Relocating to Northern NSW

Moving to a new location can be both exciting and challenging as you pack up your life and embark on a new one in a different location. Accompanied by farewells to family and friends, it can be a demanding time, both physically and emotionally.

But if you’ve made the decision to move, there’s no way out but through! With a little planning, you can make a relocation run smoothly, and being organised will make a huge difference to everyone’s stress levels and give you the opportunity to enjoy your adventure.

Moving to New South Wales?

If you are moving to Northern New South Wales, you can look forward to enjoying some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches, an amazing outdoor lifestyle and gorgeous towns and villages to discover. The Tweed region is known for its expansive coastline and homes that are around 30 per cent cheaper than the NSW average – it’s no wonder so many are making the move out of cities with more space and the ever-growing popularity of remote work.

What’s more, the entire Northern Rivers region offers residents a healthy, less hectic lifestyle, with space to move and increasingly thriving towns, all within reach of Australia’s major cities.

You can research particular towns on the government’s Move to More website, which gives you a detailed breakdown of regional Australia’s towns to help ‘tree changers’ make an informed decision. This website has been designed with the same purpose in mind, but we’ve gone a little deeper into the different coastal and country locations in Northern NSW to give you an idea of the kind of lifestyle you can expect in different areas.

If you’re making the move, you have a lot to look forward to. Here’s what you need to do to get ready.

Three months before your move

Research all of your local services in advance

Thanks to the internet, you can get to know a place long before you arrive and start unpacking. In the months leading up to your move, note down local services you’ll need. This list might include doctors, schools, shopping centres, chemists and a vet, along with allied health services such as dentists, optometrists and medical specialists.

Go through your belongings

Ideally, as soon as you know you are moving you’ll start combing through your belongings to work out what to keep and what to get rid of. Sell items on eBay or Gumtree, or list them on your local Buy Nothing page. Have a box for the charity shop on the go, drop unwanted books at free libraries in your neighbourhood, and if you have kids at school, see if the school is happy to take old uniforms off your hands. Any decluttering you do now will make unpacking at the other end so much easier.


Make a list of all your providers and tell them of your move

This includes water, electricity, your local Council, insurance, internet, gas, and any regular deliveries, such as newspapers or groceries. Make a note in your diary about canceling accounts and start looking for providers for your new home in advance of your move.

Complete any repairs around your home, give the oven a good clean, and make sure you have instruction manuals for all appliances, remotes for air conditioning and house keys in a safe place for handover.

Transfer your records

Although many people now have their health records online, it can be worth asking your local GP to give you an up-to-date list of your current medications and any ongoing treatment to pass on to your next doctor.

Make sure your computer is backed up and inform any relevant personal or professional contacts of your new address. If you have kids, ask for any school records to be handed over and ensure their immunisation records are up to date if you have paper records.

It’s also a good idea to note down any mail that arrives and create a change of address checklist, or better still, move to paperless communication. Let your bank and accountant know your new address too.

Start packing

If you are using a packing service, you only need to make sure everything is easy to access for them and rooms are free of rubbish you don’t want to take with you. Pre-packing clothes and smaller items into bags can make it easier to unpack at the other end, as the packers will load things into larger boxes.

If you are packing yourself, start as early as possible. Collect boxes from the supermarket or buy some from a packing company, and make sure you have lots of tape and a marker pen to label everything. Work through your house, room by room, starting with things you won’t need in the weeks before the move.

The day before the move

Pack an overnight bag for the whole family with toiletries, clothes, phone chargers and valuables. If you are bringing any pets, make sure they have their bedding, food and a leash, if necessary. Have a snack box and water bottles ready, particularly if you have kids in tow.


Moving day

Once your house is empty, have a final walk-through, then hand the keys over to cleaners or your real estate agent. Lock all doors and windows, say goodbye to your old home, and hit the road!

Getting to Northern NSW from afar

While ideally you’ll visit Northern NSW before you move here, you can still get a good feel of different areas and what’s on offer from both a property and lifestyle perspective with online research, including this website.

To give you some sense of the distance, it’s about a 8-hour drive to Sydney and under 2 hours from Brisbane to Byron Bay. If you don’t have a car, you can also check out the public transport options on Transport NSW’s Trip Planner.

If you are house hunting before you move here, you can also look into flying up (or down) and hiring a car so you can plan a series of home inspections. Ballina Byron Gateway Airport is the main airport for the region, while Lismore Airport is another option, with fewer flights. These airports are 43 minutes apart. Webjet is a great site for searching flight prices and deals across all domestic airlines.

Getting around the Northern Rivers and Tweed Region NSW

At Ballina Airport, you can hire a car with Alpha Car Hire, Avis Australia, Budget Car & Truck Rental Ballina, Europcar, Ezi Car Rentals, Hertz, SIXT, Tipoa Car Hire or Thrifty Car Rental.

At Lismore Airport, you can hire a car with Avis Car & Truck Rental, Budget Car & Truck Rental Lismore, Dollar Car Rentals, Europcar, Hertz or Realistic Car Rentals.

Webjet can help you review current car hire deals.

Where to stay while you look around

There are just too many fantastic places to stay in the Northern Rivers and Tweed region to make specific recommendations – it really depends on where you want to explore or the lifestyle you are trying out.

The best sites for finding a wide range of holiday homes are Airbnb or If you are looking for something more unique or eco friendly, check out Staytopia.


Using a buyer’s agent to relocate to Northern NSW

There’s a handful of buyer’s agents located in the Northern Rivers and Tweed Region. Mainly, buyer’s agents are centred around Byron Bay, as it’s the most well-known town in our region.

If you are looking for help further afield, then Julie-Ann Manahan and her team, who have offices in Ocean Shores/Brunswick Heads, Murwillumbah and Lismore, are well placed to help you out with a range of different types of properties from apartments, to cute cottages, acreages, hobby farms and architecturally designed homes that look like they are straight out of a magazine.

Some excellent local buyers agents include:

Should you rent or buy when you relocate?

Obviously there are pros and cons for both options. Renting is practical if you want to try before you buy in the area – you can get to know the streets, find a job, settle the kids into school and get a feel for your movements – local shops, clubs, sporting activities, hobbies and proximity to beaches – before you make a more permanent decision.

Buying a property straight off the bat is a smart move if you are selling your current home and don’t want to spend money on rent or have your equity and funds sitting in a savings account. It’s always good to sell and buy in the same market, too.

Relocating with COVID and lockdown restrictions

COVID creates extra issues when it comes to moving to regional NSW. You can keep informed of current rules and any lockdowns on the NSW Government website and via Health Direct, while Visit NSW can give you up-to-date travel information.

What if you can’t get there ahead of your move? 

In an ideal world, we would visit a property before choosing to buy or rent it. But right now, that can be difficult, and if you are moving to the region from overseas, it’s next to impossible.

However, many real estate websites will provide videos and lots of photos in their listings. Good agents will be happy to organise FaceTime or video walkthroughs too, so you can see your house in detail ahead of your move. Teamed with Google Maps, you can start to build a picture of your new home long before you arrive, unpack and settle into this beautiful part of the world. Good luck!

Want to find out more? 

Head to our business directory for more useful businesses to help you relocate to Northern Rivers NSW or the Tweed region in NSW.