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Is it time for a sea change?

Looking for freedom, less stress, life balance, more time, and greater wellbeing?

The South Coast of NSW is fast becoming a sea-change destination for Victorians wanting better climate and Sydneysiders not wanting to follow the humidity, the traffic, the outrageous real eastate prices and the sweaty throngs northward.

Surrounded by lakes and ocean the town of Tuross Head is large enough so you can comfortably live yet small enough to make you feel like an active stakeholder in a thriving community. It is a tidy and proud village with a casual coastal feel and relaxed lifestyle that has begun to attract attention among city retirees looking for a new home away from the bustle of the city.

If you are looking for thumping nightlife and year-round cultural distractions, Tuross is not for you. But for a sweet, simple, back-to-basics life by the sea you can't get much better.

The clean environment and mild climate of the South Coast offers an attractive lifestyle. Buying a home in Tuross Head isn't just buying a property. People choose to buy in Tuross for the lifestyle it offers, attracted by the village-style of living, the security and the peace of mind that they are in a community that still maintains community values.

In his best-selling book "Blue Mind", author Wallace J. Nichols explores how and why being near, in, on or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected and better at what you do.

Turossians know this as well as anybody.

Surounded by water on three sides it is impossible not to have some aspect of water in your day, be it a morning vista from your breakfast table to the oceanside stroll or the afternoon fish watching the sunset.

Locals explore the lake on all manner of water craft from Stand Up Paddle boards to kayaks, tinnies and cruisers. Even the drive in to Tuross demands you take in the vista of the lake as you pass by the waters edge.

Like some irresistible siren-song, every day, from morning until night, since 1924, Tuross Head has been beckoning locals from all walks of life and visitors to relax and play in, and around its stunning shorelines

The economy of Eurobodalla has been transformed in recent years from one based on the primary industries of dairying, forestry and fishing to an exciting and increasingly diverse economy dominated by tourism, retail, light manufacturing and service industries. Alongside this growth there has been an expansion in community, recreation and personal services, fuelled by population growth and developments in the tourism industry.

The area is rich in natural assets - in fact over 70% of the region is either National Parks or State Forest.

The great news for seachangers is that our South Coast hotspots are not only beautiful, they're affordable. A daily routine without traffic jams and crowded public transport is a choice many people make by moving to the Eurobodalla.

For varying reasons, many find themselves re-evaluating their lives. Ultimately, this can involve changing the place in which one lives.

Perhaps it's the discovery of more beautiful locales to live while on holidays. Understandably, many want to escape the concrete jungle and daily grind for something more meaningful and less stressed out. Perhaps it's the chance to be someone other than who we are. Regardless, it seems Australians are making the sea-change in droves. Implicit is the notion that the change is somehow positive or transforming and involves an improvement in lifestyle and well-being. This phenomenon tends to also go hand in hand with "down-shifting".

Why sea change to Tuross Head?

Tuross Head is a town less than two and a half hours from Canberra and four hours south of Sydney. About 2,100 people live in this beautiful little town just off the highway surrounded by lakes with a stunning ocean foreshore.

Tuross Head - some statistics worth knowing

One of the main attractorants of the town is that it is bounded by water on three sides with heritage grazing lots on the fouth side which can not be subdivided. This means the town will remain at the size it currently is, protecting it from urban sprawl. In doing so that also preserves the values of the homes.

Over the past fifty years many retirees have made the move to Tuross Head, enjoying the safe and friendly local community.

There are many elements that retirees look for when they move to Tuross Head.


Tuross Head is a town that offers a wide variety of recreational choices from walking, cycling, swimming, kayaking, golfing, bowls, tennis and fishing.

There are over forty social and volunteer groups that enjoy a range of activities in the town.
These include our local Bushfire Brigade, Marine Rescue, Mens Shed, Progress Assoc, Fishing Club and Community Garden

Well serviced:

There is a diversity of over one hundred local businesses that provide the services. Tuross Head is a tourism destination and has its peaks of visitation during holiday periods. During this time the town buzzes with activity and most local businesses gain much needed income to see them through the quiter months.

The Tuross Head permanent population has now arrived at a mass that secures our local medical surgery and supports a variety of local shops including a supermarket, butcher, post office, newsagency, chemist, hardware, bottle shop and several real estate agencies along with a wide selection of food outlets.

If you are in need of work to supplement your income then a word of warning:

Making a sea-change is often associated with fewer and more limited work opportunities, worse economic outcomes and work in lower paid occupations such as the retail, restaurant, tourism and community services. These jobs not only tend to be part-time and casual, but are affected by seasonal fluctuations. A University of Sydney report found that coastal areas outside of metropolitan regions have the highest level of low-income households in Australia.

- Cheaper housing - homes are indeed cheaper on the South Coast compared to the North Coast.

NOTE that cheaper housing does not mean that there are cheaper rents attracting the welfare based to Tuross Head.

With limited work opportunities in Tuross Head and limited general public transport there are very few younger welfare based residents and no housing commision premises. Local real estate agents are thorough and responsible in vetting any prospective renters.

