The 10 Best Suburbs to Live in the SUTHERLAND SHIRE: Reviewed and Ranked in 2024

Finding the perfect suburb in the Sutherland Shire of Sydney is akin to uncovering a treasure among a plethora of choices, each brimming with its own unique charm and challenges.  Selecting the wrong suburb could lead you to face higher living costs, a lack of essential amenities, or even a longer commute to work, complicating your daily life. To steer you through this labyrinth, we’ve meticulously researched and scored suburbs based on 10 critical criteria, leveraging our extensive experience in residential real estate to ensure you can trust our guidance.

10. Yowie Bay – Total Score: 66/100

Yowie Bay, image by J bar

Yowie Bay is a suburb that offers serene water views but struggles with limited public transport options.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Quality of Local Schools: 6/10
  • Access to Public Transport: 3/10
  • Local Amenities (shops, parks, etc.): 7/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • Housing Affordability: 5/10
  • Proximity to Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Community and Culture: 8/10
  • Access to Health Services: 7/10
  • Environmental Quality: 9/10
  • Traffic and Connectivity: 7/10

Yowie Bay is renowned for its tranquil setting, offering residents picturesque water views and a tight-knit community atmosphere. The suburb boasts several high-quality schools and ample green spaces, including the serene Yowie Bay Park. Recent statistics highlight the suburb’s low crime rate, making it a safe and peaceful place to live. Furthermore, housing in Yowie Bay presents a mix of modern and traditional homes, with waterfront properties providing stunning views.

However, Yowie Bay’s isolation can be a double-edged sword. The suburb’s limited public transport options mean residents often rely on cars, leading to traffic congestion during peak hours. Additionally, the cost of living here, especially housing, can be prohibitive for some, with waterfront properties fetching premium prices.

Given its attributes, Yowie Bay is best suited for families and retirees seeking a quiet lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of city life, with the financial means to enjoy the serenity and beauty of waterfront living.

Interested in Yowie Bay?

9. Loftus – Total Score: 68/100

Loftus is a peaceful suburb known for its abundant greenery and family-friendly environment, albeit with moderate access to amenities.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Quality of Local Schools: 7/10
  • Access to Public Transport: 6/10
  • Local Amenities (shops, parks, etc.): 6/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • Housing Affordability: 6/10
  • Proximity to Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Community and Culture: 7/10
  • Access to Health Services: 7/10
  • Environmental Quality: 8/10
  • Traffic and Connectivity: 7/10

Loftus is celebrated for its lush parks, including the Royal National Park, providing residents with ample outdoor activities and a healthy lifestyle. The suburb has a solid educational infrastructure, with schools that are well-regarded for their academic and extracurricular programs. Safety is another hallmark of Loftus, with low crime rates contributing to a sense of community well-being. The suburb’s housing market offers a range of options, from charming older homes to newer developments, catering to diverse preferences and budgets.

On the downside, Loftus’s amenities, while sufficient, do not match the variety or convenience found in more urbanised areas. Public transport, although available, does not offer the frequency or connections that some residents may desire, particularly those commuting to Sydney CBD. Additionally, while housing is relatively affordable compared to Sydney’s inner suburbs, prices have been rising, making it challenging for first-home buyers.

Loftus is ideally suited for families and individuals seeking a balance between urban conveniences and the peacefulness of suburban life, who prioritise safety, community, and access to nature.

Interested in Loftus?

8. Kirrawee – Total Score: 70/100

Kirrawee combines urban convenience with a touch of nature, making it an appealing choice for those who seek balance.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Quality of Local Schools: 7/10
  • Access to Public Transport: 8/10
  • Local Amenities (shops, parks, etc.): 7/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 7/10
  • Housing Affordability: 6/10
  • Proximity to Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Community and Culture: 7/10
  • Access to Health Services: 8/10
  • Environmental Quality: 7/10
  • Traffic and Connectivity: 6/10

Kirrawee boasts a vibrant commercial district, with an array of shops, cafes, and restaurants that cater to all tastes and budgets. The suburb is well-serviced by public transport, making it easy for residents to commute to work or explore surrounding areas. Kirrawee also offers a range of educational institutions, ensuring families have access to quality schooling. The suburb’s green spaces, such as Kirrawee Oval, provide a natural escape for residents to relax and engage in recreational activities.

