10 Practical Tips For Families Moving From Sydney To Queensland


The stream of families moving from Sydney to Queensland became a flood over the past two years. And no wonder. Sydney house prices have rocketed and if there is one thing all families need it is more space for growing kids.

Friends of mine have moved recently to the Sunshine Coast, to Brisbane and to the Gold Coast. Here are the reasons why:

moving from sydney to queensland image of beach with text written on top

Like most immigrants, we moved to the biggest city as we needed to find work. But before we moved to Australia we did not realise just now expensive Sydney is. We will just never be able to buy a house here, even with two of us working.


When my parents retired to Queensland they suggested we come too and suddenly it just made sense. There is lots of work around at the moment. We will not live right beside them but we will be closer than if we stayed in Sydney.

aerial view of Surfers paradise by day
The hectic Surfers Coast end of the Gold Coast, but there are plenty of more relaxed areas too

Commuting to work has affected our family life too much. It just takes too much time and I rarely see the kids. We need to simplify.

Kings beach Moving Sydney To queensland 1
Aerial view of Kings Beach Beachfront Salt Water Pool, Sunshine Coast. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Having moved over from the UK ten years ago, we don’t have any family in Sydney so uprooting ourselves is not too difficult.


I just love Sydney for its beaches and for the beautiful Blue Mountains which are so close. But in reality, we will never live anywhere near the beaches. So a move north to be closer to the ocean and to be able to surf more is just what we need.

sunset over brisbane
The city centre of Brisbane with suburbs beyond. Photo credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

10 Practical Tips For Families Moving From Sydney To Queensland

1. Make the biggest decision first

And that biggest decision is: should our family move to Brisbane, the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast?

Your careers and the lifestyle your family loves is going to be the biggest driver here. Another factor is house and home rental prices. Overall the average home in Brisbane is cheaper than both the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, with the Sunshine Coast being marginally more expensive than the Gold Coast. These are just averages, of course.

Here are some more of the pros and cons of each location.

snapper rocks with kids playing in water
Beautiful Snapper Rocks at the southern end of the Gold Coast

Moving from Sydney to Gold Coast

Generally seen as busier and more frenetic, the Gold Coast is Australia’s holiday playground. It was once a string of small beachside villages, now the northern part has highrises galore, theme parks and many restaurants, cafes and amusement options. But that is all just the area close to the beaches. Move a bit inland or even further back into the Gold Coast hinterland and there is a relaxed and peaceful lifestyle with national parks, waterfalls and pretty villages to explore.

The Gold Coast is much larger than the Sunshine Coast with about double the population and many more facilities like the new HOTA art gallery at Evandale, sports stadiums, aquatic centres and universities. If you have very sporty or active kids then the Gold Coast will give them more options.

The Gold Coast has an international airport which is easy to access.

Get ahead with ideas for things your kids will love to do on the Gold Coast here.

lifeguards at south beach brisbane
Streets Beach at South Bank, Brisbane. Photo credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Moving from Sydney to Brisbane

If you are a family who love an urban lifestyle then Brisbane is the place for you. Brisbane has a lively, vibrant urban centre with inner city suburbs around it, full of cafes and restaurants. There are many family-friendly suburbs beyond the inner city, but nothing like the huge suburban spawls of Sydney and Melbourne. It is much easier to pop into the city in Brisbane and then to drive out to the countryside than it is in our much bigger cities.

Brisbane is a more multicultural area than the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast so if you are looking to stay connected to your culture of origin then it may be better.

Being an urban centre there tend to be more jobs for professionals in Brisbane, and a great choice of jobs overall.

The downside to Brisbane is that, although it does have a lovely river running through its midst, it just does not have beaches like the coastal areas do. So if you are a real beach baby, then perhaps Brisbane is not for you. But if you can live without daily access to the beach then Brisbane still has many beautiful outdoors areas. Also, if you live south of the river then the Gold Coast beaches are just a drive away. If you live north of the river then visiting the Sunshine Coast is quick and easy too.

Noosa heads Moving Sydney To queensland 2
Aerial shots of Surfers along Noosa Main Beach. I wish I had taken this photo myself! Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Moving From Sydney to the Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast is, quite rightly, seen as the quieter younger brother of the Gold Coast. And it is certainly a lot less developed overall. Still, many of the beach villages and towns do sport tall buildings now and the traffic can at times get snarly. There are certainly less job opportunities on the Sunshine Coast, however in these times, with low unemployment, there is still plenty of work for most people.

The Sunshine Coast Hinterland, including the spectacular Glass Mountains make a very peaceful place to live with a charming rural lifestyle, yet you are still just a drive from many truly amazing beaches. Being that bit further north, the Sunshine Coast is more tropical, warmer and with slightly different plant life.

The coastal area of the Sunshine Coast attract tourists, though less international tourists than you will find on the Gold Coast. The population of the Sunshine Coast is a bit older in general than Brisbane or the Gold Coast as many people retire to the Sunshine Coast because of its quieter lifestyle.

The airport at the Sunshine Coast is the smallest of our three areas and does not service any international flights.

moody grey views over the Glasshouse mountains
The mysterious and spectacular Glasshouse Mountains, Sunshine Coast Hinterland

2. Do not rush into it. Holiday first.

People born and brought up in Australia well may know the location they want to move to. But for immigrants like myself, and for those who do not know Queensland well, visiting for holidays and scouting trips is essential. Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast can all offer low cost holiday rentals out of school holidays. There’s nothing wrong with taking the kids out of school so you can stay for a while and get to see a few places, visit schools and so on.

