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Living in the Blue Mountains- pros and cons?

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#1 eleven

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:34 PM

Hi All,
We are considering moving to the Springwood area in the Blue Mountains. We've found a house we love but before we commit, I'm interested to hear from people who already live in the area- what's the commute really like? I work at Castle Hill and my husband works near Macquarie Uni. Have you found it manageable?
Are insurance premiums higher due to bush fire risks?
Is it a good place to raise a young family?

Pros and cons?

Thanks so much!

#2 Mrs Z Feral

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:37 PM

I have family that live there. I would think the travel from there to Macquarie Uni would be a bit much every day. Each to their own, but I wouldn't intentionally travel that far.

I think it's a lovely, quiet place to live. There are lots of shops around, although groceries etc can be a bit more expensive compared to Sydney prices. It isn't far though to travel to bigger shops in Penrith though, if you wanted to regularly.

Everyone I know that has lived there has always been very happy there.

Best of luck with the decision OP.

#3 mel43

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:41 PM

Great place to raise a family :)

#4 eleven

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:45 PM

Thanks ladies :) its exciting but daunting too.
Mel, what makes it great for family life?

#5 Nobody Cool

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:46 PM

Great place to raise a young family, wonderful sense of caring community. We moved from the western suburbs a couple of years ago and would never go back. DH commutes to Sth-west sydney and it takes an hour on a good day (1.5 on a bad day), not much more than a normal Sydney commute. Groceries are definitely more expensive and you need to go down to Penrith if you need any of the bigger chain stores. There aren't a lot of parks around though, given there is a lot of young families up here. Pretty sure our insurance premiums are no higher than before. We just had a major bushfire up here but the local fire brigade are incredible at what they do and it is just part and parcel of living up here.

#6 bakesgirls

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:48 PM

I live in the area and its a great place to live. My DH travels to the city each day and he says he doesn't find it too bad. Insurance premiums tend to be higher if you take it out in summer and it near impossible to take out new insurance if there is a current bushfire. We took ours out in winter and our premium is comparable to most other places.

I think it's a lovely place to raise a family.

I also do my grocery shopping at the local Coles or down on Penrith where it's cheaper. PP is correct in that it costs more to shop at the local IGA's.

Edited by bakesgirls, 23 September 2013 - 01:50 PM.

#7 Nobody Cool

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:50 PM

One of the other great things is that people seem to have more time for each other, and are a lot more friendly to strangers than my experience was in the western suburbs. People will always have a chat to myself and the boys, and literally every time I go out someone will always offer to help me with prams, bags, kid-wrangling etc whereas when I lived in the 'burbs, everyone just kind of ignored each other as they went about their day to day life.

Edited by AryaStar, 23 September 2013 - 01:51 PM.

#8 Juju38

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:50 PM

Following with interest as we are moving up to the mountains shortly too.  Thanks for starting OP!

#9 Mrs Z Feral

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:53 PM

I think the lifestyle is good for families. It is quieter, slower and more of a community feel. People know each other just walking down the street etc.

The schools all seem good IMO and things like my Nan has had the same GP for 50 plus years can all be added bonuses.

The train right there in Springwood would also be of benefit for travel.

The Sports Club at Springwood has wonderful food, great staff and we've been there a gazillion times, very kid friendly and great for functions too.

#10 N@K

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:56 PM

Moving to the Springwood area is one of the things on our to do list :smile:

I would be looking at a commute to Seven Hills, and I would classify it as normal I guess for the Sydney area, and not something that concerns me.
DH's trip would be similar - However he used to work in Nth Sydney - and he would actually drive that (hates trains) - it's not great, but it is still comparable to other areas - it's not the worst trip in the world.

I don't know about house insurance, but I know our car insurances would go down considerably.

We spend a lot of time up there - DH grew-up there - either visiting family or just visiting Springwood. We love the atmosphere up there, both the nature and the community / people.

I also think the variety of different school options is quite good.

Good luck OP

Edited by N@K, 23 September 2013 - 01:57 PM.

#11 mel43

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:59 PM

As PPs have said, great sense of community. When I go for a walk, if I pass someone we'll usually smile and say hello. I wave to all my neighbours if we drive past each other, or if we're out the front at the same time.