However, Kirrawee’s popularity has led to increased traffic, particularly around shopping areas and main roads, which can detract from its otherwise peaceful ambiance. Housing affordability is also becoming a concern, with prices rising as the suburb’s desirability increases. Additionally, while the crime rate is relatively low, it has seen a slight uptick in recent years, prompting community initiatives to enhance safety.

Kirrawee is most suitable for young professionals and families looking for a suburb that offers both the convenience of urban living and the beauty of natural surroundings, who are also willing to invest in a growing community.

Interested in Kirrawee?

7. Engadine – Total Score: 71/100

Engadine, image by Maksym Kozlenko

Engadine is a suburb that prides itself on its community spirit and natural beauty, though it faces challenges with housing affordability.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Quality of Local Schools: 8/10
  • Access to Public Transport: 7/10
  • Local Amenities (shops, parks, etc.): 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • Housing Affordability: 5/10
  • Proximity to Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Community and Culture: 8/10
  • Access to Health Services: 7/10
  • Environmental Quality: 7/10
  • Traffic and Connectivity: 6/10

Engadine stands out for its strong sense of community and extensive natural landscapes, including the nearby Heathcote National Park. The suburb is home to a variety of local businesses and amenities, from cosy cafes to family-run shops, fostering a vibrant local economy. Engadine’s schools are well-regarded, contributing to the suburb’s family-friendly reputation. Additionally, its commitment to safety and community welfare is evident through various local initiatives and low crime rates.

Yet, Engadine is not without its drawbacks. The cost of housing has risen sharply, reflecting the suburb’s increasing popularity but also making it less accessible for first-time buyers or lower-income families. Traffic congestion can be an issue, particularly during peak hours, as the suburb continues to grow. Moreover, while public transport options are available, they may not meet the needs of all residents, especially those commuting to Sydney’s CBD.

Engadine is an ideal match for families and individuals who value community connection, outdoor activities, and a suburban lifestyle, but who are also prepared to navigate the challenges of an increasingly popular suburb.

Interested in Engadine?

6. Cronulla – Total Score: 75/100

Cronulla, image by Maksym Kozlenko

Cronulla, with its stunning beaches and vibrant community life, is perfect for those seeking a coastal lifestyle, though it comes with a premium price tag.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Quality of Local Schools: 7/10
  • Access to Public Transport: 9/10
  • Local Amenities (shops, parks, etc.): 9/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 7/10
  • Housing Affordability: 4/10
  • Proximity to Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Community and Culture: 9/10
  • Access to Health Services: 8/10
  • Environmental Quality: 9/10
  • Traffic and Connectivity: 6/10

Cronulla is synonymous with beachside living, offering some of Sydney’s best surf spots, picturesque walks, and a thriving café culture. The suburb’s comprehensive public transport network, including direct train access to the city, enhances its appeal. Cronulla’s community is dynamic and welcoming, with a wide range of cultural and social activities that cater to all ages. The local amenities, from boutique shops to gourmet eateries, are among the best in the region.

However, the allure of Cronulla’s lifestyle means that housing affordability is a significant concern, with property prices among the highest in the Sutherland Shire. Traffic congestion, particularly on weekends and during summer, can affect the suburb’s otherwise laid-back atmosphere. Additionally, while the area is generally safe, it has experienced occasional social disturbances, which have prompted community-led safety initiatives.

Cronulla is best suited for individuals and families who prioritise coastal living and are willing to invest in a high-quality lifestyle, despite the challenges associated with its popularity and cost.

Interested in Cronulla?

5. Miranda – Total Score: 77/100

Miranda Westfield, image by Maksym Kozlenko

Miranda excels in shopping and healthcare facilities, offering a convenient urban lifestyle but struggles with traffic congestion.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Quality of Local Schools: 7/10
  • Access to Public Transport: 8/10
  • Local Amenities (shops, parks, etc.): 9/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • Housing Affordability: 6/10
  • Proximity to Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Community and Culture: 7/10
  • Access to Health Services: 9/10
  • Environmental Quality: 8/10
  • Traffic and Connectivity: 7/10

Miranda is a hub for shopping and healthcare in the Sutherland Shire, home to Westfield Miranda, one of Sydney’s largest shopping centres, and numerous medical facilities. The suburb’s public transport is efficient, with direct rail and bus services facilitating access to the CBD and surrounding areas. Miranda also offers a diverse range of dining options and leisure activities, making it a vibrant place to live. The local schools are reputable, adding to the suburb’s appeal for families.

