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Melbourne suburb shortlist - Insight please!


GKatherine

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GKatherine

Hi everybody, I have compiled a shortlist (ha! it is only 34 suburbs short :) ) of suburb options.  Please advise/criticise/comment/warn/advocate...

Ok, just some background.  I will be working in Melbourne CBD, so I compiled this list based on commute to the closest train station (Southern Cross) to my work, homely rankings, previous comments on the forum, and a number of other website rankings. It is me, hubby and two preschoolers, so schools are a factor.

My company will be giving me an accommodation allowance for 4 weeks, so we want to make the most out of this time to check out all the areas whilst staying in AirBnB.  Estimate is that the container will arrive 5 - 6 weeks after our arrival, so we might add another week or two of AirBnB to scout areas.

The plan is to stay in three general areas, and then drive to the places close by and check the actual commute time to work, etc.

 

Ok, so I grouped the areas according to 6 main areas, according to preference to stay.

 

1. Bay/beach area (I understand commute is longer but you have the advantage that trains are empty since you potentially start at the start of the line.  This will be our first stay, with a bit of a holiday for the kids)

- Elsternwick
- Mentone
- Brighton
- Elwood
- Bentleigh

 

2. East(ish)

- Blackburn
- Brunswick East
- Camberwell
- Ashwood
- Malvern East
- Mount Waverley
- Templestowe Lower
- Hawthorne

 

3. North West

- Sunbury (@Mara, pretty much convinced this will be our #1 destination if we go with this area, but want to check out other option as well)
- Bacchus Marsh

 

4. North(ish)

- Kew East    
- Fairfield    
- Kew    
- Montmorency    
- Moonee Ponds    
- Essendon    
- Greensborough     
- Ivanhoe    
- Pascoe Vale      
- Heidelberg Heights    
- Preston    
- Brunswick    

 

5. Relatively close to the CBD

- Williamstown
- Spotswood
- Prahran
- Yarraville
- Kensington
- East Melbourne

 

6. West

- Altona North

 

I know opinions differ, but any input would be appreciated.  Obviously my list is too long and we now need to start making bookings so input please... Thank you!

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I think you'll easily be able to view all these areas in 2 weeks if you have your own car (rental or bought). Will be extremely difficult on public transport though, especially with kids. These areas are actually not that far from each other but you'll want to explore them.

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GKatherine

Thank you @Spazmaz.  Any of these areas that you could recommend or rather would avoid?

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We have lived in Elsternwick and Sunbury

 

Elsternwick (cafe's and a nice place not too far from the beach, quite busy) - benefits over many of the other eastern lines is that the train commute is generally less busy.  Many of the other lines have trains coming from a distance and would be busy this close in.  It used to take approx 16 mins to get to the CBD - but note the train goes to Flinders and NOT around the loop - you mention you are heading to Southern Cross then in relating to trains coming in from the Sandringham line add another 10-15 mins. 

 

Rent wise for the rent of a two bed flat in Elsternwick you are looking at a very nice 3-4 bed detached property in Sunbury.

 

Sunbury (cockatoo heaven at the moment morning and evening fly-bys - love the place)

The train takes 45-50 mins to the CBD - it goes around the loop.  There is also a Vline train that goes direct to Southern cross - 30-35 mins - but less trains only about 1 an hour (comfy and rarely busy). 

 

Edited by TeeTMI
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@GKatherine I will only comment on those that I am fairly familiar with:

 

4. North(ish)

- Kew East    - Fine
- Fairfield    - Not for me
- Kew    - Fine
- Montmorency    - Fine
- Moonee Ponds    - Fine
- Essendon    - Fine
- Greensborough    - Fine
- Ivanhoe    - Fine
- Pascoe Vale       - Not for me
- Heidelberg Heights    - Some parts are fine
- Preston    - Not for me
- Brunswick    - Not for me

 

5. Relatively close to the CBD

- Williamstown - lovely but very pricey
- Spotswood No idea
- Prahran - fine
- Yarraville fine
- Kensington -fine
- East Melbourne - fine

 

6. West

- Altona North - - Not for me

 

You should go to www.realestate.com.au and check out the rental and purchase prices of homes in the areas that you like, or that have been recommended. If you want to stick to a budget, that will quickly get rid of a lot of the suburbs that you have mentioned... unless of course you are willing to pay in excess of $700 per week.

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GKatherine

Thank you @TeeTMI, much appreciated.  Do you have recommendations for short term accommodations in these two areas?  We are thinking AirBnB, but other suggestions are welcome.

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GKatherine

Thanks @Mara, will check out that website.  Always appreciate your feedback.

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RedPanda
On 16/02/2017 at 9:44 PM, GKatherine said:

  We are thinking AirBnB, but other suggestions are welcome.

 

Our experience with AirBnb has been exceptionally good. I found it helps to stay with a local family for the first while. I don't know how widespread it is, but the original idea of AirBnb is that travellers can stay with locals who want to talk to travellers. So the idea is that the hosts actually interact with the guests. We had lovely hosts, and are still friends with them. Their local knowledge and advice aided us tremendously. I also think it helped that we stayed with them for two months.

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Just a comment on what Mara said. There are many temporary accomodation sites. But if you want to get a cheaper place... The cheaper places generally have worse public transport. No tourist wants to come to Melbourne only to spend hours on the public transport getting places. But when you are a new migrant, you have plenty of time!

