‘olidays are over! Back to work!
Being in Australia with my probable future family-in-law, and being bombarded with less-than-subtle – but definitely appreciated – hints that I should move there, has given me a bit of a kick up the backside. As much as I enjoy my job and really do know how good I’ve got it, I’m probably going to need to start a career at some point. Y’know, in an industry. With room for promotions and stuff. And get mortgage. Urgh. That topic in itself is probably best left for another day.
Anyway, I’ve been looking at eventually moving to Melbourne (at least another couple of snow seasons in Japan yet. Calm down, Me) the only way a chronic list-writer and unrealistic plan-maker knows how: research. And numbers. I need to trim the potential suburbs down to certain areas to at least narrow searchlight a little bit. Googling for “HOUSES MELBOURNE. ALL OF IT. THE WHOLE PISSING LOT” isn’t exactly efficient.
Here are my criteria:
- Transport. I know I’m going to be on a trainee salary when I first move over (the perils of moving somewhere to teach English before you really have any viable qualifications that lead directly to a future job), so I won’t be buying a car for a while. That means public transport. Plus, I fell in love with Aussie Rules football, and I’m almost certainly going to be making my way into the centre of the city to watch at least one game every weekend, so I need a way to get into town without it feeling like some cross-country slog. This also goes for things like the theatre and music venues. Since I stopped drinking, I have to actually do things to be entertained. Plus, so long as your house is connected to the transit system in some way, once you’re in the system it’s easy to get to all the non-residential areas you might want to visit.
- A nearby market. I used to live in Preston, Lancashire. The best thing about that place (after Preston North End, obviously) was the market. Having a place where you know you’ll be able to find meat, fish, veggies, and cheese whenever you want it is something I only started to appreciate when I’d moved away from it.
- Coffee. Oh, the coffee. The cafes I went to sold, without exception, excellent coffee. And most of them sold sandwiches and the odd hot dish that you would more expect from an expensive high street deli or fancy hotel restaurant than your average-looking, unassuming coffee shop. You pay for it, but just wandering into random cafes will see you ridiculously well fed and watered. So this almost doesn’t need to be on my criteria list. Are you in an inner Melbourne suburb? Yes? You’re probably less than 200m from a cafe good enough to become your “local”.
- Green stuff. Since riding a bike in Melbourne is to have a death wish, and I really love having a local park (and let’s face it, I’m probably getting a dog), I’m going to have to find somewhere with some greenspace that’s relatively walk-able-to.
Fitting these criteria as best I could into the ‘liveable cities’ data from 2013 (transit, food, trees, shops), I found that Footscray was the only central suburb that stood out. So on to the list it goes.
Next, I’m looking at the Metro transit map for junctions. Where two or more different services to the town centre pass through one place, you’re going to have more regular/numerous trains and buses. I go as far out from the CBD as possible to junctions to avoid the inevitably higher central housing prices.
Doing this added Clifton Hill, Footscray (again! Double added!), Burnley (as a Preston North End fan, this pains me), South Yarra, North Melbourne, and Camberwell to the list.
I also narrowed the search to a more specific by a blunt radial distance. I know St Kilda is about as far out as my girlfriend would be willing to travel if she worked in the centre, so I used a map tool to create an artificial (and arguably arbitrary) boundary for myself.
You now have older suburbs that are closer to the city that use to have a poor reputation, which are now selling houses and land for 1m+.
Melbourne is expanding rapidily and they’re forecasting that it will take over Sydney as our most populated city at some point.
If you can find a nice neighbourhood, assuming you want the suburbs lifestyle, something attainable would be a home 35-40 minutes from the CBD. Our rail network from our suburbs to the CBD is pretty good, so wherever you go, be it north, south etc, you should be fine from a public transport perspective.
Imo, the best places to live, assuming you want the burbs and not a 10km radius from the city, I would be looking at suburbs in the Northeast, East or South East. If you’re hipster, then head north of the city towards Brunswick, Fitzroy etc.
South of Melb is really nice along Port Phillip, but expensive.
I would stay away from the West…
So, that gives me some things to go on. Now to start taking virtual Google Maps tours of, searching out local information for, and being flabbergasted by the house prices in, my little list of suburbs.
- Clifton Hill
- South Yarra
- North Melbourne