The primary drawback of Miranda’s bustling nature is its traffic, which can be heavy, particularly around the shopping centre and main roads. Housing prices, while more affordable than some coastal suburbs, are still high due to the suburb’s amenities and lifestyle offerings. Additionally, while Miranda is generally safe, the high traffic areas can experience petty crimes, leading to increased security measures.

Miranda is particularly well-suited for those who value convenience and access to top-notch shopping and healthcare facilities, including young professionals and families looking for a dynamic, yet suburban environment.

Interested in Miranda?

4. Menai – Total Score: 79/100

Menai offers a harmonious blend of community, nature, and modern conveniences, making it an ideal suburb for those seeking a balanced lifestyle.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Quality of Local Schools: 8/10
  • Access to Public Transport: 7/10
  • Local Amenities (shops, parks, etc.): 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Proximity to Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Community and Culture: 8/10
  • Access to Health Services: 9/10
  • Environmental Quality: 8/10
  • Traffic and Connectivity: 7/10

Menai is characterised by its spacious homes and large blocks, providing a sense of privacy and space that is rare in Sydney. The suburb is surrounded by natural beauty, with easy access to bushwalking trails and parks, fostering a lifestyle that values outdoor activities and wellbeing. Menai’s shopping and dining precinct caters to everyday needs and more, ensuring residents don’t have to travel far for quality services. The local community is active and engaged, with numerous clubs and organisations for all interests.

However, Menai’s relatively limited public transport options can be a drawback for those without personal vehicles or those commuting to the city. While the suburb is generally quiet and safe, its growing popularity has led to some areas experiencing increased traffic during peak times. Additionally, as the suburb continues to develop, the balance between maintaining its natural charm and accommodating growth is a point of consideration for local planning authorities.

Menai is perfect for families and individuals seeking a suburban lifestyle that doesn’t compromise on amenities, community engagement, or access to nature, offering a peaceful retreat from the urban hustle.

Interested in Menai?

3. Caringbah – Total Score: 82/100

Caringbah from Yowie, image by J Bar

Caringbah stands out for its excellent blend of urban amenities and accessible green spaces, offering a well-rounded lifestyle.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Quality of Local Schools: 8/10
  • Access to Public Transport: 8/10
  • Local Amenities (shops, parks, etc.): 9/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Proximity to Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Community and Culture: 8/10
  • Access to Health Services: 9/10
  • Environmental Quality: 9/10
  • Traffic and Connectivity: 8/10

Caringbah is a dynamic suburb that efficiently balances residential, commercial, and recreational spaces. Its transport links, including trains and buses, provide excellent connectivity to Sydney CBD and other key areas. The suburb is home to a wide array of shops, cafes, and services, making daily life convenient and enjoyable. Caringbah’s proximity to the Cronulla beaches and the Royal National Park means residents can easily enjoy Sydney’s best natural landscapes.

The suburb’s rapid development and popularity have led to increased property demand, pushing up prices and making it slightly less affordable for newcomers. While Caringbah is generally well-managed in terms of traffic, certain areas can experience congestion during peak hours. Additionally, as the suburb continues to grow, maintaining the balance between development and community needs is crucial.

Caringbah is an excellent choice for those seeking a suburb that offers both the vibrancy of urban life and the tranquillity of nature, making it ideal for families, professionals, and anyone in between who values a balanced and active lifestyle.

Interested in Caringbah?

2. Sylvania – Total Score: 83/100

Sylvania and Sylvania Water, image by J Bar

Sylvania combines waterfront luxury with a strong sense of community, offering a high-quality lifestyle with scenic views.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Quality of Local Schools: 8/10
  • Access to Public Transport: 7/10
  • Local Amenities (shops, parks, etc.): 9/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 9/10
  • Housing Affordability: 6/10
  • Proximity to Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Community and Culture: 9/10
  • Access to Health Services: 9/10
  • Environmental Quality: 9/10
  • Traffic and Connectivity: 9/10

Sylvania is renowned for its waterfront properties and boating culture, making it a paradise for water enthusiasts. The suburb boasts excellent schools, a variety of shops and restaurants, and a low crime rate, ensuring a safe and comfortable environment for residents. The sense of community in Sylvania is strong, with many local events and activities fostering connections among residents. Additionally, its health services are top-notch, providing peace of mind for families and the elderly.

