While Sydney is likely top of mind when thinking about a move to New South Wales, the Aussie lifestyle is arguably even better experienced away from the big smoke. Many regional towns are so close that it’s a day trip to Sydney, but they offer a more relaxed and balanced lifestyle, with great food, plenty of activities and the best that nature has to offer.
Regional areas only 1-2 hours to the north, south and west of Sydney are the Central Coast, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains, respectively. Each region is extremely accessible from Sydney, either directly by train or by car.
Further afield you’ll find wine regions, lush bushland, mountain ranges, and thousands of kilometres of sparkling coastline stretching all the way to Victoria down south, and Queensland up north.
Let’s explore regional NSW
Just 80km (a little over an hour) south of Sydney, Wollongong is the gateway to the spectacular NSW South Coast. Known for its world-class beaches, outdoor adventures, great food, and cultural attractions including the famous Nan Tien Buddhist temple, Wollongong has all the elements of a modern big city, with a welcoming, coastal town feel.
The Central Coast
Around the same distance north from Sydney, and an hour south of Newcastle, is the Central Coast. Boasting a stunning array of both family-friendly and surfer-ready beaches, the Central Coast attracts thousands of Sydney siders who make the move each year. Being so close to Sydney, over 40,000 people make the daily commute and enjoy coming home to that holiday feel.
Kiama, the most liveable town in the country, is situated just south of the Illawarra and approximately 2 hours away from Sydney. Nestled along the stunning NSW South Coast, Kiama is a charming coastal town renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. With pristine beaches, a captivating Blowhole, and picturesque walking trails, Kiama offers a perfect blend of relaxation and outdoor adventure. Its vibrant community, bustling markets, and diverse dining scene reflect the town's welcoming spirit. Whether you seek tranquillity by the sea or thrilling coastal views, Kiama invites you to embrace its coastal charm and unwind in its laid-back atmosphere.
The Blue Mountains
In the centre of the iconic Blue Mountains is Katoomba, a big town with everything you need, but with a small-town feel, and sitting right on a cliff edge, with magnificent views from all sides. There’s no possibility of getting bored in the Blue Mountains. Only 90 minutes from Sydney, and at the gateway to the expansive slopes of western NSW, the Blue Mountains will have you enraptured with hiking, mountain biking, exploring, wildlife spotting and relaxing by open fires and in hot springs.
Hunter Region and Newcastle
2-3 hours north/northwest of Sydney is the Hunter, an expansive region famous for its award-winning vineyards and accompanying wineries and paddock-to-plate foodie culture. From the city of Newcastle on the coast, stretching west to towns like Maitland, Cessnock and Broke, the Hunter has all the practical and lifestyle resources you need.
Over the Blue Mountains, country NSW stretches to the South Australia and Northern Territory borders, via grassy slopes that eventually become desert plains. It’s no surprise that many people who leave the big city for job opportunities out west fall in love with the vast landscapes, the close-knit communities and the slower pace of life.
Many People – Australians included! - don’t realise there’s a high-altitude region in Australia that’s covered with snow throughout the winter months. A quiet, laid-back region of southern NSW, the Snowy Monaro region covers about 15,000 square km, extending from Canberra in the north to the Victoria border.
The main hubs are Comma and Jindabyne, which, only a 40-min drive apart, boast a combined population of about 10,000, which swells during winter to around 20,000, as the three NSW ski resorts, Perisher, Thredbo and Charlotte’s Pass, operate from June to September. While winter offers unlimited snow sports, scenic vistas and backcountry hiking, the temperate in summer is perfect for hiking, mountain biking and water sports on the magnificent Lake Jindabyne. A great choice for families, the region also offers high-quality schools and access to top universities only 1-2 hours away in the ACT.
South and North Coasts
The NSW South Coast is nicknamed the Sapphire Coast for a reason, and its beaches are among some of the most picturesque in the world. Small yet well-equipped towns are friendly and laid-back, and, depending where you are on the long stretch of coastline, you’re only a few hours’ drive from a major city like Melbourne, Canberra or Sydney.
The NSW North Coast is just as picturesque, and famous for its warm climate, fantastic surf beaches and laid-back culture. Towns like Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and Kingscliff offer holiday feels, with major regional towns like Grafton and Lismore less than an hour inland for any extra necessary services and amenities.
Vast, picturesque and offering something for everyone, regional NSW benefits from having major towns and large cities never being too far away. From the mountains to the sea, the western desert plains to the green river regions, there’s a whole world to explore and settle into.
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