Family moves are really disruptive, even when they happen for great reasons and the new lifestyle is going to be better for everyone. So no rushing, visit as much as you can and then find the best place to move the family too. Most of us rent at first when we move and that really is quite practical as you will have time to look around at more suburbs and areas before you start to think about buying a property if that is part of your plan.

Use the local tourism websites to plan your trips. These are often an under-used resource, so make the most of their (fairly) unbiased opinions and ideas.

Destination Gold Coast

Visit Sunshine Coast

Visit Brisbane

3. Find Facebook groups for movers

A Facebook search reveals that there are several groups specifically for people who are moving to Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. There are also some pages which belong to websites managed by companies that assist people with moving.

These sorts of groups come and go so I will not list the current ones. It’s best to have a look yourself and see which groups are the most active at the time you are planning your move to Queensland.

Next it is wise to join some of the community groups for your area. There are jobs groups, buy, sell and swap groups and community events groups as well as very general community groups. You will soak up heaps of local insider information from these.

aerial shot of people at Tallebudgera Creek on clear sunny day
Tallebudgera Creek is a great favourite for Gold Coast families

4. Learn about the Queensland education system

Even if you are moving from another state in Australia rather than from overseas, you will find that the Queensland state education system has its own rules and methods. As an example, Queensland has a Prep year for children, a full-time program prior to the first year of actual primary school.

Find an overview of the Queensland school system here.

The Queensland Department of Education website itself is well worth getting to know well. Find the Department of Education website here.

For knowledge of local schools you cannot beat local community groups on Facebook.

5. Find the local family websites

Start checking out the family-friendly websites about the area you are heading to:

Kids On The Coast – Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast Kids

Brisbane Kids – The Guide to Child-Friendly Brisbane

6. Choosing your date

Most parents with school-aged children know that a natural break in the school year is the best time to be making a big move. Moving over the summer school holidays really can make a big, big difference for all members of the family. Moving over any school holiday comes next.

Of course, a job may come first and that might dictate when the family has to move. Several colleagues and friends of mine have found that one part of the family had to move first with the rest following at a more convenient time.

Remember that Queensland school holidays tend to be different from NSW school holidays. Find the current Queensland school term dates here.

colourful sunset at Rainbow bay on gold coast
Rainbow Bay at the south end of the Gold Coast at sunset

7. Finding The Best Removalist

Word of mouth is usually the best way to find a reliable and efficient removals company. How to do this when you might not know other people who have made the big move from Sydney to Queensland? Well, again there are the groups which you have hopefully already joined and begun to make relationships on.

When I asked my Queensland pals about removalists Noosa Van Lines was recommended. This company can deliver to the Gold Coast and Brisbane as well as to anywhere on the Sunshine Coast.

Availability and cost are also major factors, of course, and the type of move you want to make and can budget for, from packing a container yourself to having your whole home packed up for you and then all unpacked and assembled at the other end.

8. Finding locals sports and activities

Slotting quickly into the sports and activities that your family love will help make your move as smooth as possible. Whether it’s gymnastics, golf, surfing, bush walking, rugby league, tennis or ballet, do try to plan ahead so that you do not have too many weeks where the family is not engaging in the hobbies and sports that bring you all joy. You might feel that it’s easier to wait until you arrive, but time spent planning ahead to get straight back into the activities that bring you all joy will help with everyone’s wellbeing and a feeling of settling in.

Again, Google and Facebook are your friends as you search for the sports and activities close to where you will be living. As Sydneysiders we have often had to get used to travelling through horrible traffic to get the kids to judo or swimming or art and craft lessons. Rest assured that all of your commutes are almost guaranteed to be much shorter and less stressful whether you move from Sydney to the Gold Coast, to the Sunshine Coast or to Brisbane.

9. Disability support and opportunities

Families who have children with additional needs will need to plan even further ahead than most others. You may have an NDIS plan and need to start letting your Local Area Co-ordinator know that you will be moving and need to find new services. You may need to check out all the best special schools or support classes.

Many families join the local support group for their child’s needs eg Autism Support Queensland on Facebook. Others just ask questions in local community support groups or on the big national groups like the Too Peas Hangout. Finding locals who have similar needs to your families is always a great start.

Here are some useful resources:

Disability Support Queensland

Queensland Government Disability webpage

Disability Connect Queensland

When visiting new areas, and when you choose an area to move to, try looking at the tourism agency websites (listed above) as they have a section on disability which will tell you about the best beaches, playgrounds and locations to get out and explore.

teenagers watch surf at Caloundra beach
Caloundra beach on the Sunshine Coast

10. Remember your self-care

Moving is hard, it’s stressful and it’s disruptive. Even when you are moving to a place that will be better for all the family, it is hard. It just is. So you know that there will be many ups and downs. How will you help yourself cope with that? How can the adults in the family support themselves so that they can support the children?

It’s rare to make a huge move without some tears, and even some shouting. It is a great idea to talk to the children, to be open about how you feel and to prepare them for how they might feel. We all need a bit of self-soothing when there are huge change in our home life. So, grab that list of what helps make you feel good, what calms you and eases tension. (you do have one, don’t you?) and then study it so that you can make your move from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast, to Brisbane or to the Gold Coast as shouty-free as you can.

I hope that this is helpful as you get started on your plan for moving from Sydney to Queensland.

The great news is that all of the three areas explored here have many families just like you. A ready-made community awaits you!

Mooloolaba beach Moving Sydney To queensland
Aerial view of a couple walking along Mooloolaba Beach. Image credit Tourism and Events Queensland

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  1. says: Tamara

    We moved from Sydney to tropical North Queensland in the Daintree Rainforest, two and a half hours north of Cairns to run a caravan park/tourist accommodation last November.

    There have definitely been hard moments but so far no one (including our kids in year 8 and year 6) want to move back to Sydney!

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