By Rose Astley
Gympie is a city with many infamous names and references. Some may know it as Hell Town, the ice capital of Australia or the hellhole two hours north of Brisbane, but for me, it’s a good place to call home.
It is laughed at and mocked by those who live further south, but for the town that saved Queensland, Gympie has been given an unjust reputation. How many times have we been told not to judge a book by its cover?
Whether it is copping flak about drugs, the unemployment rate, or the housing situation, many believe that the ever expanding and changing city of Gympie is one to avoid. Sure, Gympie is not perfect, and for some people it is just not what they’re looking for. If you’re chasing an overpopulated or always busy city that never sleeps, then keep looking, because that’s not what Gympie has to offer.
However, if, like me, you crave a city that blooms with purple jacaranda trees in the spring, friendly growers’ markets in the park at dusk, heritage-listed buildings lining the main street and enough parks to keep any child or fur-child happy, Gympie has it all.
At the time of the 2016 Census, Gympie’s population was sitting at around 50,000 people, meaning the air is fresh, the traffic is light, and the attitude that comes with city living simply doesn’t exist here.
It is a mere 169kms from the state’s capital, Brisbane, 78kms from the Sunshine Coast and a short drive from one of the most iconic beaches in the world, Rainbow Beach. Gympie is situated in an ideal location for those seeking the best of both worlds. It is truly a stone’s throw away from iconic tourist destinations, without the hustle and bustle that follows the tourists.
Perched next to the Mary River and surrounded by stunning bushland and national parks, there is a long list of things to see and do. Whether you’re an avid bushwalker, kayaker, or four-wheel drive enthusiast, or merely searching for a quiet place to take the kids for a swim, Gympie has it all. Still not convinced?
Gympie’s median house price currently sits at an attractive $260,000. That’s over $100,000 under the Queensland median, making house and land prices dramatically cheaper than many places in the Sunshine Coast region. So, while you pay an arm and a leg for a small block of land in Noosa, I’ll be enjoying the fantastic property potential that the Gympie region has to offer at two-thirds of the price.
The Mary River, like most rivers, floods periodically, causing some homes and a significant number of shops in the CBD to go under. But tough times bring out the best in us: during flood, the Gympie community bands together to help those in need.
The sense of community in Gympie is heart-warming. Whether you need help with a flat tyre, some local advice, or a roof over your head, we’re like a big ol’ Brady Bunch.
The city cops a lot of flak, whether it be about mullet haircuts or drugs, alcohol or cigarettes, but one thing is certain (mullets and ciggies aside): there is always someone there to help in a time of need.
As a Gympie girl born and bred (and I don’t have two heads, or a mullet), I can safely say that this is my place to call home. Those from Brisbane, the Sunny Coast or anywhere in between should know that the little town that saved Queensland is not as it seems. It’s better. I promise.
Main photo: The old town hall in Gympie holds a lot of historical significance. Photo credit: Su Foster.