How does life in a rural area compare to life in the city?
We often picture rural towns as having very few people and as being landlocked and farming-focused. But there are actually certain criteria that establish an area as ‘rural’, and based on these criteria, towns situated on the coast, towns close to major cities and farming communities can all qualify. Have a look at our town profiles for more information.
That said, some aspects of rural life will be relatively standard regardless of where you are. Let’s take a look at these.
Your own transport
If you’ve lived in a major Australian city, or even just a large city, you’ll have some experience with public transport. A good public transport infrastructure is integral to the smooth operation of a bustling metropolis.
This may not be the case in a rural location. Without the number of people and places needed to establish a network, public transport may be limited to school buses and long-distance trains. Taxis may be difficult to come by or non-existent. This means that you are more likely to need your own car. That said, there are some rural places (such as Rockhampton) that have good public transport systems, so just be sure to do your research.
A different culture
For these purposes, let’s define ‘culture’ as access to the arts, entertainment and tradition. In a city, you will find smaller districts based on heritage or ethnicity. For example, if there is an area where many people settled from Greece, that area may grow to incorporate Greek culture into its fabric. These areas may develop specialty shops, restaurants and cultural events.
Rural areas may still have monthly or annual cultural festivals, just on a smaller scale. And there are galleries and cinemas in almost every town in Australia, meaning that there are opportunities everywhere to enjoy the artistic aspect of culture.
Rural areas offer a unique opportunity to be educated about and get involved with the Indigenous community. In a rural location, anywhere from two to eight per cent of the population may identify as Aboriginal. Larger cities are less likely to have such opportunities. Read more about Indigenous opportunities here.
Become a leader in the community
A sense of community will be core to your work as a GP. Your patients will be like a second family to you; you will get to know them, and they you, over the years you spend treating them. The more metropolitan your area, however, the more likely you will be to also experience patients who drop in and out intermittently. If you work in a particularly high-volume, centrally located medical centre, you will likely also see some patients only once or twice.
In a rural location, you have more of an opportunity to truly become part of the community. Over time, you may even come to be known as a community leader. This is because people will see you for not only day-to-day illnesses but also major life events such as pregnancies and child vaccinations. Professionally, you will also be able to gain some experience in adjacent fields, such as emergency work, which you may not be able to do in a larger city.
Enjoy the environment
Getting out in nature can be difficult when you live in a big city. For all the transport and entertainment that’s available, a simple hike can be hours away and inconvenient to get to. Your physical activity may consist of jogging, going to the gym and the occasional surf.
Rural locations have more diverse environments that allow you to choose what suits you. In most rural locations, you’ll be in easy distance of hiking, surfing, mountain climbing and more. The air is cleaner and the locally grown fruit and vegetables fresher than in the city.