Jump to content



Recommended Posts

Hi All,

We just wanted to say hello and tell you our story so far.

Our visas have been approved, the house sold and the plane tickets booked for November. My work office is in Coburg, so we are looking at nice areas close to this to stay with the importance based on good schools for the kids (11 & 7).

We seem to be attracted to Doncaster. It seems like a beautiful area with good schools. Obviously this is only based on what we can see on the internet. Are any of the members here based in Doncaster?

The biggest thing for us is finding the right schools and then finding a house in that catchment area. We have pre-registered and uploaded the relevant documents in order to arrange a rental quicker but would like to know if there is anything else we can do to give us an edge?

We are also going to have to rent a furnished place for a week or two until our furniture arrives. We are also going to have to rent a car to get around until we have financed one. So much to do and no idea where to go.

Any advice would be truly appreciated...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can probably lookup high schools by how well they did in the VCE. The VCE is the matrix in Victoria. Google found this site:


Also, have a look at a site called Www.peoplelikeu.com.au. Fill in a dummy profile, e.g. you earn $50 000 per year and live in Coburg. It could find 10 people like u. Then fill it in again and say you earn $70 000 and if it finds 100 people like you, then you have a good indication that earning $50 000 isn't enough for Coburg, I.e. Most of the residents of your age earn $70 000 and not $50 000.

I would highly advise you ask google maps for directions to your office from where ever you rent. Ask it how long it would take on the public transport from home to work to arrive at 9am on a Monday morning.

I would even go so far as to wake up at 8am Melbourne time on a week day and look at Google maps. It shows traffic hotspots in red. NB google shows the current traffic hotspots. So looking at it at 10pm Melbourne time is useless. And you might want to look at the traffic at 5pm in a Friday. Aussies seem to go places after work in a Friday which makes the traffic especially bad

You could think about moving to a suburb where you can get to work with avoiding the really bad traffic.

Oh and Realestate.com.au does nice suburb profiles, e.g.


And lastly, don't try to rent an apartment from here. When we got our place in Sydney, the Realestate agent forced me to go and see it. I assume it just covered their butts a little.

Besides, you will want to look around at other properties just to make you feel comfortable that you selected the right one.

Edited by monsta
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can also take a look at Airbnb for that short rental the first two weeks. They sometimes have pleasant surprises in terms of cost and features. And you'll probably be living on the same property as locals, or it will be a less formal arrangement involving the rental of a second property of theirs, so chances are that you'll be able to talk to the owners, perhaps get their perspective on the area? I can see you have a family, with two small children (lovely profile pic), this might make your options on Airbnb a bit limited, I don't know.

But it's worth taking a look at, at least. And I mention it, because it doesn't generally get covered in the renting advice places.

Good luck!

Oh! And the google trick is a neat one, I didn't know about the realtime part.

Edited by RedPanda
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Doncaster is a lovely area, however, unless the homes have been updated, they are generally older homes. You may like to look at Greensborough, Bundoora, and Macleod, all lovely suburbs as well and closer to Coburg.

I cannot help with schools, but I am sure other forumites will.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Monsta - Thanks for all of the links. I have them opened and will check them out now. Google maps is a winner. I use it quite often here on my mobile when I am planning routes. I like the real time feature that it has, especially if there is an accident on the route you have chosen as it will guide you around the accident.

RedPanda - I have actually downloaded the Airbnb, realestate & domain apps on my phone. I have also looked the the Airbnb web site. It looks like we should be able to find a nice place to stay, just until we get ourselves organised. The places are a little bit expensive so hopefully our container of furniture will not be delayed and we can move into our own place as soon as possible.

Mara - Thanks. We will take a look at the other areas that you have suggested.

As I mentioned, the main thing for us is the schools. Now that I have the tip with the VCE school ranking, this will help to narrow down the best schools and then we can find accommodation in the correct catchment area.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Itchyfeet, you have to remember that a lot of people look for good schools in the area. In fact real estate agents will advertise the schools their properties are in the catchment areas for.

