Sydney, a city where it has become increasingly unaffordable to live and millennials are being told to cut out their smashed avo on toast if they ever dream of entering the overly inflated property market.
But what if I told you there was a way that you could be involved in a tight, close-knit community and still have your smashed avo? Of course, there is a catch; you’ll have to say “see ya later Sydney” and “gooduponya country New South Wales”.
Turning your back on the city may seem like a huge, unfathomable step, but once you taste the comforts of the country, it may have you thinking twice about waiting two hours in a line for a burger or dealing with lock out laws ever again. Towns such as Deniliquin, deep in the Riverina region of NSW, have a median rental price for a house (that’s right a house) of $260 a week. In comparison, a house in Newtown is $750.
Driving through the country to get to “Deni” as it’s locally known, I stopped in Finley, a town of approximately 2000 people, and the home of the Finley Vanilla. The Finley Vanilla is a vanilla slice to almost make you forget about your favourite city patisserie. With wafer thin pastry that is perfectly thin, there isn’t the extravagance or the hype that we are accustomed to in Sydney, instead a purity and simplicity that shines through.
The Finley Vanilla isn’t the end of the sugar trip either, country New South Wales and Victoria is peppered with towns known solely for a single baked good, such as the Rochester market Jam filled Donut, the Jerilderie Cream Bun.
Understandably, it is not fair to compare the city and the country. However, the country isn’t immune to the invasion of big city coffee culture. Cafes such as Johnny and Lyle in Echuca, just over the border demonstrate that metropolitan flavour with a simple country ethos.
“The coffee here is only two hours away from Melbourne, and having lived in Melbourne, I came back and thought the same, you know, where am I going to get a good coffee? But it is possible,” explains Bec Whitlock, Co-owner of Johnny and Lyle.
“It doesn’t really matter where, people are going to want that good morning coffee. The only difference is in the culture, in rural parts of the country, that volume is a lot slower.”
The pace takes some getting used to, but once adjusted you can take in everything that the country has to offer. Things like rolling up to someone’s garage door in the middle of the day to buy cherries three kilometres from the orchard or Manuka honey from marketplaces.
In conclusion, the country is not devoid of all culture, and it isn’t devoid of good food. It is just slower, and more relaxed. If you feel like avoiding the speed and clutter of the city, maybe the country is not so bad after all.