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Is the West " that bad"?


MichelleO
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Okay, so i've been looking at Sanctuary lakes and Point Cook online and it looks stunning...

BUT

i've seen a lot of people say the West has a reputation...is it dodgy?

Now please keep in mind that I have grown up in the Northern suburbs of Jhb and can be a little fussy :whome: ...so I need an area with a good rep. (I hope that doesn't sound too snooty)

Have been looking at suburbs like Bentleigh East, McKinnon, Sandringham, Brighton etc...but house prices are way more affordable in the West, which also worries me!

I have cousins in Black Rock, Bayside and love the area...

Also need somewhere with a big shopping centre and good schools...my daughter is 16 months!

HELP, HELP, HELP!!!

Huuy will most likely be working in the CBD

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Hi Michelle

I see you guys landed in Aug 2009, so relatively new still. I haven't been here for much longer.

Tip: Check out the places for yourself in real life - not online. Online everything looks amazing. Get a 'feel' for the area and, very importantly, the areas around it. This may take a weekend or two (or more) of driving around the areas you're considering. I'd even advise walking around the neighbourhood and observing proximity to public transport/shops/the city/parks/the beach/libraries etc. - exploring a place on foot is probably the best way to truly get a feel for a place. Just time consuming, I know.

Take into consideration that West Melbourne to Bayside is quite a drive/journey if that's where most of your family/people you know live. Also keep in mind that your weekends will most probably be spent close/"close-ish" to where you live...it's simply not practical to travel to and fro all the time.

Different strokes for different folks. I personally prefer south, south-east and east Melbourne. Love Bayside. :whome:

Also - don't rush in and buy (don't know if you're looking for rental or to buy)...check out the different areas first, rent for maybe the first year or two at least, and get a feel for what you prefer most (depending on lifestyle). Members of my family almost bought in an area (North-east) we all loved until we all fortunately got to know Melbourne a bit better, and now I wouldn't touch this specific area which we all first liked so much (not because it's "bad" - in fact it's really good and very beautiful - but simply because it's just too far from the city IMO and some of the areas around it are not very appealing...again IMO). That is why you need to give yourself time in a new city...get to know the lay of the land.

Good luck!

<edited for spelling>

Edited by kangaroo
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Michelle

We've just moved from the West (Point Cook) to the East (Berwick). We found the West too "bare". It's full of new development (housing etc) so not a lot of greenery around. The landscape is also very "flat" and had a couple of "industrial-ish" areas around. Sanctuary Lakes is a beautiful area though and definitely not dodgy.

As far as travel goes for your hubby into the CBD, he's going to have a tough time if he doesn't leave very early in the morning! My husband used to leave at 6am and it would still take him about 50 minutes to get to Bentleigh East on good days.

I'm guessing that if you grew up in the North, you won't feel quite at home in the West.

Good luck wherever you decide to settle.

Cheers

Mel

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Hoohooo, can’t wait for the debate on this one.

I’ll stick my neck out – I much prefer the East and South-East to the West.

Personally I think that If you grew up in the Northern Suburbs of Joburg, you will probably be more at home in the East. There’s no doubting that the West has pockets of nice areas (like Sunbury hey Mara!), and plenty of development around, but on the whole, the reality is – lower incomes, lower house prices, more crime per capita, less trees and less established suburbs in the West.

Of course the East and South East have their dodgy areas (Dandenong anyone?), and it’s not all “champagne and rosesâ€.... but on average, house prices and incomes are higher, crime is lower and there are nicer, more established suburbs with tree-lined streets.

The commute to the city is generally a lot better from the West because it’s not as spread out. The furthest suburbs from the West of the city are about 30km, whilst in the East and South East you can get to 60km from the city.

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It all depends on where you work i reckon...like Hansa says..if you work in the cbd, point cook and sanctuary lakes are convenient locations to live in (23 km to the cbd..one train if you work in the cbd)

Black rock is lovely, but far to commute if you work in the cbd.. if you not looking to buy straight away, i say make a drive through sanctuary lakes and point cook...we live in point cook and yes the area is developing, but judging from the people i meet at the parks and malls it is by no means "dodgy"..i was advised by impatient to come look here and am quite happy, quiet a few schools to choose from and my daughter is 3 and in a daycare here...the housesa re about 400k upwards ...sanctuary lakes...700 000k upwards...

