QUIRKY small town Uralla is in the top five regional NSW towns that city-slickers have made the big move to.
A report from the Regional Australia Institute revealed that in the last five years more than 1.2 million people moved to or around regional Australia, of those more than 500,000 were from a capital city.
Among the blow-ins to Uralla are Louis van Ekert and his wife Wendy.
Tired of the rat race, the pair moved from the heart of Sydney in Darlington to the New England about four years ago.
"My wife was born in Uralla but we never intended to move here," he said.
We have told all of our friends from Sydney that it's a very inclusive community, there's no distinction between the locals and the blow-ins and everyone is welcome.
"We have told all of our friends from Sydney that it's a very inclusive community, there's no distinction between the locals and the blow-ins and everyone is welcome.
"If you live in Sydney you're crazy, it is so much cheaper here and we bought an older house with big beautiful gardens for a third of the cost."
The Big Movers report showed that contrary to popular belief, more people were moving from capital cities to regional areas than the other way.
Australians as a whole are highly mobile, and move more often than 80 per cent of other Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) countries.
At least 39 per cent of Australians change their address every five years, compared to an international average of 21 per cent.
Uralla's population has seen a 20.1 per cent growth in the last five years, with 1218 new residents.
Cr Pearce grew up near St George in Sydney and moved out west to start his career in the police force.
Eventually he landed in Invergowrie, just outside Uralla, and said he isn't surprised more people are choosing to move to the region.
"We have a safe living environment, a cheaper cost of living, a very low crime rate and a relaxed rural lifestyle with country honesty," he said.
"We have facilities and infrastructure that surpass city and metropolitan areas, we're just as big and bold as our city cousins.
"But it's those unusual things that people remember, I've been told by people passing through they know Uralla because of its statue of Captain Thunderbolt on the corner, it's got a unique identity."
The report found that millennials were increasingly choosing to live in regional areas.
It found that housing affordability, rapid career advancement and lifestyle choices were the main drivers for millennials to move to regions.
The hotspots in the last five years have been Newcastle, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.
The story Uralla's quirks earn it spot in top five regional towns to live in first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.