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

Identifying the best suburbs in Ballarat, Victoria, poses a challenge akin to finding a needle in a haystack, not for lack of quality but due to the sheer variety and individual charm each suburb offers. Choosing incorrectly could lead to dissatisfaction due to factors like inadequate local amenities, poor transport links, or a mismatch in community vibe. This article, crafted with diligence and a keen eye for detail, leverages extensive research and local insights to guide Australian couples through the maze of Ballarat’s residential offerings, ensuring you place your roots where they will flourish.

10. Wendouree – Total Score: 65/100

Wendouree, with its blend of expansive parklands and vibrant commercial centres, presents a mixed bag of qualities that cater to diverse preferences.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Access to Education: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 6/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 5/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Community and Culture: 6/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 5/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Environmental Quality: 6/10

Wendouree boasts a commendable array of schools and educational facilities, making it a practical choice for families. The suburb is home to the expansive Stockland Wendouree Shopping Centre, offering a wide range of retail options. Its parks, such as the iconic Lake Wendouree, provide ample recreational spaces for outdoor activities. Additionally, the recent upgrades to the Wendouree train station enhance its connectivity to Melbourne.

However, the suburb faces challenges with a higher-than-average crime rate, which can be a concern for new residents. Employment opportunities within the suburb are limited, pushing residents to seek work in neighbouring areas. The environmental quality, while decent, faces threats from urban development pressures.

Wendouree, with its affordable housing and robust local amenities, is well-suited for families and individuals seeking a balance between urban convenience and access to nature. Those willing to engage with the community and contribute to its growth will find Wendouree a rewarding place to call home.

9. Delacombe – Total Score: 68/100

Delacombe offers a promising balance between suburban tranquillity and essential amenities, although it still faces some challenges in terms of public transport and employment opportunities.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Access to Education: 6/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 6/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 6/10
  • Housing Affordability: 8/10
  • Community and Culture: 7/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Environmental Quality: 7/10

Delacombe’s strength lies in its housing affordability, making it an attractive option for first-home buyers and young families. The suburb has seen development in local amenities with the opening of the Delacombe Town Centre, offering a cinema and various shopping outlets. Its community is tight-knit and welcoming, hosting regular events that foster a sense of belonging. The green spaces, such as the Delacombe Park, provide residents with plenty of outdoor activities.

However, the suburb’s public transport system is not as developed, making it less accessible for those without private vehicles. Employment opportunities within Delacombe are limited, requiring residents to commute to other areas of Ballarat or beyond. Additionally, while the crime rate is relatively low, there are areas within the suburb that could benefit from increased safety measures.

Delacombe is best suited for individuals and families looking for affordable housing options and a strong community vibe, with a willingness to navigate the limitations in public transport and local employment.

8. Sebastopol – Total Score: 72/100

Sebastopol stands out for its rich history and cultural vibrancy but is held back slightly by issues related to infrastructure and environmental quality.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Access to Education: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 6/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 6/10
  • Housing Affordability: 8/10
  • Community and Culture: 8/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Environmental Quality: 6/10

Sebastopol is celebrated for its community and culture, with numerous local events and festivals that highlight its historical significance and diverse population. The suburb offers a variety of local amenities, including shopping centres and eateries. Housing in Sebastopol is among the most affordable in Ballarat, attracting a diverse range of residents. Additionally, the suburb provides decent access to education, with several schools catering to different age groups.

The suburb’s main drawbacks include a need for better environmental management, as certain areas struggle with pollution and waste management issues. While public transport is available, it could be more frequent and cover more areas to better serve the community. Employment opportunities within Sebastopol are growing but still require enhancement to match the suburb’s residential growth.

Sebastopol is ideal for those who value a vibrant community life and cultural diversity, and are looking for an affordable place to live. It’s particularly suited to young families and individuals with an interest in engaging with the suburb’s rich historical backdrop and contributing to its future development.

7. Alfredton – Total Score: 75/100

Alfredton is noted for its rapid development and the quality of its residential areas, though it grapples with growing pains like traffic congestion and limited public transport options.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Access to Education: 8/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 5/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 7/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Community and Culture: 8/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Environmental Quality: 9/10

Alfredton’s appeal lies in its modern infrastructure and family-friendly environment, featuring high-quality educational institutions and well-maintained parks such as Victoria Park. The suburb offers a range of healthcare facilities, ensuring residents have access to excellent medical care. The recent housing developments provide modern and affordable living options, attracting many young families and professionals.

