Flight of the Funky – Escaping Sydney to find hip suburbs below the million dollar median

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our analysis of Sydney’s hippest suburbs, it’s that the inner city lifestyle doesn’t come cheap. That’s not the end of the world while you’re renting, but what happens when it’s time to buy? The bad news is that hip suburbs in the Sydney basin simply don’t come in under the city’s near million dollar median. The good news though, is that there are plenty of hip communities around the state if you know where to look. We’ve scoured NSW to find places with high hip scores and low house prices for those who might still need to visit Sydney on occasion. The results are a surprising mix of hip, happening and about-to-happen destinations.

5) Bellingen

Located just south of Coffs Harbour, this small town is ringed by a number of collectives and communes, and is the undoubted cultural hub of the Coffs Harbour region. As reflected in the relatively high house prices for such a remote town, funky people have been drawn from Sydney to Bellingen for over 40 years now. It’s not too late though, with the prices in Bellingen still trailing Byron Bay by a country mile. 

Median House Price: $510,000

Hip Score: 7

Hours Drive from Sydney: 6

4) Merimbula

Coastal Merimbula is a popular tourist destination and a beautiful town, featuring 2 large lagoon lakes and long picturesque beaches. Our analysis shows quite a strong showing of hip amenities like alternative therapies, cafes and restaurants and arts venues. There’s an annual winter jazz festival to show evidence of a local arts scene, but for now, Merimbula’s hipster potential is staying low key. All of our indicators show that this is a hipster powder-keg just waiting for a spark.

Median House Price: $431,000

Hip Score: 7

Hours Drive from Sydney: 6

 

3) Tamworth

Situated about halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, the New England town of Tamworth is a cultural hub of live music venues, art galleries and hand crafts. Combined with the low cost of living, it has all of the ingredients for a hipster’s paradise but for one factor – country music. Tamworth is famously the country music capital of Australia, and if your idea of hipness has to include progressive far-left politics, then Tamworth might not be your bag.

Median House Price: $342,000

Hip Score: 7

Hours Drive from Sydney: 5

 

2) Tighes Hill (Newcastle)

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Tighes Hill, along with neighbouring Islington and Carrington, is an old industrial area with heritage working class housing. Nestled between the CBD and the coast, Tighes Hill has a lot of residents who can cycle or walk to work or uni, and double the rate of creative professionals than the broader Newcastle area. Tighes Hill could be perfect for those who want the convenience and cultural diversity of Sydney’s inner suburbs, but at around half the price.

Median House Price: $565,000

Hip Score: 8

Hours Drive from Sydney: 2

1) Katoomba

This 19th Century resort-town in the Blue Mountains is still a major tourist attraction featuring the 3 Sisters Lookout and the Scenic World railway/skyway attractions. A long term shift from overnight and long stay tours to day trips has left the town rich in heritage buildings, but a little light on for tourists. This has set the scene for a burgeoning bohemian community, best observed at the annual Winter Magic solstice festival.

Median house price: $510,000

Hip Score: 8

Hours Drive from Sydney: 1.5

 
The tricky thing about hipster havens is that there are probably some great spots so underground that even we haven’t heard of them yet. You can use Microburbs to hunt for your own perfect area though. The Hip Score panel on all Microburbs reports breaks down the data behind the score. It also maps hip bars and restaurants in the area, with travel time, directions and ratings.

You can find your suburb’s hip score and Microburbs report now, just by searching here.

 
For press enquiries about this article, please call Microburbs Founder Luke Metcalfe on 0414 183 210.

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Technical Lead at Microburbs.com.au. Data analyst, software developer and technology manager. Previously IT Director of Australian hedge funds and algorithmic trading operations.

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