A tree-changer, who moved to Urana from Sydney and via Moulamein, says the move has been "the best thing" for her family.
Business adviser and former Sydney resident Michelle Forrester bought a bottle shop in Moulamein in 2019, but when she eventually moved to the town in May 2021 she lived in a caravan with her mother.
"The housing crisis in the Riverina, it was crazy. We just could not find anywhere to live in Moulamein," she said.
Eventually this led Ms Forrester to Urana where she bought the Urana Takeaway and Newsagency.
"We looked at it and we all agreed as a family that this is what we would now do, because it had a house, that was the only reason we bought the cafe," she said.
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Ms Forrester said she and her mother had been Urana residents since October, and her son, 12-year-old Cash, visited regularly between staying with his father and going to school in Sydney.
"He just took to country life and it was such an eye-opener for him," she said.
"Taking over this cafe has been the best thing ever and my son loves it, he tries to get down as much as he can.
"It was absolute chaos inheriting this business, but it's been so much fun; the people have been so amazing and it's been a totally different experience than it's been to Moulamein.
"This district is a totally different world, so welcoming and friendly and it felt like home immediately and we just love it."
The Forresters are among a large number of tree-changers who began to move from Australia's capital cities to country regions when COVID-19 first hit. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the March 2021 quarter there was a net loss of 11,800 people from Australia's greater capital cities through internal migration.
The ABS said in the same period Sydney had net losses of 5100 people to the rest of the state and 3100 interstate, while Melbourne had net losses of 4800 people to the rest of the state and 3400 interstate.
Ms Forrester said her family had learnt a lot about country life.
"It's fun because we get the opportunity to come back to Sydney and tell everyone the adventures we're having, because nobody would believe it otherwise," she said.
"Like the fact that we lose power ... and phone reception.
"I've never heard of campdrafting, I'd never heard of yard penning and now I've seen all these things and met all these people and got all these great stories from them, it's fantastic!"
Ms Forrester said she was also appreciating the more relaxed pace and affordable nature of the family's new country life.
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