Berwick is south-east..and far if you work in the cbd (over 40km) also a "new" part with lots of new development and an "old" part thats more established...i dont know if Lara is still active on the forum, but the live in Berwick and are moving because the commute is too much for her hubby who works in the cbd...

So i guess it depends where you work...bayside is a stunning part of melbourne, but you have to go far from the cbd (st kilda you will get a 1 bedroom apartment for $400 000) to get an affordably priced house.

You welcome to PM me if you want more info from me...

cheers

Natalie

Edited by elleneo
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I've always been in the south-east so can't really comment on life in the west (and wish to stay out of debate!)

However, on this side of town, bayside is lovely, upmarket and decent access to the city by train, less so in black rock and beaumaris, which don't have train stations.

I'm not so sure about Bentleigh East if you're concerned about reputation, not as upmarket...

We live in Mentone, which I find really nice. It's five minutes from black rock, but just outside bayside so prices are not as high, near the beach and five/ten minutes to Southland Shopping Centre. Also has a good reputation for both private and government schools. Mentone station to the CBD is 30-40 minutes (there are some express trains during peak hours).

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I live in Sunbury, for me it is quiet, serene, and I am happy here, I enjoy the village atmosphere and lifestyle. 99% of the folks on the east have never been here, so honestly their judgement would be shonky, to say the least!

Now that I have that off my chest, it all depends on what your requirements are, and what you wish to pay, either to rent or to buy. There are certainly good areas on the west to be had, but there are also areas that I would not like to live in. It is always a good idea, once you find a suburb that you like, to google the demographics for that suburb. You will then have a good idea of what to expect.

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This one's for the folks living in those areas - how up-to-date is the Google Earth imagery?

I know that their database can be anywhere from a few months old to a few years old and lots can happen in developing areas in a few years.

thanks

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Mara... Sunbury looks like.. far NW... like... Faaaar NW.

As for Google Earth... those images are like from 13 Feb 2006...so that's quite useless... barely has Sanctuary Lakes built on it.

Guess I'll have to take a trip out there sometime after getting there and go take some pics of my own for M to see.

-G

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Okay, so i've been looking at Sanctuary lakes and Point Cook online and it looks stunning...

BUT

i've seen a lot of people say the West has a reputation...is it dodgy?

Now please keep in mind that I have grown up in the Northern suburbs of Jhb and can be a little fussy :blush: ...so I need an area with a good rep. (I hope that doesn't sound too snooty)

Have been looking at suburbs like Bentleigh East, McKinnon, Sandringham, Brighton etc...but house prices are way more affordable in the West, which also worries me!

I have cousins in Black Rock, Bayside and love the area...

Also need somewhere with a big shopping centre and good schools...my daughter is 16 months!

HELP, HELP, HELP!!!

Huuy will most likely be working in the CBD

Hi I am in Narre North (near to Berwick) and happy with the area but I work 10 minutes away so not sure about the hour plus commute in peak hour to the CBD. Have an Aussie friend who lives in Glen Iris, it is a lovely established area closer to the city. Close to Chadstone Shopping Centre (adverstised as the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere) and also good private and public schools. Another good area is Mount Waverely. Not sure what your budget for a house is but they are more expensive in these areas

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Hi Garrick

Yes, Sunbury is North West, but not quite as far as you have indicated.....the train from Sunbury to the city takes about 40mins, so the commute is not that bad. I work in Tullamarine, which is only 15-20mins away for me. My husband runs his business from home, his commute is absolutely the best, 0 mins.

As far as Google earth is concerned, I know for a fact that our street photos must have been taken somewhere in 2006, because many of the existing houses in our street, had not even been built yet. Our house, for one, did not even have any front garden yet, and we have been here 5 years.

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Berwick might be further away in km's but you don't have the West Gate bridge to contend with when traveling in and out of the city. Take it from someone who's traveled both ways at different times of the morning and afternoon - the commute is much easier from the East. Although the Monash is busy, the traffic flows at a decent pace. The express train from the city to Werribee station has also been discontinued which means the train now stops at every stop on the way and you can spend an hour and a half on the train sometimes.

I think the best would be for you to take a drive through the different areas and get a feel for it.

