

A local sells the picturesque Toodyay as having no traffic and fresh air, ‘just nature, friendly people and beautiful scenery’.

Distance to a major city – 85km north-east of Perth, 1-hour 20-minute drive.

MHP- $287,500.

Population- 4,500 people (2016 Census).

View properties for sale in Toodyay.

Evandale, TAS

Image: Paul Scambler, The Examiner

Evandale has a quaint English country village feel, with a number of Georgian and Victorian heritage-listed buildings. Only five minutes from Launceston airport and set on the South Esk River, Evandale is the perfect combination of pretty and convenient. Children, families and cycling enthusiasts will love the Sunday markets, the annual Village Fair and National Penny Farthing Championships.

A local says ‘There are some lovely buildings and we often go down to the river when it is warm to enjoy a barbecue’.

Distance to a major city- 20km from Launceston or 20-minutes drive.

MHP- $319,000.

Population- 1,345 (2016 Census).

View properties for sale in Evandale.

Strathalbyn, SA

For sale: 20 Commercial Road, Strathalbyn, SA

Located on the eastern edge of the Adelaide Hills, Strathalbyn is an easy drive to the coast, wine regions and Adelaide airport, making it a favourite for treechangers wanting a quiet semi-rural location not too far from the big smoke. The town features many superb sandstone buildings and churches, a bustling cafe scene, art galleries and runs a monthly market showcasing local artisans and an annual antiques fair.

An impressed visitor says; ‘Have visited quite a few times as we are now looking at moving up this way, it is a lovely country town and we were surprised how easy it is to get to the city and beach. Everyone seems to be very friendly and helpful, and the new estates are brilliant. They have just opened a new library and recently upgraded the pool which will be great for our kids’.

Distance to a major city- 55km from Adelaide, a 50-minute drive.

MHP- $356,500.

Population- 6,884 people (2016 Census).

View properties for sale in Strathalbyn.

Birregurra, VIC

For sale: 700 Mooleric Road, Birregurra, VIC

If you had visions of rolling green pastures and fresh locally grown culinary delights for your treechange, then look no further than Birregurra. One of the prettiest and the smallest country towns on our list, Birregurra is located in the picturesque foothills of the Otway Ranges. Foodies will delight in some of the best beef and lamb produce in the country, berry picking at Gentle Annie Berry Farm and feasting at the award-winning restaurant Brae. Other cultural attractions include the annual Birregurra Festival and Art Show, and the Treehouse Gallery.

A local says, ‘there are book clubs, sporting clubs, music groups, you name it…I could think of about 20 or 30 community groups (here)’.

Distance to a major city- 130km south-west of Melbourne, under 2-hours drive.

MHP- $362,500.

Population- 828 people (2016 Census).

View properties for sale in Birregurra.

Richmond, TAS

Richmond, TAS

Home to some of Australia’s oldest buildings and structures, Richmond has a charming Georgian village vibe nestled on the banks of the Coal River. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time on the main drag that features beautifully preserved Georgian architecture housing galleries, restaurants, teahouses, pubs and museums. History buffs will love touring the Richmond Gaol, the convict-built heritage-listed bridge, the Old Hobart Town Model Village, numerous churches, the Richmond Maze and Tassie’s History House.

A happy tourist says, ‘The stunningly beautiful town of Richmond is a popular weekend day trip for Hobart residents. It’s craft and woodwork shops are fantastic if you are looking for truly original handiwork of local craftspeople, and the sweet shop, bakery, and ice cream shops – well, need I say more?’.

Distance to a major city – 25km from Hobart, a 30-minute drive.

MHP- $412,500.

Population- 1,610 (2011 Census).

View properties for sale in Richmond.

Dayboro, QLD

For sale: Dayboro, QLD

Dayboro is home to many iconic and historic Queenslanders with their sprawling verandas. Avocado, pineapple and dairy farms lie on the outskirts of the township. A great place to raise a family, the town sports tennis courts, a pool, soccer, football and rugby clubs, a ballet school and two childcare centres. Locals rave about the town bakery, picnics at Mount Mee and The Crown hotel.

A local says, ‘I have grown up in Dayboro, it is a fantastic community, perfect for raising your young family. A superb primary school and public transport to all the nearby state and private schools. The kids can be active with great local clubs including Rugby League, soccer, netball and Taekwondo. It is an amazing place to live’

Another local suggests, ‘if you want nightclubs Dayboros not it. If you want acreage, stunning views and peace and quiet whilst still being able to get into the CBD – Dayboro ticks all the boxes’.

Distance to a major city – 45km from Brisbane, a 50-minute drive.

MHP- $586,000.

Population- 2,119 people (2016 Census).

View properties for sale in Dayboro.

If you’re game to make a big lifestyle change in 2018 the ABC has put out a casting call for a new series ‘Escape from the city’ banking on the popularity of people looking to make a treechange or seachange.

The application states ‘we’re looking for people planning to buy OR rent in a new location. Get a glimpse of the life you’ve always dreamt about AND get free expert advice on how to make it happen’.

So, if you’re looking for peace and quiet, beautiful scenery, affordable housing, fresh air and want to escape the hustle and bustle of the rat race, this could be the ideal reality show for you!

Do you know of a wonderful country town tree-changers should look into that we missed? Please share it in the comments section below.

Happy house hunting!

The Homely 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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Thanks for sharing great little towns.
In Victoria’ Gippsland region there is a chain of beautiful little towns like, Moe & Morwell.
Houses are very affordable, many people from the city are realizing just how easy it is to live in the country and still be able to commute to the city via train.

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