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20 ultimate fantasy towns

Tired of the daily grind? Find a slower-paced, stress-free life in these dream towns

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Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Petrina Tinslay

Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Imagine: snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef every weekend; sailing, nightly if you like, into a killer sunset; a house with a water view (it's hard to find a place in the Whitsundays without one); all the mango, passion fruit, and barramundi you can eat. Not as a trip-of-a-lifetime, but as your life. Oh, sure, people who actually occupy the Whitsundays' 8 inhabited islands (there are 74 total) and gateway town of Airlie still have to work—living in a "holiday" destination doesn't come cheap. But there's a serious laid-back vibe to this subtropic, turquoise-tinted region. You want in? Yeah, so does everybody else. The younger you are, the better educated, and the more moola you can bring in, the better. In a nutshell: Have a sought-after skill set (high-tech, medicine, engineering); get sponsored; or find yourself a charming Aussie and get hitched.
Population: 32,107
Median home price: $222,341


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