- Very low crime rate - the crime rate in Tuross Head is one of the lowest on the South Coast between Wollongong and the Victorian border. There is periodic vandalism and occaisional opportunistic holiday period theft however the community enjoys the support and vigilence of the local police and the close community watches over its own neighbourhood.

- Weather - Tuross Head is below the humidity line so the weather is dryer. Being on the coast it is cooled by summer breezes and in winter, days are mostly sunny with crisp nights that rarely fall below zero. Many in the town enjoy a winter break, travelling overseas and returning in Spring. Those who stay behind enjoy stunning days and star filled nights.

- immediate access to beach / nature - surrounded by the Eurobodalla National Park with two magnificent lakes and the Tasman Sea nature abounds at every turn.

- a strong sense of community - Tuross Head is recognised far and wide for its community and spirit of place. It boasts a community garden, 41 local activity groups, a progress association and a business association. It has its own online social media presence along with a widely read free on-line community newspaper.

- all the time in the world to do as much or as little as you choose

- Different values that include less emphasis on work and money - eventually everyone who comes to Tuross realises that money is not required to enjoy the pleasures of a walk on the beach watching dolphins and whales or the pleasure of a cycle along the lake foreshore watching nesting birds. If you happen to put some coins in your pocket there are great cafes to enjoy a coffee and chat.

- Dramatically less crowds, traffic, pollution and noise

- Moving to Tuross actually builds new links to family and friends as they want to come and visit - prepare yourself to be visited, often


- Commuting - if you do need work then you may need to drive as far away as 45 minutes away to Batemans Bay unless you can secure something closer to home. Moruya is just 15 minutes north and may from Tuross commute to Moruya each day.

- Loss of old friends and old social networks -Tuross is however filled with new friends and old friends are still just a days drive away and a great reason to have a holiday. Once your friends know where you have moved to you will see them more often than if you had stayed where you were.

- Less access to premier education - though there are no schools in the village education for Tuross youth is well met at primary and secondary levels by good public and private schools accessed by daily school buses. Moruya has a TAFE and Wollongong University has a campus at Batemans Bay.

- Less access to public transport - Public transport is limited however there is community transport available for those who qualify and intestate buses call in daily..

- Less access to higher level health services has been a drawback over the last decades however the Moruya Hospital is now well appointed and the new Bega hospital is scheduled to have the same services that are provided in Canberra Hospital. There is an excellent service level of visiting medical professionals. Overall there has been a steady upward trend in medical service provision allowing older retirees to stay in the area without needing to relocate to the city for specialist treatments.

- Less access to city conveniences like all night chemists, high end entertainment - It is critical to establish what you feel you need to give up before moving to the country. Many adjust to new entertainments and become more adept at keeping a well stocked pantry rather than shopping on the way home each day. Remember that those "convieniences" came at at price of traffic and compromise, the very reason you want to escape the city.

- more use and dependence on the car – can increase overall car cost - the average resident would drive 20,000kms per year - there is a strong dependence on the car and fuel is more expensive however there are other considerable savings to be made elsewhere and many adapt to only going to "town" once a week.

- Lower wages and work opportunities than the metropolitan regions - whilst there are less work vacancies many newcomers identify a missing service niche that they can fill or create a business that is not yet present in the area.

- Dreams don't always fit the reality - A seaside place can be very different in the middle of winter as compared to the peak summer holiday period. You need to look at life in Tuross Head over the year as a whole and many who are thinking of moving to Tuross Head rent for a while to feel their way and establish which section and aspect of the town they prefer.

Any move to a new community requires time and adaptability to fit in, to build new friendship links, to find people of common interests. It helps here if you are willing to join in, to participate in community activities. The problem can be most acute for retired couples because they lack the interactions that are often associated with the workplace.

Partner conflicts are the single biggest reason why tree or sea change fails. It is absolutely critical that the interests of both partners are taken into account in the move.

If you can see yourself enjoying this lifestyle, visit Tuross Head and have a good look around. A good place to start your research of our town is here

You will be impressed with what's on offer. Allow plenty of time to look at the opportunities available to you and your family - talk to real estate agents about the range of properties to rent or to buy and visit local schools and facilities. You will see for yourself how you can fit into this lifestyle.

Come and join those who have already made the move.

Eurobodalla Shire Council has a webpage for those interested in Living, Working and Investing in Shire

Bucket list

An online poll was conducted of 1000 people aged 55 plus on behalf of REST super fund. Over half of older Australians said they have a retirement bucket list.

Of those with a bucket list:

More than half (53 per cent) want to travel the world.
Four in 10 (43 per cent) want to go on a road trip.
One third (36 per cent) want to visit a world famous attraction or event like Machu Picchu, Niagara Falls or the Rio carnival.
One in seven (14 per cent) want to swim with dolphins.
15 per cent want to write a book.
One in 10 (11 per cent) want to learn to play a musical instrument.
30 per cent want to leave an inheritance to their children.
78 percent want to live in a close community and volunteer

Summer Living. (1994, December 27). The Canberra Times

' In a way, it's been one big 30 year holiday at Tuross, peskily interrupted from time to time by work. And trips. And a few years in Asia.
But basically — I like to think — that's my life: one big Tuross holiday.

