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Canberra areas and schools


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Hi all the Canberrans and "going to be Canberrans"

I know there's been a little bit of talk about which arease to stay in Canberra on the forum, but not an actually up to date chat that i can find.

I'd appreciate any information on subburbs - which are nice or not, or affordable or pricey, etc. We are looking for a neighbourhood close to parks, etc, and not necessarily too close to city centres.

And schools - which are good or bad. Apparently most of the schools are good. We will need a pre-school and a primary school, so it would be great if we can find on that offers both, for daughter age 4 and son age 6.

It would be great to narrow down a few before we get there.

Your help is appreciated as always!!!

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As most said before we came their are no really bad areas and at your level of schooling no really bad ones either. Our preference was for the north of Canberra and Gungahlin in particular. A lot of fairly new suburbs and about 15 - 30 mins from Civic (Canberra Centre) depending on traffic and time of day. We live in Nicholls close to schools. I see kangaroos, sheep, horses and cows on my way to work most morning! There are two Primary schools literally across the car park from each other and they share the hall and library. We initially sent our 6 yr old to the government school (Gold Creek) but she found it difficult to adjust, the kids are a bit more robust (in our opinion) and things seemed a bit unstructered. She did get a lot of support as they seem to be ahead in reading here. The teachers were very supportive but she did not really settle. Fees are about $80 a year! I went to an asembly and found it very unstructured and a little chaotic.

We moved her to Holy Spirit Catholic School which is more structured and kids less robust. we are happy with the move. A preprimary also adjoins the schools and each school has kindegarten years. A government highschool is close by and a new Catholic School is being built. Plenty of playing fields and astroturf fields adjoining schools. Fees are more at Catholic school around $750 a term but worth it in our opinion!

As far as other suburbs are concerned. Forde is quite nice and new although as with all new suburbs expect tiny yards with plots ranging from 297 square meters to 5/600! A nature reserve adjoins Forde. Casey is a new suburb close to Nicholls and has some great views to make up for the small blocks. Springbank Rise is also a new suburb with views close by, but a little far to any shops and schools if you call a 5 min drive to school far and 10-15 mins to shops far. Crace & Palmerston are not too far and is between Nicholls and civic. Amaroo is not bad and has a very large school from kindy to year 12. Good Shepard Catholic School is also located there. Ngunnawal is between Nicholls and Amaroo. We weren't very partial to this area for some reason. Bonner is a new area we also weren't taken by.

We also didn't really feel comfortable with Belconen although other people are very happy and you can find bigger blocks there. The Brumbies rugby stadium is in Bruce a suburb of Belconen, only about 10 mins drive from us. What they do here is spread housing commission housing around so you need to drive around yourself when you get here to get the real feel. Rents are currently under pressure to come down a little but are still high at on average $520 - $630+ depending and it is a real process to apply to rent a place. Gungahlin town centre has all you want and is currently very new and developing with a cinima and public pool etc. being built. Gunghalin Club (you will only get this concept when you get here!!!) is close by and has a golf course as does Nicholls.

Hope that sort of helps a bit biased but we are very happy. One day when we are big we would like to buy a property in Hall.

Go onto the Allhomes website and check out places to rent you can get an idea of the suburbs pricing, map orientation with satelite and streetviews. then do the google earth thing.

Finally when we came we stayed 2 weeks in the Canberra Motor Village and drove all over before settling on an area. Everyone has there own reasons for settling in an area but nothing beats actually standing in an area to get the feel!

Good Luck

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I drove a lot in the South on my 1st visit and focused on the North on my 2nd visit and still its a very difficult decision.

In the South the houses are older, larger and there are more trees, its very green. But when I search for housing in the South it seems a little scarce. Areas that I particularly liked is Duffy, Kingston and Griffith, but the last 2 are very expensive and more for tourists.

Does not really matter which area you choose, you will always be near a park, that is the beauty of Canberra. Each small suburb has parks and recreational areas, and then there are the larger parks, which are just beautiful. One park we thoroughly enjoyed was next to the lake in Belconnen, next to the Uni

I think we will probably stay in the North though. I chose Amaroo Primary as it sounds and looks like a very good school and I know of several people who'se kids are/were happy there. Therefore my choice of suburb to stay is also Amaroo and our search for housing is focused on Amaroo and Bonner. Bonner is much more expensive, and farther from anything so I dont really get why rent is more, its also very new so very few trees.

Amaroo is beautiful, there are trees at least (Im a bunny-hugger :) ) and lots of very nice houses. A friend told me if I want to see if an area is a bit less than desired, look for the tread marks on the street (bogans) and although this is very subjective, for this reason I didnt like Ngunnawal.

Of course my view is limited as Im not there yet, I just drove around a lot to get a feel for the suburbs. Enjoy the suburb hunting, its part of the fun!

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  • 3 weeks later...

We live in Amaroo, my son goes to Amaroo school, love the school he fitted in so well, there are a lot of South Africans here in the North of Canberra.

Most important before the school will accept your child's application you will have to have an address in the catchment area.

My 3 bedroom townhouse which is in walking distance from the school will be available at the end of the year as we are moving to the Gold Coast.

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Shaz - when exactly will it be available?

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Shaz, I want to say I am jealous - because I would love to live near the coast again - but then I do realise that it hasn't been too easy for you in Canberra. Hope you find happiness and success on the Gold Coast.

Mandy - try not stress too much about suburbs, in RSA we refer to "bad" suburbs as no go zones - we don't really have no go zones. I probably live in the most dodgiest of suburbs in the ACT and I am very happy and content and sleep very well at night. Over the years I have tried to pinpoint a bad area - but crime - when it does occur - occurs randomly both north and south side.

I am a south sider, happened more from circumstance than choice, but I think I will forever be a south sider. There are also a lot of Saffers this side, just not on the forum because they have been here for too many years. Either side of the lake will not disappoint and your lifestyle and freedom will be much of a muchness. Rent wise, house price wise, also the same. But as others have said, chose your school then try get into that feeder area.

If I did have to move up North, my choice would be Nicholls - and if my kids were still at school going age I would put them into Bergman Anglican. My children - teens when we arrived - did not adjust to the way public schools operate here. I agree with Wendean - unstructured and a little chaotic. But that's my children.

Canberra shouldn't disappoint, and there are so many of us willing to make your settling in as smooth as possible.

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Awesome, thanks guys.

Sorry to hear you haven't had any job luck, ShazPas, but hope you manage to make it work on the coast.

I know that you need to live in the area to get your kids into a school, so I guess we'll have to nail a rental quickly to do that.

Gad to hear there aren't any bad areas though.

We've been running around the suburbs on Google Earth, which does help give you an idea of what the places look like. It's just kinds funny when you move from one spot where its clearly cold and overcast to the next street where its all bright and sunny. it makes it hard to compare. But fun all the same.

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