The 10 Best Suburbs to Live in SOUTHERN SYDNEY: Reviewed and Ranked in 2024

Choosing the right suburb or place to live in the South of Sydney is a complex task, given the variety and distinct qualities each suburb offers. Picking incorrectly can lead to lifestyle mismatches, financial strains, or missing out on community and recreational benefits. Drawing from my extensive experience in residential real estate and a thorough 10-criteria evaluation, this guide is your trustworthy resource for finding the perfect suburb in the south of Sydney.

10. Cronulla – Total Score: 73/100

Cronulla, image by Maksym Kozlenko

Cronulla is known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant lifestyle, but it faces challenges in terms of affordability and traffic.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety and Crime Rate: 7/10
  • School Quality: 8/10
  • Public Transport Accessibility: 6/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Green Spaces and Environment: 8/10
  • Community Spirit: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 6/10
  • Housing Affordability: 4/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Overall Livability: 10/10

Cronulla’s stunning beaches and coastal walks offer a picturesque lifestyle. Its schools, such as Cronulla High School, maintain strong academic records. The suburb is dotted with trendy cafes and shops, and the Cronulla Street Fair attracts thousands annually. Job prospects are generally good, particularly in the hospitality sector.

However, housing prices have soared, making it less accessible for first-time buyers. Traffic congestion, especially during summer, can be frustrating. Environmental concerns have also been raised with recent beach erosion issues.

Cronulla is best suited for those who prioritise coastal living and don’t mind the higher cost of living and busy tourist seasons.

Interested in Cronulla?

9. Menai – Total Score: 75/100

Menai is a family-friendly suburb known for its natural beauty and community feel, but it does face some urban challenges.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • School Quality: 7/10
  • Public Transport Accessibility: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Green Spaces and Environment: 9/10
  • Community Spirit: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Overall Livability: 8/10

Menai is renowned for its leafy streets and proximity to natural parks, offering a peaceful suburban lifestyle. The schools, such as Menai High School, are well-regarded, and there’s a strong sense of community with events like the Menai Food Festival. The suburb also has a variety of shops and cafes, providing good local amenities.

The downside includes limited public transport options, making car dependency high. Recent reports have highlighted some strain on local healthcare facilities. Additionally, while more affordable than some southern suburbs, Menai’s housing market has seen steady price increases.

Menai is a great fit for families and those who prefer a balance between urban amenities and natural surroundings.

Interested in Menai?

8. Engadine – Total Score: 78/100

Engadine, image by Maksym Kozlenko

Engadine offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty and urban convenience, though it is not without its drawbacks.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • School Quality: 8/10
  • Public Transport Accessibility: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Green Spaces and Environment: 9/10
  • Community Spirit: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Housing Affordability: 6/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Overall Livability: 9/10

Engadine’s proximity to the Royal National Park offers stunning scenery and outdoor activities. The schools, including Engadine High, are well-rated. The suburb is well-serviced with shops and cafes, and the annual Engadine Street Festival is a highlight. There are decent public transport options and a growing number of local job opportunities.

Challenges include the rising cost of housing, putting pressure on affordability. The suburb also experiences some traffic congestion, particularly on major roads. Additionally, there’s a need for more healthcare facilities to cater to the growing population.

Engadine is ideal for those who appreciate nature and a strong community feel, but who are also prepared for the suburban lifestyle’s typical challenges.

Interested in Engadine?

7. Miranda – Total Score: 80/100

Kingsway Miranda, image by Maksym Kozlenko

Miranda is a bustling suburb with excellent amenities but struggles with some urban pressures.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety and Crime Rate: 7/10
  • School Quality: 8/10
  • Public Transport Accessibility: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Green Spaces and Environment: 7/10
  • Community Spirit: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 9/10
  • Overall Livability: 8/10

Miranda is known for its excellent shopping, epitomised by the Westfield Miranda, one of Sydney’s largest shopping centres. It boasts high-quality schools, like Miranda Public School, and excellent public transport, making commuting easier. The suburb has a range of healthcare facilities, including the recently expanded Miranda Medical Centre.

However, Miranda faces challenges with limited green spaces, which can impact the quality of life for those seeking more natural surroundings. The cost of living, particularly housing, is high. Additionally, the area can be quite busy, especially around the shopping centre, leading to congestion.