So, suburbs that fall in the catchment areas for good schools are going to be expensive. That's why I suggested you play around with Www.peoplelikeu.com.au. It's real data from bank called ubank.

It's super tempting to think, "we can cut back on entertainment and live in XXX suburb". But it gets hard when your kids want to go to the movies with friends and your entertainment budget is super tiny. If peoplelikeu says a family like yours spends $300 per month on entertainment, I would put that figure into my budget plans.

Remember, if you were say a Charted Accountant in RSA. Then you would be in the wealthist 5%. Here you would be in the wealthiest 40%. Remember only about 12% of RSA is properly first world. 100% of Aussie is 1st world.

Add to that the wealthiest 10% here have huge property portfolios. I.e. they made their $$$ through inheritances and/or investments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Monsta has offered some great advice (as usual), though a couple things to be aware of.

These sites and lists of schools are just a good starting points, but there are many discrepancies based on a bunch of figures and the changing landscape of Sydney for example, that are not accounted for.

Starting with schools, our son's school doesn't have great NAPLAN results, which is what a lot of people tend to base things on. But then when the headmaster of the school took over it 6 years ago there were only 65 students, they couldn't fill a kindy class, now they have 5 kindy class and 1 combined year 1 + kindy class, have over 300 students and already have 33 kindy enrollments for next year.

It's bursting at seams and have been granted a $7-million to build new facilities to house the students. Under the headmaster reign the school has pulled itself up to be the fastest growing school in NSW and a flagship for the education system, the Lord Major using it as an example for the future of education (Smart Screens, Tablets etc).

But it only JUST makes the top 100 Sydney schools, because in 2014 they barely had enough kids to write the NAPLAN tests in Maths and English, last year the school only 270+ students vs the #1 school which has close on 1,000+

Just do your homework, that's all, I think it's silly to move to a place using only those results.

Likewise with PeopleLikeU, there are only 25+ people who are 'like us' in our suburb, because according to it 3 times as many earn half of what we do, but that's because the area is still catching up, daily, as this part of Sydney grows with new families.

In our block of 32 units, we now have 5 Mom's who are pregnant for the first time and 2 other families with infants, our children are a lot older, but the area is changing. There were only 25,000 people here 5-6 years ago, now there are 40,000 and by 2030, 75,000 are expected to live here and more are starting families in the City, where they used to commute in from the Inner West, where based on the same inputs have 120 people like us.

So on the upside, yes, if you there are more people like you great, but you might find there are less, but only because you are ahead of the curve, though I agree that as Monsta shared it's a GREAT tool, but be aware that there are caveats.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks again Monsta.

We played around with the ubank tool last night. With the information we used it gave us 10 similar people for the area of Doncaster. This is mainly due to the fact, as you say, that the majority of people in our age group own their properties, whereas we will be renting. The other thing we found from playing with the answers is that the majority of people in Doncaster are married with families, own their properties and earn within the AU$50 - AU$75 salary bracket. The living expenses is very interesting. We have put together our own budget based on information found on the net and from speaking to my sister who stays in Sydney. This was pretty much spot on compared to the figures ubank gave. This means that there is a very small budget leftover for a couple of beers and a bar-b-q.

Hi Matt. Yes, we have researched the primary schools as well. The school we like also didn't have a good rating on the site provided. I suppose at the end of the day we need to get in our car, drive around and look for ourselves. It is not possible to get a proper feeling of an area from the web. It is more of a starting point.

Edited by itchyfeet
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And google street view also helps quite a bit, but we found out in Belgrave that street view does not give you anywhere near an accurate feeling for the incline of a road. We were absolutely gobsmacked at the angles of driveways and streets that were paved or tarred!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@RedPanda Yes, we have been using this quite a lot as well. We've taken quite a few 'virtual' walks around different neighborhoods to see what they are like. Just as an indication and to make the 'short' list, shorter!

I've never really considered the topography within Google maps before, but now that you mention it, the places do seem rather 'flat'. Very interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Itchy regarding Doncaster bear in mind it is not on the train line, but does have a good park and ride for busses.

