Why more people are flocking to NSW’s Hunter region to live, work and play

The Hunter region of NSW is fast becoming a popular lifestyle destination for families. Known for its easy access to local beaches and wineries, it’s an idyllic place to live, work and play.

It’s also synonymous with revitalisation, given the area has experienced a population boom of close to 104,000 people between 2001 and 2017, according to ABS statistics.

What’s more, the Department of Planning predicts an extra 131,500 people will live in the Hunter region by 2041.

People are flocking to the area for its versatility, says Sam Rowe, project director at McCloy Group, which is developing Hereford Hill, a new residential community in the growing town of Lochinvar.

“The big thing is the lifestyle options, you just have such an array of things to do. There’s beaches obviously in the Newcastle area and in the Port Stephens area. And then not far away, within 15 minutes from Lochinvar, you can be at the wineries in the country.”

Day trip destinations can take you to the Hunter Valley Zoo near Cessnock or the bushwalking and mountain bike trails at the Yengo National Park near Wollombi. There’s ancient Indigenous rock art and heritage along the Finchley Cultural Walk, and the kids will love the Storybook garden at the Hunter Valley Gardens in Pokolbin.

The area’s many picturesque spots are a big reason many find it so attractive.

“It is a predominantly rural area and that’s the lifestyle that people like with the clean air and open space,” Rowe said.

Work opportunities are important for anyone thinking of making a move to a new area and at the Hunter, there are a variety of industries on the cusp of, or in the midst of growth.

According to the 2016 census, the coal mining industry employs nearly 6000 locals. Hospitals in the area employ the second largest number of residents, followed by aged care services, and supermarket and grocery stores.

With the Hunter area encompassing such a wide range of industries, there are also jobs in the defence, agricultural, horse racing and viticulture sectors.

Commuting to major towns including Maitland and Newcastle is made easier with the Hunter Expressway, says Rowe.

“It’s been a huge positive for the Hunter region,” he said.

“Within five minutes from Hereford Hill, you’re on the Hunter Expressway and that takes you directly into Newcastle or further into the Hunter out to Tamworth and the New England, or you can head to Sydney.”

The Hunter region is experiencing a rapid expansion in housing with a number of developments taking advantage of the area’s natural beauty and healthy economy.

Housing affordability is a big driver of migration in the area, says Rowe.

“Housing is affordable and you can still maintain a decent job and traffic is not too intense like the larger cities,” he said.

Hereford Hill is a 25-hectare residential community on the eastern precinct of Lochinvar, which was earmarked by the Maitland City Council as a priority area to accommodate regional population growth.

The site encompasses 280 lots, at an average of 660 square metres, 20 of which will go on the market this month for between $174,000 and $214,000.

Construction is due to start on the estate’s display village in May. It will feature 32 display homes by 17 builders, including Metricon, McDonald Jones Homes, Clarendon Homes, Mojo Homes and Eden Brae Homes.

A sculpture of a bronze bull will mark the entrance of Hereford Hill in tribute to the farmland that once occupied the site. Its streets will also be named after the families who owned the farm in the past.

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