Miranda is perfect for those who value convenience and accessibility to amenities but may not be the best fit for those seeking a quieter, more nature-centric lifestyle.

Interested in Miranda?

6. Oatley – Total Score: 81/100

Webster’s Lookout at Oatley, image by Maksym Kozlenko

Oatley, with its serene environment and community focus, offers a pleasant suburban experience, though it has its own set of urban challenges.

  • Safety and Crime Rate: 9/10
  • School Quality: 9/10
  • Public Transport Accessibility: 8/10
  • Local Amenities (shops, cafes, etc.): 8/10
  • Green Spaces and Environment: 9/10
  • Community Spirit: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Housing Affordability: 6/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Overall Livability: 9/10

Oatley is celebrated for its picturesque parks and peaceful streets. The schools in the area, like Oatley Public School, are well-regarded. The suburb hosts vibrant community events such as the Oatley Lions Festival. It also enjoys good local amenities, including quaint cafes and shops.

However, Oatley’s property market is becoming increasingly expensive, making it less accessible for some buyers. The suburb, while offering decent public transport, still has room for improvement. Also, the need for more diverse healthcare facilities has been noted by residents.

Oatley is an excellent choice for families and individuals who cherish a close-knit community feel and scenic living, but who can afford the rising housing costs.

Interested in Oatley?

5. Sutherland – Total Score: 83/100

Sutherland is a suburb that balances urban amenities with a strong community vibe, though it faces some typical suburban issues.

  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • School Quality: 9/10
  • Public Transport Accessibility: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Green Spaces and Environment: 8/10
  • Community Spirit: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Overall Livability: 9/10

Sutherland stands out for its excellent public transport links, making it ideal for commuters. The suburb offers a range of quality schools, including Sutherland Public School. It has a vibrant town centre with various shops and cafes, and it hosts community events like the Sutherland Shire Festival. Employment opportunities are diverse, with a mix of local businesses and public sector jobs.

The challenges include a limited number of green spaces compared to other suburbs. Housing prices have been on the rise, though still more affordable than some other southern suburbs. Additionally, while crime rates are generally low, there are occasional reports of petty crime.

Sutherland is suited for those seeking a balance of suburban comfort and easy access to urban facilities, making it ideal for families and young professionals.

Interested in Sutherland?

4. Mortdale – Total Score: 85/100

Mortdale shines as a suburb with strong community bonds and ample amenities, though it isn’t without its drawbacks.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • School Quality: 9/10
  • Public Transport Accessibility: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Green Spaces and Environment: 10/10
  • Community Spirit: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 9/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Overall Livability: 9/10

Mortdale is noted for its excellent schools, like Mortdale Public School, and a strong sense of community, evident in events like the Mortdale Christmas Fair. The suburb offers a good mix of shops and cafes, contributing to its high livability score. Green spaces are well-maintained, providing residents with quality outdoor experiences.

Challenges in Mortdale include housing affordability, with prices trending upwards. Public transport, while available, could benefit from more frequent services. Additionally, there’s a need for more varied employment opportunities within the suburb itself.

Mortdale is ideal for families and individuals seeking a community-centric suburb with good amenities, provided they are comfortable with the current property market and transport options.

Interested in Mortdale?

3. Gymea – Total Score: 88/100

Gymea Bay, image by J bar

Gymea is a vibrant suburb that excels in community spirit and accessibility but faces typical urban challenges.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • School Quality: 9/10
  • Public Transport Accessibility: 9/10
  • Local Amenities (shops, cafes, etc.): 9/10
  • Green Spaces and Environment: 8/10
  • Community Spirit: 10/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 9/10
  • Housing Affordability: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 9/10
  • Overall Livability: 9/10

Gymea is known for its lively community atmosphere, highlighted by the popular Gymea Village Fair. It boasts excellent public transport links, making it a commuter’s dream. The suburb has a range of good schools, like Gymea Technology High School, and a vibrant local economy with diverse shops and cafes.

The downsides include a growing demand for housing, driving up prices. While it has some green spaces, they are limited compared to other suburbs. There have also been concerns about the pace of development, potentially impacting the suburb’s charm.

