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February 13, 2024 by ash

Maitland: The regional city that’s ‘the best place to raise a family’

In equal parts alluring and terrifying, living in the country can be a dream come true for Sydneysiders.

The area has plenty of space, cheaper real estate, a more relaxed lifestyle, and fewer traffic jams.

Meanwhile, city dwellers can be worried about where to find decent coffee, what to do after dark, where to send their children to school, and what will become of their careers. 

Between Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, Maitland combines rural charm with city convenience.

PRDnationwide Hunter Valley managing director Reece Thompson says there are a wide range of properties, from historic homes in Morpeth to prestige homes in Bolwarra Heights, as well as house-and-land packages in new estates and acreages.

You can still buy a freestanding home for less than $500,000.

“It’s an affordable rural lifestyle,” Thompson says.

COVID has seen a real spike in visitors because it offers more bang for your buck than Sydney or Newcastle.”

From Woodberry in the east to Lochinvar in the west, the Maitland local government area covers almost 400 square kilometres.

Trade and transport were important along the Hunter River in the early 1800s.

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After the railway arrived from Newcastle in the 1850s, river traffic declined.

There are still outstanding transport connections in Maitland.

It takes about three hours to get to Central by express train.

Sydney’s CBD can be reached in less than two hours by car.

You can reach Newcastle CBD and beaches within half an hour of Newcastle Airport.

It takes about half an hour to reach the vineyards and tourist attractions of the Hunter Valley.

You can find everything from quaint cafes overlooking the river at Morpeth and The Levee in central Maitland to the Stockland Green Hills mall at East Maitland. 

Early next year, a new hospital will open.

Among the region’s biggest employers are agriculture, mining, tourism, manufacturing, and construction.

Public and Catholic schools, as well as Hunter Valley Grammar School, are available for families with school-aged children.

Thompson says, “I’ve been here a long time.”.

“It’s the perfect place to raise a family, away from the hustle and bustle.”

In 2016, Tim Skinner opened The Bikesmith & Espresso Bar, combining his passions for coffee and cycling.

It combines an espresso bar with a bike shop and workshop.

Skinner compares the bike shop to an old-school motor garage.

“We ship bikes all across the country.”

As someone who used to work for a mining company, Skinner says moving to Maitland CBD led him to discover the city’s rich cultural offerings.

The town has so many interesting things going on, such as an amazing poetry scene, repertory theatre, and small-scale farmers’ markets. Everyone is driven by a high level of passion for what they do.”