I live in Auckand, New Zealand. I can see the Skytower which is downtown less than 3 k away but I live near a park. I love that Auckland is near the water ( between 2 harbours) and that in 30 minutes I can be in the country at a wild beach or at a city beach in 10 minutes.
We have 1.5m people and traffic is a problem. Car culture is big here and so public transport is playing catch up. Trains are getting better but not quite there yet.
I'd prefer if we were part of Australia. It is easier and cheaper to get from here to Sydney than to say Dunedin because there is more traffic and more people in Sydney / Auckland than in smaller NZ cities like Dunedin.
Physical isolation means higher oil / petrol costs are embedded in everything and so the true cost of living on a small island is comparatively higher than in living in say Australia.