Where Are People Moving To In Australia?

August 28, 2020

For a long time, Australia’s big cities (like Sydney and Melbourne) have been the ideal destination for many a move.

From work-seeking millennials to British and Kiwi ex-pats, these metropolitan cities have seen significant growth in the last decade or so, and perhaps the only people moving out ​of these areas have been retirees and sea changers.

But things have taken a sudden turn.

More recently, Frontline Removals has seen a massive upturn in people looking to move ​ out of bigger cities, opting for regional towns and cities, and a more relaxed lifestyle.

Australia certainly has plenty of space in the regions, but where is it that everyone is running off to?

Let’s take a look...

Why Are People Leaving The Big Cities?

With COVID-19 still running rampant all over the world, many families and young professionals are reassessing their living situations.

Of course, many people move to big cities for work opportunities, and when that comes to an end due to job losses and cutbacks, the obvious answer is to move back to your hometown. For some, that means flying back to their home country to be close to family in these uncertain times.

That’s not the only reason people are ​moving to different cities in Australia​, though.

With metropolitan areas like Melbourne being ravished by the virus, many are seeking safety in the regions. Smaller cities appear less vulnerable to outbreaks; perhaps due to tighter-knit communities working together to stamp out the virus, or perhaps simply because of the reduced number of human interactions in smaller populations.

Either way, COVID-19 shows no sign of slowing down any time soon, so regions cities appear a smart decision for a safe haven while things ‘blow over’.

And this is becoming easier in our ‘new normal’, as working from home becomes a given and many companies are becoming completely remote.

That means workers no longer need to be ​ in ​ the city to reap the benefits of its job opportunities and pay rates.

With improved broadband access and better travel options in and out of the regions, smaller towns and cities are becoming seen as an opportunity to ​escape the rent madness offered by larger cities like Sydney, and reduce costs while working from home.

It all seems like a pretty savvy plan then, but where to go?

What Cities Are People Moving To In Australia?

Moving Out Of Sydney

Nestled neatly between the nation’s capital (Canberra) and the beautiful Brisbane in Queensland, those looking to escape the city madness of Sydney have a bunch of options up their sleeves.

Southern Highlands

Just 110km southwest of Sydney, the Southern Highlands (known locally as the Highlands) offer glorious rolling hills, delicious wines, and an altogether more laidback lifestyle.

Real estate agents have reported massive increases in people looking to relocate to this area, so it must be doing something right!


If the northern end of New South Wales is more your thing, then Newcastle could be for you.

Like Sydney, Newcastle is a harbour city, with a gorgeous beach and even an oceanfront public pool!

It has a population of over 300,000, so you can still benefit from the city-feel if you’re not looking for an overly remote escape, and presents a quaint mix of modern and colonial architecture.

Port Macquarie

Just a couple of hours north of Newcastle is​ Port Macquarie​, a coastal destination with a population of less than 50,000.

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Sydney and you’re ready to put your feet up, then you could do a lot worse than Port Macquarie.

Plus, that’s where Frontline Removals is located. So if you’re looking at moving here, ​ give us a call​! We’d be happy to point out your new local pub.

Moving Out Of Melbourne

Perhaps the most significant city exodus happening in Australia right now is in Melbourne. It’s understandable, consider the city is still being ravished by COVID-19​, causing a second city-wide lockdown.

Looking to escape Melbourne? Here’s where everyone is headed.


Sitting right on the state line between NSW and Victoria, Albury is a major regional city just inside New South Wales.

It’s a major transport link between the main cities in each state (Sydney and Melbourne), and is about 350km from Canberra.

So, Albury is a fantastic choice for those looking to escape Melbourne but who still want to be able to get into a big city easily when needed.


The nation’s capital is interestingly one of the only major cities in Australia that ​ isn’t ​ seeing a surge in residents looking to move.

This is likely due to the Federal Government presence, and the focus on job security and public health and safety.

Canberra is seeing, however, a surge in inbound enquiries​, that is, people looking to move ​to Canberra. Many of these are from people living in Melbourne, as it’s a reasonably close move.


If you’re looking to escape the COVID madness in Melbourne, but you’re not ready to give up the city life, try Brisbane.

Recent enquiries have grown 17%​ for people looking to leave Sydney and Melbourne, and for those in Melbourne, the top choice is Brisbane with 14% growth.

Queensland, the state in which Brisbane is the capital city, has plenty to offer. From the Gold Coast to Great Barrier Reef, there’s surf, sun, and sand all-round. You can see why so many millennials are up and moving there from Victoria​.

Brisbane itself is a fairly large city with a population exceeding 2 million, so you’ll still be able to benefit from the luxuries that big cities offer, but without having to be locked down in your home in Melbourne.

Moving Out Of Brisbane

For those looking to move away from Brisbane’s busy metropolitan centre: you’ve got several options within Queensland.

Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast are classic options, or try Bundaberg for a little river life with a rum or two in hand.

Or, if you fancy yourself a bit of a surfer, why not check out Byron Bay just over the border in New South Wales?

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Can I Move During Lockdown In Australia?

The short answer is yes.

The challenge is that things are changing very rapidly, and rules may differ from state to state.

Currently, there are no specific restrictions on moving house during lockdown; however, common-sense rules should apply.

That is to say, if you don’t ​need ​to move, then you shouldn’t, for the safety of yourself and everyone around.

That’s not always practical, however. People need to get home, or may find themselves in residences that aren’t suitable for long-term lockdowns.

Frontline Removals has been helping families right around New South Wales to relocated during lockdown.

Can I Move Interstate In Australia Right Now?

Again, the short answer is yes; you can move interstate in Australia.

We’d recommend checking state regulations online before you decide to move, as new developments are being made every day, especially in regions like Victoria where COVID-19 is presenting a severe challenge.

It’s worth noting that in most states, a compulsory self-isolation of 14 days is in place. So, if you do plan on moving interstate, you’ll have a couple of weeks to get nice and acquainted with your new house before you can go out and start exploring your new city.

Depending on where you move to, you may not be able to go back anytime soon. If you’re moving to Victoria from South Australia​, for example, there’s a chance you won’t be allowed back in.

So if you’re leaving friends or family behind, you might be saying goodbye for the long-term, at least until things settle down a little.

What Precautions Should I Take When Moving?

If you do decide to move houses, whether interstate or to a regional city in the same state, there are a few precautions that you should take to help keep everyone safe and healthy.

  • Because COVID can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, you should remove items from cardboard boxes as soon as possible. Try not to touch your face while moving cardboard packing boxes, and make sure you wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
  • Your removalist should have hand sanitiser in the truck, though it’s always a good idea to have your own handy
  • It might be hard to resist helping, but you should leave the move to your removalists and stay at least 2 meters away from them at all times
  • Your removalist should call the day before to make sure you’re not feeling unwell
  • If you are feeling unwell, you should notify them to reschedule your move


So, is it time to plan your next big move?

Thinking of shifting interstate to reduce your risk during the COVID-19 pandemic? Looking to escape the rat race, and exchange the big city for a nice seaside location? Or perhaps you’re simply moving back to your hometown to spend time with family and friends.

Whatever the case, Frontline Removals is here to help.

We are New South Wales’ trusted relocation specialists, and we have implemented a number of procedures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect our customers.

Give us a call​ to talk about your next relocation.