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Making the tree-change from the bustling city to the leafy green Hills is a dream for many Adelaideans but what is it really like? And what happens when the honeymoon wears off?

Our own Marketing, Community and Sales Director, Olivia Burke and her family recently moved from Adelaide to Mount Barker, to experience Hills living first-hand and are sharing their personal experience with us.

During their tree-change, they’ve experienced an extremely wet Hills winter and added an extra 25 minutes to their daily commute for school and work. But, they’ve also discovered a beauty in wide open spaces, mud and gumboots, wood-fire heaters and spring-time sunsets. They love their weekly family walk to the local produce markets and just how easy it is to get physically active out and about by foot or bike.

We checked in with Mount Barker’s newest residents to see how they’ve settled in over the past few months, and what’s on the cards for 2017.


Q: As city folk, how welcomed have you felt to the Hills and what has really struck you as different?
A: “People in the hills definitely make you feel welcome. Everyone here is so friendly. They say “hi” when you pass them along the Linear Park trail or down the main street which is such a pleasant change from living in the city! Our neighbours even dropped over with bottles of wine when we moved in. One of the things most notable is how young and vibrant the community seem to be, when we grab our morning coffee or shop in the local supermarket, the staff exude youth, energy and warmth. It is really noticeable. We wonder if these are the kids of the first tree-changers when residential living in Mount Barker started to thrive early in the 2000’s.”


Q: Let’s be completely honest, has your tree-change been all sunshine and roses?

A: “We moved in the heart of winter on the day of the big South Australian blackout… so no, it hasn’t all been sunny! But, surprisingly, we’ve found handling winter up here easier than we found it in the city – perhaps it’s the romance of the wood-fire combustion heater.

The biggest hurdle we’ve probably faced is realising how established our roots are in the city. Our children are schooled in Adelaide still, and with that comes sporting commitments, friends and social engagements. So we find that although the 25-minute commute is relatively short, more of our time is spent travelling up and down the freeway than if we were established in the community up here. If our kids went to school and played sport up here we would do less travel. It is early days and we are looking forward to becoming more established. We know that becoming part of a new community takes patience and time.”


Q: What are the moments that stand out?

A: “We’ve learnt some good lessons as city slickers! Our property is connected to a paddock with cows in it. After mowing our lawns (the kids love the ride-on mower!) we drop the clippings into the neighbouring yard… but we forgot the golden rule of farmland… to always, always, always close the gate behind you. We were pretty surprised to wake up the next morning to cow pats on our front lawn from our friendly four-legged neighbours! Panic struck when we thought they may have gone for a wander down the main road. Luckily they know where home is and we weren’t chasing cows along the highway! Lesson learned! It’s also been wonderful for the children to be exposed to practical things that they wouldn’t necessarily think about in the city, like how hay bales are made.

Oh, and we got engaged up here. That was pretty special!”


Q: Congratulations! So can we expect a wedding at Newenham in 2017?
A: “Thank you and yes. We are planning our wedding and it will be up here in our pretty patch of Hills paradise. The whole family is very excited and looking forward to what 2017 will bring as we continue to make our home in the Hills and plan our big celebration!”


At Newenham we plan to make it easier for people to settle into the Hills and transition from city life to hills life, or simply to transition from one community to another. We have fantastic initiatives that will come in to play as our first residents move into Newenham, such as the introduction of a dedicated Community Manager who will connect neighbours to each other and to our well programmed range of community events.


Is it time you made a tree-change? To find out how you can secure your future in Newenham, please visit our Sales & Information Centre at 164 Flaxley Road, Mount Barker or call our friendly sales team on 8210 7660.



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