Four ways to paradise

A place to call home: Little more than 45 minutes from Adelaide’s CBD lie four exceptional towns offering their residents a heavenly lifestyle away from the crowded city and at the right price

beach: aldinga beach

A beautiful beachside town with a population of a little under 10,000, just 47km from Adelaide CBD and 11km south of McLaren Vale.

PROPERTY This growing part of Adelaide’s commuter belt has seen a number of new developments springing up in the area,
with house and land packages ranging from $380,000 for a four-bedroom home with two bathrooms and a single garage, to $510,000 for a five-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-garage property. Median house prices in the area average $350,000.

SCHOOLS There are three schools within the area: Galilee Catholic School (elementary), Aldinga Beach B-7 School and Southern Vales Christian College (reception to Year 12).

TRANSPORT Adelaide CBD is a 50-minute drive away or, for public transport users, a regular bus will take you there in less than two hours or 40 to 75 minutes by train from Seaford.

SHOPPING Aldinga Central shopping centre hosts 37 retailers, offering services, including fashion, health and beauty, gifts,
flowers and groceries.

ATTRACTIONS Aldinga Beach boasts pristine Silver Sands Beach, named SA’s best beach in 2013 and included in Trip Advisor’s Top 10 Beaches in South Australia. It’s a favourite hotspot for holidaymakers and tourists, not to mention it offers a rewarding financial return for property investors. A 10-minute drive north takes you to McLaren Vale, renowned for its sustainable winegrowing and world-class wines. Taste some of the best SA wines at any of the Vale’s 60 cellar doors, including the region’s internationally celebrated shiraz, cabernet and grenache.

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IF YOU LIVED IN MELBOURNE: 50km from the CBD would take you to the coastal town of Carrum, where the value of four-bedroom homes begins at about $800,000.


hills: balhannah

This small historic township in the sprawling beauty of the Adelaide Hills, 29km from Adelaide, was established in 1839 and is home to about 1100 residents.

PROPERTY House prices in Balhannah average $520,000, with lots priced at about $250,000, and house and land packages starting from $430,000. House prices range from $439,000 for a 100-year-old country-style three-bedroom home to $2.4 million for 51ha property with its own cattle share farm.

SCHOOLS Surrounding towns offer both state and private education options, including in Oakden (1.67km away), Hahndorf (4.4km), Bridgewater (6km) and Mount Barker (9.3km).

TRANSPORT It’s a 40-minute car ride to Adelaide’s CBD or Adelaide Metro runs a regular bus service to and from Adelaide, with the journey taking about 60 minutes.

SHOPPING With its village feel, the Balhannah Junction Shopping Centre, named after the railway junction of the original Adelaide-Melbourne and Onkaparinga Valley lines, houses a supermarket, cafe, bakery, delicatessen and newsagent, greengrocer’s, Chinese restaurant and cafe.

ATTRACTIONS The Adelaide Hills region is famous for its fresh produce and world-class wineries, including Bird in Hand Winery and Melba’s Chocolates, both at Woodside, a 10-minute drive away. Locally, the Cocolat Dessert Cafe in Balhannah Junction is a wickedly delightful way to indulge your tastebuds, offering desserts, speciality cakes, gelati, chocolates and truffles. A 10-minute drive south takes you to the Hills town of Hahndorf, which was established in 1839 and is classified as Australia’s oldest-surviving German settlement. This bustling town is popular with tourists and holidaymakers and offers a range of activities, including shopping, dining, wineries, art and historic and heritage tours.

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IF YOU LIVED IN SYDNEY: 31km from the CBD would take you to Baulkham Hills, where three-bedroom homes start at $900,000 and there are no farms – but the local supermarket is run by Harris Farm Markets.


River: Murray Bridge

Not quite 45 minutes but still less than an hour from Adelaide, Murray Bridge is considered the “crown” of the Murray region. Its proximity to the Murray River makes it ideal for water-based activities, including house boats and paddle steamers.

PROPERTY The median price for houses in Murray Bridge is $236,500 but there are properties to suit every budget, from less than $200,000 for a two-bedroom courtyard home to $785,000 for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom, two-storey home set on approximately 2ha with views over the river.

SCHOOLS There are a number of state and private schools in the area, as well as kindergartens and disability services.

TRANSPORT The CBD is a 58-minute drive away or there are plenty of bus and train options to choose from. The quickest is the 70-minute bus journey via Firefly Express, while LinkSA runs two daily bus services, a journey of 100 minutes. Alternatively, catch the PTV train from Murray Bridge Railway Station to Adelaide Parklands Terminal, with a short bus ride into the city. This service runs twice a week and takes a little over two hours.

SHOPPING Murray Bridge Marketplace is the region’s major shopping destination, housing 49 retailers, including supermarkets, fashion, beauty, technology and liquor stores. The Marketplace also features an indoor children’s play area and a food court, with restaurants and cafes overlooking the Murray River.

ATTRACTIONS The river is undoubtedly one of the main attractions, with kayaking, wakeboarding, boating, swimming, waterskiing, fishing and river cruises just some of the activities. The region has many other attractions: Monarto Zoo, the largest open-range zoo in the world, just 13km away; golf at the Murray Bridge Golf Club for $34; enjoy quality wines at the Willow Point Wines Cellar Door and Bottle Shop; or take a relaxing walk or cycle along the easy-to-moderate Lavender Federation Walking Trail.

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IF YOU LIVED IN SYDNEY: 74km would take you to Castlereagh, close to the Neapean River, where a four-bedroom home averages about $1.4 million.


Country: Echunga

This quintessential Adelaide Hills township was discovered in 1839 and became a Quaker settlement. Now with a population of 1049 residents, the quaint town is 35km from Adelaide and offers the perfect balance of hills and country living.

PROPERTY Three-bedroom starter homes are available for $360,000 or, at the other end of the market, a five-bedroom, 16ha property set atop a hill with breathtaking views is available for about $1.5 million. Median house prices in the area are $409,207.

SCHOOLS Echunga Primary School caters for preschool to Year 7, while for Years 8-12, Mount Barker High School is 9km away and Heathfield High School is 14km away.

TRANSPORT The CBD is a 40-minute car ride along the National Highway, while Adelaide Metro runs a regular bus service to and from Adelaide, with the journey taking about 90 minutes.

SHOPPING Echunga’s delicatessen and takeaway, post office, general store, farrier and pub cater for the needs of locals. The latter, The Hagen Arms Hotel, was named after John Hagen, the first European settler in the district, and is proud of its status of being “By appointment to His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh – 1867”.

ATTRACTIONS Just 5km from Echunga lies the Jupiter gold diggings. Gold was discovered in the area in 1852 and led to a rush of miners pouring into the valley. Diggings are a reasonable walk from the carpark but, once there, it’s still permitted to try a bit of fossicking. Guided history tours are availble. Stepping back in to the modern day, Echunga is a mere 10-minute drive from Mount Barker, one of the largest towns in the Adelaide Hills. As well as a large shopping centre, Mount Barker offers a state-of-the-art cinema complex, recreation parks, a swimming pool and sporting complexes, golf course, skate park and a variety of restaurants, cafes and pubs.

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IF YOU LIVED IN BRISBANE: 36km from the CBD would take you to Eagleby, just off Queensland’s Pacific Motorway. A three-bedroom family home in Eagleby will set you back about $300,600.