It's reasonably safe. A lot of the primary school kids walk to/from school, or ride bikes around the streets together. I've left my car unlocked (unintentionally) for an entire weekend and it wasn't touched. I've also (unintentionally) left the house wide open. I never lock the door while I'm home because I feel safe. I've lived here my entire life and we got broken into once.

I haven't lived anywhere else though, so it might be the same elsewhere :)
ETA, nature yes is beautiful. We back onto bush and get wallabies, possums (can be annoying lol but oh so cute), and about a bazzilion kinds of birds.

Edited by mel43, 23 September 2013 - 02:08 PM.

#12 Nobody Cool

Posted 23 September 2013 - 02:34 PM

PP just reminded me of a huge con of living in this area. There is a big shortage of GPs up here. Lots of doctors have closed books and will not take on any new patients (in addition to having a high proportion of young families with kids, there is also a lot of seniors and retirees up here as well).

There are only two little medical centre type places and TBH, the quality of doctors we have seen there is quite poor and continuity of care can be an issue. We have two small children so we tend to visit them a lot. There are not a lot of after-hours medical services either. Any evening or late night appoinments at short notice usually require a trip into Penrith to a medical centre. Nepean Hospital down the mountain is the only option for medical emergencies also. The hospital in Springwood does not have an ED.

ETA we have only been here a couple of years and have had no luck getting on the books of the more established GPs in the area.

Edited by AryaStar, 23 September 2013 - 02:41 PM.

#13 mel43

Posted 23 September 2013 - 02:42 PM

Our GP is good, but we have to take the good with the bad. I can get an appointment the same day, but because he squeezes people in when needed, it can take up to an hour waiting for the appointment. I can also just call in the morning and pick up a script that afternoon.

No child psychiatrists in the area though, we are travelling down to westmead to see one!

#14 Juju38

Posted 23 September 2013 - 02:50 PM

I have heard that about GPs and medical services.  Such a shame as it took us about 20 to find the one in Sydney we now have.

It is one of the reasons we are moving.  If anyone needs a podiatrist for themselves or their kids, my partner has just started working in Blackheath and will be shortly starting in Springwood.  Happy to PM the details. I hear many of the locals are happy about that due to a shortage of podiatrists in the mountains.

#15 ~*dragonfly*~

Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:07 PM

I live here and love it. We moved up about 8 years ago.

It took me a long time to adjust as I felt very isolated from my family and friends. It was a huge change in pace for me! Everyone knows everyone, went to school together, are related, play sport together etc and it's taken me a while to 'crack' that and get used to that type of community. It's very different to what I had been used to and at times I find it overwhelming.

Now that the kids are in pre-school/school, I feel more that I 'belong'. My husband and I (and kids) are heavily involved in the local soccer club and I feel a little more a part of the furniture. I like to be involved but I also like my space. I think I've finally found a balance.

One positive aspect of living here is there is no pressure to keep up with the Jones'. It's very casual and laid back and accepting. I find it very refreshing!

I love the environment! Waking up looking at the bush is so peaceful. And I also love the quiet and our constant stream of furry visitors. The kids disappear in the backyard for hours on end. I do agree that the parks with playgrounds are very limited and disappointing. This is an area that needs improving.

My husband drives to Kingsgrove daily for work and he is just about over the travel. It wears him out and takes a very big chunk out of his day and time with our family - something to consider. On the plus side, his boss is very supportive and he is able to work from home often.

I love that the shopping and take-away options are limited.

We were recently evacuated during the bush fires and everyone involved were amazing. The way we came together as a neighbourhood was a testament to our community.

At the end of the day, we feel it's the perfect place to raise our family. We wouldn't live anywhere else!

As per pp in regard to locking doors. I've never locked my car door in the time I've lived here :ninja:.

#16 ~*dragonfly*~

Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:17 PM

Ditto regarding GP's. We got lucky when we first moved up here and were able to get in straight away. They closed their books not long after. I am very happy with the care we receive. Though have always had to travel to Westmead for the children's specialist appointments (nothing ongoing - thankfully!). We have had to do the dash to Penrith for after hours care as there is nothing up here.

