Australia, the world’s happiest country, according to the OECD report for 2013, attracts expats from across the world especially to its big cities like Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, which offer a high quality of life and all the creature comforts one could possibly need. But for those who derive their wellbeing from close proximity to nature and living a quiet, simple life, here are five places in Australia that may be ideal for you.
Macquarie Island or ‘Macca’ as it is sometimes called is a sub-Antarctic island that sits about halfway between Australia and Antarctica.With a total area of 128 square km, the island is home to numerous forms of wildlife, such as penguins and seals. Designated a World Heritage site, Macquarie Island is a Tasmanian State Reserve and is managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. It is considered to be an important geo-conservation site due to its natural diversity. The weather here is wet, cold and windy with an average winter temperature of 3 degrees Celsius and an average summer temperature of 7 degrees Celsius. The only people resilient enough to face the bleak sub-Antarctic weather are a small group of researchers, who form the population of the island.
Located in the Channel Country of Central West Queensland, Birdsville is a small town with a population of 295. The town is known for its annual Birdsville Races, a two-day event held in September in aid of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. Birdsville is an isolated town at the edge of the Simpson Desert and just 12 kilometers from the South Australian border. Today, the little town does provide for a modern community and has a sports complex, art galleries and medical clinic.
Karumba was earlier called Norman Mouth and Kimberely. The name ‘Karumba’ was used by the local aborigines to refer to the place, and it became the official name of the township by the 1880s. Karumba is located in the Gulf Country region of Queensland. Part of the Carpentaria Shire Council, Karumba is the only town on the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, as settlements cannot be sustained anywhere else due to the tidal flats. It has a population of about 518 people whose livelihood mainly comes from fishing. Winters in Karumba attract many tourists and fishing enthusiasts from around Australia and overseas, as here is where some of the best barramundi in the country can be caught. The beautiful morning glory cloud can also be spotted rolling through the sky in the early morning hours between September and October. Karumba has become popular with tourists in recent times and it provides the necessary amenities such as a visitor information center, public library, parks, sports center and a golf course.
One of the last great wilderness areas in Australia, Cape York is a natural paradise with its 3000 plant species and 321 bird species. Its rock art galleries have been classified among the top 10 most significant art sites in the world. Steeped in aboriginal history dating back to several thousands of years and rich with diverse languages and traditional practices, today just about ten languages of those languages along with numerous dialects are still spoken in the region.
Lord Howe Island
This World Heritage-listed island paradise is located in the Tasman Sea. A two-hour flight from Brisbane or Sydney gets you there, and once you’re in Lord Howe Island, the best mode of transport is a bicycle, since cars are restricted. There is no mobile reception here, and not more than 400 visitors are permitted at any particular time. The natural haven features beautiful white beaches and palm forests. There are no buildings or power lines here, but you can enjoy some modern comforts because of the restaurants, luxury accommodation and spas that have come up in the region. If you decide to live here, you will become part of a little village that occupies just one street and consists of a population of 300. Lord Howe Island was formed as a remnant of volcanic activity that occurred millions of years ago and the volcanic peaks of Mt. Lidgbird and Mt. Gower are prominent features of the island, where you can go hiking.