However, Alfredton’s rapid growth has led to increased traffic, particularly during peak hours, and the public transport system has not yet caught up to meet the demand. While employment opportunities in the suburb are increasing, many residents commute to central Ballarat or nearby towns for work.

Alfredton is an ideal suburb for families and professionals looking for a blend of modern living and community atmosphere, provided they are prepared to navigate the challenges of a rapidly growing area.

6. Ballarat East – Total Score: 76/100

Ballarat East offers a unique mix of historical charm and modern conveniences, with its heritage-listed sites and growing retail and dining scene, though it faces challenges with uneven development and infrastructure.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Access to Education: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 7/10
  • Housing Affordability: 6/10
  • Community and Culture: 8/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Environmental Quality: 9/10

Ballarat East’s vibrant community and cultural scene are major draws, with numerous events, art galleries, and cafes dotting the suburb. The area boasts extensive parks and recreational facilities, offering residents a high quality of life amidst natural beauty. The suburb has also seen significant investment in healthcare and education, enhancing its appeal to families and professionals alike.

The main drawbacks include some areas of uneven development, where infrastructure has not kept pace with residential growth, leading to disparities in access to amenities and public services. Housing affordability is also becoming a concern as the suburb’s popularity grows.

Ballarat East is well-suited to those who appreciate the blend of history and modernity, offering a dynamic living environment with the charm of the past. It’s particularly appealing to creative professionals, families, and anyone drawn to the suburb’s rich cultural tapestry and community spirit.

5. Lake Wendouree – Total Score: 80/100

Lake Wendouree is renowned for its picturesque scenery, recreational activities, and high-quality living standards, though it comes with a higher price tag compared to other suburbs.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Access to Education: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Public Transport: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • Housing Affordability: 4/10
  • Community and Culture: 9/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 9/10
  • Environmental Quality: 8/10

Lake Wendouree excels with its unmatched natural beauty and recreational options, including the iconic lake that offers rowing, fishing, and picturesque walking trails. The suburb is also a cultural hub, with art galleries, cafes, and community events that foster a strong sense of belonging. It benefits from high-quality schools and healthcare facilities, making it an ideal place for families and health-conscious individuals.

The primary challenge for new residents is the cost of living, particularly the housing market, which is among the most expensive in Ballarat due to the suburb’s desirability. Public transport, while good, could still be improved to accommodate the needs of all residents.

Lake Wendouree is perfect for those who prioritise lifestyle and community engagement over cost, offering a serene and active living environment with ample cultural and recreational activities.

4. Lucas – Total Score: 82/100

Lucas, one of Ballarat’s newest suburbs, is quickly establishing itself as a model for sustainable living and community design, albeit with growing pains related to its rapid expansion.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Access to Education: 8/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 9/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Community and Culture: 8/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Environmental Quality: 9/10

Lucas stands out for its commitment to green spaces and sustainable urban planning, with numerous parks and community gardens. The suburb offers a modern shopping district, healthcare services, and schools, making it self-sufficient and appealing for families. It is also characterised by a low crime rate and a strong sense of community, with various local groups and activities.

The suburb’s rapid development has led to concerns over maintaining its community feel and managing infrastructure to keep pace with growth. While public transport is available, further expansion of services is needed to fully connect residents with other parts of Ballarat.

Lucas is ideally suited for those seeking a balance between modern amenities and a commitment to environmental sustainability, offering a forward-thinking community with a focus on quality of life.

3. Mount Pleasant – Total Score: 85/100

Mount Pleasant, with its charming character and strategic location, offers a perfect blend of convenience and quality living, though it faces challenges with traffic during peak hours.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Access to Education: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 9/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • Housing Affordability: 7/10
  • Community and Culture: 9/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 9/10
  • Environmental Quality: 9/10

Mount Pleasant is celebrated for its historic homes, thriving local businesses, and excellent schools. The suburb benefits from its proximity to Ballarat’s city centre, offering easy access to the best of urban living while retaining a peaceful, community-focused atmosphere. It boasts strong public transport links and a range of parks and recreational facilities, making it attractive for active individuals and families.

The primary drawback is the increased traffic congestion as the suburb has become more popular, which can affect commute times and noise levels in certain areas.

Mount Pleasant is ideal for those who appreciate historical character combined with modern conveniences, offering a well-rounded suburban experience close to the heart of Ballarat.

