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Finding the right area or suburb of Melbourne to live in is an important step for all new arrivals to the city. The neighbourhood becomes an expat's immediate community and will shape day-to-day experiences such as commuting, shopping, entertainment and, for those with children, schooling.
When choosing housing in Melbourne, a good starting point is to consider the kind of lifestyle one is looking for: convenient city living, beachside sun and sand, family-oriented comfort or an alternative, lively area.
City-dweller areas in Melbourne
Docklands is a bustling riverside suburb comprised of architecturally-stunning apartment buildings. The area is popular with couples and young professional singles and couples, particularly high-flying business types who work late in the Melbourne CBD. While pricey, apartments in this area are typically modern with facilities such as gyms and other mod cons on site, not to mention unrivalled views of the Yarra River.
Port Melbourne is a fairly recently renovated suburb which offers inner-city bayside living for the executive set looking for class and convenience. One of the more expensive suburbs in Melbourne, Port Melbourne attracts young couples and singles who find that the apartment lifestyle affords a convenience well worth the rental cost. Residents can walk or take easy public transport to almost anywhere in the city area.
Beachside living in Melbourne
The community of Black Rock is known to be friendly and welcoming, and expats are sure to feel at home in no time. This family friendly suburb is a great place to raise children thanks to the excellent schools in the area as well as the lifestyle.
Black Rock has countless options for healthy outdoor activities, most notably on the nearby beach, but also in the local parks, sports facilities and walking/cycling trails. For adults, the countless cafés and restaurants provide an additional source of entertainment.
On any given sunny summer’s evening in Williamstown, it feels like everyone’s on holiday. The beachside park fills with locals and nearby residents, all out to make the most of the long warm days. This seaside suburb is just a short train ride away, but it feels like the urban sprawl has been left far behind.
Historic buildings and impressive old homes add to the ‘country town’ feel of Williamstown – though, unfortunately, they also add to the housing costs, which are on the pricey side. The suburb has a great family atmosphere, but the cute cafés and eateries also make it a popular area with young professionals who want to live somewhere a bit removed from the city hubbub.
Young and hip areas in Melbourne
Well suited for singles and couples, Brunswick is an edgy but unpretentious suburb with plenty of cafés, restaurants and bars. Situated just a few miles from the city centre, Brunswick residents tend to shun cars and opt for the convenience of tram travel. A place where anyone can fit in, Brunswick is a hive of creativity and unconventionality packed with culture and diversity.
For the convenience of city living but the friendliness of suburbia, Richmond is a hard suburb to beat. Parts of Richmond are walking distance to the Central Business District, and the whole suburb is well connected by public transport.
Richmond is a large suburb filled with fantastic eateries and shopping, and it attracts a variety of residents from young professionals and small funky families to tattooed and pierced students. The area is rapidly growing in popularity and there's frequent construction work, which can be inconvenient. Still, for those who want to be in the beating multicultural heart of Melbourne, there’s no better place.
Family-friendly areas in Melbourne
Although it lies close to the city centre, Hawthorn has a distinctly refined suburban feel to it. It's a stunning leafy suburb with plenty of large freestanding homes as well as cheaper apartment options, largely thanks to its status as a university suburb. The proximity of the main Deakin University campus influences prices, resulting in some less expensive housing and shopping options for expats looking to save money.
A leafy bayside town only a few miles from the city, Sandringham has a relaxed, family-friendly feeling tempered by a touch of prestige. The houses are often gorgeous examples of fine old architecture and lavish layouts. Expats don’t have to leave the suburb for great food, and the suburb's handy little shopping village looks like it’s been lifted from a country town. There are plenty of fine schools nearby, so it’s a good place to set up house for those with children.
►Accommodation in Melbourne provides an overview of the city's property market
Image credits: Docklands by Lloyd Williams (Unsplash), Black Rock by Bob Tan (Wikimedia Commons), Cityscape by Pat Whelen (Unsplash), Burwood by Mitchell Luo (Unsplash)
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