Why should you live there?
Geelong is the second largest city in Victoria, with a population of just under 200k people. If you’re currently living in a capital city, Geelong is a great way to get away from the congestion – both people and traffic. It’s a little over an hour to both Melbourne Airport and Southern Cross by car, with regular trains heading into the city (typically three per hour). It’s also only 15km away from Avalon airport, home to Jetstar Airways.
Geelong may look sprawling on the map, but from Grovedale in the south to Corio in the north is only 20–25 minutes by car.
What is there to do?
Even if you ignore how close Geelong is to Melbourne, there’s still a lot to do. Geelong is full of parks, museums, cafes and shops. You could spend a day on the waterfront and take your children see the Baywalk Bollards [pictured below], have a ride on the vintage carousel, and then head out to the Cunningham Pier for lunch. Geelong has its share of cultural centres as well, including the National Wool Museum, Maritime Museum and the Geelong Gallery.
If sight-seeing isn’t your idea of a good time, Geelong has plenty on the shopping front. As a major regional centre, there are a number of shopping malls and standalone stores scattered throughout Geelong. As such, there’s an excellent blend of well-known brands and chain stores, as well as specialty and boutique stores.
Geelong has about as many private schools as public schools, so no matter your preferences for education, you should be able to find something to suit your needs. Geelong is also home to the world-renowned Geelong Grammar School, which boasts among its alumni Prince Charles, Rupert Murdoch, and former prime minister John Gorton.
Deakin University also have two campuses in Geelong: the Geelong Waterfront campus and the Geelong Waurn Ponds campus. These campuses offer a wide variety of courses, including Arts, Information Technology, Health and Environmental Studies, amongst others.
Public transport in Geelong is largely by bus, provided by McHarrys. The routes are typical of the recent changes across a number of regional bus networks, wherein buses collect passengers and bring them to one of a few central hubs (generally South Geelong or the Geelong City Centre), meaning that travel from one non-central location to another will require two buses.
The main taxi company is the Geelong Taxi Network, and Uber has been operating in Geelong since 2014.
Who should live there? Young couples, families, wealthy?
As a university town that’s close to the beach and Melbourne, the house prices are very reasonable in Geelong. A significant part of the population there have moved from Melbourne, either to escape sky-high rents and congestion, or to get more space for their dollar as their families grow up.
The best place for you in Geelong will depend on what you’re looking for. Newtown and Belmont are widely considered to be some of the nicest areas, close to the Geelong River with good shopping and cafes, but the houses can be quite expensive.
Places to avoid:
Every town has its suburbs that the locals warn you about, and Geelong is no exception. Norlane and Corio are the names you’ll hear — these areas were traditionally commission housing, and while some areas are still public housing, there are other developments ongoing in the area. With these new developments come new infrastructure, so it’s important to look at the local neighbourhood and get a feel for the street before making a decision about renting or buying a property in these areas, and if the street has a ‘Canadian’ name, pay extra close attention! There are also concerns from some locals that Whittington and Grovedale are also falling in desirability, citing increased police patrols.
Traditionally Geelong has been a manufacturing town, but with fewer companies now manufacturing in Australia, the jobs have decreased in these areas. Geelong’s major employers are the local council, Barwon Health and Barwon Water, Deakin University, the Transport Accident Commission, WorkSafe and the National Disability Insurance Agency. As always with cities of this size, there are also plenty of opportunities for teachers, nurses and accountants.
There are a number of factors in Geelong that affect house prices, such as proximity to the Geelong River, beach access and the distance from the Melbourne CBD. A three-bedroom house in Corio will cost around $300,000, but a two-bedroom flat in the Geelong CBD with water views can go for anywhere up to a million dollars.
Because of this variability, it’s important to know which suburbs you want to live in before you start looking at houses in the area.
Renting vs. buying
With new developments all over the city, renting is relatively easy in Geelong. It’s likely that you’ll face the same group inspections that plague renters in Melbourne, but with fewer people in the rental market and more properties around, it will still be less stressful than trying to rent in the Melbourne.
If you’re moving to Geelong from a smaller place, remember that as a university town, landlords consider the value of each bedroom seriously. When the possibility of renting a property as shared accommodation is viable, the rent will increase around $100 per bedroom.
Perhaps the most stunning street in Geelong is The Esplanade, which fronts directly onto Corio Bay. Here the multi-million dollar houses enjoy uninterrupted views of the boats on the bay.
Info about Norlane and Corio
General info about suburbs
General info about suburbs
More info about suburbs