Best areas to raise a family in Melbourne

As the cultural capital of Australia, it’s no surprise that Melbourne’s vast metropolitan area – all 8,806 square kilometres of it – is richly varied, from its leafy outer suburbs to its vibrant inner core. Finding the right suburb for your next home can be challenging in any city. Add a young family into consideration and the diverse sprawl of Melbourne into the mix and the task is even more difficult.

Here’s our guide to the best suburbs in Melbourne for raising a family, and our reasons why.

Hawthorn

When it comes to Melbourne’s best suburbs for families, Hawthorn is an obvious choice: just six kilometres east of the city, it has plenty of train and tram links, great shopping and over a dozen neighbouring schools to choose from. Though surrounded by some of Melbourne’s most well-heeled suburbs, Hawthorn managed to escape the stuffiness of Toorak and the party scene of Carlton. Hawthorn’s streets are safe and as far as suburbia goes, quite pretty, and the range and quality of its restaurants mirror the suburb’s ethnic diversity. Sporting facilities, youth clubs and other public amenities also abound. The only downside? The secret’s out and the area has seen a median house price growth of 244% over the past ten years, meaning family homes can be expensive.

Elsternwick

Yes, yes, it was once the home of the most famous brothel in the country, but don’t let that put you off this little gem of a suburb. Elsternwick is our pick for city-slickers who are looking to raise their young in a safe, family-friendly environment without losing proximity to the culture and thrills of the big city. Just nine kilometres out of Melbourne, particularly close to buzzing St Kilda, Elsternwick has plenty of its cafes, bars and a boutique or two, with a sufficiently urban vibe yet also the quietness, safety and proximity to prestigious schools that parents will love. With an Eastern European Jewish feel (bagel addicts will be at home here!), historic Victorian-era shopfronts and Classic Cinema, one of Melbourne’s oldest theatres, Elsternwick has a whimsical appeal.

Carnegie

Leafy, quiet Carnegie is on the rise. Family-oriented yet vibrant, peaceful yet only 12 kilometres south-east of the city centre (and with well-developed public transport connections), Carnegie offers all the pros of Melbourne suburbia without the cons. Its dining scene is eclectic, its range of facilities formidable, boasting several parks, gyms and a wealth of schools catering for all income brackets. Shopping opportunities are also plentiful, as the suburb is but a few minutes’ drive from Chadstone (or ‘Chaddy’ as locals know it), one of the largest shopping centres in the Southern Hemisphere. For a friendly neighbourhood with wide streets, chirping birds and newly-built homes at a reasonable price, you can’t go past Carnegie.

Mernda

Tree-lined, hilly and pretty, Mernda is popular among young families. As a quiet little spot some 30 kilometres north-east of Melbourne, with plenty of amenities, two primary schools, several colleges and two universities within reach, it’s easy to see why. Wetlands, parks and Red River gums surround Mernda, offering a scenic backdrop if you’re after a semi-rural lifestyle for your young family. Best of all, recent road improvements and expansion of public transport in neighbouring suburbs have improved Mernda’s access to the city, while prime real estate in Melbourne has increased with Stockland opening residential villages.

Ferny Creek

Ferny Creek: the name epitomises the suburb. Sheltered amid bushland and flora, surrounded by conservation zones and national parks – the Dandenong Ranges and Sherbrooke Forest to name a few – Ferny Creek is a picturesque greenie’s paradise of a suburb. It offers all the benefits you’d expect of a rural community, like large residential blocks,  a close-knit, friendly atmosphere, beautiful natural environment and low crime (in fact, the lowest per capita crime rate of any Melburnian suburb) – all of this only 33 kilometres south-east of the buzzing Melbourne CBD. For all the tranquillity and peace of Ferny Creek though, it feels worlds away.

Author bio: Marie Donaghue is a freelance writer from Melbourne who loves exploring all her city has to offer.

 
 

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