Rural Living Handbook

A guide for rural landholders

The Rural Living Handbook is a guide to help rural landholders experience the wonderful aspects of rural life as well as to raise awareness of the risks and responsibilities that come with that lifestyle. It is for:

  • people who are new to rural life in NSW
  • prospective rural property owners
  • owners of hobby farms and lifestyle blocks
  • people who are having a go at primary production for the first time
  • long-term property owners who want further resources on living sustainably in a rural area.

Cover of the Rural Living Handbook

Practical information

There is a lot to know about rural living but there is also plenty of help at hand.

The Rural Living Handbook provides you with a starting point with practical information on:

  • buying a rural property, including a 'Before you buy' checklist
  • natural resources, including water, soil and native plants and animals
  • cultural heritage and how to identify and care for it
  • property management, including livestock, fencing, chemicals and waste disposal
  • biosecurity responsibilities, including pests, weeds and diseases
  • how to prepare for emergencies and getting help afterwards during recovery
  • regional and local planning and what impact that may have on you
  • specific information for owners of small landholdings.

Each section of the Rural Living Handbook contains lists of useful resources, website and contacts for organisations that provide support to rural landholders. Local Land Services is also here to help connect you with information and advice on a wide range of topics to help you manage your property. Contact your local office

Susan Crowe with the 2020 Rural Living Handbook


“When we moved from Sydney in 2016 and bought our farm, we had no idea about the amount of work it took to control blackberries, how to improve paddocks or anything about owning livestock and then the drought hit and it all became overwhelming. I was hungry for information and the stock and station agent who sold us the property put us onto Local Land Services and they have been really helpful with advice and assistance. I have referred to and re-read the Rural Living Handbook a fair bit as it is a good starting point to help find the information I need."

- Susan Crowe, landholder

“I helped develop the first Rural Living Handbook back in 2004, when we saw a need for some basic information for people who were moving into our local government area and were new to living in the rural environment. Over the years this publication has been reproduced in a number of formats in NSW and interstate and I am really pleased to see Local Land Services release this updated edition. Nearly 20 years on, there is still a need to get the right information to new rural residents and this revised handbook is just as relevant today it the original version was.

- Jack Miller, Landscape Planner at Goulburn Mulwaree Council 

"The Small Farms Network Capital Region has found the Rural Living Handbook is popular with small farmers just starting out. We have given out many copies in the past. It gives a good overview of the many aspects of owning and managing rural property."

-  Jennie Curtis, Secretary, Small Farms Network Capital Region

Read stories of people who have moved to rural areas here.

How can I access the Rural Living Handbook?

The Rural Living Handbook is available for free:

Related information