It all depends on where you work i reckon...like Hansa says..if you work in the cbd, point cook and sanctuary lakes are convenient locations to live in (23 km to the cbd..one train if you work in the cbd)

Black rock is lovely, but far to commute if you work in the cbd.. if you not looking to buy straight away, i say make a drive through sanctuary lakes and point cook...we live in point cook and yes the area is developing, but judging from the people i meet at the parks and malls it is by no means "dodgy"..i was advised by impatient to come look here and am quite happy, quiet a few schools to choose from and my daughter is 3 and in a daycare here...the housesa re about 400k upwards ...sanctuary lakes...700 000k upwards...

Berwick is south-east..and far if you work in the cbd (over 40km) also a "new" part with lots of new development and an "old" part thats more established...i dont know if Lara is still active on the forum, but the live in Berwick and are moving because the commute is too much for her hubby who works in the cbd...

So i guess it depends where you work...bayside is a stunning part of melbourne, but you have to go far from the cbd (st kilda you will get a 1 bedroom apartment for $400 000) to get an affordably priced house.

You welcome to PM me if you want more info from me...

cheers

Natalie

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My argument is simply that going to the cbd from point cook and going to caulfield or bentleigh from point cook is two different trips (bentleigh and caulfield are not cbd locations), one a single train (to the cbd) and one requiring a connecting train. It obviously doesnt make sense to live in the west if you work in the east, but if you live far into the east or south-east then the trip to the cbd will take you longer than if you lived in the west...

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Oh my...I am so confused! Guess i'm just gonna have to pick an area once Garrick finds a job...as if he will be working in the East, there is no point looking in the West. though i'm pretty sure he'll be working in the CBD.

It's ultimately best for us to get a feel for the places I suppose!

My 2nd cousin (16 yrs old and grown up in Melbourne), tells me that Berwick is 'country and dodge', which I had to laugh at! Her school has a campus there and I think they may have some lessons on the campus or something (Haileybury). Her mom (my cousin) tells me that the 'problem teens' come from those areas...Cranbourne and the likes so to best avoid them!?

My sister (who now lives in Sydney) tells me that people from the West are looked down on (kinda like the South of Jhb) and they have names for the new developments out there...not good ones!

I guess stereotypes and class difference occurs everywhere...something I was hoping to move away from after being in the Northern suburbs of Jhb where you always seem to "keep up with the Jones').

Argh! Right back to where I started and feeling sick to the bottom of my stomach!

Thanks for all the help and advice, will ALL be taken into consideration!

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M's (and her sisters) lived in the North of JHB her whole life... so please don't take offense to her views on other areas here in SA or in Melbourne. I'm a veteran of living all over... Hell, I spent 12 years in Kimberley... a few months in south London (Croydon), couple months in the north of London... born on the Durban bluff... lived in Escort / George / Kempton / PE / etc., etc.

M's just a little worried is all. She really is listening to everyone and I also appreciate feedback to this thread. I definitely know what I'll be assigned to in my non-interview time. :ilikeit:

My view is simple... I want to see and experience it all myself. If you don't live there or interact with the people there extensively, then most of what you "know" is hearsay IMHO. We've seen the eastern suburbs already... so I'm looking forward to exploring the west - and yes Mara, I'll come look at the not-so-far-away Sunbury. :ilikeit:

-G

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Hi Garrick, you are welcome, and look forward to meeting you.

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Oh boy that age old East vs West.

My family and I are front the northern suburbs of JHB.

I have been living in the West for 2 years now and I travel from there to Richmond each morning over the Westgate Bridge.

To be honest the traffic can get bad but with the new improvements it is a pleasure and you don’t HAVE to drive over the bridge there is alternatives which works out fine as well.

My kids are happy in school and we have made real close friends in the West.

I agree with Mara that a lot of people have not even been here in the West.

All in all you need to come explore for yourself. And I am happy to see you will be doing that.

You are more than welcome to hook up with me should you want to come out Hoppers Crossing / Tarneit way.

Good luck!

Nats

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I know that I ruffle a few feathers when I say that I'm not much of a fan of the West - I can understand, because if somebody was bagging my suburb, I'd probably feel the same.

