open topic, for anything cycling related.
I will be moving to either OZ is there anywhere I can live that is bike friendly and I and my family can survive car-free. I need to be near schools,shops, gym,cafes etc.though it dosnt need to be too cosmopolitan. I will be working from home most of time any suggestions?? perhaphs having worked in holland we are asking too much???
Adelaide's a top place to live car free. Most of it is reasonably flat, we've got a good network of bike lanes and paths and the drivers, while terrible, aren't any worse than anywhere else. Sorry, playing in the traffic here isn't much fun but in Adelaide, if you're riding on main roads, you're probably missing an alternative (but not necessarily). Shopping, schooling, etc won't be much of a problem by bike either provided you buy carefully. Also some of the cheapest housing in the country (read that as 'least extortionate').
If you're living car free, go down on the Adelaide Plains as the Adelaide Hills (that run along the eastern and southern sides of the plains) can be pretty fierce. But the plain's cover most of Adelaide.
There are large, regional shopping centres dotted around Adelaide. Get yourself within shopping distance of one of them and you'll have everything you need.
The school distribution is such that you will have a selection of private schools, a good state primary school and a secondary school within easy riding distance no matter where you go. Most of the state schools are pretty good now anyway and where I live, I've effectively got a choice of three good secondary schools.
Actual location? Well, it depends on how much you can afford. The closer to the city of Adelaide (the CBD), the more expensive. The cheap stuff is to the far north of the metro area and the far south. There's no real grading between them as it depends on whether a suburb has become a boutique suburb at some point or not. Lots of online real estate sites and there's an online street directory that is very good (give a yell if you want links).
I'd have to confess, Sydney has the craziest drivers in Australia, although i've never been to WA i reckon it would have some nice places like you describe otherwise maybe Melbourne or Bris or Adel if you really like cold weather go to Tasmania at least for the next three years anyway). If you really like warm weather go Brisbane / Carins.
Canberra, however is a bike riders dream (lttile bit isolated from big town life though although it has its cafe set).
Like someone said on a touring post. Aussie is a FN massive place, I recommend spening four weeks hopping around Bris, Can, Adel, Syd, Queen and WA and get a feel for each place. They all have their subtle differences. I think the general attitude of the different cities will determine more whether you are happy or not rather than the location or scenery.
Oh yeah, did I mention that NSW has the craziest drivers?
Canberra has good facilities for car-free living, but it's not quite as flat as Holland! It's a great place to live, there's plenty of work and if you feel too isolated from glitz and glamour, you can be in the Sydney CBD in just over two and a half hours.
Unfortunately, NSW doesn't have a mortgage on driver craziness.
I would also suggest Canberra. Wide roads and a well planned city. A bit quieter than Sydney and Melbourne though I am sure that if you find the right suburb you will find what you need. The recreational facilities are quite good.
It is however difficult to avoid cars, the drivers here are much less 'bicycle aware' and less cycling tolerant than in Europe. The further away from cars you live, the greater the distance to shops, schools etc.
Asking for a city probably doesn't make sense. In Holland, there are a lot of little towns and cities dotted all over the country, while in Australia, there are major congregation of human being, spanning areas 60km by 60km in size for Sydney for example. So for the requirements, you really should talk about the specific suburb within the city. As much as Sydney is big, difficult to ride from the beach to the mountains (60+ km), but you really have no need for that. If you decide to live in the inner city suburbs of Paddington, Balmain, Glebe or Mosman, everything you want can be within walking distance or a short bike ride away. And even the CBD (no particular reason to go there in general unless you are keen on concerts or operas at the Sydney Opera House) is just 15mins by bike. And then outside of Sydney, one can go to Bowral for the rural and inland scenary or up to Gosford area to be by the sea, and again all within one and a bit hour distance from Sydney by train. And yes, there are plenty of cyclists and car free people living in Sydney as well as increasing number of associated cycleways and facilities.
So don't get put off by those earlier comments about Sydney. I would agree with the earlier suggestion that you should travel around the country a bit to get a feel of the various places before settling down. I am also sure there are many other parameters in your relocation decision.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
I live in the Northern suburbs of Perth and I'm near a train station, beach, schools, pubs and shopping centre (all accessible without a car).
(The train stations also have safe lock ups for bikes although you can take your bike on the train outside peak times)
There's good bike paths that take you down the coast (all the way down to Fremantle which is about 45km from where I live)
There's also bike paths that take you into Perth (parallel to the freeway)(not as good as the Southern freeway path but still OK in my opinion)
If you don't want the paths then many roads have a cycle lane (there's a nice spot called Hillarys about 18km south of where I live and you can reach that by a fantastic coastal path or bike lane on the road). I used to do the coastal path until I got the road bike and my speed (and fitness) picked up.
We also have hills (although people in the east won't believe us!) and great country parks. If you have a MTB then there's the water pipeline trail that takes you out into the country. (Read the tragic tale of CY O'Connor if you have the chance.) and there's the great Swan Valley trails (and winerys!)
There's heaps of group rides and cycling clubs if you're a serious cyclist. You can pretty much cycle all year round (it gets a bit cold but nothing compared to mainland Europe)
I believe Perth is now as expensive as Sydney for property but there's still plenty of affordable slots IMO. (The average figures quoted tend to distort.)