The main challenge in Sylvania is the cost of living, particularly for those looking to purchase waterfront properties, which are among the most sought-after in Sydney. While public transport is available, the options might not be as frequent or convenient as in more centrally located suburbs. Moreover, the desire to maintain the suburb’s exclusive atmosphere can sometimes limit the development of more affordable housing options.

Sylvania is ideally suited for those who value a high-quality lifestyle and can afford the premium for waterfront living, offering a blend of luxury, community, and natural beauty that is hard to match.

Interested in Sylvania?

1. Gymea – Total Score: 88/100

Gymea Bay Baths, image by J Bar

Gymea is the crown jewel of the Sutherland Shire, offering an unmatched combination of culture, convenience, and community spirit.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Quality of Local Schools: 9/10
  • Access to Public Transport: 9/10
  • Local Amenities (shops, parks, etc.): 9/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 9/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Proximity to Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Community and Culture: 10/10
  • Access to Health Services: 9/10
  • Environmental Quality: 9/10
  • Traffic and Connectivity: 9/10

Gymea is distinguished by its vibrant main street, which hosts a diverse array of cafes, boutiques, and the iconic Hazelhurst Art Gallery, making it a cultural hub within the Shire. The suburb offers excellent educational facilities, a reliable public transport network, and a variety of housing options that cater to different budgets and lifestyles. Gymea’s community is exceptionally welcoming, with numerous local events and festivals celebrating the suburb’s rich culture and history. The area is also noted for its safety and family-friendly atmosphere, making it an ideal place for raising children.

While Gymea’s many attractions make it a desirable place to live, this popularity can occasionally lead to traffic congestion, particularly on weekends and during special events. Housing affordability, while better than in some coastal suburbs, is still a challenge for some buyers, given the suburb’s appeal and amenities.

Gymea is the perfect suburb for those who seek a vibrant community, cultural richness, and the convenience of urban living without sacrificing the charm and friendliness of suburban life. It’s an ideal spot for families, cultural enthusiasts, and anyone who appreciates a strong sense of community and access to quality amenities.

How I Scored Each Suburb

This detailed approach to scoring provides insights into the various factors that make a suburb desirable or less preferred based on specific criteria.

Quality of Local Schools

High-performing schools are a magnet for families. A suburb with under-resourced schools, leading to lower academic achievement, might score a 1. Bundeena could face challenges here, given its smaller size and more limited educational facilities. On the flip end, a suburb like Gymea achieves a 10, boasting schools with strong academic records and a wide array of programs.

Access to Public Transport

Good public transport opens up suburbs for commuters and reduces reliance on cars. Maianbar might score a 1 due to its more remote location and limited transport options. Sutherland, however, stands out with a 10, offering excellent train and bus services that connect efficiently to the wider Sydney area.

Local Amenities (shops, parks, etc.)

The richness of local life often depends on the variety of shops, parks, and services. Kurnell could score a 1, with fewer amenities compared to more centrally located suburbs. Miranda is exemplary, scoring a 10, home to a major shopping centre and numerous parks and recreational facilities.

Safety and Crime Rate

Safety is a top priority for residents. A suburb experiencing higher crime rates, like St George, may be less attractive. Menai, known for its community vigilance and lower crime rates, could score a 10, reflecting its safer environment.

Housing Affordability

Affordability makes a suburb accessible to a wider range of people. Dolans Bay, with its premium waterfront properties, might score a 1 for affordability. In contrast, Engadine offers more affordable housing options, scoring a 10, making it an attractive option for first-home buyers.

Proximity to Employment Opportunities

Employment opportunities within easy reach are highly valued. Heathcote, being further from commercial centers, might score a 1. Caringbah scores a 10, with its mix of retail, industrial, and professional services providing ample employment opportunities.