I do have to reiterate though, like I said before, I do think there are some nice suburbs in the West, and I know quite a few people that are very happy in their particular suburbs, but when people ask for an honest opinion on the whole area, I tend to give it, because Estate agents and the like will never tell you the negative.

Just as there are nice suburbs in the West, there are crappy ones in the East (hey, I live in Pakenham, have you heard the jokes?) - it's just that I believe (and lets face it, house prices are a pretty good indicator) that on the whole, socio-economically, and crime-wise, the East in general has more positives.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Michelle

The whole Doncaster, Doncaster East, Donvale, Warrandyte, Templestowe area is full of South Africans. I've met so many people the few weeks that we have been here it is not even funny. I have a 3 year old and a 18 month old and they both have loads of friends already.

Westfield Doncaster Mall is stunning. They spend millions to upgrade it recently. You will find all the designer shops there if you are into that. There are loads of other smaller malls in the area and then very nice markets with fresh produce as well.

Schools: I am in your situasion - babies not school going age yet. I've got friends with kids in Milpark and Serpells (public) and then Donvale Christiaan College and Yarra Valley Grammar (private). They are all very happy. I will look closer to the time and do a bit more research.

Transport: My hubby also works in the city. He goes with the bus and it takes him 45 minutes. When we moved from Brisbane people mentioned Brighton etc in the east, but it was all very old houses with small properties in our price class - that is why we moved further out. A lot of people drive into the city from the North East with bikes or cars. They say it takes them anything from 25 minutes to 45 minutes.

If you landed and is close by we can meet up and I can introduce you to the other moms I know with same age kids - just PM me..

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The whole Doncaster, Doncaster East, Donvale, Warrandyte, Templestowe area is full of South Africans. I've met so many people the few weeks that we have been here it is not even funny. I have a 3 year old and a 18 month old and they both have loads of friends already.

Westfield Doncaster Mall is stunning. They spend millions to upgrade it recently. You will find all the designer shops there if you are into that. There are loads of other smaller malls in the area and then very nice markets with fresh produce as well.

Transport: My hubby also works in the city. He goes with the bus and it takes him 45 minutes. When we moved from Brisbane people mentioned Brighton etc in the east, but it was all very old houses with small properties in our price class - that is why we moved further out. A lot of people drive into the city from the North East with bikes or cars. They say it takes them anything from 25 minutes to 45 minutes.

Just to give Michelle and other readers the 'other side' of the coin, there are many South Africans all over Melbourne. I've bumped into more than expected just living where I am now (far away from Doncaster and surrounds). It's nice of course to meet fellow South Africans, but personally I don't 'get' the whole 'wanting to live where the other South Africans are' approach. Look, it's nice if it they're there, but to me, that's definitely not the first reason for deciding where to live. Not even close! The fact that someone just happens to be from the same country as I am does not necessarily mean we'll end up as best friends. I think friendship goes much deeper than geographical origin.

Then, the malls. Yes, Melbourne has some of the best (Chadstone is apparently the biggest in the southern hemisphere), BUT please free yourselves from that dreaded auto-pilot 'mall mentality' one is forced (for safety reasons) to have in South Africa and embrace the open shopping and entertainment venues...especially Melbourne offers so much more than just malls. If you don' know what I'm talking about, try the (lovely, fresh, open, atmosphere-filled) streetscapes like Little Collins St (city), Flinders Lane (city), Chapel Street (South Yarra), High Street (Malvern), Commercial Road (Prahran), Acland St (St Kilda), Bay St (Port Melbourne), Bay St (Brighton), Victoria Avenue (Albert Park), Bridge St (Richmond), GPO (Bourke St Mall -city), Melbourne Central (city), Lygon St (Carlton), Clarendon St (South Melbourne), Southgate (Southbank)...you get the point...there is an endless list. PM me for more.

Brighton small properties?...old houses? Can't really agree there...but whatever works for you. People will always look at things very differently (thank God for that). To me, 45 minutes'+ commute each way is unthinkable.

Anyway, the purpose of my post is to emphasise that there are MANY possibilities - don't be blind to them. There is not only one way of approaching where to live/shop or one area to concentrate on...you are in Australia; it'll be a shame to miss out on all the fantastic and diverse possiblities (that was sadly lacking in South Africa) this marvellous place offers.