 

For example, when I first moved out... our temporary rental was a bachelor flat in Mosman (in Sydney). Mosman is an upper class suburb where most people drive. So the public transport was terrible. We started going to a church in our chosen suburb. It took us 1.5 hours to get there on the public transport from Mosman. If we had a car it would have taken less than 30 minutes. 

 

But making those sacrifices saved us a packet... We were paying +- $600 per week... which for Sydney was quite cheap. We could easily have paid $150 per night for a room.

 

But if you take my advise, become an expert on google maps. Google maps can tell you how long trips take on the public transport. So, when short listing temporary rentals, ask Google things like how long it would take to get to a grocery shop at 8pm at night. Or what is the latest you can travel back from the CBD? You obviously won't like the answer on a cheaper rental... but at least you know before you sign up for it ;)

 

 

 

 

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GKatherine

Thank you all for the comments and advise.

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  • 1 month later...

@GKatherine

Curious as to where you eventually decided to settle. This suburb choice dilemma is keeping me awake at night. We're keen on the SE and NE suburbs.

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GKatherine

Hi @Husky. We are in Sunbury :D We tried various areas with AirBnB. Some could work for us, some definitely not. We got really mixed opinions (some actually quite negative) whenever we asked people about Sunbury, but I told my husband we had to at least see it for ourselves.... at the sight of the first park the kids were sold, and the view and open spaces and my husband were sold. I am very lucky that I have a flexible time arrangement with my boss. So in the mornings I get the Vline and some afternoons as well. That way my commute is actually shorter (and much more comfortable) than when we stayed in areas 10kms from the CBD. So far it is working for us and in our situation, Sunbury seems to agree with the kids. And that is most important!

Good luck with the decision. What I have learned is that you really have to drive around when here to get a feel for a place. I did so much research, compared rankings and ratings, looked at schools and transport options.... and some of my higher ranked suburbs just didnt feel right. For now we are happy here :)

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Thanks @GKatherine

I am also totally into the feel of a place, so plan to drive around a little when we go over in July to activate. Take care.

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1 hour ago, GKatherine said:

We are in Sunbury

 

@Mara will LOVE this comment as Sunbury is where she calls home :D

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RedPanda

Yea, it just confirms that you have to see the place for yourself before you make a final decision. Come over and scope it out. And if you are interested in a place, go look at it. Other people tell you what they would choose, which the best guess anyone can really give. So just go see for yourself.

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Yup, I keep on telling people... Sunbury is loooooooooooooovely... fortunately, not all of them believe me!

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  • 4 weeks later...

We are in Doncaster (next to Templestowwe) and really love it. Great rental, great school, very neat and tidy suburb - we live next to the main bus stop for the area as well walking distance to a park and our primary school. One thing though is that we can't buy here, too expensive. So as Mara often tells people - rent where you can eventually buy! :) Templestowe Lower, Templestowe and Doncaster, Doncaster East and Donvale are all on top of each other and I really ca't see where one stops and the other starts - they are all great. Schools in the area are all very good as well, as well as a great mall in the area.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi all just need some insight into experiences from Melbourne newbies in terms of securing accommodation in Melbourne. We are stressing so much as we arrive in Melbourne next week and need to secure rental home so we can register the kids into new schools for 2018. We worried if we will be able to secure a rental before the schools close towards end December? Surburbs we targeting are Caroline Springs, Doreen, and Sunbury.

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SimpleSimon

Looking at the map, Sunbury looks way out from the CBD which has positives and negatives. I always liked the SE/E. We started in Prahran which I didn’t much care for as it was too cramped but it was convenient. We moved to Mount Waverley which was nice, pretty and near a lot of places. My brother lived in East Bentleigh which was very convenient but too flat and domesticated for my liking. Doncaster is great - lovely houses but a bit far out for me.

Given a choice I’d live in .......... Sydney.

Edited by SimpleSimon
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15 hours ago, SimpleSimon said:

Looking at the map, Sunbury looks way out from the CBD which has positives and negatives. I always liked the SE/E. We started in Prahran which I didn’t much care for as it was too cramped but it was convenient. We moved to Mount Waverley which was nice, pretty and near a lot of places. My brother lived in East Bentleigh which was very convenient but too flat and domesticated for my liking. Doncaster is great - lovely houses but a bit far out for me.

Given a choice I’d live in .......... Sydney.

 

We used to live in Elsternwick (a little closer to the CBD than Bentleigh) we also found it cramped - we also found it a bit flat. 

We now live in Sunbury and love the fact that as soon as we are out of the main town we are in fields and countryside.  We had looked at the Heidleberg / Eltham / Diamond Creek / Mitcham areas but as my OH needed to change trains in the CBD for work if we lived that side the commute time was faster to the CBD from Sunbury (45 mins)

 

If you know where you will be working then it is useful to look at the commute times if working in the CBD as Melbourne is massive. https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/journey

Many people would use public transport if working in the CBD if their firm does not provide parking.

 

 

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We are in Tarneit (West). Everything is very close by and new, as well as affordable. We are looking at moving out to Bacchas Marsh, which has more of a country feeling (want to buy a house).  I drive my car into Port Melbourne daily, depending on traffic, it can take anything from 25 min to 1 hour and it is only 22km away. Although there is public transport available, we do not use it at present. We liked Caroline Springs as well. Decide what you like, a more city feeling or country lifestyle.

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