By Meighan Hetherington of Property Pursuit www.propertypursuit.com.au
Identified as being in the top ten of the most desirable places to live in Australia, based on natural beauty, property values, welcoming locals and good infrastructure, the picturesque township of Murwillumbah is located in the centre of the stunning Tweed Valley on the far north coast of New South Wales, just 15 minutes from the pristine beaches of the Tweed Coast, 30 minutes south of the Gold Coast and 40 minutes north of Byron Bay.
You'll hear locals refer to it as "Mur-bah" and debate the claim that Murwillumbah means "Place of many possums" in the local aboriginal dialect. Murwillumbah began as very much a traditional style agricultural centre.
The area was settled by timber-getters around 1844. The rich volcanic soil of the area supports the production of sugar cane, fruit and nuts and many primary producers are diversifying and leading the development into crops like coffee, tea tree oil, native bush tucker, or have started operations in farm forestry to supply sustainable saw milling operations. Being part of the "Cellulose Valley" initiative of the Research and Development Program at Southern Cross University also provides a great deal of potential for the rural areas surrounding Murwillumbah, with the exploration of possibilities in growing medicinal, perfumed and culinary herbs. Murwillumbah is the gateway to five of Australia's World Heritage listed national parks.
The last twenty years have seen enormous growth, with the population increasing on average approx. 1.9% per year between the 1996 census and the 2001 census, due largely to southern retirees drawn by the temperate climate and relaxed lifestyle.
The Tweed Coast could soon become the 'new' Gold Coast - as the Gold Coast runs out of new land parcels. As new infrastructure at the Southern Gold Coast such as the Tugun Bypass and the new Southern Cross University campus at Tugun start to take shape, the area is attracting alot more attention. There are approx 7500 home sites under development in the shire as an example of what is happening in the area.
RP Data for the year ending November, 2007, reveals the Tweed is already booming with the village of Murwillumbah topping the list with median house prices moving up 23.7% in the 12 months still to an affordable $360,000. "Figures may suggest more buyers are seeking the more affordable green change" said RP Data residential research director Tim Lawless.
Murwillumbah has a population of 7700. Together with surrounding villages, including Uki, Chillingham, Tyalgum, Tumbulgum, Burringbar, Stokers Siding and others, Murwillumbah serves a resident population in excess of 15,000 people with a total catchment of nearly double this.
With clean air, plentiful supply of water, excellent educational facilities, mild climate, security, proximity to airports, major resorts and shopping centres as well as ready access to the cities of Brisbane and the Gold Coast - with plenty of room to grow, Murwillumbah (and its surrounds) is truly a jewel in the Northern Rivers area.