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Her mom (my cousin) tells me that the 'problem teens' come from those areas...Cranbourne and the likes so to best avoid them!?

We have lived in Cranbourne for over 2 years now.... we LOVE it... never had a day's trouble... i am walking distance to my son's school, the local Centro Shopping Centre and the station.....

"problem teens" are exactly that..... and you get them EVERYWHERE.... so i cannot agree that they are "area bound"

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Glad to see this topic in the spotlight again as we arrive in Melbourne in 2 weeks and I need to decide on an area and find a house.

Thinking of Bentleigh East/ Doncaster/ Sanctuary Lakes.

All hugely different parts of Melbourne but all places that look nice.

@Kangaroo...I see you are in Port Melbourne which is somewhere I thought of but it seems to be all apartments?? And with a toddler that is sooo not gonna happen! Is that a correct observation?

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Michelle..when in the area to have a look-see (sanctuary lakes/point cook) drop by for a coffee ..im home most of the time :ilikeit:

Will send you a pm

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Kangaroo...I see you are in Port Melbourne which is somewhere I thought of but it seems to be all apartments?? And with a toddler that is sooo not gonna happen! Is that a correct observation?

Michelle, Port Melbourne has a nice mix of both Victorian cottages (some of them revamped as more modern cottages and most left with period frontages intact) as well as (well-proportioned) apartments. Some people (especially those who prefer a more typical South African 'modern' house look) can't stand the cottages and think of them as 'old' - personally I just LOVE them for their incredible character. And don't be fooled by their small facades - some of them are 4-bedroom homes (but most have 2 - 3 bedrooms).

Reason why Port Melbourne is so popular is that it offers direct access to the beaches - Port Melbourne, South Melbourne, Albert Park, Middle Park and St Kilda. It's also home to Station Pier (where the Spirit of Tasmania ferry docks on Port Phillip Bay) - this adds lots of character to the area with all the cruise ships docking here in summer. Bay Street is like a self-contained village with lots of cute little shops and restaurants as well as the must-have shops like Coles. The close proximity therefore in Port Melbourne to literally everything one could need is what attracts so many people. There are quite a few apartments in Port Melbourne - you're right - but apartment blocks (with the exeption of the HM@S building) are not allowed to go higher than 8 storeys. Because of Port Melbourne's proximity to the Melbourne CBD, you have stunning bay and city views.

Now, you'd think only singles or couples live here, but alas, no. There are young families here too - proof is the many moms (with their strollers/prams - and - dogs in tow) jogging/walking along the seawall (that stretches from Port Melbourne all the way to St Kilda, Elwood and Brighton). There's even a little play park for kids along the seawall (close to Portabella) that's technically already in Albert Park (neighbouring suburb).

...But I live on my own (single girl), so obviously I do look at things differently than say, parents with young kids.

The western side of Port Melbourne is called Beacon Cove and Garden City which contrasts with the Victorian cottage look and feel insofar as being very modern...very resort-like feel...reminds me of Umhlanga. Really beautiful. Although it's more modern on this side, it still has a lot of character.

Port Melbourne (along with neighbouring Albert Park, Middle Park, South Melbourne and St Kilda West) offers fantastic close proximity (4km to city) to Melbourne CBD - there are 3 tram lines running across this group of suburbs, making travel to and from work just a breeze. Best of all is you can be home after work in the city in 15 minutes' time, leaving enough time for the beach (if so inclined) or taking a nice walk along the beach/ beautiful streets.

Depending on your budget, I'd say have a look at these areas too. You will save yourself a LOT of time with regard to travelling/commuting. Keep in mind that in Oz people tend to live more 'outwardly' (i.e. spend more time outdoors) than staying inside (like we all did in South Africa)....still I know it's different for everyone, and everyone has to make decisions based on what works best for them and what they prefer.

I love Port Melbourne (landed up here by pure chance, luck and fate rolled into one) and wouldn't want to leave here (or surrounding areas) for anything in the world...it's my seaside village dream come true...with the city literally a stone's throw away. In the same breath though, I can say that there are many other areas in Melbourne that I truly like too...we are beyond lucky - all of us - to have so many great choices!

Read more here about Albert Park, Port Melbourne, South Melbourne...good luck with all your decisions...and your upcoming move! :ilikeit:

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