Gymea is perfect for those who love a dynamic community and easy access to Sydney’s CBD, but who can navigate the challenges of an active property market.

Interested in Gymea?

2. Como – Total Score: 90/100

Como, image by Maksym Kozlenko

Como offers a serene riverside living experience with excellent amenities, though it comes with its own unique challenges.

  • Safety and Crime Rate: 9/10
  • School Quality: 10/10
  • Public Transport Accessibility: 10/10
  • Local Amenities: 10/10
  • Green Spaces and Environment: 9/10
  • Community Spirit: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Overall Livability: 10/10

Como is celebrated for its picturesque waterfront and tranquil environment. The suburb is home to reputable schools like Como Public School and offers good public transport options, including a train station and bus services. The local community is tight-knit, with events like the annual Como Waterfront Market drawing residents together.

However, Como’s housing market is increasingly competitive, reflecting higher property values. While the suburb is generally quiet, some areas are seeing more development, which could impact its peaceful nature. Healthcare facilities, though sufficient, could be expanded to better serve the growing population.

Como is ideal for those seeking a blend of natural beauty and suburban convenience but is best suited for those who are comfortable with a higher cost of living.

Interested in Como?

1. Jannali – Total Score: 93/100

Jannali, image by J Bar

Jannali tops the list with its excellent blend of community, amenities, and accessibility, though it is not without its small amounts of drawbacks.

  • Safety and Crime Rate: 9/10
  • School Quality: 9/10
  • Public Transport Accessibility: 10/10
  • Local Amenities: 10/10
  • Green Spaces and Environment: 10/10
  • Community Spirit: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 9/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 10/10
  • Overall Livability: 10/10

Jannali stands out for its exceptional public transport links, making it a favourite among commuters. The suburb boasts high-performing schools, including Jannali High School, and a variety of local amenities that contribute to its high livability score. Jannali is known for its community spirit, with events such as the Jannali Street Fair fostering a sense of belonging.

The main challenges in Jannali include the rising cost of housing, though it still remains more affordable than some other top-ranking suburbs. Some residents have expressed concerns about the pace of development, potentially changing the character of the suburb. Additionally, while green spaces are ample, they are not as extensive as in some more rural suburbs.

Jannali is perfect for families and professionals looking for a suburb that combines the best of urban and suburban living, offering a vibrant community, excellent amenities, and great accessibility.

Interested in Jannali?

How I Scored Each Suburb

In this section, you’ll gain an understanding of how each suburb was evaluated based on specific criteria crucial for determining their overall livability.

Safety and Crime Rate

This criterion assesses the safety level in a suburb, focusing on crime frequency and severity. Safety is vital for a quality living environment.  A suburb like Lakemba, known for higher crime rates and safety concerns, would score low in this category.  In contrast, suburbs like Woolooware demonstrate high safety standards with minimal crime, earning a high score.

School Quality

This measures the quality of educational institutions. Good schools attract families and enhance a suburb’s appeal.  A suburb with struggling schools, such as Claymore, would score low here.  Suburbs like Kirrawee, with highly rated schools, achieve top marks in this category.

Public Transport Accessibility

This assesses the availability and efficiency of public transport options. Good connectivity is key for easy commuting.  Suburbs with poor transport links, like Bundeena, score low.  Suburbs such as Sutherland, known for excellent transport connectivity, score highly.

Local Amenities

This evaluates the richness of local amenities such as shops and cafes. Ample amenities contribute to a suburb’s livability.  Suburbs like Grays Point, which lack diverse local amenities, would have a lower score.  A suburb like Cronulla, abundant in amenities, scores highly.

Green Spaces and Environment

This looks at the quality and availability of green spaces, crucial for recreation and health.  Suburbs with minimal greenery, such as Kurnell, would score low.  Suburbs like Engadine, rich in well-maintained parks and nature, score high.

Community Spirit

This evaluates the strength of community bonds and neighbourliness. Strong community ties enhance the living experience.  Suburbs with weaker community engagement, like Turrella, score low.  Suburbs such as Gymea, known for their vibrant community life, score highly.

Healthcare Facilities

This assesses the availability and quality of healthcare services in a suburb. Accessible healthcare is essential for residents’ wellbeing.  Suburbs with limited healthcare facilities, like Alfords Point, score lower.  Suburbs with extensive healthcare services, such as Miranda, score high.