Hope this helps,
Personally, I would suggest Melbourne. It is very easy to be car free in Melbourne, it has a very active cycling community, public transport and lots of very good cafes and restaurants which are easy to get to. It is also the most "European" of our cities.
Avoid Sydney, it is probably the most cycling unfriendly city in Australia and is very much centred around the car.
Adelaide is a very pleasant city and would be my second choice after Melbourne.
Canberra also has very good cycling facilities but you need to pick your suburb carefully to make sure it provides all the other things you need.
I have no experience of Perth or Brisbane, so cannot comment on those cities.
The other thing you need to consider is that Australia is a very large country and so the weather varies considerably from north to south. Brisbane is tropical so is very hot and humid in summer but has mild dry winters. Sydney is sub-tropical so summers are also hot and humid but not as bad as Brisbane and winters are also mild and dry. Melbourne and Adelaide are both Mediterranean in climate so have hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters.
...and in Perth we have long dry summers where the average daytime temp is usually up around 30-35 degrees and mild winters, which (IMHO) are just about perfect for riding.
Each city has the good, the bad and the ugly. So once you have choosen, you need to pick carefully within. You are coming from the country with the highest % of cyclists of any 1st world countries, to one that has a much lower percentage.
I have quite a good commute route thru Sydney, but others aren't as lucky.
There is also regional towns and citys. Whats the centeral coast like Nada?
A helmet saved my life
Go for a large country town. Everything is literally 5 minutes away.
I live in one and within 1km we have 2 x kindergartens, 2 primary schools (1 state, 1 private), 2 high schools (1 state, 1 private), 1 xTAFE college, a hospital, general stores, botanical gardens, public pool, medical offices, etc.
National sporting events take 10 minutes to get to. To go to the rugby we walk 200m to the bus stop, get dropped at the main gates of the venue then dropped back 200m from home. Teleporting would be the only easier option.
Cinema and theatre - 5 to 10 minute drive depending on the venue.
Bottomline is, there's got to be more life than just cycle commuting. Afterall, there are plenty of car-less people in every major city in Australia, and they all survive well.
Given that the OP has children and work, surely other consideration would come into the equation eg. Education, future work opportunities, social/Dutch ethnic scene, cultural events, housing prices, cost of living etc etc.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
Actually, I would not recommend the Central Coast as the first choice of a place to live especially to someone coming from Europe. Sure there is some very nice cycling around there and the rural part where I live is very peaceful and picturesque but a car would be essential because things are rather spread out and unless you live somewhere like Terrigal, access to cafes, etc is limited. Public transport is very poor.
If it was me, I'd go for Melbourne. I could live there without a car quite easily.
There's one good thing with Sydney cyclists. You'll be well trained to climb those hills dotted around the city. Once here, you'll have the cycling legs to cycle in any city in the world, even San Francisco.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
It would have to be Perth. Great bike trail network, a river running right through the city that you can swim in (if you like), and fantastic people!!
Of course, there are lots of smaller cities and towns around the state - suggest Bunbury which is only 2 hours south of Perth. North or Perth (Geraldton) can get quite warm, but Bunbury is milder. There is also a regular train service to Perth (twice a day) that may be handy. Everything is literally 5-10 minutes away.
Isn't it interesting how everyone has recommended where they live themselves? So it seems that everywhere is pretty good (except Townsville as it rains all the time ) and it really just depends where you prefer!! I'm a coastal person so the idea of living in Canberra is just awful. Without the beach, I would wither.
Absolutely, or cities won't get inhabited.
There'll be good and bad areas within every city and it's one's job to find the cluster that suits one's expectation.
Not quite everyone .... I live north of Sydney in a rural area, that's a long way from Melbourne which gets my vote as the easiest city for car free living.
And you'll notice that the Sydney dwellers are the only ones who are pushing the 'generalist' view
Basically, Aussie is relatively cycle friendly. It's not perfect and in places it's downright dangerous, but it's not bad.
Sorry - With your location "in a parallel universe", it could have easily fit into Melbourne, Sydney, or anywhere over there!!
So, summing up;
-Choose a STATE/PROVINCE you like (climate / people / atmosphere)
-Choose your level of civilisation (country / suburbs / outer city / inner city / beach)
-Narrow a list of suburbs (Start with maybe 5-8) then narrow them down.
I will not recommend Sydney specifically as I have not lived in other states but if you want to be near major facilities, events (fast paced life) Sydney fits that criteria.
If you do choose Sydney may I suggest;
Somewhere in eastern suburbs if you like city / beach
Somewhere on south coast (wollongongish?) if you like country / sea
Somewhere in a 40/60kms arc around sydney if you like city suburbs
Norther Suburbs flashier
Western Suburbs more average / down to earth / cheaper?
South western more space
North West (Dural etc) and North of windsor or south west have some nice Country feeling suburbs but you are still close to the main action
I have not suggested the country (past the blue mountains) as I have a feeling the climate and the isolation will get to you
Ultimately, there are 100s of places that you would be very happy at. Just choose somewhere that makes you feel at home / comfortable.
Sorry if I have offended anyone with this post. These comments are just my assumptions and observations and by no means do I think my opinion is absolute.
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