Community and Culture

A vibrant community life enhances a suburb’s appeal. Alfords Point might score a 1 if it’s quieter with fewer community events. Gymea shines again with a 10, thanks to its cultural venues, festivals, and active community groups.

Access to Health Services

Proximity to healthcare is essential. Woronora might find itself scoring a 1 due to fewer medical facilities within the suburb. Miranda, hosting a range of health services and a large hospital, would score a 10 for excellent access to healthcare.

Environmental Quality

Clean, green spaces contribute to a suburb’s livability. An industrial area like Port Hacking could score a 1 if it lacks public green spaces. Cronulla, with its beaches and emphasis on environmental conservation, scores a 10 for its high environmental quality.

Traffic and Connectivity

Well-managed traffic and good road networks ease daily commutes. Lilli Pilli might score a 1 if it suffers from congestion and limited access routes. Kirrawee, benefiting from the Princes Highway and good connectivity, could score a 10, making travel easier for its residents.

Researching the Shire: Data-Driven Insights Meets Community Perspectives

Gathering the data and insights necessary to rank the Sutherland Shire’s top suburbs was no small feat. It involved a meticulous blend of quantitative data analysis and qualitative local insights, ensuring that our recommendations not only stand up to scrutiny but resonate with the lived experiences of Shire residents. My journey took us from the leafy streets of Gymea to the coastal walks of Cronulla, gathering firsthand experiences and engaging with the communities that make each suburb unique.

To quantify our rankings, I delved into a variety of sources, including the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for demographic and housing affordability data, and the New South Wales Department of Education for insights into the quality of local schools. Safety and crime rates were assessed using reports from the New South Wales Police Force, while local amenities were evaluated through visits and consultations with local councils. Environmental quality assessments were based on data from the New South Wales Environmental Protection Authority, supplemented with our observations of green spaces and pollution levels during visits.

The qualitative aspect of the research involved conversations with locals at community hubs, such as the bustling Grind Espresso in Cronulla, known for its laid-back vibe and top-notch coffee, and the cosy Book Station Cafe in Gymea, a favourite for its warm atmosphere and community feel. These interactions provided invaluable insights into the community and culture of each suburb, offering perspectives that numbers alone could never fully capture.

Whilst also scoured local news outlets, community forums, and social media groups to gauge current issues and developments affecting each suburb. This helped us understand traffic and connectivity concerns, with firsthand accounts of peak-hour commutes and public transport accessibility. Reviews of local amenities, such as the expansive Westfield Miranda, known for its shopping variety, and the health and wellness services in Caringbah, were instrumental in assessing each suburb’s livability.

In conclusion 

The exploration of the Sutherland Shire, has unveiled a complex array of suburbs, each brimming with its own unique character and allure, positioning them as the prime choices for residential living in 2024. From the bustling cultural heart of Gymea, which topped my list with a remarkable score of 88, to the tranquil waterfront haven of Sylvania, coming in close with 85, and all the way to Yowie Bay, where tranquillity meets limited accessibility, scoring 65, the Shire presents a myriad of options to suit every lifestyle and preference.

  1. Gymea – Total Score: 88/100
  2. Sylvania – Total Score: 85/100
  3. Caringbah – Total Score: 82/100
  4. Menai – Total Score: 79/100
  5. Miranda – Total Score: 77/100
  6. Cronulla – Total Score: 75/100
  7. Engadine – Total Score: 71/100
  8. Kirrawee – Total Score: 70/100
  9. Loftus – Total Score: 68/100
  10. Yowie Bay – Total Score: 66/100

This guide through the Sutherland Shire’s most desirable suburbs is designed to provide you with comprehensive insights into where you might find your next home, taking into consideration a multitude of factors including local amenities, community vibe, accessibility, and much more. Whether you’re drawn to the cultural vibrance of Gymea, the coastal allure of Cronulla, or the community spirit of Caringbah, there’s a slice of the Shire waiting for you.

If you find yourself needing assistance in navigating the property market within these suburbs, consider enlisting the help of a professional residential buyer’s agent. With their expertise and local knowledge, they can provide invaluable assistance in finding a property that not only meets your criteria but also offers you the lifestyle you’re seeking in the Sutherland Shire.


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