Housing Affordability

This measures the affordability of housing. Affordable housing attracts a diverse range of residents.  Suburbs with high property prices, like Burraneer, would have a lower score.  More affordable suburbs, like Loftus, score higher in this category.

Employment Opportunities

This looks at the availability and diversity of job opportunities. Local employment enhances a suburb’s appeal.  Suburbs with limited job markets, such as Maianbar, score low.  Suburbs like Caringbah, with diverse employment opportunities, score highly.

Overall Livability

This is an overall assessment of life quality in the suburb, considering all other criteria.  Suburbs that fall short in multiple areas, like Lucas Heights, would score low.  Suburbs excelling in most areas, like Jannali, score highly for overall livability.

Research: A Blend of Data and Local Insights

As I set out to uncover the best suburbs in the Southern Area of Greater Sydney, I tapped into a variety of sources to make sure my findings were not only accurate but also something you could use, review and relate too. Throughout the process of reviewing this information, I gathered different bits and pieces of information – from hard stats, to friendly chats with locals. It was this mix of numbers and real-life stories that helped me paint a true picture of each suburb.

My primary sources of quantitative data were reports from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and local council, websites, online forums and their general publications. These provided crucial information on crime rates, housing affordability, and employment opportunities. Additionally, I delved into educational performance data from the NSW Department of Education to evaluate school quality. This hard data formed the backbone of my statistical analysis, ensuring an objective foundation for the rankings.

On the qualitative side, I immersed myself in the daily life of these suburbs. Visiting local cafes like the popular White Horse Coffee in Sutherland and Breadfern Bakery in Engadine, I engaged in conversations with residents to gauge the community spirit and local amenities. This was complemented by dining experiences at restaurants like Alphabet St in Cronulla and Ugly Pizza in Menai, where the vibrancy and diversity of these suburbs truly come to life.

Local newspapers and community forums were invaluable in understanding the nuances of each suburb. Reading the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader and participating in online forums like the ‘Shire Talk‘ Facebook group provided insights into community events, local concerns, and the overall vibe of each area. These interactions and observations were pivotal in scoring suburbs on community spirit, healthcare facilities, and overall livability.

This research was a meticulous blend of statistical data, local publications, and firsthand experiences. It involved not just analysing numbers but also walking the streets, talking to locals, and experiencing the unique flavour of each suburb. This approach ensures that these recommendations resonate with those who call the South of Sydney home and those, potential you, aspiring to do so in the future.

In Conclusion

In my exploration of the South of Sydney, I have journeyed through a diverse array of suburbs, each offering its unique charm and set of amenities. From the vibrant beachside community of Cronulla to the serene and family-friendly environment of Jannali, I have provided a detailed look into the top 10 suburbs. This guide is designed to make it easier for you to make an informed decision on where to call home.

Here are the suburbs I have explored, along with their total scores out of 100:

  1. Jannali – Score (93/100)
  2. Como – Score (90/100)
  3. Gymea – Score (88/100)
  4. Mortdale – Score (85/100)
  5. Sutherland – Score (83/100)
  6. Oatley – Score (81/100)
  7. Miranda – Score (80/100)
  8. Engadine – Score (78/100)
  9. Menai – Score (75/100)
  10. Cronulla – Score (73/100)

Each suburb in this guide has undergone a thorough and meticulous evaluation based on a comprehensive set of criteria, ensuring that every aspect of suburban living is considered. From the safety and crime rates that give you peace of mind in your neighbourhood, to the quality of local schools shaping your children’s education, every factor has been carefully weighed. The accessibility of public transport, the richness of local amenities like shops and cafes, and the availability of green spaces for leisure and relaxation have also been key considerations. The strength and warmth of the community spirit, the quality and accessibility of healthcare facilities, the affordability of housing, and the local employment opportunities – each of these elements plays a crucial role in defining the character and appeal of a suburb.

As you consider your options and plan your move, remember that navigating the property market can be complex. If you need assistance in finding the perfect home in these or any other suburbs in the South of Sydney, consider employing the services of a residential buyer’s agent. They can provide expert guidance and support, helping you to find a property that not only meets your criteria but also feels like home.


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