2. Canadian – Total Score: 87/100

Canadian stands as a beacon of serene living adjacent to natural reserves, offering a tranquil escape without sacrificing urban conveniences, though its popularity has led to a tighter housing market.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Access to Education: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Public Transport: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 9/10
  • Housing Affordability: 6/10
  • Community and Culture: 9/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 10/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 9/10
  • Environmental Quality: 10/10

Canadian is highly regarded for its proximity to natural beauty, including the Canadian Forest, offering residents unparalleled access to outdoor activities. The suburb maintains a high standard of living with excellent schools, healthcare facilities, and a tight-knit community atmosphere. Safety and environmental quality are top priorities, reflected in the suburb’s planning and community initiatives.

The demand for housing in Canadian has increased, leading to higher property prices and competitiveness in the real estate market, which may pose a challenge for some buyers.

Canadian is best suited for those seeking a balance between nature and urban life, offering a peaceful setting that remains connected to the amenities and opportunities of Ballarat.

1. Ballarat Central – Total Score: 91/100

Ballarat Central emerges as the crown jewel of Ballarat living, offering an unmatched blend of cultural richness, historical significance, and contemporary conveniences, albeit with the expected higher cost of living in such a sought-after location.

Scoring Criteria: 

  • Access to Education: 10/10
  • Local Amenities: 10/10
  • Public Transport: 10/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 9/10
  • Housing Affordability: 5/10
  • Community and Culture: 10/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 10/10
  • Environmental Quality: 9/10

Ballarat Central is the heart of the city, where history meets modernity. It is home to Ballarat’s finest dining, shopping, and entertainment options, alongside beautiful parks and historical landmarks. The suburb offers excellent education and healthcare services, making it an ideal place for individuals and families seeking a dynamic urban lifestyle. The community is vibrant and diverse, with a rich cultural scene and numerous festivals and events throughout the year.

The main consideration for prospective residents is the cost of housing, as Ballarat Central’s desirability has led to premium pricing. However, the quality of life, convenience, and cultural vibrancy on offer provide significant value.

Ballarat Central is perfect for those who value living in the cultural and commercial hub of the city, offering an unparalleled lifestyle that combines the best of Ballarat’s heritage with the conveniences of modern living.

How I scored each suburb

In the following section, you’ll gain insights into the methodology used to evaluate and score each suburb, providing a comprehensive understanding of what factors contributed to their rankings.

Access to Education

Access to Education measures the availability and quality of educational institutions within a suburb, from primary schools to tertiary institutions. This criterion is pivotal because it directly impacts family decisions, reflecting a suburb’s appeal to those with children or planning to start a family. A suburb scoring 1 might have no schools or only poorly rated ones, such as Snake Valley, where access to a range of educational options is limited. In contrast, a score of 10 requires multiple highly-rated schools across various education levels. Newington, not listed in the top 10, exemplifies this with its excellent schools, catering to a broad spectrum of educational needs.

Local Amenities

Local Amenities encompass the range and quality of shops, restaurants, cafes, and other essential services. This criterion is crucial for assessing the convenience and attractiveness of living in a suburb. A suburb would score 1 if it had virtually no amenities, necessitating residents to travel to other areas for most of their needs, such as Miners Rest. On the other hand, a suburb scoring 10 would boast a vibrant mix of amenities accessible within walking distance, like Bakery Hill, which offers a rich array of shops and eateries.

Public Transport

Public Transport evaluates the availability, frequency, and connectivity of transport options. Essential for residents who rely on public transport for commuting or prefer it to personal vehicles, a suburb scoring 1 on this criterion would have sparse or no public transport services, akin to Durham Lead. Conversely, a suburb scoring 10 would offer frequent, reliable services across multiple modes of transport, such as Sebastopol, facilitating easy access to the broader city and essential services.

Safety and Crime Rate

Safety and Crime Rate assesses the perceived safety and actual crime statistics of a suburb. It’s a vital aspect of residential decision-making, impacting feelings of security and community well-being. A suburb scoring 1 would have high crime rates and a poor perception of safety, such as Delacombe, while a 10-scoring suburb would boast low crime rates and a strong sense of security, like Buninyong, known for its community cohesion and safety initiatives.

Housing Affordability

Housing Affordability considers the median housing prices relative to average incomes, affecting accessibility for first-time homebuyers and renters. A score of 1 indicates extremely high property prices, out of reach for most residents, similar to Lake Wendouree. A score of 10 suggests a suburb with affordable housing options without compromising quality or location, like Wendouree, offering excellent value for families and individuals.

Community and Culture

Community and Culture gauge the presence of community events, cultural institutions, and a sense of belonging among residents. This metric is crucial for evaluating the social fabric of a suburb. A suburb scoring 1 might show minimal community engagement or cultural facilities, such as Warrenheip. In contrast, a suburb scoring 10, like Ballarat East, would be rich in cultural events, community groups, and a vibrant local culture, fostering strong connections among residents.

