Whether you’ve just picked up the keys to your very own home, or you’ve signed a new lease, the prospect of exploring your new neighbourhood is exciting.
A great neighbourhood can trump a second bathroom or a lock-up garage when you’re hunting for your new home, so you must make the most of your new stomping ground. A Google search is a great start to figuring out the local hot spots, but these tips will have you rubbing shoulders with the locals in no time.
Hit the streets
Lace-up those running shoes and hit the pavement. Pretend you’re a tourist in your new neighbourhood and roam the streets aimlessly – you never know what you’ll discover. Start by seeking out all the amenities you may need in the future, like a chemist and general store. Allow yourself to stumble on your new favourite places, the coffee shops and parks you are naturally drawn to, rather than relying solely on reviews and Google Maps. Enjoy the novelty of feeling like a stranger in a new place because you’ll be a local in no time.
Join a group
A local group will help immerse you in the community by introducing you to the locals and in turn, introducing you to the favourite local jaunts. A gruelling 6 am Boot Camp won’t just help you deal with the stress of the move, but will also help you discover the wonderful outdoor areas in your neighbourhood. But don’t limit yourself to an exercise class – branch out and try an art or language class, or even a book club! These kinds of activities provide a much more intimate setting that will allow you to make some new friends. And more often than not, groups like these will meet at a cosy café that you’ll soon be frequenting.
Get on Facebook
There’s a group for almost EVERYTHING on Facebook: cats, dogs, Kmart, Kmart Pie Makers – so most likely your new community will have a Facebook group of their own. These forums are a veritable smorgasbord of information, keeping you informed on upcoming events like fresh produce markets and live gigs. The locals will be more than happy to answer any questions about local businesses to save you from having to trial and error with drycleaners, tradesmen and the like.
Volunteering at the local homeless shelter or animal rescue can be a great way to understand and contribute to your new community, not to mention it’s a fantastic way to meet new people with similar interests and ethics. Contact the local branches of your preferred charity to see if you can lend a hand. Volunteering at local clubs, like the surf lifesaving or Lion’s club, is a fantastic avenue for meeting the pillars of the community who can really show you the ropes.
If you’re running out of organic ways to connect with the people and places in your community, then turning to tech in a no brainer. Tripadvisor, Google, Zomato and the like will rate and rank restaurants and business in your area, so you can head straight to the best smashed avocado and soy latte place on your first try.
Technology can also help with the tricky task of making new friends in your new neighbourhood. Apps like Meetup and Grouper are just like tinder but for friends. You can arrange “dates” with like-minded people in solo or group settings. Meet up with a local to show you the hot spots, or explore your surroundings with someone who’s also new to the area.
Words by Nell Matzen