Regarding Mara's comment that the houses are older, yes they are older than a house built in 2000, but are a lot younger than the Victorian style houses you find close to Coburg. Lots of Saffas in Templestowe and Lower Templestowe which is just next door to Doncaster. There is also a Saffa shop in Lower Templestowe.

I would definitely not discard Doncaster, but it is quite far from Coburg (there is a freeway into the city but it gets really busy in the morning).

Doncaster also has a good mall, and is an easy drive out to the far out eastern suburbs (I think Sibella is only 20 minutes from Doncaster).

From Doncaster you have relatively easy access to the eastern suburbs of Camberwell and Hawthorn, which are nice suburbs to shop in or go for a coffee or a meal. There are also a lot of private schools in the Kew area if you are thinking of private, but there is a school close to Templestowe which is cheaper than the Kew private schools and has a good rep (I can try and find the name if you are interested). You can also access large outdoor areas - there is a great big nature reserve close but).

Ps - I definitely wouldn't stay in Coburg.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Sunny. I need to still get my head around the whole public transport thing. It hasn't even crossed my mind to be close to a station for either buses or trains. I work within the construction industry so will rely on my car to get to and from the office in Coburg and to my various building sites scattered around Melbourne. I will be the only one with a car to start with, so this will be quite important for my wife.

At the moment we are not even looking at the private schools. Financially, it is not really an option. I think this is also why we have levitated around Doncaster as we really like the look of the public schools there.

It's funny, as Coburg has never been an option. Just never liked the look of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Check with your employer whether they will provide you with a vehicle, it is fairly common in the construction industry due to the driving. Then hopefully your wife can drive your car! :)

Be warned that if she has to rely on public transport then Doncaster will be tough as it only has busses. You will then need to live close to a bus route.

Yes I believe the schools in the area aren't bad, but I don't know them. There is a fairly big Asian community in Doncaster, which will help ensure the school is good, as they are demanding parents!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The public transport in and around Melbourne is imho excellent! It runs efficiently, the carriages are reasonably clean, and the fare is fair, hehehe.. And provided you can just get onto it, the system can take you just about anywhere. But it does sometimes take a long time to get to some of the suburbs if you need to take busses and change over, compared to just driving there directly by car.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sitting with the following pages open on different tabs:



-google maps


Now I just need tabs for bus stops and train stations :D

Do any of you have personal experience with any of these areas?





-Pascoe Vale





Again, many thanks for the info.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Itchyfeet,

I know Doncaster very well - I live in Balwyn North which is the next suburb over.

I will say the following (and no, I haven't been drinking) -

Melbourne is shaped like a dragon and Doncaster is the head of the dragon this means it is extremely popular with the Aus Chinese community. This means one of two things - good standards of education and high property prices. It's a great suburb and if we hadn't been able to move to Balwyn North, we would have chosen Doncaster. It has a great shopping centre which I spend a great deal of time at. It's green, leafy and pretty. I am suburbs girl - I like trees and parks.

It doesn't have a train or tram so getting to Coburg will mean using the bus or driving. I have no experience with this so I can't help.

My personal experience with the following suburbs

-Brunswick - great for socialising and shops but it's an urban area so lots of concrete and graffiti. Great for going out to dinner, wouldn't live there.

-Preston - nope - it's nicknamed De-Preston. Concrete area, not my thing

-Essendon - Quite nice, I think but very limited experience.

-Reservoir - no

-Greensborough - a lot like Doncaster - green, hilly, quite far from the city.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Shellfish,

Thanks for the awesome info.

I have just checked Balwyn North on Google maps. It looks like it has a lot of park areas. Looks very nice. I too prefer trees and grass to concrete and tarmac. Never really been a city person.

I like the sound of Greensborough as well based on what you have said. And Box Hill North? The schools there also look nice. Only thing is, I seem to be moving more and more further away from Coburg!

Do you have any experience with the schools in Balwyn North?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...