My daughter was airlifted to Westmead Children's hospital after a fall and all her follow up appointments (4 different specialists) could only have been done at Westmead. That was a pain. Although, on second thought, due to the nature of her accident and injuries, she required specific care and that level of Specialist would be few and far between anyway. We had no options available to us at Nepean.

#17 Nobody Cool

Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:22 PM

Another good point that dragonfly has made. Everyone up here is incredibly friendly, but it can be hard to break into social groups because most people have long-established friendships with others in the area and have all grown up together. I still haven't really found a friendship group as such, just chipping away at the edges still but I'm sure that once my eldest starts school that will help.

#18 eleven

Posted 23 September 2013 - 07:31 PM

Thanks everyone! You're certainly shedding a very positive light on mountain life :)

#19 eleven

Posted 24 September 2013 - 01:21 PM

Thanks for your replies everyone. Now... any recommendations for pest and building inspections in the Mountains?

#20 Lilura

Posted 24 September 2013 - 01:27 PM

We moved to Lithgow middle of last year, and whilst not "in the mountains" we do love it here and the BM's community spirit.

AryaStar, where are you located? If you are upper mountains you can always have a coffee with me sometime :p

#21 Bigfatbum

Posted 24 September 2013 - 01:29 PM

As a teenager that grew up there, con have to go to penrith etc for "excitement" pro lots of look outs etc to make our own excitement.

It was a lovely place to grow up almost everyone I grew up with are still there ( winmalee).

#22 FearsomeFeralFreak

Posted 24 September 2013 - 02:29 PM

I just lost a huge post so this will be much shorter!
I lived there for a few years, loved it for the reasons everyone has already listed but left because of the following reasons:

1) the commute.  I worked In the city or North Sydney and in winter I just never got to see the sun! Very very depressing. Plus traveling that much was exhausting. 4 hours a day on a train and 8 - 9 hours at work....very dull life! It was pointless being somewhere so lovely when I only experienced it on weekends!
2) the commute part 2 - I hardly ever got a seat so the whole trip going  down and half going up was spent standing. This means you couldn't really do anything meaningful like study
3) the doctor problem. All the doctors had their books closed and if one would deign to see you it would be in a week. Not really helpful when you need medicine or a certificate for time you need to take off work! Its a long drive to Penrith when you have a temperature of 40 degrees..
4) It was very cliquey. I didn't have kids then so maybe having kids would have made it easier. All my friends up there were ex-Sydney people as we all found mountain people were already settled in their groups.

#23 GroundedButterfly

Posted 04 October 2013 - 02:46 PM

I agree with Challice's comment. The Mountains is a beautiful place to live, fresh air, beautiful nature, safe and friendly neighbourhood and quiet. Nice place to live.

We moved up here two years ago from the suburbs but there a few cons:

1. The mountains has excellent facilities for the elderly and a fantastic place to live if you're retired. If you're young, there isn't much to do around here, limited restaurants and shopping is expensive.

We have not been able to see any doctor near us that bulk bills. The closest one that does is at Emu Plains and they are so heavily booked that you usually wait 30 mins each time you make an appointment.

There is limited work in the mountains; great if you're a tradie or someone with your business but if you're a professional like my husband and I were, you need to travel to the big smoke. I was travelling to Milsons Point and my husband to homebush. It is very long and tiring and trains are unreliable. My husband has since found a job closer to home but has had to take a drastic pay cut.

As Challice said, the people are very cliquey and although the people are friendly, they have a certain thing about newcomers (I have found). I also find that things are a little too relaxed sometimes like sloppy customer service etc and the people are very sheltered and different from the suburbs.

I also have a mild physical disability and need to travel frequently for treatment as the closest specialists are at kingswood and westmead and it's very tiring.

#24 Nobody Cool

Posted 04 October 2013 - 03:01 PM

Oooh Lilura, I've only just come back to this thread. I'm Lower Mountains unfortunately, otherwise I would have taken you up on that offer!

#25 Superman+4sisters

Posted 04 October 2013 - 09:48 PM

I grew up in that area :)

The commute was the main downside, but as a pp has pointed out, you can easily commute a similar time across Sydney.

I really missed the feeling of community when I moved to Sydney. Even the local newspaper had a different flavour. I can imagine it would feel a little cliquey if you moved into the area as a new person, but children are a good 'in'.

Good luck with your decision making

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