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation assess the availability and quality of green spaces, sports facilities, and recreational activities. Essential for physical health and mental well-being, a suburb scoring 1 would offer little to no public green spaces, like Mitchell Park. On the other hand, a suburb scoring 10 would feature extensive, well-maintained parks, walking trails, and recreational facilities, such as Mount Helen, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities.

Employment Opportunities

Employment Opportunities measure the availability of jobs within proximity to the suburb, influencing commuting patterns and the local economy. A suburb scoring 1 would have scarce employment options, requiring long commutes for most residents, such as Smythesdale. Conversely, a suburb scoring 10 would host a diverse range of employment opportunities within the suburb or nearby, like Ballarat Central, attracting a workforce across various sectors.

Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare Facilities evaluate the accessibility and quality of medical services, from general practitioners to specialist clinics and hospitals. This criterion is critical for all residents, particularly those with specific health needs. A suburb scoring 1 would lack medical services, forcing residents to seek care elsewhere, like Scotchmans Lead. A suburb scoring 10, such as Lucas, would offer comprehensive healthcare services, ensuring residents have prompt access to quality care.

Environmental Quality

Environmental Quality considers factors such as air and water quality, noise pollution, and green initiatives. It’s essential for the overall health and satisfaction of residents. A suburb scoring 1 would face significant environmental challenges, such as pollution or lack of green initiatives, like Redan. In contrast, a suburb scoring 10, like Canadian, would boast high environmental standards, including clean air, well-maintained natural landscapes, and commitment to sustainable living practices.

Research: A Blend of Data and Local Insights

The process of compiling this list of Ballarat’s best suburbs was no small feat—it involved an intricate blend of quantitative data analysis and qualitative insights drawn from the heart of our community. My journey began in the bustling cafes and serene parks (incl the Ballarat Botanical Gardens) of Ballarat, where conversations with locals provided invaluable perspectives on the nuances of each suburb. Establishing bases at popular spots like Webster’s Market and Cafe in Ballarat Central and the Red Lion Hotel in Ballarat North, engaging with residents to capture the essence of their lived experiences.

To complement these local insights, I researched material and articles online, including government databases, real estate websites like realestate.com.au, and local news outlets such as The Courier were instrumental in providing the quantitative data for the rankings. These resources offered a wealth of information on crime rates, housing affordability, and educational outcomes, allowing to paint a comprehensive picture of each suburb’s strengths and weaknesses.

My analysis took me through the green expanses of Lake Wendouree and the historic streets of Ballarat East, where I observed firsthand the community’s interaction with their environment and local amenities. Sampling the culinary delights of Ballarat’s diverse suburbs, from the comforting brunches at L’espresso to the innovative dinners at Moon and Mountain, gave me an insight into the local culture and vibrancy of each suburb.

In weaving together these strands of data and local knowledge, I aimed to create a ranking that resonates with both newcomers, families and first home buyers and long-time residents. This approach ensures my recommendations are grounded in reality, reflecting the lived experiences of the Ballarat community and the hard facts.

In Conclusion

My exploration of Ballarat’s suburbs has uncovered a diverse array of communities, each offering its unique blend of amenities, culture, and lifestyle options. Here’s my top recommendations:

  1. Ballarat Central – Total Score: 91/100
  2. Canadian – Total Score: 87/100
  3. Mount Pleasant – Total Score: 85/100
  4. Lucas – Total Score: 82/100
  5. Lake Wendouree – Total Score: 80/100
  6. Ballarat East – Total Score: 76/100
  7. Alfredton – Total Score: 75/100
  8. Sebastopol – Total Score: 72/100
  9. Delacombe – Total Score: 68/100
  10. Wendouree – Total Score: 65/100

From the bustling streets and rich cultural tapestry of Ballarat Central to the serene landscapes and community spirit of Canadian, Ballarat offers a suburb to suit every preference and lifestyle. Mount Pleasant and Lucas charm with their balance of historic allure and modern conveniences, while Lake Wendouree and Ballarat East stand out for their natural beauty and vibrant community life. Alfredton, Sebastopol, Delacombe, and Wendouree round out our list with their unique blends of affordability, amenities, and accessibility.

Whether you’re drawn to the heart of the city or the peace of the suburbs, finding the right place to call home is a journey of discovery. For those looking to navigate the diverse options Ballarat has to offer, a professional residential buyer’s agent can provide invaluable assistance. With their deep understanding of the local market and access to a wide range of properties, they can help you find a home that perfectly matches your needs and aspirations.


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