For more than a year, Steve and Rebecca Hinks were looking for a way out of Sydney.
Everyday at 7.30am they'd drop the kids - Olivia, 8, and James, 6 - off at before school care, and everyday at 6pm (and often later) they'd pick them up from after-school care.
As Rebecca devastatingly put it, they were leading "separate lives, even from such a young age".
Mornings were a rush, evenings were a rush, and weekends were spent organising for the week ahead.
"It was pretty clear to us that we weren't giving them the childhood that they deserved, or the childhood that we got growing up," Steve said.
"We rarely ate together as a family, living in Sydney.
"We started thinking about a move but … we didn't know where to start."
That was, until Steve took on the role as director at Taronga Western Plains Zoo - proof, he says, that "there are career-defining job opportunities in regional NSW".
The Hinkses relocated to Dubbo in 2017, and have never looked back, with Steve now promoting Dubbo living in Evocities' first television campaign.
Rebecca, a marriage celebrant, now focuses on her own business "rather than having to work for the man", and Dubbo's geography means she can actually fit more weddings into a day.
No one wakes up before 7am, and "there's no yelling at the kids to put their shoes on".
With more space, the Hinkses finally have a dog - a Jack Russell x Fox Terrier called Rosie.
And the family eats dinner together every night.
"Kids want time with their parents," Steve said.
"They want family time … they weren't getting that in Sydney.
"They're getting that now so if they could articulate their answer, they'd probably say that they've loved the move because life is a lot less stressful and a lot more peaceful."
Having access to one of world's best zoos was definitely a perk as well, Steve admitted.
But above all they love the "sense of community".
Less than two years after moving to Dubbo "without knowing anybody", Steve said "we've now got a wide circle of friends".
"I don't think I've ever been made to feel so welcome anywhere that I've lived in a capital city," Steve said.
"The sense of community in the street, the sense of community at the school - certainly the welcoming people that we've got here at the zoo - that's not the reason that we came but that's quite likely the reason that we would stay."
"People in general in Dubbo are really open to new friendships," Rebecca added.
"To be able, at age 40, to crack into new friendships - and old friendship groups - it's just been really heartwarming, really."
Dubbo Regional Council CEO Michael McMahon is another recent convert to regional city living, after spending 61 years in Sydney.
His wife Narelle still spends a great deal of time working in Sydney - and abroad - but officially moved to Dubbo in December.
They too bought a dog "as a result" of moving to Dubbo - a Spoodle named Milo.
For Michael, moving to a semi-rural property, with his nearest neighbour two kilometres away, has enabled him to "enjoy something completely different".
"I quite commonly ring my wife as I'm coming out of the office … and normally in Sydney you'd ring and talk for an hour on the way home," he remembers.
"Now I call her and basically two minutes later I'm at home and she said to me, sometimes she's still stuck - hadn't even got through the set of lights!"
Spreading the word
Since Evocities launched in 2010, the seven regional cities have welcomed 3619 new households, with 8078 responses to enquiries from potential relocators.
Council's economic development and marketing manager Josie Howard said the television campaign would take Evocities' message where it had never gone before.
"People are going to be seeing us in their living rooms, they're going to be listening to it when they're stuck in traffic," she said.
"So Steve's mates, Michael's mates, when they're sitting in Sydney traffic going 'oh my God, I'm not going to pick up my child, it's 7 o'clock, I'm going to have to do drive thru to get Maccas - Steve's at home, his kids are already in bed, Bec's poured herself a glass of wine and they're sitting down to watch Married At First Sight.
"You're not just moving to a tiny town - you're moving to a regional city that has everything that you and your family want, including the time that you're missing out on when your living in those capital centres.
"The jobs are still great, the schools are still great, you just get more time to experience your family."
Visit www.evocities.com.au/ for more information.