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Move from Sydney to Coffs Harbour


lovelythings
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Hi everyone. This forum has proved to be so useful for us before we immigrated, during the immigration process and even now two years since we landed in Sydney, I still use the valuable information contained within some of the discussions. We are considering moving to Coffs Harbour from Castle Hill, NSW. We love Sydney but are considering Coffs Harbour because I have a job prospect there and the cost of property there is soooo much more affordable for us than in Sydney. I just want to check if anyone on the forum lives there or has made a similar move? We have two kids under 7 so wondering about the schools? Are the locals friendly? Churches? What's the demographics like? Any information on what life is like for a young family in Coffs Harbour would be helpful. 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi lovelythings

Gosh, it's been a VERY long time since I posted!  

We first arrived in Sydney in 2008, moved to Brisbane in 2009 and then Canberra at the end of 2010.  In 2013 we were finally free of our working visa restrictions, had got PR and were granted citizenship on Citizenship Day of 2013.  Two days later we loaded up a Thrifty truck with all our possessions and drove up to Sawtell which is a little village 12km south of Coffs.  And we haven't looked back!  We had been here on summer holidays for the previous two years and fell in love!  

Yes, people are really friendly here - especially compared to the big cities.  If you can secure a job before you arrive, that would be a huge bonus as jobs are scarce.  As with most smaller towns, there is a fairly large low socioeconomic element and COVID has made this worse.  The drug 'ice' is fairly prevalent in some areas. But it's not everywhere - there are pockets - just like most places.  

I don't have kids, but have been here long enough to know that there are some schools which have a poor reputation and some which have a great reputation.  Try to avoid Orara High School and Toormina High School - these are both government schools.  I don't know if there are any primary schools to avoid.  Jetty High (Coffs Harbour High School - gov school), Bishop Druitt College (K-12), St John Paul College (high school only) and Coffs Harbour Christian Community School (K-12) all have fantastic reputations. There are plenty of other schools around, but these are the ones I have heard about through friend who are either teachers or who have kids at the schools.  

I don't know about churches because I'm not religious.  

 

We've been here for 7,5 years now and we still pinch ourselves that we live in such a beautiful part of the world!  People are WAY more chilled out here.  Bumper to bumper taffic doesn't exist unless there's an accident or it's the start/finish of school holidays in the centre of town where the highway goes straight through the middle (construction on the bypass is planned to start early next year).  The weather is amazing - although it does get pretty humid in summer, but nowhere near as bad as Brisbane.  The beaches are beautiful and varied.  And we have so much to see and do in the area from mountain biking (Coffs is the place where the Great Dividing Range meets the ocean), hiking, waterfalls, 4x4, all manner of water sports - the list is endless.

 

We have some great restaurants - Sawtell is a hub of really good restaurants and cafes.  The Jetty strip is another great spot for restaurants, bars and cafes.  But all with a very chilled vibe and friendly owners.  

Making friends here has been a million times easier than the cities where your main option is through kids schooling.  Joining the surf club, local footie club (or whatever sport takes your fancy - hockey, touch footie, tennis, basketball, netball, waterpolo, cycling, etc), crossfit box, SES volunteer, ukulele (yes - it's a thing), boot scooters (yip, that too!).  So many options for meeting people here.  

 

Other things that come to mind...  We have a good hospital that's in the process of having a new wing built.  We have an airport and regional train station for ease of travel.  The new highway is pretty much done on either side of us - the Coffs bypass is the last section.  This means travel north to GC/Brisbane or south to Sydney is way quicker than it used to be.  There are some amazing places to explore all along our coastlines - both north and south.

 

I hope this helps!  Good luck with the decision.

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