From city crush to country calm

ARARAT - Rebekah and Peter Gilbert and their two children Taylah and Cody have left the hustle and bustle of the city behind for a fresh start in Ararat.

The family of four relocated from Cranbourne in Melbourne's south-east three months ago and have taken full advantage of the many circumstances country living has afforded them.

Work opportunities have beckoned for Mr Gilbert, while both children have been enrolled in local schools and are happy with their new environments.

The couple admit it was difficult trying to make a break into the local market, but with the assistance of Landmark's Greg Kerr were able to find a property to call home.

The family have gone from an ultra-modern home in the outer suburbs of Melbourne to a Californian style bungalow in Ararat.

They have embraced country living from the get-go with plans to renovate and make their home their own, while still retaining that traditional country feel.

"If you are going to be living in the country, then you want to be making the most of all it has to offer," Mr Gilbert said.

"You don't realise just how much noise there is in the city compared to somewhere like Ararat, it is so quiet and relaxing.

"We have the opportunity to go to Melbourne, if we want to, but the idea is if you are moving to a country town you support and become a part of that community too."

Twelve-year-old Cody has already taken to the basketball court and is eager to join a local football team, while 14-year-old Taylah has taken up dancing.

Mr Gilbert is keen to take his motorbike to the noticeably different surroundings of the Grampians.

"You have the spectacular wineries and the Grampians at your doorstep and that is what got us over the line," Mrs Gilbert said.

"We had a couple of other places to choose from, but we chose Ararat because you still aren't far away from some of the bigger centres like Ballarat and Melbourne."

Mrs Gilbert, who has a background in retail, is on the hunt for employment and has joined the gym as well as taking part in the YMCA's 'Biggest Winner' challenge.

The Gilberts were astounded by Ararat's 'fat' tag and reputation for unhealthy eating given its limited number of take away stores.

They said compared with the suburbs of Melbourne, Ararat compares favourably.

"The kids have commented on how few fast food outlets there actually are here in Ararat," Mrs Gilbert said.

"We actually had four of the same fast food giant in our suburb alone."

The Gilberts are just one example of families of all shapes and sizes migrating to the Ararat region because of the lure of jobs and growth.

The couple see their purchase as a medium to long term investment, with plans to eventually relocate to land in the area.

By buying a property in Ararat at such a promising time the family have ensured their purchase is not just an investment in their present but their future.

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