I remember so clearly the evening we arrived. I was driving my old Volkswagen, old even then and sounding like a ditch digger with hiccups as we turned off the Princes Highway be side a sign which said, "Tuross is Terrific".
"Oh really?" I asked the young blonde bride. Not scoffing exactly, but -for a Queenslander raised to glory in the breakers at Caloundra, these southern resorts had much to live up to. .. "It's pretty good," she said. "There's ... look out!"

I hit the anchors. The VW stalled. In the headlights a magnificent peacock, his tail fanned in brilliant canopy, sedately crossed Hector McWilliam Drive.

"Wow." I breathed the word.

We never saw it again; but it turned out to be.typical of Tuross — the sudden brilliant sur prise waiting round so many corners. And the astonishing thing is that even after so long we are still stumbling upon them.

Last month, for example, as we embarked on one of our long walks — that same blonde bride, barely touched by the intervening years, and her swiftly greying consort — we happened up on an area of bushland overlooking one of the lakes that we'd never noticed before — acres of it calling to the explorer spirit in us.

"When the boys come down," I said, "We'll do a job on that."
She smiled. "Yes, that'll be fun." She paused. "The boys ..."

They are not, of course, boys any more. At 26 and 24 they're responsible young men, big and strong with ready smiles and splendid enthusiasms.

They were babies when they first saw Tuross. Babes in arms. And as they grew they joined us in the life-long quest to know and enjoy it to the full
In sunlight as you come in along the spine from the high way there's dazzling Lake Coila on the left and shady Lake Tuross on the right. As you get closer to the headland with the big leafy settlement of Coila below you can see the sweep of long beach disappearing into the mist of Bingi on the horizon. And when you reach it, the dwellings have given way to the Tuross Country Club, the golf course with the world's most stunning view, and ahead of you, over the top of the shopping centre, is the ocean itself.

The land of Tuross is shaped like the head of a hammerhead shark with Bingi to the north and the Tuross bar to the south where the lake entrance separates it from the fossilised cara van park and Potato Point. In the south-east on a clear day you can see Montague Island.
But enough of geography. Tuross is as much a state of mind as it is a physical location. Its images intersect and overlap — the tiger shark that cruised along the beach one afternoon not three metres from the shore, keeping pace as you walked along the sand; the mighty salmon you caught on long beach, the one that leapt right out of the waves as you struggled to land it; and the two whales last year that frolicked around the bar.

Or the houses we rented over the years, dozens of them. It was like we had the pick of every view, even the one that looks back over Lake Tuross to the mountains in serried rank, and where the sun sets in melancholy afterglow.

Or the boats we rented from funny old Jim Lang who tells UFO tales — sturdy timber vessels with inboard. motors that have taken us all over Lake Tuross to mighty catches of flat head and a wonderful variety of other fish — whiting, bream, leatherjacket, tailor, octopus, flounder, squire, blackfish, sting ray — and occasionally stranded us on sandbanks where we panicked and I jumped in to my waist and shouted and the boys giggled and their mother was no help at all. In Lake Coila we catch prawns in hand nets at the dark of the moon and paddle our canoe when the water is still.

We bought our first real estate on Tuross, a splendid block near the general store which is now the Tern Inn, a bottle shop. We bought it from old Mr Overgaard, the son-in-law of Hector McWilliam who really opened the headland up early in the century and planted the magnificent Norfolk pines that line the fore shore. It cost $1100 and we sold it for $5000 a few years later as a deposit on a house to live in.

It's for sale again, I noticed last week. My mate Warren, the mechanic at the Tuross servo says he's going to buy it. Warren came over from New Zealand to crack the Australian rodeo circuit six years ago. He busted his nuts for a while on rough horses then discovered Tuross and came to his senses. The block will cost him about $50,000 but he's made that much on earlier real estate deals.

We almost settled there full-time in the 1970s. It was just a little too far from a school where the blonde bride could support us while I indulged myself as a novelist. There's still no school at Tuross; its population is generally over 40 except at holiday time.

We stay away then. We prefer the quiet times and the best of those times is the morning when I walk to the shops for the paper, passing five or six other folk in the 2km each way. We always say, "Good morning." It's an absolutely rigid tradition at Tuross.

You smile when you say it and if you know the person — that is, if you've passed them 30 or 40 times — you say something like,"Gee, another rotten Tuross day," and they laugh and you feel good. Because it's glorious, whatever the weather.

The birds help to make it so. One time, on a morning walk for the papers, I counted 17 different species. The parrots are my favourites, especially the mountain lorikeets that fly in pairs like Top Guns. Such brilliant sur prises as they come low over the topography beneath the radar.

And the kookaburras. Once when I was walking back along Tuross Boulevard with the pa per, a kookaburra on a nearby verandah, a countertenor, delivered himself of a magnificent aria in my direction in the otherwise silent morning.

As his last note faded I tucked the paper under my wing and gave him a round of applause.

I didn't care if anyone saw me. In Tuross that's perfectly respectable behaviour.